Striding towards a beachside finish line at St Andrews Sprint Triathlon

St Andrews Spring Sprint Triathlon – Race report

The St Andrews Spring Sprint was a last minute addition to my race calendar, entering only on the Tuesday before a Sunday race. But I realised it would serve an important purpose in trying a few things out before my first standard distance race in few weeks, and give me a good excuse to explore St Andrews for the first time.

One of the things I wanted to test was my new trisuit. Boy, was I glad I did! It turns out that my fabulous new Edinburgh Triathletes trisuit chafes on the bike in some rather NSFW places… So my next plan before I try to cycle twice the distance in it, will be to try some Bodyglide “down there”, and see if that makes a difference. I’ll try to find some time for another 20km+ cycle in the trisuit and with bodyglide.

The second thing I wanted to test was my bike. After >1 year in hibernation, I’ve finally got around to re-assembling the TT bike. I was worried that it might not have been quite the course for a TT bike, as the elevation profile looked rather lumpy. In the event, it was probably perfect as I managed to stay down on the aerobars for the whole time.

Finally, I also tried out socks and toewarmer overshoes. The socks were to address an issue with my right big toe getting a blister. I’m not sure why this has suddenly developed with these 9-month old shoes, but hey. The toewarmers just seemed like a good idea as they are much quicker to put on than overshoes, and I didn’t fancy have cold toes like at Tranent.

Anyway, with that rather lengthy introduction to my various changes, onto the race itself.

Swim – 750m, 14:00

The swim went well. I managed to take a few seconds off my time at Tranent a few weeks earlier. I started second in my lane and felt that the swimmer in front was holding me up, so I overtook after a few lengths. In the long run, this might not have been smart, as he finished right on my toes and was getting all the drafting benefit. I should learn to swim (and run) up close to other racers, rather than always craving my own space.

It did mean I came 2nd out of the water in my heat though!

T1 – 2:23

A long transition whilst I battled trying to put on a jacket and my socks. I think the socks worked – no blisters! – but they do take up a lot of time. It was frustrating seeing many people that I’d beaten in the water come flying past in transition.

Bike – 23km, 53:29

The course was a little long, which caught me a little bit by surprise, but does at least account for the longer than usual time.

After a slow transition, I felt a little bit sluggish for the first few km of the bike. In fairness, it was also up a hill! Eventually, I settled into a nice rhythm. I think there were 2 more cyclists from my heat up the road, but I couldn’t see them or anyone behind me, so it became a real time-trial.

This was where I noticed that my new club trisuit was actually chafing in the saddle area. I managed to avoid focussing too much on this though and carried on with my race.

T2 – 0:52

T2 passed largely without comment. Looking at the results, it’s clear that many people were in the 30-40s range, so I could easily shave some time off there with practice.

Run – 3.7km, 18:46

I’ve never been in any danger of running a sub-20min 5k, so as I was approaching the finish line, I knew this run was seriously short.

This run is also incredibly hilly. After running out of transition with jelly legs, the first thing you do is run up a cliff into a caravan park, and continue running uphill through the caravan park.

Striding towards a beachside finish line at St Andrews Sprint Triathlon
Striding towards the finish line at St Andrews Sprint Triathlon

It is a brutal first kilometre! After that, it is back downhill and then hugging the coastline for a rather picturesque run through St Andrews, including running around the outside of the St Andrews Cathedral ruins.

Finish – 1:29:45

Position: 24/34
Garmin Connect
Official Results (Triathlon Scotland, Excel file)

A good race for me, no major screw-ups and everything went well. It is a shame the distances are so far off – makes it even less comparable than usual between events. I’m glad to have found out where my trisuit chafes before I attempt double the distance in a few weeks time.

St Andrews cathedral in the sunshine
St Andrews cathedral in the sunshine

Bonus: St Andrews is really nice setting for a race, as the town is beautiful and there is a lot to do post-race. We set about exploring the ruins of the Cathedral, heading to the University museum and walking around the beaches.

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