Mike’s Middle Distance Magic: Race Report

Well as the title suggests, the opening race has been completed. The sprint tri I completed on Sunday. Epic Events delivered again. This company is fantastic and to have the races these guys put on, on my door step, is a massive privilege. I had a mixed race, but overall I’m pretty happy and have taken some positives away from the race with some areas to work on for the next one in five weeks time!

As in any triathlon the swim comes first. Well as anticipated I wasn’t expecting miracles with my swim times. I was just happy to have got round slightly quicker than last time. This year I was 6:34 compared to last year which took 6:41.

Onto the bike. When I completed the bike I looked down at the time and was a bit puzzled to be honest. I got the same time as last year again on this one, however I averaged 30w more. The main reason for this I feel was the weather. The wind was ridiculous. This was brought to light when I was racking my bike as it was blown off the rack before I even put my helmet on! After reflection of this ride I feel a winter on Zwift and my lack of handling skill on my TT bike resulted in my simply not feeling comfortable at all! Ray wanted me to average 240 to 250w for the ride and I only managed 202w average and 217w Normalised Power. I simply didn’t feel comfortable to go any harder with the gusts. Now looking at the results, many competitors did struggle with the gusty conditions. I was 70th fastest biker though and there were still some cracking times, so I need to work on delivering the power I know I can out on the road! If I did manage to do the watts Ray and I both think I’m capable of I think I would have definitely shaved a significant amount of time off my bike time and been slightly more competitive going into the run!

The run is where I pulled it together. I was aiming for a 25 minute 5km going into this race, a 2.5 minute improvement over last year. With the wind on the bike I was feeling a bit flat going out of T2 to be honest. I figured I was pretty much on for the same time as last year at this rate thinking I’d blown it and not really done myself justice with a pretty solid winter training. 

The first mile I didn’t really get into a stride. My feet were numb from the cold and wind and the first mile I didn’t feel good. At about 2km I spotted my wife Zoey, mother-in-law and my 3 children cheering me on. This was fantastic and really spurred me on. Support from loved ones really gives you the extra boost and I’m grateful they took the trip in testing conditions. It was cold for me racing, never mind them standing around waiting for me to plod past doing my hobby. It really meant a lot!

So partly to do myself justice and partly to get it over with so they could go inside and get a brew I started to up my pace. The second mile I did 8:38. By this point I was feeling pretty good – something I’ve never felt in a triathlon. Normally I’m dying by the end! At this point I was getting passed by some pretty strong male and female athletes. This was no surprise to me and I knew it would happen. The athletes around me were doing under 20 minute 5kms. I was under no illusion that I was going to be able to keep up with them. So the plan in my head was to up my speed a tiny bit when they passed me in the last mile. I think maybe 10 people passed me. My last mile was an 8:08 mile. The last 300m of the race is on the outdoor running track. Coming onto the track I could see my family. Zoey had lifted my oldest son and daughter over the barrier so they could come to the finish line with me. This was pretty cool. My cover pic shows me coming over the line.

It is now 5 weeks to my next tri, an Olympic distance non drafting race on the coast. Ahh more wind! Hopefully I will do myself justice on this one and put in a performance I can be proud of!

Bring on the training Ray!

-Mike Catton

Mike is training for some triathlons and Half Ironman in 2019. Check in next Monday for his next article about his training journey.

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