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Rodger's London report: job done!
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 1st August 2013


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It was finally time to put months of training and preparation to the test - our 'newbie' triathlete Rodger Bowen has been preparing over the past months for the 2013 Virgin Active London Triathlon where he would be racing over the Olympic Distance. Would all of the training we'd sent him on and advice given (check out all the links at the bottom to re-visit his journey) prove to be enough?

Here is Rogers report on his London journey. Suffice to say, I don't think we can rightly call him 'newbie' any more....


Virgin Active London Triathlon 2013

After many months of training and waiting, Sunday 28th July had finally descended and it was time to put my hard work to good use for the Olympic Distance at VALT 2013. The Excel centre had already seen a couple of thousand first-timers, veterans and celebrities rock up and give it their best on Saturday; today it would see a couple of thousand more do the same.

As with Blenheim it had been a mostly-sleepless night and an early start. Driving seemed to be the best way to get there and had to be better than lugging kit around on tubes and buses. We got lucky, didn't hit any traffic and must have been parked up in the centre by 7am. I saw a few familiar faces on my way up to the exhibition floor and did a bit of catching up before heading over. I had to change my race number at chip collection because of a mix up but it got sorted out very quickly. I docked my bike nice and early; double, triple, quadruple-checked my transition layout and headed over to the expo for some window shopping.

Rodger Bowen - arriving

9am crept up and wave six assembled together for the race brief. I was happy to see fellow Hillingdon Triathlete Clark Schofield in my wave; he clearly had a good day managing to finish in the top 10 of the whole event. Gerry McCann was also in the sub 2:30 wave; we'd docked bikes quite close in transition and had a bit of a chat going down to the water. I gather he's fairly new to the sport too and he'd come to raise money for Missing People.

Rodger Bowen - swim start

The Royal Victoria Dock was like a heated pool what with all the sun we've had these past few weeks. Obviously there wasn't any current to worry about nor waves since it was a nice clear day. It was quite hard to see the marker buoys in the distance but I was sure we'd see them soon enough. As the horn blew I was surprised to find the swim start quite civilised; I don't think I got slapped, kicked or rolled over once! I must have gotten the hang of open water by now since I managed to avoid frantically tearing away at the start. I dropped back a bit in the second quarter but maintained my place near the middle of the 200-strong group until the end.

Rodger Bowen - swim start

It took a little while to get my wetsuit off in transition 1; the strength in my arms had dwindled somewhat and I was wearing a chunky gps-watch which wasn't helping. I bagged my wetsuit, climbed the stairs back into Excel and ran into the transition area. I did get caught out running down the wrong row but was out on the bike quite soon after.

The bike section has to be one of the main attractions for coming to London. It takes you all the way from the Excel centre to Westminster. It's quite a thrill belting down the middle lane of the Limehouse Link Tunnel on a bike; you really do have to experience it first hand. If you take a moment to look up once or twice you'll see The Shard as you cycle down The Highway; passing the Tower of London you'll catch a glimpse of the Gherkin and continuing along the banks of the Thames past Cleopatra's needle you'll race on towards the Palace of Westminster. Then you do a u-turn, come all the way back, head out to Billingsgate Market one last time, then back again to transition. Don't do what I did and take your feet out of your bike shoes before you get to the top of the concrete ramp at the Excel centre though!

Rodger Bowen - the bike

I sat down for a bit in transition 2; I had to put socks on because I've been getting terrible blisters in training and I wasn't about to let myself fall into someone's £5000 bike. End of. Hopefully I won't need to do the same next year!

The run was good fun; three laps heading East out of the Excel centre. The whole route was peppered with cheering friends and relatives, charity stands, water stations and maxifuel reps handing out gels. In spite of all the brick sessions I was suffering from “heavy legs” for most of the run but I did feel a surge of energy as I rounded the final bend towards the finish.

Crossing the finish line was fantastic. There's a palpable sense of achievement and a natural high that stays with you for hours. I'd hit my sub 2:30 goal and done the whole thing in 2:26:11 which was all I wanted to do!

London Triathlon is seriously good fun and I urge you to head over to www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk to register your interest for VALT 2014.

Many many many thanks to everyone who's helped me along the way. See you all back at training!

Rodge

Rodger Bowen - done it!


You can see all of Rodger's 'newbie' series, charting his progress from zero via Blenheim to the London Triathlon on these links:


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