I got in this year thanks to Paul over at Grove House. The consequence of this was a 6:30 start today. This was the first time I actually have done London, so it was something one should experience. The scale of this event it truly amazing! However, races like these tend to have issues that are blaringly obvious. I'll get to this later.
Anyway, here is how my day panned out. The alarm goes off at 3:45 as we had to get to transition at around 5:30. This hurt! Nevertheless, we had plenty of time to have breakfast, pack up the warwagon, and get onsite on time. Oh did I tell you than my 8-month pregnant wife insisted on joining me today? As it happens, the entry to the transition area was delayed due to "organisational issues". No worries then... Once I finally got in, there was copious amount of space to park your bike and kit. 10 minutes later and I was at the race briefing area. A bit more waiting, some kind words from the race organiser, and we were sent out into the water.
This was an anti-clockwise swim in the Royal Victoria Dock. The water was nice and chilly (to me at least) and the sun finally decided to show itself. The gun went off at precisely erm 6:39? 6:45? and about 500 of us set off. I decided to take it easy and hang back for a nice enjoyable time of it. There was very little of the usual bum fight as with such sizeable groups, so I just kept with a steady rhythm and finished with an extremely slow 29 minutes WTH? A quick transition and...
I was lucky to be able to do the Westminster loop. Apparently there were some nice sights to be seen, but I was too busy to play the tourist (you know how it is). This was a 2 lap course and well... the wind didn't decrease in any way, so we had to live with it. It was an easterly which meant that we had a testing headwind each time we went towards the City. There were some narrow bits after St Catherine's Docks and man oh man oh man were there ever bunches of drafting b@st@rds. There was very little to be done to break them up. So I concentrated on my own race. I finished up with about 1:08 on the bike, which I'm pretty pleased about. Another swift transition...
Well I finally got my mojo back since IM Germany as my running rhythm has finally returned today! TFFT!! This run is a simple 2 lap affair that encircles the Dock. There's a bit of cobble around, but it didn't appear to give me any trouble. I kept up a high cadence up to the second lap. Then disaster hit. I was behind about 4 guys and I believe that we turned to early and missed about 400m off the run course! There were no Marshalls to be seen at this turning point, but heh no timing mat, errr no finish. I didn't realise this until I made it to the finish line at around 41 minutes after passing a good number of fellow age-groupers! I guess I can estimate about 43 minutes for this run, but officially it will count as a DNF me thinks.
So a total of 2:23 and an estimated 2:25 if I bothered to go around the correct turn and the official timing mat. I still finished strong and enjoyed the event. I believe that there are some obvious holes on the organisational side, but even the big races have them. It happens....
So what does this mean to me? Not a great deal. However, I think I need one more official finish before I call it a season. I might actually do Bedford in a couple of weeks.
Anyway, I have to say that my wife Suhela was a real star. She was there for the whole event even with her present condition. She deserves today's medal more than I do. I also hope that the minor contribution that I have made to Grove House helps them continue the great things that they do for their fellow man.