Joe Skipper - Rubicon Middle Distance Race Report
I was looking forward to confirming my current form prior to Challenge Weymouth and Ironman Barcelona later this season. So the Rubicon Middle distance triathlon was perfect timing for me, in addition to this the course is all flat and bloody fast! It also helps knowing Mark Livesey (event organiser) who looked after me and was kind enough to offer me an appearance fee, which is very much appreciated.
For this race I had some additional pressure (all self induced) as I promised to wear a dress for prize giving if any individual or relay team beat me! The field was surprisingly strong (see results) and I’ve only raced against in a stronger field at official Ironman/Challenge event. I was going to have my work cut out getting the win and to avoid wearing a dress that my girlfriend had kindly packed for me (nice pink number). The location of the event (Newby hall) is just stunning. Mark really capitalises on this during the race with the bike and run course coming back through the grounds. The support was brilliant every time you went past the transition area with loads of people getting involved and cheering. I can also state that the swim exit is the most stunning exit I have ever experienced in my triathlon career, just breath taking.
The majority of the swim is down steam (1700 down stream – 200 upstream) in the river Ure. There was over 320 athletes in the one wave start (a real race) so as always it gets a bit manic and I got caught up a little with a group of strong swimmers at the start which slowed me a little. After around 200m I found my own bit of water and started to swim through some through the majority of the field. I exited the water in 4th with just over a minute from Rich Howarth and my training buddy Jay Lingwood.
I quickly overtook the swim leaders early on and then closed in on the relay team rider eventually catching him around 15 minutes. When I caught him I asked “what’s your runner like?” to which they told me he was a 1h 25 half marathon runner, I thought “game on I’ve got this in the bag and no dress for me today!” I led the remainder of the really fast bike course with the relay team rider close behind me. My early power data was slightly lower than expected, but this increased to my expected numbers during the last 45 mins of the rid. This was encouraging as I came into this race pretty loaded. I’d be fully rested tapered for Weymouth.
Mark Livesey (race organizer) lead me round the first lap of the run. It was a great 5.2km looped route with a mixture of roads and trails, all flat and a fast course. It was a 4 lap course so again you got some great support every lap of the run. My plan was to run reasonably hard but not kill myself as I had an eye on Weymouth in 2 weeks time. I wanted a decent workout but didn’t want to be completely on my knees after the race. I actually thought I had the race won at the start of the run after talking to the relay team on the bike as I was told he was a 1h 25m half marathon runner, but it turns out he was a 67 minute half marathoner! He came past me towards the end of the first lap of the run (better get that dress out), this gave me a kick up the arse and I picked my pace up for a bit but the relay runner was running a bit to fast for me. If I was fresh and was giving it full beans I would have liked to have seen how long I could have kept up with him for. At the end of the run the relay team had a couple of minutes on me which meant I had to wear a dress on the podium, a few minutes behind me was Andy Greenleaf who had a great run and wasn’t too far behind; 3rd was Sam Village. I haven’t heard of him but he is a great athlete who I now know.
It’s great to race against such a strong field of athletes who really pushed me hard. This doesn’t normally happen on a domestic race so it was a real surprise for me to experience. The support and atmosphere was excellent and I would strongly recommend this race to any Elite athlete who wishe to use it as a race sharpener for Challenge Weymouth, Wales IM or Challenge Barcelona. That said due to the flat nature of the race it is a perfect for anybody who wishes to move up to middle distance for the first time..
Thanks to Mark Livesey, all the volunteers and helpers and the great support from the spectators. Jay for driving me up there, Eli and Neil for letting me stay round there’s and Laura for coming up for the weekend to spectate and providing the dress (see race video of me in a dress functionalfitnessevents.co.uk).