Time to test the fitness – my first Olympic Distance race of the season (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) was the South Cerney Classic organised by votwo events, which took place on Sunday 22 June near Cirencester.
On paper it looked simple – a two lap swim, a two lap bike and a two lap run, but the weather or more precisely the “hurricane winds” had other ideas. The swim was choppy, which doesn’t play to my strengths. I started well in the swim, perhaps a bit too fast, and got into a rhythm in the third group of swimmers. Exiting in just over 24 minutes left me 3 minutes down on the leaders. The bike should have been flat and fast, but at times in the cross winds it turned into a battle to keep the bike in a straight line. The tailwinds were awesome – I must have been doing comfortably over 30mph with the wind behind me, and that feels great! I was moving well on the bike, and was up to about fourth by the end of the first lap, but where were the leaders? I continued pushing on the bike, not really too sure where the leaders were – by the end of the bike I could see them leaving transition. They had a good lead, around 1-2 minutes. Running is my strongest discipline – how much had the bike taken out of the legs?
I tried to start steady on the run – a lot could happen in 6 miles, and good things shouldn’t be rushed. Second place was up ahead and I wasn’t really closing. The back of the course was a lovely single track section through woods, and beginning to feel fresh I picked up the pace there. Trees provide many opportunities for time checks, and now I was closing. By the end of lap one I was second, a team mate gave me a 20s time check to the leader. That sounded promising. I caught him at kilometre 7, and pushed on – not knowing if there were faster runners behind me. Luckily there were not fast runners, which just left me with the pleasing task of looking fresh and easy for the spectators as I crossed the finish line. It was a great feeling to win my first Olympic distance race and a sign the fitness is good going into the Mountain X Race.