When I stuck a metaphorical finger in the air at the end of last year and decided that about half a dozen triathlons would be a reasonable target for the year, I imagined it happening at a rate of about one a month through the summer. It's not quite worked out like that for a whole range of reasons - available events within a sensible distance combined with holidays, visiting family and friends, stag dos, weddings, birthdays, and assorted other stuff - and so it was that I found myself packing three races into four weekends in May.
The first was the Punishing Events Ashbourne Triathlon on the 10th - which I'd actually entered around the New Year. When the date came round it turned out to be a nice weekend weather-wise, which combined with a very civilised (11:24am) start time meant it was a family outing. It was a proper town-centre event, with the local council obviously fully on board having closed one of the road bridges to act as the transition area.
I had a fairly uneventful swim, doing my usual sort of time (7m46 for 400m). First time racing with the Garmin 910XT giving me a backup on my length counting, which took a bit of stress out, although the combination of blue goggles and something about the lighting in that pool made it pretty difficult to read underwater. Out of the swim and it was a moderately long, but well rubber-matted run up to transition. The assortment of trees and telegraph poles by the roadside made it easy to aim for my spot, although the red tyres on the bike and hideous beach towel on the floor also helped.
After the first hundred yards - mounting, clipping in and trying to settle down on a fairly narrow road with parked cars and traffic coming the other way - the bike was a really nice rolling course. It was my first time racing with the proper TT bar setup on (having left the drops on for the Varsity tri back in March) plus the 60mm Planet X wheels and it at least felt fast. I ended up clocking a 30kph average despite some reasonable climbs.
Through T2 and out onto the run. The leisure centre is sat right on the southern end of the Tissington Trail, and the run course was two laps out and back along the trail - the first 400m or so of which was actually through a tunnel under Ashbourne (which, incidentally, plays havoc with GPS watches). Being a former railway line, it was of course fairly flat, with the exception of a section just before the turnaround where the bridge the railway used to cross no longer exists, and the trail has to drop into the valley instead.
I made it three quarters of the way through the run before being passed by the first and only person to do so all day - faintly disappointing, but after a brief attempt I had to admit I couldn't stick with him. That just left a final trip through the tunnel to the finish - 93rd in 1:08:35.
(run photo by Xcite Images - http://www.xciteimages.com/endurance)