World Triathlon Leeds 2021

This was a weird race for me. For many people, World Triathlon Leeds is all they think about, and maybe the one triathlon they do that year. For me, coming just a week after my third full distance at Evolve Trio, all I was thinking about was how to survive my first 4-kilometre open water swim. Evolve Trio was mercifully split over the bank holiday weekend but that meant finishing on Monday, recovering on Tuesday, and only thinking about Leeds on Wednesday.

Saturday races

Even though I wasn’t racing on Saturday I braved a 6am start to get down to the mark and cheer people on. My dad and Tim and Andy were in the sprint race from 8 am onwards and my mum and sister were in the GoTri at 10 o’clock. This made for a tough day trying to run around the park to see everyone at various points. Especially when you are pushing a 4-year-old in a buggy!

It was awesome to see everyone finish. We might have to rename it Worfolk Triathlon Leeds after this.

I had been so busy with Evolve Trio and work that I didn’t even have a nutrition plan for the next day but luckily OTE had a stall in the event village that allowed me to stock up on goodies. After that we headed to a friend’s leaving do (he’s moving to Japan) and then a family BBQ, meaning I only got to pack my bags at 8 pm, just before I needed to be in bed for a 5 am start.

The swim

The new COVID arrival times made for a bit of a rush setting up in transition. But I managed to get everything done and down to the swim start in time. This was my first 1,500 metres that I was planning to do entirely in front crawl and for the first time I found myself getting jostled by the pack. I leaned away from but in future, I might try leaning into the maelstrom.

The swim went really well. I clocked in at 33:34, and I would usually be around the 40-minute mark, so around 6 minutes saved there.

The bike

I forgot how much the hills in Leeds get into my back. The first lap saw me put some power down but it was an absolute killer on my lower back. In some ways, it was worse than the 189 kilometres of last weekend. By the second lap, I managed to settle down a little, keep my cadence higher and get down on the aero bars a little more. And, to be honest, just eased off a little as I reminded myself this was technically a “recovery” race. I saved around another six minutes compared to my 2019 time.

The run

Even though I have done Roundhay parkrun a bunch of times, I thought the hill was more of a gentle drag. Then you hit it and it turns out it is a hill. Some gentle pacing help me below 5:00 per kilometre which I was pleased with for a run I didn’t go 100% on. Although the run route a slight elevation gain, compared to the usual drop into the city centre, it clocked in at only 9.5 kilometres, and so I was a couple of minutes ahead of 2019 here, too. Plus I had half the tri club to cheer me on down the finish straight.

The result

It is impossible to do a direct comparison between this year and 2019 but I have included the figures here. Obviously big improvements moving from breaststroke to front crawl. I think my running has come along more than my cycling. My 2019 run was my 10k PB until the Abbey Dash so beating that without going 100% felt like a pretty good result.

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

All in all, 2:42:52 is a sizable improvement even adjusting for the course being potentially easier. That was good enough for 32 out of 72 athletes, but being in the M35-39 age group, only 5 out of 6. What a stupid age group to be in.

The aftermath

Perhaps the best part of the day was being able to have a sit-down, each as much junk food as I could fit in my stomach and spend time with my fellow tri club members. It has been a lonely 14 months since lockdown came in and so the return of racing as a club is a much welcome addition back into my life.

Keeping the pros in the park was also great for spectating.

Overall, a very enjoyable but tiring weekend. I was pleased to put my feet up on Monday and watch the triathlon on iPlayer.

Timeline

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 at 11:35 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.