Turned up at Cranbrook leisure centre for the 300m pool swim - 22km bike - 5km run, the weather was bright but not too warm and a little bit of a breeze. Having entered one of the predicted swim times for the 300m at 4:00 I was set off 2nd to last. Up and down ducking under the lane ropes at one end breaks the rhythm. However, exited the pool with the 2nd fastest time of 4:08 which was 30 seconds than the year before.
Out onto the bike, I attempted a flying mount, normally opting for running through transition with my shoes already on. Went a little wayward when one of the elastic bands snapped meaning my foot we on the wrong side of the shoe. Recovered and started to push out on the bike. Its a fair course, undulating with nothing too steep. As i was picking off some of the slower riders in front of me getting into a nice rhythm. As I approached the halfway mark i started to feel the fatigue from last weekends ultra creep into the thighs. Still I pushed on keen to defend my title.
Back into transition and out onto the run, seeing the guy who I knew was the closest to me as I left he was coming in. The first 1km is on the road so nice and smooth before heading into a private woodlands. Which is currently undergoing some cropping, and a lot of heavy machinery moving around churning up the normally boggy paths. With the nice weather it meant we were running on compacted ruts of deep strength sapping dust. The run is very hilly as you loop around the forest, with several steep ascents. I was struggling to find a pace with very little left in the legs, constantly checking behind me to see if 2nd place was gaining on me. Finally hitting the smooth stretch to the finish line i managed to up the pace to stay with one of the faster runners.
Crossing the line in 1:04:48. which was over a minute slower than my winning time last year. A little bit of a nervous wait for the final results as 2nd place finished just behind me and unsure of the gap between us in the swim.
Being announced as the winner was a fantastic feeling, being able to win the event two years in a row. It will always hold special meaning to me as it was the first Triathlon that I ever won.
Looking at the results I ended up with the fastest swim and fastest bike legs. With a slightly poor 7th on the run.
An event that will always be part of my race calendar and a great atmosphere with plenty of the GB Age Group team turning up for an early season triathlon.