I awoke at 5:45am to the sound that every triathlete loves: that of rain drumming a tattoo on the Velux windows. Great. After the previous day’s concerns with security I was already feeling a little low on motivation. Fortunately, the pre race ritual of espresso and toast took over and I was soon whizzing down an empty M61 towards Tatton.

As I arrived at the park there was an alarming flood across the road where the bike course exited. Everything was at saturation point and I really felt for the organisers and the marshals out in this weather – as for the athletes, we only had ourselves to blame!

The start was delayed by half an hour, presumably to clear up the flooding and the organisers took the sensible step of keeping transition open to allow athletes to keep waterproofs on and warm clothing until nearer their allotted wave time. My wave went at 9:15 and I was soon plodding along at the back of the group at my own sedate pace. My swim time was 35:33 which was ok for me and after a sluggish, slightly disorganised transition, I headed out on the bike.

I was hoping for big things on the bike and had a pre race target of under 1 hour, however, being realistic, I knew the conditions would slow me down. So it proved: the coned exits at junctions were only wide enough for a single bike and on ?numerous occasions I found myself having to wait while slower riders negotiated the slippery junctions. On the straights I was able to put the power down and I think I was only overtaken by a couple of riders throughout the bike. Despite dropping my water bottle on the 3rd lap I came in to transition in 1:03:36 – a time which I was quite pleased with given the sodden nature of the circuit.

I was much quicker through T2, but the rain was still coming down as I headed out on to the run. This was a slippery cross-country mudfest much better suited to trail shoes rather than the road shoes I had on. Although I tried to push on the firmer tracks, my hard effort on the bike was taking its toll and I rolled in to the finish with an overall time of 2:35 – just 5 minutes outside the 2:30 I’d hoped for. A bit of a shame really, as I’m sure I would have been faster on both the bike and the run had it been dry.

Despite my initial concerns about security, the race itself was well organised and they took a sensible approach on race day itself in delaying the start to make sure the course was clear, and at the same time keeping transition open. The bike course is flat and fast, it’s just unfortunate that there are 4 narrow coned corners on each lap which causes bottlenecks and requires hard acceleration afterwards – I guess it’s the same for everyone. The race is perfect for spectators who are able to watch the swim, 4 laps on the bike and see the runners on quite a few occasions, too. There are decent food and drink concessions on the site and just about enough portaloos. I’d definitely recommend it and I can see why it’s so popular with triathlon newbies – I just wish they’d go round the corners a bit quicker 🙂

Update: I finished 226th out of 734 starters which isn’t a bad result. Unfortunately they’ve not published age group results. Results here.