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Race Report: PruHealth London Triathlon

Race Date: 01/06/14

Race Type: Olympic Distance Triathlon

Result: 2:13:05 / 28th AG / 110th OA

Performance: Great Day 10/10

My first Olympic distance Triathlon and I loved it. Great course, perfect conditions and a race where pretty much everything went to plan. For Breakfast I had 2 slices of jam on toast, a strong coffee and then a banana an hour before my start. I had to ride 6 miles from where I was staying in East London so I was up just before 5am.

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Swim: 26:40

My wave set off at 7:30 on the dot so the sun was just rising which made one length of the Hyde Park Serpentine a bit tricky to spot the buoys. I had to pop up a couple of times just to check I was still on track. I did pack both clear lens goggles and my mirrored lenses and glad I went with the mirrors. Calm water, just got my head down and swam at a constant pace which felt fine and was pleasantly surprised by the time I heard the commentator call.

I never really know what to say about the swim! It’s dark murky water, all I can hear is my breathing and I just concentrate on technique.

T1: 04:02

My helmet, race belt and Garmin were off the bike and laid across the floor. I’m not sure who or why my equipment had been moved about. It was a long 500m run up from the swim exit to T1. I found my bike easily enough and followed the steps in a video (above) I helped produce with Paul Savage recently on transition technique. Elastic bands on the shoes, running holding the seat, leaping mount at the line. Worked fantastically well!

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Bike: 58:45

I’m delighted with my recent bike performance, backing up my Newby Hall Duathlon and Wilmslow Triathlon outings on the Cannondale with the Cole wheels. Averaging 23mph around Hyde Park and feeling really strong. It was the 47th fastest bike time of the entire day, which is something to build great confidence from. I took a Powerbar gel 5 minutes into the ride and also 5 minutes from the end. I had 1 x 500ml water bottle on my torpedo aero bar mount. A nice 5 lap course, with a touch of traffic, but nothing significant. Flat with a few speed humps and two tight turns. Fully closed roads so just get the legs pumping and work hard for as long as possible.

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T2: 02:01

Again, a textbook dismount and entry into transition. It was tight on the racks and someone had racked their bike in my place, so I had to shift a few things around to get near my shoes. No problem. I was on the with shoes and out on the run and feeling really fit. I had my run legs from the off and felt my bike had set me up for a good day if I didn’t blow up on the run.

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Run: 41:40 (PB)

This 10k time is my out and out PB, which is fantastic to achieve in a triathlon. I had been feeling good about my running recently, seeing some vast improvements. I got a couple of fast miles in and then began to tail off, but all in good time. It was a 4 lap run around the Serpentine with a long-ish drag but by no means a hilly course. It was beginning to get hot in the day now, I just held on and tried not to let up although my calves were screaming at me. I paced it perfectly, crossed the line in a time I am delighted with and rounded off a great performance in terms of sticking to and over-delivering a race plan.

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Finish: 2:13:05

Really happy with the result. I finished high up in my Age Group and also did well in the overall classification. My bike time being the stand out performance on paper, although it has to be my run that I personally take most gratification from. This was my final race outing until I head to the European Championship in September. It’s all sneaking up quickly but London was a great event to see where I am currently at. I didn’t mention this, but I was at a midweek wedding in Ireland which involved a few Guinness’ and a couple of servings of cake only a few days before!

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Selfie with The Brownlees

Happy days. It was good to make a weekend of it too. I went down on Saturday morning from Manchester and got registered and also watched the Elite Men Sprint Race, which Mola took out in fine fashion. It was cool to see these guys close up and burying themselves for the win.

Take a look at all my pics from the ITU World Series Weekend below:

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Racing the London Olympic Course

It’s just over a week until the PruHealth London World Triathlon. I’m really excited about this event. It’ll be my first ever Olympic distance race and the course will be a replica of the 2012 London Olympic Games Triathlon course and the pro’s will be battling it out the day before.

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I hope it’ll have all the feel of a huge event & should be  stark difference to Wilmslow Sprint triathlon I did at the beginning of May. There are a few palaces in the backdrop of Wilmslow, but for all their money they cannot drive or show courtesy to anything happening in their community. That open road bike route was scary and annoying. London will be closed roads, and from what I gather also nice and flat! I thought Newby Hall Duathlon got a bad rap for being dangerous, but was far safer and a far better experience than the well established Wilmslow Sprint Traithlon.

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I entered a ballot to race in London and it has cost me £99. As I haven’t raced that much before I wanted to have a great experience. I hear a lot about this and how high it ranks on peoples choice of races. In my old motocross days it was all about getting a result and the race experience came from the battles you drew yourself into on the track itself. It could’ve been a muddy circular field but if you were in a battle it would have made for a great race or “experience”. Triathlon seems to generate most of its enjoyment and pay off by the course selection, the route, the elevation, the crowds etc.

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Ironman UK was a great experience because of the race. I had ridden the course many times in training and was accustomed to the hard bits, the nice bits and what to expect, but it was the crowd and it was the race element that made for a great experience. I have heard great things about Challenge and their focus on the experience.

A recent podcast on IM Talk interviewed Felix Walchschofer gave a nice insight into how much he referred to the Age-Groupers being the centre of attention at their races. When I go to Challenge Almere I am looking forward to being part of this experience. This should also be a great event, a great experience, as it will be part of the European Long Distance Championship so will stand out as an event in itself.

Do you have any ‘must-do’ events? Or any you swear you would never do again?

What Can IM Kona Coverage Learn from Team GBBC?

This was the first year I have watched the Ironman World Champs live. It was more by word of mouth that I found the coverage as a google of ‘IronMan Kona UK TV’ came back with nothing, but the online coverage was excellent. Commercial to the hilt, but lets call a spade a spade and admit that the commercials is what pays for it to be so good.

I watched it via the official IronMan.com live feed on IronMan LIVE. I know there are strict copyright issues involved with anything about IM ahead of the official coverage. If you are media accredited you have as much responsibility to not broadcast as much as you do to retrospectively broadcast.

This is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of gaining media accreditation for any event. You have to promise a return on transmission (ROT). Apart from IM Live, where else did you consume Kona coverage? Who told you what first?

This is the biggest event in the IM calendar therefore the most likely to be talked about – make the most of it. Here’s a quick look at how the BBC sports coverage has set the standard.

Coming off the back of London 2012 this fell at the best possible time for the BBC. Their coverage was exceptional. They utilised every resource they have.

If London had have hosted the Olympics 4 years prior, Twitter hadn’t even launched. The red button was in its infancy and not even half of households had a digital tv let alone a smart phone or tablet. The behavior among the audience wasn’t in place. Nor was Jake Humphrey!

On the flip side, had London hosted the Games in 2016, the moment would have passed. They would have been ‘old technologies’ in terms of how quickly these things move on nowadays. London 2012 was to be the multi-platform Games thanks to timing.

The bedrock of the BBC’s sports coverage in football and cricket is live text commentary. This suited things like Twitter down to the ground. An instant service whereby no matter which point of the match / game / race you were joining the coverage, you were never far away from 140 characters of a real time update.

To me, for the first time the Olympics have become more than just athletics and rowing. With Connected TV, the iPlayer and App’s, I was exposed to more sports than ever and actually got in to them. Have a look here for a blog by a BBC tech nerd.

The missus is a big hockey fan, so I watched that, knowing I would still be able to watch the football semi-final in my own time. Relationships are all about compromise!

The media savvy audience that every broadcaster is faced with nowadays means there is no smoke-screen or ability to ‘pad’. If you can’t provide instant, digestible coverage you are hanging yourself by your ability to provide the biggest thing of all – content.

The promise to broadcast every event from every venue was a huge goal to set by the BBC. They did it. They were as much aligned in the UK with the games themselves. They were an integral part of everything that happened. If you were in the Olympic stadium or in the bath, you could see Bolt win the 100m. The Brownlee brothers in the Triathlon. Ennis’ heptathlon progress. Even my Grandad was using the red button.

The BBC has set the standard for 2016 in Rio. Their coverage has left as much a legacy as the sporting moments they beamed to our living rooms. They played just as much a part in bringing those moments to us as the athletes did. They were there by association.

Tweets get re-tweeted. Word spreads. Does it really matter who does it? Just as long as word gets out. This is something Ironman maybe need to ease up on and just let the word spread about the sport organically and reap the rewards when take-up increases, IronMan.com hits go sky high, and their athletes become famous as well as infamous. OK maybe a bit unfair to compare IronMan with the Olympics and the BBC, but why not look at who does it the best and what works? Maybe the exposure will one day produce an IronMan as Sports Personality of The Year. The perfect outcome for this blog post!

What to look forward to in Rio from the beeb? An extensive online live coverage service, a major step up in mobile offering for smartphones and we’ll probably say goodbye to the red button with a replaced connected TV service that marries content and delivery by which time we’ll no doubt be using as second nature. The IronMan World Champs are an annual event that will no doubt get stronger and stronger in terms of coverage if it allows itself to.

However I think its important for the BBC to continue their coverage of the sports they covered so well at the Olympics. For example, I was into hockey for a fortnight. I watched canoeing and thought it was awesome.

For those sports that are picked up and put down every 4 years they need to cover these minority sports major events. The Brownlee’s should be a household name by 2016 rather than for the duration of an open top bus tour. Use the momentum from that epic race on our London doorstep to drag people into last weekends ITU world champs in New Zealand. Maybe cover the Hockey World Cup? The canoeing European Championship?

If the BBC can tick over these sports and even use them to pilot their services for 2016 then we’ll be going into Rio ahead of ourselves in sports knowledge and media consumption. We’ve proved we’re good at winning medals, but crap at getting anywhere in a football tournament, yet we’ll still have primetime disappointment from an overpaid soccer star ahead of a GB athlete doing the business week in week out.

All in all, 3 cheers to Team GBBC & the unique way in which they are funded!