Elliott Cole Update: 2010 Blenheim Triathlon

There’s an old saying in triathlon, ‘Never try anything new on race day…’

That saying applies to nutrition, technique or equipment and is unfortunately a phrase I chose to ignore and something I would later regret ahead of the 2010 Blenheim Triathlon on Sunday 6th June where almost 6000 competitors took to the picturesque grounds of Blenheim Palace.

On the build up to the race, my training had been really good, I put in some hard hours in Weymouth over the Bank Holiday weekend including sea swims, rides and hill runs and have been feeling good ever since.

The Friday before the race I was given the opportunity of riding a friends Ceepo Viper bike instead of my own for the race, an opportunity I took given that the Ceepo Viper is a fantastic full carbon bike and I’m currently looking to upgrade my current race bike.

The Blenheim Triathlon is a Sprint distance race consisting of a 750m swim, 400m steep uphill run into transition 1, 20km bike taking in 3 laps of the stunning Blenheim Palace estate finished off by 2 x 3km run loops again taking in the Blenheim Palace grounds.

The swim started well and only a small group of swimmers made the break through the water, as we approached the turnaround buoy I found myself in the middle of the chase pack, a difficult position as everyone was jostling for position and I got a few kicks before I got into some clear space for the final 250m to the swim exit.

I exited the water in 00:13:46, down on my usual 750m pace but in a strong position as we took on the tough 400m climb through the trees into transition.

T1 went really smoothly and I was out onto the bike with no problems at all.

The bike leg at Blenheim is famously difficult, taking in 3 stunning but very tight and undulating laps of the Blenheim Palace grounds. The first lap is always a leg finder as you head out of transition across the bridge and into the trees for the first of many climbs; you then descend through the forest along tight tracks which quickly becoming congested with traffic of other competitors so have to be taken carefully.

With such an undulating course, gear changes are frequent as you get in and out of the saddle to keep the cadence up, something which would cost me as I entered the second of the 3 laps.

Coming across the bridge for the second 7km loop I headed into the trees for the next climb feeling good, as I popped up out of the saddle the bike then spat the chain off and meant I had to jump off the bike to replace it, this was the first of my problems on the bike.

As I headed down the hill through the tight turns, clicking up through the gears as I went, the gear selector (which sits in the end of the aero bars) then came out in my hand meaning I had to spend the next lap and a half holding onto the gear selector with my left hand whilst clicking through the gears with my right, not such a problem on regular courses but a huge problem at Blenheim given the hilly terrain and cost me masses of time.

I struggled through the rest of the bike leg and came into T2 in a time of 00:36:21.

A tad frustrated I flew through T2 and headed out onto the run. Seething at the disappointing bike leg I had fire in my belly and ground to make up against the field.

Heading out of the Palace grounds onto the first 3km run loop towards the side entrance gate I felt great, my stride was good and I was running at 3 1/2 minute km pace and eating up the ground over my competitors.

Like the bike leg, the 6km run route consisted of 2 steep hills per lap as well as a drop down through the trees before heading back towards the palace.

I was spurred on by the number of competitors I was passing throughout the run and finished the 6km at 3 minute per km pace and a total time of 00:22:02.

My overall time for the race was 01:16:41, 10th in my age group and 98th overall out of 5200 entrants for the weekend, a great conciliation given the tough bike leg and a definite boost heading into Windsor.

For a full results breakdown visit www.challengerworld.com/bt2010_results.aspx

Next race: Sunday 13th June – Windsor Triathlon

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!