13 November 2017 0 Comments

2017 – could do better

I’m done for another year. The race bike is booked in to Steve the cycle mechanic for a pre hibernation fettle, and all thoughts of squeezing in a late season cycle sportive or half marathon have been put to bed. It has been a bit of a strange season all considered. I failed to hit the startline at the Grizedale Trail half marathon in February because I forgot to get my entry in and the race sold out. I’m not taking chances next year and already have my entry in for 2018.

Lancaster Duathlon 05/3/2017

Race 1 was the Lancaster Duathlon. My only previous experience of the genre was a poor effort at Oulton Park back in 2012 where I vowed never to start one again if out of condition. This time around, I really enjoyed it and would recommend this race to anyone. Luckily, the weather was good on race day, although the canalside run was a little muddy and I finished about halfway down the field and 5th in my age group: a reasonable start to the year.

Race Report

Jodrell Bank Sportive 19/3/2017

My next event, the Jodrell Bank Sportive is pretty much a staple of my early season. I enjoy it because it’s a fast and flat course on roads that I used to cycle regularly. I have a few issues with the organisation, but the fundamentals are in place for a decent early season event. this year was a bit windy and wet at the finish, but I put in a reasonable ride to finish 18th overall on the longer route (67 miles, not the 80 advertised).

Race Report

Early Season Crisis

After a fairly normal start to the year, the wheels came off. First of all, a bout of achilles tendinitis put the lid on my running and secondly, a series of cancellations left me with no race for almost 3 months. The Bigland or Bust sportive was cancelled, as was the Manchester-Chester-Manchester sportive and the first of the Capernwray mid week sprint triathlons. Injury meant that I couldn’t enter running races instead and so it was almost 3 months before I started my next race.

Epicman 11/6/2017

Predictably, the massive amount of rainfall in the build up to the inaugural Epicman Triathlon led to the cancellation of the swim section. This turned what would have been a tough half iron distance triathlon into a bike/run event. On the day I didn’t feel great and the windy conditions made for a tough day. My bike time was a little slower than I hoped but was satisfied with the run given the very low mileage I had been doing in the weeks prior. Still no triathlon completed and 2017 was half done!

Race Report

Ironman UK 16/7/2017

It turned out that Ironman UK would be my first triathlon of the year. Not how I planned it but, running aside, training had gone reasonably well. In breezy conditions I was a little slower than last year on both the swim and the bike, and although I was quicker through transition, I had it all to do on the run if I was to beat last year’s time. The lack of running, due to the tendinitis, took it’s toll and my race tailed off to a time 25 minutes slower than 2016. I was disappointed with this, and although it was my 6th Ironman, I didn’t feel terribly satisfied with my performance.

Race Report

Capernwray Mid Week Sprint 2/8/2017

Only 2? weeks after IMUK I was racing again, this time locally at the Capernwray dive centre. Incredibly, this was my first sprint distance triathlon for 12 years! I thoroughly enjoyed it, too. I raced hard throughout and finished 65th overall and 6th in my age group – an improvement of 20 seconds would have seen me in 4th and a mere 5 seconds would have been a sprint distance PB. The swim is lovely, bike challenging and run flat and fast along the towpath of the Lancaster-Kendal canal. Highly recommended.

Race Report

Capernwray Mid Week Sprint 6/9/2017

The final mid week sprint at Capernwray would be my 50th triathlon (see here for the stats). Like last month, I raced hard, even though my achilles had flared up again. Tougher conditions meant that the bike was bit slower, but i still set a pb for the run (just) and finished up 6th again, and only 38 seconds slower than August. I was satisfied with that and I’ll definitely be returning to more shorter distance races next year.

Race Report?

Conclusion

And that was it!

1 sportive, 1 duathlon, 1 bike/run event and 3 triathlons. For the first time in quite a few years I haven’t done a single half-marathon or 10 k race, nor completed an Olympic distance or half Ironman. Yes, I chalked up my 6th Ironman and my 50th triathlon, but at no point during the year did I feel I performed to my potential. My sore achilles meant that my running mileage has decreased drastically compared to he last 2 seasons, so I suppose it’s no surprise that when push came to shove my legs didn’t really have it on the streets of Bolton in July.

It is not all doom and gloom, though. My swim has come along greatly and I have done more than twice the total distance this year than any previous year. Although that did not show up particularly in race times, I have noticed my splits starting to improve this autumn. Can I keep it going into next year?

The menu for 2018

I’ll be shifting into the 55-59 age group next season (the 4th age group I’ve competed in) but don’t want another season like this year. I’ve decided that I need to shift things about a bit and not do an Ironman next year. Instead I’ll be focusing on Olympic Distance racing with a view to getting faster again. Hopefully I’ll be able to do less mileage and improve my technique and strength once more. I have already got my entries in for the Grizedale Half Marathon, Southport Olympic Distance and Deva Olympic Distance races, and there is a possibility of a half Ironman in Spain in September. Bring it on!

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