World Triathlon Leeds 2022

There are not many things worth getting up at 6am two days in a row. But World Triathlon Leeds is one of them.

Saturday

Saturday was all about the cheering and a big family affair: my dad and sister were in the sprint and my mum and auntie were in the GoTri. We also had two family friends racing and three Harriers: Stu, Hanna and Yvette. I’m terrible at spotting faces so I was pretty pleased that I spotted most of them at the swim exit and on the run. Knowing people’s swim caps and wetsuit brands in advance is a big help.

It was pretty chilly so I had to go home at lunchtime and put some warmer clothes on. I made it back in time to watch the elite race. They changed the course direction this year meaning that they came down the hill on their bike. The result was the bikes came past at 60 kph. The blurs looked lovely, though.

Sunday

I was in the Yorkshire wave at 8:20, which still meant getting up at 5:45. Luckily, there were no queues to enter the park, register or get into transition this year.

We were back to a mass swim start this year so I let the rest of the field go before setting off. It only takes about 50-100 metres before they realise they have gone out way too hard and I start picking them off. By the first buoy, I had found someone’s feet to sit on. It’s different from swimming by yourself as you have to match the accelerations but otherwise felt pretty comfortable. Apparently, I was one of the few athletes that remembered to swim all the way up onto the swim ramp.

T1 was tough. They somehow made it even longer and even though the water was a luxurious 18 degrees, my cold hands failed to get my wetsuit off, even after I sat down. That cost my nearly a minute.

The bike started frantically. You climb up Park Avenue and once I was onto Princess Avenue my top priority was trying to stuff an energy bar into my gob. As a result, I didn’t settle until we reached Street Lane and I had passed the photographer. The bike course was rather windy but I managed to spend most of it on my aero bars. There was a big headwind coming down Stonegate Road and a big tailwind coming up it: as a result, I could descend at a comfortable speed and on the climb, I felt like I was flying. There was plenty of support on the bike course with Harriers at least four different points.

It was not quite a Vincent Luis-style crash but some poor guy went around the outside of the U-turn at the end of lap one and almost ran into a barrier on the far side of the road. On the second lap, I was ready for the photographer having hastily shoved another energy bar in going the other way.

T2 passed without incident. It was annoying to have to run so far in cleats, but JP assumes me that running in bare feet was no more joyful.

The run was the same as last year except in the other direction. This meant a steep climb out of transition (similar to running into town in the old days) but you are then rewarded with a long downhill. I made the strategic version to walk up the hill on the second and third lap. That cost me maybe 10 seconds per time, but also gave me enough recovery to peg it down the hill and I think there was a lot of time to be gained by running downhill effectively. I saw Graeme, Grace, Dan and Rafet on the run course and there was plenty of support on course from both Harriers and my family, too.

As we turned the final corner I was on 43:something and knew I ran a 45:something last year, so figured I might be able to get a run PB. Ths meant sprinting down the hill, but saving enough to look good for the photos.

I finished in:

2:42:43

Good enough for 18th out of 50 in the Yorkshire championship, but not as good as Ali who took second in his first ever standard distance race! Here is how I compared to last year:

Discipline 2022 2021 2019
Swim 34:18 33:34 39:25
T1 6:38 5:44 8:32
Bike 1:13:08 1:13:16 1:19:04
T2 3:58 4:52 4:02
Run 44:43 45:28 46:59
Total 2:42:43 2:42:52 2:58:00

The courses aren’t directly comparable. The 2019 event ran down into the city and the run direction changed between 2021 and 2022. The bike course also changed between 2019 and 2021. That said, I did beat last year’s time by a full 9 seconds! I had no idea until I looked it up later.

Afterwards, we had some lunch and watched the elite mixed team relay. It was freezing cold again but lovely to see the elites up close.

Summary

World Triathlon Leeds is probably one of the best weekend’s of the year. It’s right in the heart of the city so close enough that everyone comes out for it and there is something for everyone from the GoTri races to the elites. I hope Sunderland get as much joy from the event as we have.

Timeline

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 at 11:00 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.