HOME / Brian and Charlotte / Triathlon / Porthcawl
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This was my first beach start, and also my first Australian exit. We get into the sea before the start to acclimatise - it was shocking cold for a minute or two but OK after that. We got out and lined up. I moved way over to the left as I had no intention of getting battered. The air horn went off and people started legging it into the sea. I jogged in and when the water was thigh deepish I started swimming, but could see others still wading in and passing me, so I stood up again and waded in further. 

By this point I was breathing hard, too hard, so when I started swimming again I had to breath every two strokes just to get enough breath. I calmed down and started alternate breathing which always feels better, and tried siting the marker bouy. Even though the sea was 'flat' the swells meant that it was pot luck if I could see a marker each time I looked, and whenever I did get a glimpse it was always to my left. Later I realised the incoming tide was pushing everyone way to the right, Charlotte said the whole bunch ended up having to make a big correction to the left to get around the first marker. Luckily I'd started over to the left, and my gps plot (fr110 in hat) shows I didnt wander too much.

My plan of going over to the left worked, and I didnt so much as touch or get touched by another swimmer, apart from when I (or they) were clearly heading in the wrong direction. It was nice not to get beat up. I even made sure I went quite wide at the first and second buoy - better to swim an few extra yards calmly than get bashed!

I did swallow quite a bit of water, and I was frustrated as I could see I was nowhere near the front of the swim (ended up being 33rd out of 99) - I was either swimming slowly or swimming too long a course. I never got tired out, the distance was fine, I was just slow for some reason. My time was 27 mins, which for the gps measured distance of 1.64 km (including beach run) isn't bad at all really - maybe everyone else was just good swimmers. Several people did 20 mins!

I'm not sure if I stayed swimming too far up the beach or if I would have been quicker to stand, but I swam until my arms were easily touching the bottom. After the first lap I jogged pretty slowly round the beach and back into the water, as I knew that if I ran my breathing would go up and when I started swimming again I would struggle - its a tricky balance?


 After standing up from the swim I unzipped as I ran up the beach to the steps. I think I sruggled slightly to fully unzip, but then got my shoulders and arms out as I ran across the road and into transition. I easily found my bike. My helment and glasses were where I left them so they went on easily, but then, as usual, I ended up sitting down to get the wetsuit off my legs and put my shoes on. I don't think I was slow as such, and my t1 position was 21st, but I was still 30-odd seconds behind the fastest.


A little faff as usual getting clipped in and I was off. 1 rider overtook me in the first 2 miles, but for the first half of the first lap I overtook maybe 10 or 15 people, mostly as we went up the main hills. One guy on a specialised transition would always catch me on the downs, and then I'd catch him on flaty or up. As we came to the end of the first lap has was just in the lead, and I was cam to the last roundabout it wasn't clear which way to go. He went wrong and I follwed but we both quickly stopped and turned around (literally still on the roundabout, so we barely did any extra distance. I was now in front, and for the whole of the next (last) lap I was all alone. I actually started thinking I was in the lead as even on the long straights I couldn't see anyone ahead. I worked hard but I didnt kill myself. In the end I was 12th on the bike!


As I came into T2 I was clearly not in the lead. I counted over 10 bikes. I racked my bike OK, helmet off, shoes swapped, but then I faffed a bit looking for a second gel that wasn't there. I also faffed a little about wearing my cap. My t2 position was 37th, clearly I could do better!


I set off at a good pace and Charlotte shouted out that I was 14th (1st mile 6:34) but slowed down a bit at the first hill. After that I just wanted to stay sub 7:00min/mile (and managed too). It was a hard run, but not terrible, nothing like Bedford for instance. It followed the same course as the Porthcawl park run I did a few months earlier so I knew what to expect. There was a nice breeze pushing from south to north which helped on the hills, and cooled me down on the returns. It was sunny and quite warm, so I poured the offered water cups over my head twice, but I didn't overheat.

I could feel a hot spot on my right heel, I was wearing my new Saucony Type A6 'running flats', which I'd done two previous 5ks in, wearing socks, with no issues at all,  but today I went barefoot - they rubbed me raw! A blood blister built and popped in my right heel during the run leaving a bloody mess visble on the outside heel of the shoe, and in my left foot the top skin of bony bits behind the big toe area were rubbed raw, very sore getting into the shower afterwards!


Overall very happy with bike, happy with run, dissapointed with swim. 13th out of 99 isnt bad though!


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