Leeds ITU Triathlon
The Leeds ITU Triathlon had a whole bunch of issues, which I will leave until the end of this report.
So, let’s get straight to the race! This is the first year for this race, a totally new event and a race around Leeds City centre. Most of the British team are based in Leeds, so it’s kind of become the UK home of Triathlon. All but Helen Jenkins, of the GB Rio team raced this event.
Speaking of Helen, It was nice to bump into her again.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t racing at Leeds this time, but these guys were :D
This event had some unusual transitions, we had to use transition bags in both T1 and T2, all of our kit needed to be in these bags. In T1, everything that was going to be used on the bike had to be placed in the plastic transition bag and racked along with your bike, then, after the swim, your wetsuit was to be placed in the bag, then handed over at the bike mount line. In T2 there was another bag with you run kit in it, which all of your bike gear had to be placed then racked with your bike. No other bags or equipment was allowed in transition, and two minute penalties were given out to anyone who either didn’t hand in there bag at T1 or left bike gear outside their bag at T2.
T1 and T2 were also four miles apart! so the logistics pre-race was certainly a challenge, which is where our story begins: -
The Swim - 00:25:45
Due to the distance between T2 and T1, I almost missed the start of the race! There was a lot of running around, traffic and road diversions before I eventually made it to the pontoon with only seven minutes to spare.
I didn’t have the time to spray and anti-fog in my goggles.
The Swim start was cool! In waves of around one hundred, we started from the pontoon that the elite race uses, not diving in like the elites, but everyone in a row with one hand on the pontoon. This meant that the start was hassle free, no punching or kicking, no trying to get around everyone. We all started in a line and everyone spread out pretty evenly depending on their swim speed.
The lake was clean and fairly clear and the course was pretty simple, keep the yellow buoys on your left.
Around two thirds into the swim, I started to fog up, first the left eye, then the right, but I could still see the very bright buoys, so it wasn’t really an issue. Near the end of the swim I had a moment of confusion, through my fogged up goggles I could see a group of people swimming on my left, I very nearly followed them, but I cleared my goggles and realised that they were another wave just starting their swim! Lucky, I nearly did another lap.
The swim exit was in quite deep water and the exit ramp was maybe half a meter submerged, so it was a bit of an ungraceful swim exit for me.
Out the water and starting the very long run up to T1.
T1 - 00:07:13
A very long run! I took of my hat and goggles, held them in my right hand then pulled down my wetsuit, trapping the hat and goggle in my wetsuit sleeve.
In hindsight, I should have left my wetsuit on for the run and only started to remove it at the entrance to transition. Poor planning from me.
I got to my rack and struggled to get my wetsuit past my calf’s. I grabbed the first of my transition bags, took out my helmet and almost knocked the visor off, I need to look at a different fixing strategy.
Because I was late to the start, I didn’t get the chance to turn on by bike computer and calibrate my power meter, so I did this on the run out of T1, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered, but I had spent sooooo long in T1 already, I thought sod it.
From the T1 exit to the mount line was another crazy long run, almost one kilometre! (I’ve just measured it on google maps) 980m of running downhill across a car park in the wet, all while trying to carry the stupid transition bag with my wetsuit in it.
Crazy! My feet were killing and freezing cold by the time I got to the mount line.
I handed over my transition bag and jumped onto my bike. On the long run, the elastic had snapped from my left shoe, so it was dragging on the ground. The start of the bike was all uphill too! I was in a low gear, but not low enough, so it was a struggle to get started. I had to avoid lots of people who couldn’t get clipped in or were in the completely wrong gear.
My next issue was my shoes. I really struggled to get my cold numb feet into my shoes, this was made worse by one of the heel straps on my shoes snapping!
Eventually, with my feet in, I was away.
Longest transition in history.
The Bike - 01:06:09
The Bike course was on closed roads, which was fantastic! No crazy motorists trying to run us down. There were loads of spectators too, more than I have ever seen at a triathlon. The route took us out of Roundhay park and towards the first turning point near the Leeds city centre. Even though it had been raining, the roads didn’t seem that wet, although some of the corners were very tight and very greasy, I did pass one poor rider who was being treated by paramedics. The second turn around point is halfway back to Roundhay, which makes the bike section almost all uphill.
I had my front bottle filled with UCAN cinnamon superstarch, which tasted like soap, but it was weirdly pleasant.
Throughout the ride, I was only passed by a few people, but I did pass loads. It felt good, I think I could have pushed harder, but I was pretty happy with how it was going.
Entering into the city centre was fantastic, the crowds were huge.
T2 - 00:02:49
From the dismount line to my rack was around 200m of running, first on road, then on the horrid car park surface that was T2. It was littered with rubbish and broken glass! The worse transition I have ever seen, some areas had flooded overnight too. Luckily, I didn’t cut my feet and my rack was dry.
I took my running shoes out of my transition bag and tried to brush all the stones off my feet. Shoes on, helmet off and helmet placed in the transition bag. Switch my garmin to run and exit T2.
The Run - 00:44:02
The run consisted of five laps around the city centre, which was surprisingly hilly. The course had a few tight 180 turns which wasn’t too bad, but everyone wanted to get as close to the apex as possible making it a little congested, especially due to the fact that it was five laps and probably about a thousand people running at that time.
Five laps, five fingers ;) every lap I repeated out loud, the number of completed laps and the number of the lap I was starting, I didn’t want to miss a lap and not complete the run.
Part of the lap was through the elite transition area, which had been set up for the elite women’s race. That was cool, I noticed the bike racks for Non Stanford, Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson as I ran though.
There wasn’t much of the course that was flat, so we were running either up or down hill, something most people seems to struggle with. I tried my hardest to really push on the uphill and run my legs off downhill.
I was feeling pretty good on the run, so I pushed, I pushed a little harder on every lap and gave it my all on the last lap. I ran through the finish line with every lap being quicker, a negative split.
Result - 02:25:56
285th overall out of 1997 and 51st out of 345 in my age group.
I really enjoyed the race, the swim was great, the bike course challenging and the run was exciting, however: -
This was the worse organised race I have ever competed in. The race pack info was shockingly bad, it was constantly changing.
Transitions were horrible! The run from swim to T1 wasn’t too bad, but the run out of T1 to the mount line was horrendous! Poor surfaces and having to run with the stupid transition bag. T2 was worse, again, a crazy distance from the dismount line to T2 and T2 was full of huge puddles, glass and all sorts of crap, I heard there were needles too!
On the run, loads of people were DQ’d because of confusion of the number of required laps.
Then the bag collection nightmare! It’s a good job it wasn’t raining.
Bag collection was near the finish area and it was rammed with people. The organisers had one van, which held two pallets with probably a couple of hundred bags per pallet.
Most people had two bags to collect, the blue bag with wetsuits and the green bag which had peoples clothes, car keys, etc. My race stated at 07:56 and my bag arrived at 13:30, some people weren’t that lucky and they had to travel back to Roundhay park to collect the bags themselves.
A total event organisation disaster! So bad that the organisers send out an apology email.
Will I do it next year? Not unless there are HUGE changes.
Pre-race nutrition: -
- Corn cakes with Almond butter
- Nuts and seed mix
- Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia bar 30mins before start
- UCAN cinnamon in 500ml between the bars.
- 150ml Hornet Juice from back of bike
- Torq gel at start of lap 2.
- SIS whey20.
- Huub trisuit
- 2XU Z:1 wetsuit
- zoggs predator flex clear goggles
- Cervelo P3, Zipp firecrest 404 front, 808 rear (new Conti competition 22mm tires)
- Front mounted, 500ml TriNerd bodge bottle
- Rear Mounted, 500ml camelbak podium
- Rudy Project Wing57 aero helmet
- Specialized TriVent SC
- Garmin 520
- Newton TriRacer
- Garmin VivoActive
- Blue Seventy race belt (worn under wetsuit)