New Forest Middle Distance Tri 2012 – Hetty Bostock

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Two weeks after Reading and the recovery and training is still going well. The legs feel good, probably due to an easier stretch in the A&E rota!

Competing in the middle distance (70.3) is probably not high on ones list of priorities only 3 weeks from the Olympic distance world champs. Although the distance is long, I prefer it, there’s less emphasis on the swim.

As we line up on the lake edge for briefing, air temp 5 degrees, steady rain and wind; I ask myself the same question I ask every time: Why am I doing this? I should be wrapped up in a duvet, with the most strenuous task of the day ahead being to fetch the Sunday Times.

The water temperature is a balmy 19 degrees and as we set off I begin to relax around one loop of Ellingham Lake. The swim is fine, steady and despite being on the slow side, for the first time, I don’t panic in the open water.

After a fairly swift T1, I head out for the 56mile bike. Time to test the carbon brakes in the wet… After an impressive skid onto a grass verge and into a hedge, I can safely (unsafely?) say they are distinctly average. Whoever said the New forest was flat, obviously haven’t raced the middle distance as these guys have managed to find every little hill and include it in this race. With reference to earlier brakes, this slows me down – a lot. Especially down Boulderwood Ornamental drive, there’s a compulsory stop at the A35 and removal of shoe from pedal. I have to sit up and pump the brakes the whole way down. The sticky descents and cornering are frustrating but I make quick progress uphill and start picking off the competition ahead.

Despite dropping food twice and then stopping to retrieve it; A spectacular skid into a hedge; My inability to operate gears due to frozen hands; what felt like force 7 gale head winds and pouring rain; A set of seriously dubious brakes, I finish the bike feeling strong. Especially as I pull into T2 and there are only 20 or so bikes racked.

T2. Possibly the slowest transition of all time, not only do I leave my gels on my bike, I can’t find my kit bag in the tent. It takes them a minute to get it to me. Meanwhile I try to remove a bike shoe with what can only be described as dead hands. Damn you Raynaud’s. 7 minutes -Gah.

Blissford hill, I’d heard the rumours. They weren’t exaggerating. The course is long, off road and hilly. Add to this the weather conditions and you have a very cheeky run. At least I begin to thaw. I start to pick up my pace now I can feel my feet. I’m trying to keep to a steady 7 min mile pace which feels comfortable. I’m overtaking people, checking for ladies and counting down the competitors I pass.  I finish the race with a big smile on my face. I came first lady and 14th over all.

It transpires that a proportion of the competitors were prevented from doing the run due to adverse weather conditions. Probably a sensible decision but I can’t help feeling gutted for them. Thanks to the race organisers for a great race, shame about the conditions.

A big thank you to Bournemouth Cycleworks team; as always, for keeping my bike in excellent order!

Link to The New Forest Middle Distance Tri Results for 2012.

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