Cotswolds 113 race report: Trevor Batey

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The Cotswold 113 has become a calendar staple of mine and is a firm favourite on my race schedule.  Being local – only 20 mins from home – also helps reduce the logistics burden.  It is also probably the flattest Middle Distance Triathlon in existence: there’s 100m of climbing on each of the 2 bike laps and about 3m elevation gain on each of the 3 run laps – so if hills are not your strong point, then this is the race for you.

Although the forecast was for race perfect conditions, there is nothing guaranteed when it comes to the weather.  A heavy morning fog meant there was zero visibility and with no sun to burn it off, we went through a series of 30 minute rolling delays, using up 3 of the 4 delays available before finally being able to start 90 minutes late.  Although not ideal given pre-race nutrition planning, it did mean we avoided either a shortened swim or a Bike/Run, neither of which anyone wanted.

Swim: With the multiple wave starts, it meant that the numbers in each wave were relatively low at around 120, which was good as it prevented it being a fight.  Yes, there was some bumping but overall it was a gentle swim by Triathlon standards.  With my now improved swim, it meant I was comfortable sitting in the main pack, drafting where I could and got around comfortably, coming in just under my target time of 30 minutes.

Bike: I had my power targets for the bike and was able to stick to these.  The 113 is one of the flattest courses on the circuit but like much of the UK road network has suffered badly in the last 12 months and the surface remains very poor – although that is probably the case for just about anyway nowadays. Being in Wave 1 meant it was quiet for the first lap with no other traffic.  Around mid-way through Lap 1, I was caught by a couple of other riders and we eventually settled into a non-drafting pace line.  Despite numerous surges none of us could make a decisive break and so we all rolled round Lap 2 and into T2 within 30 seconds of each other.  I hit my target time of 2:25 and was happy.

Run: For what I know is my strongest discipline, I didn’t have the smoothest run.  I wasn’t able to build any real strength for the first 2 miles but then I found myself in a strong position running around 6’45” per mile.  However, I then began struggle, with my pace slipping down to 7’00” for a couple of miles.  A quick caffeine energy helped and the pace picked back up for the next 3 miles before dropping again – a further gel gave me the boost I needed to recapture my pace and finish strongly with a 1:27. My frustration was that the pace was so up and down and I didn’t quite have things ‘click’ as I was hoping and my training and earlier season results had set me up for.

Such personal criticism happens quickly post-event and it takes time to realise that I had actually exceeded overall expectations and achieved more by responding well when the race got tough.

I finished 14th overall and was 2nd AG (M40-44), which is my best result on this course, so I couldn’t have asked for more.

I’ve now got an 8-week break until I return for the Cotswold Classic in August and will see whether I can better myself over the same course.  It’s a challenge I’m relishing and I’ll have the chance to play around with tactics to see what is possible.