With two fellow Mersey Tri triathletes to race with and a crew of cheering onlookers, Ullswater Olympic Distance Triathlon turned out to be a very enjoyable day in the Lakes.
Leaving Liverpool behind with it’s stormy skies and threatening rain, I drove up in the early morning to Ullswater in the Lake District to race in my first standard distance event. Unlike the Slateman Sprint Triathlon, the Ullswater triathlon starts in the afternoon – supposedly allowing for the sociable athletes. I don’t know about you, but I think most sociable athletes would like to get it over and done with so they can be sociable AFTER racing – not before! It’s harder to know when and what to eat when the event starts later in the day!
Chris and Paul – two fellow Mersey Tri’ers – raced at Ullswater with me on what was a perfect day for a triathlon in the lakes. The weather was a bit chilly during the briefing, making me quite thankful to be wearing the wetsuit. Since I tend to train in salty ocean open water, it’s always a pleasant surprise entering into a fresh water lake and discovering that the water isn’t salty!
The swim start was a mass entry with all athletes starting in the water. With swimming being my main strength, I took a spot towards the front of the pack in order to get a decent position and not get stuck behind slower or less confident swimmers. The swim consisted of two laps, after which I exited the water a good ten minutes before the boys (much to my later satisfaction) and immediately started running towards T1 to get on with the bike leg.
I do love cycling and particularly relish a good few hills here and there. The bike leg was relatively flat (for the lakes) but had a few challenging bits here and there to keep you on your toes. After the first 20km lap Chris caught up to me and overtook me on the bike and before I knew it I was back at transition and ‘ready’ to run.
At least, sort of ready. Running is definitely my weakness and as I hadn’t been running so much in the few weeks earlier I was definitely feeling it – at least for the first lap. The run consisted of 3 laps through the campsite, along the lake front and then back. Running straight after a cycle is definitely a mental challenge and something you need to practice for. Your legs feel like lead and jelly simultaneously and you query whether you’ll ever reach the finish line. And finish I did. Even managing to beat Paul. I do like beating the boys… 😉
Fantastic course in a lovely location of the Lakes. Full thumbs up from me!