I was quite excited about this event, taming the Olympic course and mixing with the stars so a couple of days before the event I checked the web sites instructions on getting to the event. The suggested travel method was to bring your folding bike by train, cars should be avoided at all costs and buses would not allow your folding bike on.
So I got my trusty hacksaw out to cut up my bike and gaffer tape it back together when I got to Hyde Park, as an afterthought i checked the train time and the first train arrived a few minutes before my start time and an hour after my registration time. Bums - there was nothing for it, I would have to ignore their advice and come by car.
Driving through London at 4.00am is a strange experience watching people crawling along the road but I managed to manoeuvre past the re creation of zombie invasion to park outside Lancaster gate at 4.30am in a free parking zone - result - life is sweet.
First to register, first in to transition - this is looking good.
3 hours later! And I'm in the water, trying to ignore some strange American on the loud speaker system - its lovely swimming in the Serpentine, fortunately I could not see further than 2mm in front of my goggles, but a lovely single loop swim - very weird as no one was around and I did not see anyone for virtually the whole swim because the course was so wide so I just got in to a steady rhythm to the tune of 'I could be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky' as recommended by David Walliams - it really works - try it, but I could have gone faster if the likes of Rob, Steve and Dave were around me for the swim as in the MSTC Olympic.
Out I pop and limey it's a long run from the swim exit to T1 which was about a km from the exit (the elites are about 10m from the water exit which is much more civilised) - 3 minutes 51 sec later I arrived at my bike (I was one of the quicker transitions, most were about 5-6 minutes). By eck I was knackered and my feet were sore by the time I got on to the bike.
Ok this is it and what I've been looking forward to, fast and flat and the Olympic course - well first realisations it is not the Olympic route taken by the elites (they kept that quite) it is totally different although we do go past Buck House and it's not fast, there are so many bends and corners (over 100 corners), speed humps, bad surfaces, people on the course etc that it became a real stop, stop, oops, ouch stop start affair, but i managed to get to nearly 60kph past the barracks (just the once mind)
Half way through the bike I hear my name shouted - bugger - wots up. Turned round and Marc was pretending to be a Marshal on a notorious corner that shall from now on be named Jordan's corner due the high number of accidents on this particular greasy bend. I went on to lose at least 5 seconds on each lap as I cheerily waved at what seemed to be the only happy person in the centre of London at the time.
Good the bike is over which turned out to be 42 point something km rather than the perfectly measured course I expected - no crashes, fillings are still in my mouth and I wasn't taken out by a dog, tourist or slippery speed hump.
After another transition expedition I'm out on the run in the footsteps of Brownlee et al - ur no not quite! The run follows a totally different course in the opposite direction for four laps, well at least it is flat - ur no not quite - a long drag up an incline for about 1km before a short steep downhill, long flat bit, another short sharp downhill then back to the grind uphill.
By this time I had done my usual of going out ok on the swim, flat out on the bike racing some tattoo covered rough looking skinny chap who was half my age and stuffing up the run. (The tattoo covered chap ended up being the technical director of ITN news). So I struggled through the run (which Emma Snowsill referred to as a school cross country course) which finished nicely running up the blue carpet where young Mr B finished a mere few hours later in a slightly quicker time - and what nice chaps they are - they even had their photo taken with me?
So actually a thoroughly enjoyable day with a nice swim an interesting ride and a hard run finished off with watching the world champs at Jordan's corner with the man himself. I would recommend this race even though it is quite expensive; it's not on in 2012 but is back in 2013.
Swim 0.26.09 0.18.09
T1 0.03.51 0.00.37
Bike 1.06.52 1.01.01
T2 0.02.08 0.00.34
Run 0.47.30 0.29.50
Total 2.26.28 1.50.09
Unfortunately I was not third and taking of my transitions Alistair only beat me by half an hour - so not so bad
Author: Colin Chanbers