Despite vivid recollections of my last outings to windswept Wattisham I decided to give it a go again this year. Forecast wasn’t brilliant for later on in the day but if all went according to plan, I’d be safely in a tent with a cup of tea and a burger when the bad weather arrived.
The sun was out and fooled by the transition area being in the lea of the Physical & Recreational Training Centre and out of the wind I set up and began to feel hopeful that the Met Office had, once again, got the forecast wrong and that I was in for a nice, warm and calm event.
|Nice and Sunny|
Briefing was over at 12:30, first swimmer scheduled for 13:01 and I was off at 14:42 – so loads of time to relax and mentally prepare. I almost sound like I know what I was doing.
Watched the first few swimmers set off then outside to watch the T1 activities and was treated to the most casual transition I have ever seen. Watched by 30 or so spectators this guy comes out of the pool and calmly walks to his bike. He then starts to gently towel himself down like he was at a beach and had just got out of the sea. The similarities didn’t end there – once dry he wrapped the towel around his waist and proceeded to wriggle out of his shorts, one handed, just like you would at the beach. Then on went the cycle shorts in the same careful way – top marks for not letting the wind flap the towel and expose his tackle. On goes a nice cycling top then a sit down on the grass to dry his feet properly, bit of the old talc, before pulling on socks and finally some cycle shoes. Sorted. Must have taken over five minutes. Walked out of T1 to a round of applause. Epic.
Now time to go get ready and implement the “just smash it” plan for this year. The two spaces in front of me were empty so I had a free pool in front of me. 14:42 and off we go. Steam up and down the first 4 lengths far too fast and have to hang on for the remaining 8 and extremely glad to see the final length stretch out in front of me – complete with single old guy pool side spectator clearly visible on every other stroke as I gulped in air – smiling at me – bit weird.
Out we get in one jump in a plume of water and run outside with water pouring off me like Poseidon rising from the deep. Helmet on – shoes on – glasses on – GO and over the T1 mat and off in 6:30 – so far so good.
Got out of the lea of the building and then it hit me. Wind whistling round the buildings like a trailer for Twister – well that’s what it felt like. Out to the south of the airfield against the wind then turned north round the perimeter with a little tail wind – this ain’t so bad after all. Then across and point down the runway into proper wind. Must have been 30mph & gusting so much more that I was honestly almost blown to a standstill. 7-8 mins later got to the other end, turned round and it all goes quiet, and warm and very fast – guessing close to 40mph – fantastic J. Still sticking to the “just smash it” plan and keep my head down and grind out a series of headwind/tailwind encounters ready to unleash my secret weapon – running legs - in T2.
This is where I had made a small error in judgement. Actually my running legs are the same as my cycling legs which are now completely done in. I transition with no real issues and go over the mats in 48:22 for the bike leg. I’m sure the blood will replace the lactic acid at some stage so bide my time and wait. And wait. And wait. Clearly I’m not about to spring into gazelle mode and it’s about hanging on. Which I do and knock out a 22:17 5K – pah.
|Where have my legs gone - why don't they work!|
Still – Wattisham=Windy and it’s never going to be anything else. Always underestimated. Always brilliantly organised.
Total time 1:17:35 – 6.5 mins slower than 2010 and 1.5 mins slower than 2008. But it was very windy – honest.