Race report from Stu Bruce -
Alnwick Tri members ( Melissa Hepburn, Matt Holt and myself ) made up a quarter of the twelve strong team from Northumbria Police who took part in the National Emergency Services Sprint Tri Championships which took place last Friday lunchtime. I was unsure whether to race after suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea two days earlier. However, I still wanted to at least watch the event, so by Thursday, I was improving, but not perfect, and set off to Nottingham with my colleagues at 5.30 that afternoon. On race day morning on Friday, I felt ready to race.
As we had stayed in a backpackers hostel, we got to the National Watersport Centre nice and early and had breakfast in the cafe which was excellent. We had time to ride the course then chill for a while before registration. We then got set up for transition. I’ve not done a race like this before with T1 and T2 in separate locations. It gives the race organiser the opportunity to embarrass people at the briefing when he asks, ‘Who has their shoes in T1?’
After the briefing, we were off pretty quickly. With this being a weekday race, an early start is not required and the race actually started at a rather splendid midday. We waited in the hot sun in our wetsuits, desperately wanting to get into the water. I was in the second swim wave and for the same distance as last week ( although it looked longer ), I swam 37 seconds quicker. The water was much warmer of course. I quite enjoyed my swim with only one minor problem as I found myself aiming for the start line rather then finish inflatable as I neared the end. Some improvement in sighting may be required. The bike course is a fast, flat, traffic free road round the rowing course. It had a stiff headwind for the out and lovely tailwind coming back in on each of four laps which went by without incident.
I could have been a bit quicker in T2 but got going, grabbed a drink and set out on the run and this is where I started to struggle. The run is another reverse lap of the bike course and right from the off, I struggled with the heat and lack of energy. It was a long, long run and being flat and straight means that you can see how far you have to go before you are even halfway. I couldn’t pick my feet up and plodded along, losing a multitude of places as I was overtaken by all and sundry. But eventually the finish line came into view and I managed a slight increase in pace in front of the grandstand area. After that, all I wanted was water and shade. Job done. Time – 1.29-11
Matt finished in 1.13-11 and Melissa produced a storming run to record 1.19-53.
It was a cracking trip and it certainly looks like this might be an annual fixture on the race calendar for us.