For my final full triathlon of the year I decided to enter the Tri For Life Woburn Abbey Triathlon presented by Human Race Events.
The race was a few hours from home and not an early start so we decided to drive up on the day.
The stage was set for the final test of my training and I was feeling good about this one, Blair has had me sticking to race plans for the season and this was no different, Go hard out of the swim to stay with the lead pack and then drop to some feet and stay there, for the bike use the first lap to understand the course and then 2nd lap was to push hard and get into a good place for the run where I had to focus on getting my legs moving well as quick as I can and then push for a negative split on the run leaving everything on the course for the last lap.
Unfortunately the triathlon gods had other plans!
The race is set in the middle of the Woburn Abbey Estate and you have Deer running around in packs. Parking is in the field at the bottom of the hill to where transition is and as we had unfavourable weather was muddy and wet. On the way to transition and registration I picked up lots of loose grass in the bikes wheels that I had to clean out when I racked the bike.
If you are wanting your breaks and wheels clean then add some extra time as you get setup so you can have a quick clean down.
My Rating 4 / 5
Transition was on the other side of the hill where registration was located ans is a very good size. I would go to say there is more room than most I have raced at and allowed me my own space to get setup. It also helped that I was one of the first on my rack!
One thing that I really liked was plenty of people checking you in and out so there was no waiting.
My Rating 5 / 5
The swim was in the larger lake this year and they organisers have worked hard to clean up the water and remove weeds that can affect the swim. They have done a fantastic job in a short space of time and I would say it’s about 80% there.
I found towards the back of the lake where the small island is the water suddenly changed black and tasted of mud, also we had lots of weed to contend with that slowed us down a little. as soon as we cleared the marker past the lake the water improved again and the swim improved.
Thinking about the work that has been done to clean the lake up I have no doubt that the water in 2018’s race will be perfect all the way around.
In my race the swim plan went well and I was in the lead pack and in the top 10 as we came out the water. As I crossed the timing mat I managed to slip and broke a toe as I went down. I got back up and carried on the run into transition.
My Rating 4 / 5
Once you get your bike you are treated to a climb on the bike to exit the estate so make sure you set an easy gear before you head off! The bike takes you through the villages around Woburn and does a great job of avoiding some of the busier roads. There is one sections that is fast downhill with some sharp turns so keep your wits about you as there is traffic coming the other way.
You make your way back into the estate before heading out for your 2nd lap on the same course.
As I left transition I had a feeling of numbness in the toes on the right foot and ir felt like there was a lego brick in my shoe. I ignored the feeling and carried on with the course. Once on the main road and on the climb I had a sudden pain and could not pull or put pressure on my foot. This ment I had to do single leg drills for the remainder of the ride which is damn hard work for 40km!
My Rating 4.5 / 5
The run course is in a cross shape and takes you to various parts of the estate. It’s center is the stables and to my surprise there where speakers with the audio pumped through from the finish which was a welcome lift. We even had a herd of deer stood by the path wondering what all of us stupid people where doing. The Finish line is back up the hill to registration so be prepared to test your legs one last time before it’s all over.
After I got into T2 the medics came to my aid and strapped my toe up and advised me to withdraw. Not one to be told what to do I decided to carry on and proceeded to complete one of my slowest runs to date. After 2.5km the pain was getting to me so the bike medic kindly gave me some pain relief so I could continue to run. It was a mixture of running and walking and boy I was glad to finish.
My Rating 5 / 5
So where do we go from here? You are probably thinking I did not enjoy the event due the broken toe but I actually I had a blast. The setting for the race was great and the support on the course was amazing. A special shout out to the 2 chaps who provided the comical commentary for the event, they really helped make the event inclusive for the supporters as well as the athletes.
I have already said to Mrs C that I will be back in 2018 so have another go and see how so get on without the broken toe.