Entered this as last year Pippa Middleton entered it and no Royal Protection Officer could stop me have a play with that in a wetsuit!
A 700m open water swim, 20km bike through the grounds and 5 run on paths around a lake – who could refuse that. Only problem was that I was in Egypt the week prior and didn’t land back in Manchester until 02:00am the day of the event …which is in Oxford. Queue me driving Manchester to Halifax, sleeping for 3 hours then getting picked up by my kind parents who drove me down to Oxford whilst I tried to sleep.
Blenheim is an impressive place to visit. The transition was in the middle of the courtyard so racked my bike and gear using my plastic box. Now the week before I flew to Egypt I picked up my shiny Planet X Stealth Pro TT bike, but hadn’t time to get used to tri bikes and the aggressive position. Since the bike course was on 10ft wide paths with a mix of novices and near pro’s I opted it would be safer if I used the Boardman Team Carbon and stick my carbon wheels on for a few mph gain on the flats.
The swim started down by the lake, waves of 100 going off in 20min intervals. A gorgeous setting but I was not the most optimistic due to the open water. Istarted wide at the right and paced myself from the start. I managed it allfront crawl bar a few 20metres stints.
Got to the end and you get pulled out lifegaurds. Out of the water and the normal drill of undoing the top of my wetsuit and pull it down to my waist. All good so far then both of my calfscramp up from the cold water. The swim exit was 200m away from transition so hobbled up the hill into it with the normal loud cheers that have come symnomose with triathlon events.
A quick change out of the wetsuit, stick on helmet, shoes and grab my carbon stead. The bike route was 3 laps of narrowpaths. A nice fast course only hindered by lots of traffic especially on the start of climbs. Leaving the TT bike at home was a good call. You constantly had to be covering your brakes looking out for novice riders veering all over the paths.
It was my first time using carbon wheels, 50mm front 80mm rear, and they did feel faster – they certainly looked faster! Anyway made up lots of places on the bike, infact only a couple of people over took me which was good.
Back into transition, bike racked, helmet off and trainers on. Heading out on to the run course via a footbridge that takes you over the bike route. I merge into the stream of runners already out on the course and try and pick up the pace. You had no idea who was on the first lap or last so I just kept chasing everyone down. A few laps and 20mins later and it’s a sprint for the line, the last 400m I picked up the pace and the last 200m was full on running. I should have picked up the pace sooner though as still had a bit left in the tank at the finish.
I cross the line and take a few seconds to gather my breathe before getting some water and my medal – a decent looking medal too.
So another triathlon done, once more feeling exhausted but jubilant. Will be definitely doing this again next year …and hopefully Pippa will be there J