Outlaw Holkham……..one word – Frustrating! by Chris Standidge
I’ve hardly raced in the UK this year as I’ve been trying to chase the sun in Europe (which I did get wrong at Pay d’Aix!). In the middle of a not so frequent UK heatwave I got my timings spot on this time, choosing to have a go at my 1st Outlaw race at Holkham. Based on the drive from Chester I probably could have got to Europe quicker but certainly didn’t have the faff of packing up the bike. In this dominated triathlon world with Ironman, it was a great opportunity to support a UK based race organiser (One Step Beyond) and see if they could do the job as well as their competitors. They most definitely did, and from an organisational point of view you couldn’t fault them. With an Elite wave with about 25 athletes in and an added bonus of £1500 for breaking the Course Record my ears were pricked enough to give it a go!
Those close to me will know, that the whole Pro / AG thing has been on my mind for a number of years. Not going Pro as such and giving up the day job, but at least being able to race with these guys and being pushed to the limit to see what I am capable of. Now I’m no spring chicken and will head into the 40-44 AG next year, but in terms of desire I’m all in, so this race at least gave me a chance to race head to head with a few of those guys that do race Pro, without trying to compare times after an IM race. We then have all the ‘they were in a pace line, I rode solo at front of AG race etc,etc’
The Race itself…..I always try and keep brief:
Swim – solid enough. Swam on Sam Proctor’s feet for most before getting dropped a little in the last 800m. Out of the water in 3rd, 75 seconds down. The boss ‘Rafal’ comments are right. Need to swim 4-5 secs per 100 faster to make front pack. Keep working I guess!
Bike – If your swim isn’t quite there, then you need to have some decent bike power to bridge the gap, so for me it’s a 2 pronged attack. I had done a 50m TT 2 weeks prior and taken a good chunk of that course PB. I was feeling confident I could go well. On an undulating course I put my head down and tried to create the same sensations as 2 weeks ago. Took the lead at 15 miles. On the way back in there is a long stretch into a significant headwind. Part of me is happy that I feel I am riding well and probably putting time into people, but from a Course Record point of view maybe this is slipping away. The whole way round it’s looking like a 2:18 bike split which is off where I need to be, but a tailwind and a downhill finish boost me to a 2:14 and bang on. 5:30 lead on 2nd place.
Run – quick calculation says I need to run a 1:27 to beat the 4:09 record. The run course isn’t the easiest but it should be on. You run out up a horrible long incline but you do get to see riders coming in which gave me a lot of confidence. Anyway 2 miles in, a calf niggle I have been carrying for 2 weeks decides to return and in a short space of time I have to make the quick decision to pull the plug. With the world Champs only 8 weeks away, there can’t be the blood, sweat and tears to get to the finish line. So a frustrating walk back to the finish area in the sunshine awaits.
Summary – despite having to pull out, there are many positives from this race, so the long drive home was still a pretty positive affair. That’s sport sometimes and you have to ride these little set backs.
It’s now Thursday as I write this post and as with all my posts I try and have a little bit of meaning behind them rather than I swam this, biked this and ran past somebody on the run scenario.
Take Action & Build the Best Team Around You – Email to my Physio Leigh Halfteck on Sunday straight after race. I know he will be booked up for weeks, but I know he will do his best to get me in at some stage. So thank you Leigh for all you do! By Monday afternoon I had had a scan (again thank you Keryn – I owe you!) Tuesday morning I knew what I was dealing with….and luckily it’s not too bad at all. Well fingers crossed anyway. I often speak to my athletes a week after something like this and I say ‘have you seen a physio?’ And I get a no. Rest is good don’t get me wrong but to get consistency we need to be proactive in how we approach it.
Being injured can throw you. It’s generally the run that is hit, but luckily as triathletes we can still swim & bike. The mindset has to change, so if you normally bike 3 times a week, then this and the swim can be upped so that training load isn’t effected. So for me who trains twice a day I move to swim & bike every day unless I am very lucky and I get to bike twice in a day! If you do this, then not running for 7-10 days is no big problem. To help me along the way, especially where I have maybe not been able to run for a more prolonged time I very much focus on time trials just to keep some focus (see my post from 2 weeks ago about immersing yourself into the world of time trialling to move your biking on)
We are now 8 weeks away from the 70.3 World Champs in South Africa, so it’s time to start the build for this. The other Head Coach of Total Tri – Phil Murphy and I have a pretty interesting few weeks planned, but more about this in another post.
Over and out