First race of the year for me and I was dead excited. Despite a bit of knee trouble while running recently, the physio had given me the all clear to race and I’d managed to string together about 8 weeks of consistent swim training so I was looking forward to what that would translate to in the pool. Sunday morning on the east coast, the sun was shining, barely a cloud in the sky. Ideal triathlon weather. The weather gods had other ideas though and midway through the swim heats a torrential downpour soaked those already on the bike and made the roads treacherous for those yet to ride.
Pool swim in Montrose Sports centre – nice and clean however it was about the temperature of a sauna by the time I got in. I was in the last lane of the Sprint distance heats so most people in the race were on the bike before we began. I was seeded at the back of my lane and my plan was to get onto toes and stick to them as long as I could. It worked and I managed to get out of the water in a new 750m PB and in second place in the heat. I was passed on the way out of transition by a guy on a TT machine but when he tried to put his feet into his shoes, he realised that he’d clipped them to the opposite pedals so I passed him again while he stopped to sort himself out. I could see the boy in first just up ahead and I set out to get him…
The ground was wet. The corners were sharp. I went too fast and slid out and fell off within about 3 minutes of getting on the bike. The guy in front disappeared. Thankfully, despite the loss of some skin and paint, there wasn’t much damage to me or the bike and I was up and going again in the space of a few seconds but my confidence for cornering on wet roads for the rest of the course was shot. It wasn’t long before I was passed by shoe-mishap guy again. But the sun came out for and dried up the road a wee bit for the second half of the bike. The course was 2 laps and included a decent hill on each lap (2.5km at about 3.5%). There were lovely views down over the east coast and back towards Montrose from the top of the hill. The descent was longer than the ascent and had one long straight but that was followed by a few 90 degree corners which slowed it right down. There were several marshals at every corner and some up the road before the worst corner to slow us down made sure we were safe. Big thanks to them. I kept shoe guy in sight and coming out of T2 I was about 150m behind him.
The run was a bit of an unknown for me. I hurt my knee in April and the physio has had me doing 2mins on/30secs walking since then and I’d done no bricks. But I set off after the guy in front of me and decided I’d gun it and see what would happen. The run was perfectly flat 2 laps of the seafront in Montrose. Again, very well marked and marshalled with a water station that was passed on each lap. Somehow my knee didn’t complain enough to slow me down too much and I caught one of the guys in front of me on the run. I think it was a PB off the bike too – amazingly. None of the other heats were faster than us so I finished in second place overall which was a nice surprising end to a day of ups and downs.
Overall it was a great day out in Montrose. All the organisers and volunteers were dead friendly and accommodating. Race was run on-time (even ahead of schedule for most of the swim heats). Will definitely plan on being back next year and would encourage other Fusion folk to do so too. Also, it was my better half’s first triathlon and she loved it and is already planning ‘our’ next race!