Seconds Count – Bad Luck, or Bad Prep?

An account of WTS, by David Hunt

How many times have we looked back on a race and identified all of those small incidents and moments that cost us a few seconds during a race. Well WTS Abu Dhabi 2023 standard distance was just one of those as I missed out on second place on the podium by just two seconds and there were numerous points in the race where they were carelessly lost.

Firstly WTS was a great weekend and it is always a fantastic experience when the pros come to town. You realise just how good those at the top of your sport are. Pros practice until they don’t get it wrong whereas us age groupers practice until we get it right once.

As a coach I often talk about rookie errors and how they can spoil your day. Well I would consider myself a seasoned triathlete and it just goes to show that being careless can be costly. However… a lighter moment first. I had helped a female athlete with a wetsuit for the swim and we were chatting as we waited for the swim start. She gently nudged me and pointed to an athlete standing a few yards away who was wearing his wet suit the wrong way around. Yes the zip was at the front. That’s a first at an event! We quietly assisted him with his dress sense, no names mentioned…

WhatsApp Image 2023 03 04 at 07.14.06
WhatsApp Image 2023 03 04 at 07.14.06 1

Rookie error number one (5 seconds)

It was a dive in start and I got a small amount of water in my goggles on entry. This can happen and can be minimized [more tips here] by chin down and arms as close as possible to the head. After 100meters I decided to stop and clear the water which was a smart decision as I had a great swim. At swim exit and run into T1 I dropped my goggles so had to stop and go back and pick up. My team mate, who exited the water after me, got 20 meters on me. Correct technique is to put goggles on head and then undo the wetsuit and pull down to the hips and run fast. Having your goggles in your hand as you fumble for the zip cord can result in your goggles falling to the floor…

WhatsApp Image 2023 03 07 at 10.19.24

Rookie Error number two (45 seconds)

As a coach I would always advise to familiarise yourself with the transition pre-race by walking to your bike from the swim exit to your bike so you know where it is so you can run straight to it. I knew it was on the third row in, one bike from the end. But I hadn’t done a dry run when I racked my bike. Slight panic when I reached the third row and wondered why my bike wasn’t there. Disorientated… very! Stay calm and think. Then I realized it was in the third row in the first block of bikes. It was actually a bad choice to rack it there and I should have racked it nearer bike exit as it was free racking. Poor judgement.

Had a good bike though!

Bad luck? (15 seconds)  

The bike course which was 4 laps of 10km with both some really fast parts on the F1 track and some quite technical sections around the stands it was a really good test of bike skills. Had a bit of bad luck on entering T2. Having got my feet out of my shoes whilst approaching T2, one of my bike shoes came off as I dismounted the bike. I had to stop and collect from one of the very kind volunteers. 

Had a great run, probably my best of the season so overall super happy with 2 hours 34 and 55 seconds and third place in the 55-59 AG. Second place was 2 hours 34 and 53 seconds. Who says seconds don’t count. To be fair this was a training race in the build up for Boulder 70.3 and I was very much focusing on having a good work out. Still annoying and just goes to prove that you have to focus on the basics.

WhatsApp Image 2023 03 04 at 09.57.40

David Hunt, TriSutto Coach

Posted on 7th Mar 2023