Wimbleball 2010 – race report
I hadn’t built myself up for this. I had targeted this. I just did it.
I left the hotel later than I would normally do, I waited in the traffic jam that I would normally do but I still had plenty of time to get into the water.
It was a mass start and I got in the water towards the front. I started about 2 metres to the right and behind the left start buoy. It was crowded and we were kicking each other while treading water. Then we sang the national anthem (why?) and went. It was the normal crowded start. The first leg, I didn’t do any proper drafting, I was just behind a load of bubbles so that was fine. The second leg every one seemed a bit too far to the right of me and there was no one close enough inside. We were swimming like a right bracket - ) - where I was at the bottom of the bracket going up the page.
After a while, I started drafting off someone to the second turn around buoy. I carried on drafting properly, going around people, sprinting to get the person in front until I caught up with the next. At one stage I was drafting off of a female pro (Jo Carritt) until she decided to swim a different direction to me about 100m from the end.
I got out of the swim in 29 mins, a bit quicker than in 2007.
I ran up the steep long hill towards the bikes. Previously I took my wetsuit off at the bottom. This time I just ran up the hill next to Jo Carritt. Now she is a skinny pro and I am not. So I ran miles too hard. Near the top I was very out of breath and decided I might as well take the opportunity for a breather while I took my wetsuit off. But my left calf cramped. Agony. I swore. It stayed cramped for what seemed like a life time. Rock solid. I swore again and again as I pulled my wetsuit off. It was probably only a couple of minutes but my calf stayed cramped. I got a round of applause as I got up. Not good.
Rest of T1 was fine and I was a second quicker than in 2007 (because of no socks).
First lap everyone overtook me. Second lap I pushed the intensity a little and I started catching people. All was fine until just before the first proper hill at the south of the course when my rear gears started playing up. I couldn’t get into the biggest gear in the cassette and the chain jumped. Just after the last aid station the gear cable snapped. I got off, swore a little and then tied the cable around the bike so I could still ride it. But I couldn’t change gear so I worked hard on the uphills and did my best on the downhills. But I lost a lot of time. Mentally, I did not enjoy that.
Despite this I was quicker than I was in 2007.
During the bike my left calf didn’t hurt. My leg did not hurt but it didn’t feel as free and easy as my right leg. In T2 it hurt. I took my time.
As you leave T2, you run slightly downhill, then steeper downhill. That hurt my calf. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, I decided I was pulling out.
So, overall, it was not a good day in the office. I made the right decision. For three or four days later my calf was still tender to touch.