BLENHEIM WEEKEND WARRIORS

Date: 11th and 12th of September 2021

Event link

Blenheim Weekend Warriors Medals
Swim Bike Run
6K 170k 43k

 

Weekend Warrios in a nutshell: if you’ve told me that one day I would be able to do 9 back to back triathlons, and win in my age catgory, I would probably told you you’re insane.

Goals

  1. 7 triathlons – success
  2. enjoy – success
  3. top 10 finish – success

Results

My times are available on my results page. And the full weekend warriors result list is available here.

Race Report

Pre-race

I’m not going to lie; I did some maths before the event. But, with so much unknown, I’ve decided I will take one triathlon after the other and do my best.

With that in mind, I’ve followed the same routine for a middle-distance triathlon. After all, it would be like doing two middle-distance triathlons, with a night break between them.

The routine I followed was as follows:

  • go on the bike the day before the weekend, making sure everything works fine
  • make sure the bike Di2 is fully charged as well as the bike computer and the watch
  • pack, usually in order the event will develop: swim (what do I need?), cycle (what do I need?), run (what do I need?). And then nutrition (what do I need?)
  • prepare the breakfast, to be taken 3 hours before the start
  • prepare the energy bars, usually a few days before the events
  • go to bed early
  • plan the journey letting plenty of time for toilet breaks and car incidents (punctures)

The race – Saturday

 Nutrition strategy

The triathlons as they happened

The weekend warriors start on the second wave, after the VIP wave. A now-classic rolling start – thanks to Covid – and we’re one by one entering the water for what will be a long weekend. Swimming isn’t my strength, so I don’t rush to go in the water, and once in, I’m taking it easy, focusing on my coach’s feedback from a previous 1:1 session.

The transition is long (400m) and hilly. Although I will do it numerous times during the weekend, somehow, I run it all. And will the entire weekend.

I usually don’t wear any socks on triathlon races under the Olympic distance. But, for this one, I felt it would be best to get some pairs; it is an endurance event, and a few seconds lost won’t make much difference at the end of the weekend.

The bike route is lovely as there aren’t too many people yet. It will get crowded as the day goes on, and I will lose track of how often I shout ‘keep left‘ or ‘on your right‘. I’m not always that aggressive on the bike. I like to cheer for people having a nice bike, other’s triathlon club, people struggling, or people doing it for fun/for the first time (usually on a non-road bike).

I did go with my trusty Specialized Venge (road bike). I overtake TT bikes on the hills, and they catch me on the flats. I don’t think it would have made much difference being all weekend on my TT. Maybe adding some training for my long-coming full IronMan?

Anyway, back to the transition. Time to put the trainers On (no pun intended) and complete the five-and-a-bit run. With no time, I’m crossing the line. Get my medal. Get my t-shirt. And get some Tenzing; that will get me going all weekend.

I’m walking back to the transition area. Pretty confident I can do another one. I remove my running shoes and my race belt. Prepare the transition area. And put my wet wetsuit back on. I’m pretty lucky. Mine feels like a pyjama. I swallow an energy ball and walk down the swim start. The key here is to go between each wave to have a pleasant and relaxing swim.

I won’t go into the details of each triathlon. But each time I’ve finished one, I could better project myself. Early on, I knew I couldn’t make five sprints – and no one did. But four sprints and a super sprint were manageable. And I just did that.

In T2 I recognised one of my Instagram followers; she was going to the swim start. I later caught her on the run, and we chatted. That was nice. You need moments like that to keep you going. What kept me going, too, was the crowd and the marshalls. What fantastic support we had all weekend. Thank you all.

The race – Sunday

 Nutrition strategy

The triathlons as they happened

The second day was going to be shorter. And based Saturday’s results and the timing of the waves, I knew I could make 3 sprints. But I wasn’t sure I could add a super sprint at the end.

I did the same on Saturday. One triathlon at a time, not pushing too hard, and walking back from the finish line to the transition area. At some point, I saw a fellow Berkshire Tri squad triathlete going to his wave start. I also bumped into her partner in the transition area. She had a vegan flapjack for me to celebrate my birthday (11/09). When you have gestures like that, you know you’re in the best triathlon club.

I think I was on my third triathlon when I saw my wife and daughter cheering me up. It was good to see them around.

And at the end of my third triathlon, and eight overall, there were ten minutes left before the last wave of the weekend. I remember saying to my wife, I’m gonna do another one to which she replied are you kidding?  I wasn’t. I ran to the transition area, removed my shoes and race belt, took my wet suit and ran to the swim start. The organisers kindly gave us an extra five minutes.

I completed the last super sprint of the weekend as if I was doing a lap of honour. Taking extra time in the transition area, chatting to people who had finished for the weekend, forgetting it was still a race. Mistake. I did lose more time than I should have and probably lost one or two places overall. Lesson learned.

Summary

At £200 and something, doing nine triathlons made this Blenheim Palace event the cheapest in my career history, saving a whooping £700 (one entry is over £100).

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