A Return to Real World Racing for Triathletes at the Cotswold Classic
3 August 2020 - By James Montgomery
With things still being far from returning to normal it’s good to see some “real-world” racing going ahead with respect to the easing that has been in put place in recent weeks. One such event was on Sunday, when Anita Grainger took part in the Cotswold Classic Triathlon, a middle-distance triathlon over a 1.9kms swim, 90kms bike and 21 kms run. Here is Anita’s account of the day:
The Cotswold Classic was one of the first triathlons to take place under the new socially distanced time trial format. So how does this work? Lots of measures were put in place with detailed instructions sent to participants. The most prominant was the rolling swim start, separated into waves setting off at 10 second intervals within the wave rather than the usual mass bundle (punch up) per age-group wave. Another significant change was all competitors have to wear a mask in transition when setting up and racking.
After the usual early 4am start Anita arrived nice and early to register and rack, places were more spaced out than usual in transition. Anita was in the 6.45-7am start which involved running down a ramp and into the lake with the clock starting on the ramp. Anita had a good swim which involved 2 laps & enjoying the space knocking 2.5mims off her previous time. One of the bouys was a bit tricky to see as it was straight into the sun which made sighting a challenge.
Transiton times were neutralised at 10mins for T1 and 5mins for T2 so Anita made the most of the time available having an extra drink especially as the bike course was self sufficient.
Onto the bike course which consisted 2 laps in the beautiful Cotswold countryside. The marshals were fantastic and there were even police on hand to stop traffic at a major crossroad allowing cyclists to go straight through. The wind seemed to pick up on the second lap and it felt like riding straight into the wind for the last 30mins. For emergencies there was a marshalled water station, however, to use this competitors needed to stop, rack their bike then pick up a new bottle before getting back on their bike, rather than the usual ride through stations. Anita had a good ride, knocking 9 mins off her previous time for 90km.
Then onto the run by which time it was starting to hot up. The run seems to be Anita’s achillies heel. Again Anita made the most of the transition time before heading out onto the run. The course was 3 laps of a mixture of on and off road. The first lap went fine although a bit slower than planned, getting the legs going , however the second and 3rd laps were a different story. Anita was sick at 6 miles after feeling off from about 4/5 miles. Anita then started to feel better but her pace had slowed but she kept going, 11 miles in she had an upset stomach then willed herself to finish the last 2 miles. The run was still 1 min quicker than her time at Holkham last year
All in all a good race with a pb of 17 minutes.