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Sat 24th Sep 2022
Karl Alexander: 8th at The Outlaw
Posted by: karlalexander
Posted on: Thursday 31st July 2014

Tags  Karl Alexander  |  Outlaw  |  Outlaw Triathlon  |  The Outlaw

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A little over one month ago I raced the Outlaw Half Triathlon as preparation for the full distance Outlaw also held at The National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont.

Coming into the event I had been featured in the ‘Meet the Outlaws' piece on this very website and I definitely felt some additional pressure. My training and taper also took a hit as returned to full-time work four weeks previously. That said, coming into the event I felt relaxed and strong.

The registration and race briefing was as you'd imagine very slick and before long my bike was racked, transition bags packed and I was stood in front of a camera giving an interview for the televised coverage. After a short drive into Nottingham we, (my wife and I), arrived at our hotel to find our room was 28.5 degrees and we were in for a very hot and stuffy night.

Karl AlexanderHaving set the alarm for 04:15, I went to bed and slept badly. A combination of heat and people that I can only assume were tap dancing in the corridor outside saw to that. But by 04:45 we were off and at 05:00 I was heading towards transition for one last check of the bike and to pull on my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit. Walking to the start I saw fellow Xterra athlete (and eventual winner) Craig Twigg. We chatted briefly before we withdrew into our respective pre-race thoughts.

I opted to start the swim on the far left, just behind Craig. Knowing him to be a strong swim/biker I wanted to keep him in sight. Great in theory. Not so in practice. After a few hundred meters I began to lose contact - partly to his speed and partly to the dense pockets of weed. The remainder of the swim was fairly uneventful once I'd settled into my own tempo and I exited the water after 59:49. This came as a shock, I'd been swimming well all year and amongst the leaders coming out of the swim. In the water I had felt strong and relaxed. I knew that to stay in contention I would have to monster the bike.

I took the first 30 miles or so fairly easy keeping a steady tempo, and quickly began overtaking some of the faster swimmers. I had no idea of my position on the road and was asking volunteers and marshalls; this proved fruitless as I was told something different each time.

The first of the south loops came and went, the section of road joining the southern and northern loops had a fairly strong headwind and powering along I caught sight of two riders maybe two minutes up the road. As I approached the climb of Oxton Bank I was told I was a minute down on the two ahead.

Over the next three miles I drew closer and could see that it was fellow Team ERDINGER athlete Tom Vickery and Phil Moseley. As I got to within 10 meters of Phil's back wheel, I put in an acceleration and went over the top of both. Looking back I could see that both Tom and Phil were pacing off of me - I was quite happy on the front and kept riding hard.

Knowing that Tom is a strong runner, I knew I needed to make the last 50km count and so on every climb and turning every corner I accelerated hard forcing him to work harder and within a few miles I had dropped Tom but Phil was still with me.

A spectator told me we were 3:30 behind second place and with about 40km to go I was confident I could cross the gap. And after a few more miles I was making the pass and into second on the road behind Craig Twigg. I kept trying to drop Phil but he was determined to keep me in sight and fought back after every acceleration. With about 10km to go I decided to ease up slightly, and recover a little before the run. I headed into T2 after a 4:52:53 bike with the third fastest bike split of the day with Phil Mosely right behind me.

Karl AlexanderI got through transition slightly quicker that Phil and out onto the run course, but my second place was short lived as within half a mile he had caught up. I upped my pace to match him and we chatted briefly. After a mile or so his pace was too much for me to match so I had no choice but to let him go. At the nine mile point I was caught by Tom Vickery who offered a few words of encouragement as he passed.

I was still moving quite well, but at the 15 mile point all was not well in Camp Alexander; my stomach was sending signals that evacuation was imminent but a quick stop at aid station and I was back on the move. Again I was feeling comfortable, I hadn't walked at all and was approaching the last 10km. With five miles to go on the penultimate lap of the lake, I had slowed to a walk, the edge of my vision was going dark and I knew what was happening to me. With it being such a hot day I had become preoccupied with not cramping (which I am susceptible to), but had forgotten to eat anything. I'd been taking on only water and High5 Zero at the aid stations.

I fixed my sights on the next aid station at the top of the lake and walked as fast as I could (which was not very fast). As soon as I arrived I made a start on the jaffa cakes, then bananas and finally a fair bit of cola. I could almost feel life coming back into me and after a few moments to compose myself I set of at a jog. After a hundred or so meters I ventured into a run and I was moving again with only three miles to go.

I crossed the line in eighth after 9:34:48 taking second in the 35-39 age group. Initially I was disappointed with my performance, I had come into the race expecting more from myself but now as I write and think back on my performance there are a lot of positives for me to take away and work on for Challenge Weymouth.

In the mean time, I' be racing the London Triathlon this coming Sunday. I use the term race in the loosest possible sense!!!

Outlaw Triathlon Race Coverage

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