10 things learned at the Montrose Triathlon
My friend and super coach Vicky competed with me at the Montrose Triathlon earlier this month. While she came home first lady and 16th overall, I struggled through the race. Here are a few things I learned.
1 Be prepared
Although there was a long waiting list both Vicky and I, who entered at different times, eventually made it to the top of the list and gain entry to the race. We found this out quite close to the date of the race so it’s a good idea to be ready to get a place even if you are on a waiting list.
2 Choose the right swim lane
When I was asked my expected swim time at the point of entry many months before the race I Imagined I would get some swim training done. I reckoned I’d manage 14 to 14.5 minutes for the 750m pool swim.
Sadly, my swimming training has been hampered by lack of time, leg cramps and a knackered shoulder.
In the race I was in a lane with three people who were much faster than me. This meant I lost a lot of time stopping at the lane ends for them to overtake me (repeatedly). I also suffered foot cramps and that meant I could not use one of my legs for swimming.
If I had been in a lane of people swimming 15 or 16 minutes I think I would have ended up being faster out the pool. I swam a woeful-for-me 17 minutes.
3 Check the bike route
I wish I’d asked Vicky about the bike route before I packed my bike. She is originally from the Arbroath area so she knew the Montrose Triathlon bike course quite well.
It turned out to be very undulating with a long hill and with lots of stop-start turns. This route was repeated twice for the Sprint triathlon.
If I had checked the route before going I would have taken my sportive road bike rather than my race bike with TT bars. The ups and downs and stops and starts did not suit the race bike at all.
It was rainy, too, so that made cornering very tricky.
I could not get into a flow with the cycling and while it was the same for all competitors I did wish I had ridden the bike I am much more familiar with.
4 Signpost confusion
While most of the race was well signposted and marshalled the end of the bike route was confusing. I felt there was a lack of signage so I wasn’t sure if I took the right route back into transition. I wasted time at this point with worry and a much reduced speed. Other people said the same after the race.
5 Work out where the run finish is
I knew there would be two laps of the run course and I had worked out where to exit transition for the start of the run. The run course was fairly well signposted but I could not see any signing to the finish line. I had to ask someone if I was going in the right direction.
It could be I ran extra or took a wrong turn. When I could see the finish line I ran as hard as I could but if I had known how close I was I would have put in more effort at least 500m earlier.
6 It’s difficult to make up time on a sprint tri
As hard as I tried I couldn’t seem to make up much time after the terrible swim. I cycled and ran as hard as I could but I had no sense of overtaking people in my age group.
If my swim had been better I would have had more competitors to chase down and overtake.
7 A race can go better than you think
Despite all my moans I came home fourth female vet so I must have done something right. I raced hard in the bike leg so that counted for something. Sometimes the final outcome is not as bad as the parts that make up the race.
8 Vicky has still got it!
Vicky is a superb athlete and she will tell you she does very little training because she is busy being head coach of GTC, working and doing a sports psychology masters.
I believe she has done little run training but she still swims regularly and she is a keen cyclist.
Even when she does not do specific training she still manages to pull off an excellent time. She is obviously a natural athlete.
It made me feel proud that I am her friend when I found out she had come first female at the Montrose Triathlon.
9 Fun and friendly
The atmosphere of the Montrose Triathlon is very friendly and welcoming. It was great to take part in a race that I had not done before and to know that if I return I will surely do better because I will know the course.
There was a lot of joking from marshalls and other competitors about Vicky’s race number 118 118. It did help to alleviate the nerves pre-race.
10 Great location and something different
I am not sure that I had been to Montrose before although I was aware it was on the Angus eats coast. It was a lovely place to race and the cycling roads were quiet and scenic.
See Montrose Triathlon.