East Leake race report

Race report form Sarah Clarke


So, the week leading up to the first race in the MVH Club Championship was spent panicking about the cold temperatures, panicking about what to wear and…generally panicking. As race day got closer, it was comforting to hear the BBC giving out increasing temperatures and to see the weather map turn from blue to orange. Thoughts of how I was going to don cycling longs with wet legs could be put aside.

Having arrived in East Leake relatively late in proceedings, I was a little worried we wouldn’t be able to park having been told the leisure centre would be out of bounds to those with “fish like” swim times. The first car park we tried was full but fortunately there was another close by with plenty of room – always good to know when choosing a future event.

The walk to registration was a good warm-up and the helpers there were very friendly. I could tell the t-shirt lady was really enjoying the comments from the men as they received their luminous pink event t-shirt :-).

My place in transition was clearly marked and gave me loads of space. It also gave me my first look at my fellow fish – wow, there were some expensive bikes in that row. I spoke to the GIRL next to me who then turned up to swim in my wave wearing…a Thai national competitor’s tri suit for goodness sake.

Waiting poolside was pretty nerve wracking. It was very hot, lots of chatter/banter and some hairy moments were witnessed in the pool (no, not Alex Heron or John Shelton-Smith) as some people had obviously put swim times down that were way out. There were often 5 or 6 swimmers in a lane and collisions were inevitable.

My turn arrived and things didn’t start well – aforementioned Thai person in the lane next to me and then when in jumped in, the pool floor was so slippery, I slid and went under. Great!

5,4,3,2,1 GO! Thai girl shot off like a rocket. MVH girl thought sh*t! As I haven’t done a pool sprint since 2008, I wasn’t really sure how to pace it and so went…fairly conservatively at first I suppose. Memories of going anaerobic after 2 lengths came flooding back. After 6 lengths, I could see the calf guards of the Thai, after 8 lengths I was alongside her dalmatian K-taped knees and by 12 lengths I could show her my blue nail varnish – result.

16 lengths completed and MVH old woman struggles out of the pool in a rather ungainly fashion. Thai GIRL leaps out and floats effortlessly past me to transition – sigh. Found my bike easily due to a very friendly position close to the rack end and tried to catch Thai girl.

The bike route was pretty busy with traffic at this stage in the day ( after midday) but I was pretty lucky at the junctions. The only issue I had was 3 cars squeezing between me and Thai girl going up an incline which slowed me down – I seemed quicker on the hills than she was. So, I overtook her at about mile 6. She overtook me at mile 9 and that’s the way it stayed.

The bike course is undulating and the road surface is definitely dodgy in a lot of places. Someone lost their Speedfill bottle on the way round. It’s well suited to a tt bike though, if I had one.

12.9 miles cycled and at the mount line I was fully prepared to run to transition. My brain however, failed to tell my legs what was required and so my rather expensiv bike was used a crutch to hobble me to my waiting run shoes. I had a conversation with the guy next door about our various ailments and then set off to Hell – aka a 5km run.

The run course is a bit of a incline which nobody told me about! Up, down and around 3 times. Why is it that the down never feels as beneficial as the up feels torturous?! Anyway, I looked at my watch and saw that going under 30 minutes was a possibility (I know, really, really slow) and so I decided to step it up a bit during the last mile and, I believe, I may have run under 29 minutes which, for me, is a minor miracle! I was so cream crackered at the end, I forgot to stop my watch and so my Garmin upload shows me going an impressive speed as we drive away in the car :-D.

I caught up with the Thai girl, but only after we’d finished. During out chat, I asked her how old she was – 22!!! Thank goodness for that!

The new kit performed well and my worries about having to run with the trisuit crotch halfway down my thighs was unfounded.

I saw quite a few MVHers before, during and after and the support was fantastic – thanks guys!

All in all, a great event and one I would do again.