Allerthorpe Classic 2019

Allerthorpe Classic is a standard distance triathlon that takes place in York on the first Sunday of August. I I raced it last year and perfectly paced myself for a sub-3 time before discovering the run was 10.5km and I ended up with 3:00:15. I had unfinished business.

Pre-race

This year looked equally hot and sunny. I had some cereal for breakfast and half a Clif bar at the venue. I ran into Dan and Alison before the race. Alison was with the elite swimmers 20 minutes ahead of us, while Dan had a two-minute head start over me.

The swim

I used a mixture of front crawl and breaststroke. I would have been happy slowly paddling around, but I am having some knee pain which messes up my breaststroke. Half the swimmers in my wave hung back, but I didn’t really want to swim an extra twenty metres, so I went to the front. This inevitably meant I was in the middle of the pack jostling for position, but no serious blows were landed.

By the second lap, things had calmed down and I had clear water. At the far side of the lake, I could feel my swim cap coming off. Normally, I would stop to put it back on. But I decided I didn’t want to lose time and that it was not my fault that the organisers failed to provide a swim cap for my head shape. So, I let it go and did the rest of the swim without it. Some lose hair, but nothing that got in the way.

As we headed to the swim exit, I just managed to pass someone from the wave in front of ours, mostly thanks to their complete inability to sight. It is incredible how much further people swim because their sighting is terrible.

Best of all, I finally remembered not to fiddle with my watch until I was passed the swim exit photography point.

Transition 1

I managed a fairly speedy T1 (for me), although struggled to get my wetsuit off and had to sit down. I slapped some more sun cream on. Unfortunately, despite putting sun cream on both before the race and here, I still came home sunburnt. There is no way to escape it!

Foolishly, I had not turned my bike computer on before the race, so as I hurried out of T1 I was trying to turn it on and load up the route.

The bike

I knew where the photo point was on the route: just as you start the bike. Before the race, I had visions of getting straight down onto my aero bars and getting an awesome photo of me powering away. Unfortunately, I was still trying to sort my computer out at the time, and so all I got was a photo of my meddling with my head unit.

Worse, in the confusion of trying to sort my bike computer out, I forgot to hit the lap button on my watch. I was 12 minutes into the cycle before I noticed!

Once I had stopped fiddling, I got down to business. And by business, I mean onto the aero bars. This was my first real test on them and I had a little wobble early on that knocked my confidence. But I knew if I didn’t get straight back down on them the fear would grow, so I wasted no time in tucking back in.

I used them for most of the course, occasionally going back to my handlebars to overtake and when I spotted oncoming cars, and occasionally to give my legs a break as it is slightly harder to put out power in the aero position. I wondered how my back would hold up as I usually get quite a lot of lower back pain while racing but, surprisingly, I think I got less than usual.

The results of the aero bars were great. Comparing it to Allerthorpe Sprint last month, I only averaged 197 Watts, compared to the 217 Watts I did last month, and yet my average speed increased from 31.5 kph to 32.9 kph. That means I went 5% faster while using 10% less energy.

Fueling on the bike was difficult as my tri suit does not have any pockets. Instead, I put my gel flask in my top tube bag. It was a bit difficult to get it in and out compared to a back pocket, but it worked.

As we were coming down the final road through Allerthorpe I overtook Dan who was powering away the final few kilometres.

Transition 2

I felt a little light-headed in T2 and was concerned that I had not taken enough carbs so I ripped open my spare energy gel and took a mouthful. Then it was on to the run.

My bike split had been so good that I now had 67 minutes to complete the 10.5km run in order to achieve a sub-3 hour time. Something I think I would struggle to miss if I had tried.

The run

By this point it was midday and the sun was blazing. After about a kilometre I ran into Dan again: apparently, my T2 had been slower than I thought! We had a chat before I picked up the pace. I started out at 5:00 per kilometre before dropping it down to 5:15 per kilometre to make sure I could finish in the heat.

At the second drinks station, I took my caffeine gel and washed it down with some water, the remaining of which went over my head. I walked the final drinks station to get some more water, too.

Unusually, a couple of runners overtook me. The first was a woman who then blew up. I found her walking at 7km. After I had overtaken her she took off again and overtook me, before walking and being overtaken again. She made one final assault and managed to catch me before dropping off permanently. The other two were a man who also blew up, got caught by me, and then took off again into the distance, and another guy who was running at roughly my pace the whole way around.

I cannot blame them for walking. The final three kilometres were so difficult; all I wanted to do was walk. But I told myself that walking was for longer distances: there was no reason to walk for these piddly little ones. I told myself I could walk when I got to 9km if I really needed to. By then I wanted to finish so held it all the way to the end.

The result

My official time was:

2:47:16

And my splits were:

Stage 2019 2018 Diff
Swim 39:34 40:49 -1:15
T1 09:09 03:40 -1:31
Bike 1:09:07 1:20:35 -11:28
T2 02:15 01:49 +0:26
Run 54:09 53:19 +0:50
Total 2:46:16 3:00:15 -12:59

It is by far the fastest standard distance race I have done. The bike is only 38km, and it is a flat and fast course, but the run is slightly longer. My increase in T2 is to be expected as I now cycle without socks and then put my socks on in T2, hence a much faster T1 but slightly slower T2.

Similarly, I’m not too worried about the increase in my run time. In last year’s race, I was sprinting my heart out to get under three hours. There was no need to try and kill myself this year as I knew I would be comfortably under.

Almost all of the improvement came on the bike. Given I only improved slightly at the sprint race last month, I can only attribute that to the aero bars, possibly including some placebo effect from having them on my bike.

I was 146th out of 306 finishers, so just in the top half, which is great! My position splits were 276 (swim), 150 (T1), 94 (bike), 264 (T2) and 110 (run). I have never placed higher in the bike than the run before: normally my run is far ahead of everything else, so this was a new experience for me.

After the race, we cooled off in the lake before I stuffed my face with recovery carbs and protein, and had a massage.

Conclusion

I have done so many races at Allerthorpe now that it feels like a second home. I am very pleased with my bike time and now feel completely justified in buying a triathlon bike. Hopefully, it will be a little cooler next year!

Timeline

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 at 5:43 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.