I guess the story this year’s Leeds event starts with last year’s…ahem….effort. Whilst I wasn’t too badly affected by the bag issue I was more than a little miffed by the gravel, nails, glass and used syringe bodies found in the demolition site that was T2, on what was supposedly the UK’s blue riband event. After the very public backlash and the initial rather lukewarm response from the organisers and British Tri; it fairly soon became apparent that the game would be significantly upped for this year (especially as they parachuted the British AG champs in). Combined with a decent discount on entry and the atmosphere generated around the event by the spectators I thought I’d give it another shot.
The biggest change this year was the change from a double to single transition area at Roundhay Park. This obviously makes the organisation a lot easier but limits the amount of time spent running in the centre of the City. Registration was on the Saturday after the morning Aquathons and junior events. Parking is free on the field above the park and the walk down with all your kit is quite steep but there are some steps to help over to the left. The registration was quick and simple and I was soon wheeling my bike into the enormous transition area. Usual stuff, a small queue to get in but some folks who really ought to know better still managing to not have their helmets on and fastened when they get to the front of the queue…..basics Gents (always chaps). As I entered I was asked If I had a spare front as my 88mm was on and the winds were forecast to build overnight and into Sunday, ‘No problem I’ve got a spare I’ll pop it on tomorrow if the wind is as forecast’. I then hear a rumour in transition that they may actually ban discs and deep dish fronts. Queue some worried looking guys who only have one set with them and me thinking I’ll have to get here in time to do a cassette change onto the 58mm rear. Wake up time moves to 0430……ouch! If you’re going to send a bag to the city centre for post the event this is when you drop it off too.
After an early night and a not too bad a nights sleep, my alarm wakes me at 0430, a crumpet and a banana for breakfast and I jump in the car and head to Roundhay, even at this time the road closures have begun and I play and exciting game of guess my way not, crossing path and sharing confused waves with another group of triathletes in an Audi Q3 (hey guys). There is still plenty of time when I arrive and there is no mention of wheel bans but with the wind picking up so I switch to my 58mm front, unwrap my bike from its bin-bag wrapping, check my tyre pressures and set my transition kit out. A few more walks through transition to familiarise myself with the in/outs and bike position and I’m ready to Suit-up incidentally I really can’t emphasise the importance of rehearsing your transition flow, this is only my third full season in Triathlon but I have consistently been one of the quickest guys in the 4th discipline (it’s free time) I believe because I always make time to do a number of walk throughs.
So ready as I’ll ever be I take a walk down to start to watch wave one set off and get a feel for things…..to be continued.