Eastleigh Open Water Tri is fast approaching (29th June), so I thought I’d better start getting prepared for the event. The swim and the run take place at Lakeside, which is where I’ve done aquathlons and where I first started parkrunning, so I’m familiar with the location, but I had no idea of the bike route. I put an appeal out on Facebook and received several replies from people who were willing to come out and recce the route at a slow pace.
Donna was our leader as she did Eastleigh Tri a couple of years ago and was already familiar with the route; Roelie was just interested in getting a bike ride in and Jenny is also doing Eastleigh Tri this year.
We met at the Bellemoor at 11am, and I was a little apprehensive as we had thunder and lightning this morning and the storms weren’t forecast to clear until later in the day, but we struck lucky and didn’t need jackets for the ride. I was slightly overdressed (I had waterproof socks on), and had to take off my jacket as soon as I met the others. Fortunately, I had on a short-sleeved cycling jersey that I had teamed with one of my new pairs of SOAS racing shorts… I wanted to check whether they were as comfortable as my other couple of pairs and I can confirm that they are 🙂
Our little peloton cycled over to Eastleigh where the event starts. Unfortunately, late on Saturday morning was not the best time to recce the route as it is on some fairly busy main roads, with one particularly busy roundabout to cross – I find it nerve-wracking enough in a car, so on a bike with a group of others it’s even more difficult. The route consists of two 10k laps, but after we’d tried it once, we all agreed that we didn’t feel the need to do it again. I feel happier now I know that there are no steep descents, and I doubt that I will practise it again before the event.
The sun was shining brightly, so we decided to make the most of it by going for a longer ride. We headed out on some back roads towards Chilworth, taking in Bassett Green Road, where I tortured myself doing hill reps earlier in the week. We then decided to go out towards Chilworth. This is a route that I have been avoiding as it has a really long descent, but as Donna pointed out, it is a smooth and open road with no dangerous junction or obstacles, so actually it was the ideal location for me to try to regain some of my confidence.
I made it down the hill safely, so we then headed out towards North Baddesley before looping back towards the city. This involved another couple of descents, but I am starting to feel less terrified and am making myself wait for a few seconds longer before using my brakes. I can’t say that I’m moving quickly (42.3km/h was my best today), but I’m heading in the right direction.
We arrived back at The Common and headed our separate ways. I managed to do 40.43km in 2:03 today, which is a long way off my best, but I’ll get back there! Thank you for helping me Donna, Roelie and Jenny 🙂