My first attempt at a XTri (otherwise known as Xterra) - the Vachery standard distance (1,500m swim, 30km MTB bike and 10km run) on Sunday 26th August.
Organised by a friend and member of the local triathlon club, Mark Davis of Horsham Amphibians Triathlon (HAT) this event was always going to be a little different but I was hoping for something that was both enjoyable and testing.
All the boxes were ticked - the venue was excellent, organisation by Mark and the Raw Energy Pursuits team was great and the bike course was good fun, albeit challenging. The weather was perfect although the rain on the previous day made the bike course very muddy in places. We even had the benefits of a nearby air show to watch as we competed.
My time was not that great but I was not too disappointed, this was always expected to be my B/C race of the season. I checked my watch as I got out of the water (1,500m swim) and clocked just under 30 mins. However it was a bit of a long run back to transition so my time registered 31:15. A longer transition (2:09) than I would have liked, which included me getting a pair of socks on before hitting the tricky bike course.
2 laps of a muddy and quite technical MTB off-road course felt more like 50-60km on the legs. Fortunately I did not come off the bike and I managed all the drops and technical sections. I did however lose time slipping around in the muddy sections and had to stop a number of times to reposition myself on the course. On the second lap I realised it was quicker to stop before the very muddy sections and run through with the bike. Overall I was quite pleased with my performance and managed to pass a number of riders during the latter stage of the ride. My total time for the bike was 1:22:32.
Then it was on to the scenic run taking in part of the Downs Link and the Vachery estate land. I felt OK and kept a steady pace, probably a bit to steady finding quite a lot of energy for a fast finish. I think my pacing was off and I should have broken 50 mins. My time ended up at 51:58.
Total time for the full event was 2:49:12, positioned 32nd out of a field of 75 competitors. Richard Stannard (aka 'The Fish') won the event in an impressive time of 1:58:00. His swim was 19:23 - wow! San Gardner who designed the course took the best time for the bike of 55:11.
Definitely one for next year - hopefully a little more training preparation beforehand.
Well done Mark - thumbs up for Vachery
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