I raced a small sprint triathlon yesterday in Wilmslow. There are two races each year, with the one on April called the Wilmslow Triathlon and the September one, which I did, called the South Manchester Triathlon. I’m not sure why they need different names, but there you go.
Having not done a triathlon since Kendal in 2019 I fancied a short race to finish the season, and even though Kendal was on the same day and would have loads of people I knew doing it, I opted for somewhere I’d never been before. The distances were 400m pool swim, 24.5km bike and a 6km run. I was also planning on taking it nice and steady.
My start time was 10:40 so no rush in the morning, which was nice, although I managed to leave my coffee on the roof of the car when I set off. I stopped a couple of minutes later for fuel and it was still there, but on its side without any coffee. Paying for the petrol took ages as there was someone doing their weekly shop through the security hatch, much like the song 24 Hour Garage People by Half Man Half Biscuit. It is a highly amusing song until you are stuck behind said person.
The journey to Wilmslow wasn’t particularly great as it involved almost all of the Manchester motorway network, where in the past even with Sat Nav I have managed to get lost. Anyway, once at the leisure centre I parked up and registered. The man next to me was asking the volunteers if he could buy a race belt as he had forgotten his. Me and my lovely wife have a habit of forgetting race belts and having to buy new ones, so we have loads. I had packed an extra one just in case someone needed one, so I happily lent it to random stranger. This was the least of his worries as he had locked his bike up in his van and left the key at home, so his wife had to rush back to Blackburn to get it. Hopefully he managed to sort everything out and have a good race.
I racked my bike and took a couple of photos of transition, and promptly got reprimanded by an official as you’re not allowed to use your phone in transition. Oops!
Once I was all set up I decided to go to the pool to see the set up and found that I could start early if I wanted to. With a maximum of 3 people in each lane the swim was very relaxed. I’d put down an expected time of 8 minutes and finished in 8 minutes and 6 seconds. A bit slower than my usual, but I’ve hardly swam in the last 18 months.
Out on the bike and I immediately got stuck behind an Ocado delivery van, although the first km was slow as the route negotiated its way out of the town. The route then headed towards the airport along fairly main roads before going under the runway through a couple of short tunnels. Sensibly I took the safe cycle path route through them, before being held up at a left turn by a horse box. A few minutes later I was held up by the same horse box again as they struggled to overtake another triathlete. This was the first person I had seen since starting the bike leg although I overtook a few more people on the way back into Wilmslow.
Off the bike and onto a small dirt track for the start of the urban run. The were a couple of sections with runners coming in the other direction, but every turn had marshalls and volunteers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race with as many people helping out. I hadn’t pushed it too hard on the bike so I picked up the pace as there were quite a few people to chase down. There was a sting in the tail of the run as the route went up and over a main road and railway via a long flight of steps. My Garmin heart rate analysis of the run can be seen below. My average heart rate was 170bpm with a max of 180bpm. Yikes!
Across the finish line and I was handed a nice little goody bag with a medal and buff (see photo below), along with a flapjack and a bottle of water. All much needed.
The results were out nice and quickly and I finished in 28th place overall and 3rd in my age group. I was very happy with that especially as apart from the run I hadn’t pushed myself too hard. Additionally, the next day my legs feel absolutely fine. All in all a very well organised and friendly race. I doubt if I’ll do this particular race again, but I’ll definitely keep an eye out for other OP Events.
As an added bonus, a week after the race I could download a free finish line photo. I wish more events would give the digital photos away for free, as I’m sure it does wonders for an organisers social media stats.
Strava activities can be found here, if you felt the need to give me Kudos.