Race Report by Peter Coulahan
London Tri was huge. 13,000 competitors over two days. A transition that was massive with some serious bike bling. Two different cycle routes for the Olympic distance race. HUGE!!
I was racing on Sunday afternoon so had been told to rack the bike at the Excel Centre on Saturday night. Did so and then spent two hours in London traffic getting to where I was staying which was only 6 miles away. Sunday morning it took me 2.5hrs to get to the venue, most of central London was closed to for the event so was really pot luck that I found the Excel Centre.
Race briefing was playing continuously on a big screen so watched a bit of that and then got ready and made my way to the swim start. The swim briefing was given by some welsh comedian who was hilarious. He told a load of guys that their swim hats were on back to front and got them to take them off and turn them around; he had us giving each other group hugs, lots of stuff like that….a very funny briefing and took a lot of the tension out of the wait for our swim start. I was in Wave 17 out of about 20 waves with approx. 300 swimmers in each wave. We got into the water for the start. Water was warm and brown and tasted foul. Welsh comedian chap followed us in a little boat still telling jokes through a loudspeaker. Klaxon sounded and off we went…..Swim was nice, no current to speak of and loads of room. Exited the water in around 34 minutes and was handed a plastic bag to put my wetsuit and swim stuff into before being allowed run up a flight of stairs to transition. This added a couple of minutes to my recorded swim time. Transition was well marked and found my bike easily.
There was a long long run from transition to the bike mounting point. Got onboard, narrowly avoided crashing into someone who fell off in front of me and off I went. Course was hilly with a stiff breeze in the face for some of it. It was also hot – 23 degrees. Did two laps of a closed road course. I was on the Tower Bridge route so I seen none of the big London sights. If I had been on the Westminster route I would have cycled past the London Eye and Houses Of Parliament so was a bit disappointed with that. The highlight of the bike course was the Limehouse Link Tunnel with its steep descents into the tunnel, some serious speed achieved on the bike here. Spent most of the cycle chasing and being chased by a guy on a Trek Equinox. He seemed a bit peeved that someone on an entry level Trek was overtaking him on his high end Trek. I dropped him with about 5km to go. Finished the bike in just over 70 minutes.
Back into transition again via a long long run. On with the runners and off. Run route was completely flat apart from a short section into the Excel Centre. Run was around the docks past lots of restaurants and beer gardens where there was huge support from people having Sunday lunch and waving beer glasses at us. Two laps of this circular route. At the end of lap one I got a tap on the shoulder and Trek Equinox guy was there thanking me for making him go harder on the bike whilst he tried to keep up with me…then he sped off. There were 8 water stations, one Gatorade station and one gel station on each lap so no excuses for a slow time! Finished the run in just over 48 minutes.
2.45.57 overall. Happy enough!! Well worth doing once just to experience something of that size.
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