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Nigel Musto’s triathlon updates

Avid readers of the blog might remember when Nigel Musto competed in the Challenger World London Triathlon last year.  Well this year, his interest in triathlons is back with a vengeance and he’s completed three triathlons and a half Ironman this summer all to raise money for the RNLI…  Read his updates below:

27 June: Dartford Bridge Triathlon

‘Well, the first tri was yesterday.  Up at 0400 for an 0645 dip in a dirty lake next to the Dartford Bridge.  Very glamorous.  A total of about 250 competitors took part, 151 of them doing the Olympic distance.  This one was a bit different in that the bike leg was 42.5 km rather than the normal 40.  Just adds about 5 minutes to the race.

My swim was good at 28.16 against 29.53 at London last year.  Could have been a slight difference in distance, but I hope not.  The run was good as well, 50.07 against 57.13 at London last year.  The problem was the bike.  I posted 1 hour 18.46 on the bike against 1 hour 07.58 at London, 10 minutes and 48 seconds longer.  Take 5 minutes off for the extra distance and I’m still down nearly 6 minutes.  And on a new bike.  That’s not good.

Now I did push it a bit too hard on the bike at London last year and knowing that I didn’t push as hard on the bike yesterday.  Yesterday’s course was much more up and down than you would imagine at Dartford and London was almost completely flat, so that will have had a bearing.  Anyway, room for improvement I think.

In terms of the target for London of 2 hours 30, today was a good start.  Total time was 2 hours 40.11.  Take off the 5 minutes for the extra 2.5km on the bike and we are at 2 hours 35 minutes.  If I can squeeze that 5 minutes out of the bike again we are getting very close.  The transitions are about 3 minutes longer at London because of the distance you have to run, so that will need to be found somewhere.  Not sure where yet, but still 5 weeks of training to go.

In terms of a result I was 78th out of 151 overall and 22nd out of 42 in the 40 - 49 year old group.  Average.

Next event in 2 weeks in Maldon, another Olympic distance.  Will be pushing harder on the bike leg this time!’

10 July: Maldon Triathlon

‘Maldon Triathlon this morning.  Up at a very civilised 0530 and into a not quite so civilised muddy Blackwater estuary at 0745.  The swim was short as some bright spark had laid the course across the deep water channel and 30 minutes before the start the Thames Barges started coming off the quay straight through the middle of the race track.  The organisers thankfully decided to shorten the course to prevent the swimmers having to play dodge the Barge.  It ended up about 1,200 meters rather than the normal 1,500.

The swim start was busy and I went off a bit too quickly to try to get out of the middle of the washing machine.  I suffered a bit further down the track and had to back off a bit.  Out of the water, muddy feet, onto the bike for a 45km ride to Bradwell and back.  After the slightly disappointing bike leg at Dartford 2 weeks ago I just gave it heaps from the start and averaged a respectable 33 kph.  I think the main difference on the bike was the new piece of kit that Justin very kindly gave me – an aero helmet – just like the boys at the velodrome wear.  All the gear and absolutely no idea whatsoever!  The run was 9 km which I did in 45 minutes, a good steady 12 kph which is bang on target.  All together it added up 2 hours 30 minutes and 8 seconds, just short of the target 2 hours 30.  Overall I finished 30th out of the field of about 80 and 3rd in age group – although one guy from the age group above beat me as well.

So the two training runs are now out of the way, London Triathlon in 3 weeks time and then the Half Ironman 3 weeks after that.  In terms of getting inside the target 2 hours 30 at London it’s really touch and go.  If I can do the bike leg in the same 1 hour 7 minutes as last time and the swim in 29 minutes as last time and combine it with my new speed on the run which should bring me in at 50 minutes, it leaves me 4 minutes in Transition to get inside the target.  Last year the two transitions totalled just short of 7 minutes.  It’s going to be tight!’

Nigel Musto at the London Triathlon

1 August: London Triathlon

‘Didn’t go quite as I had hoped!  I didn’t manage to get inside 2 hours 30 minutes and failed to get in the top 25, but apart from that it was a great race!

My final time was 2 hours 36 minutes and 34 seconds.  6 minutes faster than last year.  There were three factors that contributed:

1. The swim was further than last year – the top 20 in my group on average took over 3 minutes longer to complete the swim – probably about 150 metres worth.

2. Our transition area was the other end of the Excel building meaning it took much longer to get back and forth from transition – again, the top 20 averaged 2 minutes longer in transition than last year.

3. But even if you take those 5 minutes off, I had still not done enough training – can’t get away from that!

Still, not a bad time, 47th overall – another year older, 6 minutes and 5 places better.  I must be doing myself some good!  The run was particularly pleasing, where the course was exactly the same as last year and I ran it 7 and a half minutes faster.

The swim start was a bit tricky.  Over 500 of us on the start line which wasn’t 70 yards wide.  About 10 rows deep.  I think I probably gave as good as I got in the first 200 yards but still ended up having to put my goggles back on a couple of times.  It calms down after a while – I guess there’s a bit too much testosterone floating about.

The coolest bit was the bike leg.  Last year we raced in the afternoon, so cycled the Tower Bridge route, turning round in Wapping and doing two laps, but this year as we started at 0700 we did the Westminster route.  They closed the Embankment to all traffic and we turned round to go back to Excel underneath Big Ben.  I just hope someone got a photo.

I wasn’t the only one in the company doing it either.  Dario our new Credit Controller for Italy and Spain also raced – and smoked me on the swim time!

Next up is the long one.  The “Monster” Half Ironman in Ely on 21st August.  A 1,900 meter swim, 90km on the bike and a 21.1km run.  113km (70 miles) in total.  The objective is to get round in under 6 hours, but in all honesty I will be happy just to get round!’

Nigel Musto at the 2011 London Triathlon

21 August: Ely Monster Half Ironman

‘The Monster Half Ironman was yesterday.  I went in with a target on completing in 6 hours, but managed to haul my tired bones over the line in 5 hours 25 minutes and 17 seconds.  141st overall out of 294 and 20th out of 36 in the age group.  Seems that when they get to this level the standard steps up a bit.

The swim was a mass start on the fairly narrow Great Ouse through Ely.  There was a slight current against us, but nothing too challenging.  The fishermen, swans, weed and moored river boats were interesting to navigate around but I did the swim in 39 minutes, climbing up a muddy bank to get out the other end.  A quick run to transition and on the bike for a 90km ride around the Fens.  Flat and fast it was all over in 2 hours 48 minutes, back into transition and the dreaded run.

A couple of minutes out I reached behind me for the water bottle and a gel pack and found that I had failed to switch bum bags and had nothing but the puncture repair kit and a CO2 inflator.  That wasn’t going to help much.  Too slow to go back so I decided to carry on and use the aid stations instead where they supplied water and energy drinks every 5km.  Luckily the plan worked, but it wasn’t what I had practiced.  Less haste more speed.

The knees started to give jip at about 10km but I was inspired by an email from Grant Dalton.  Grant did the NZ full Ironman in 2003 and finished in 11 hours 34 minutes.  He very kindly sponsored me and has been giving advice, but said if I didn’t do it in 5 and a half hours he wanted his money back.  I was buggered if that was going to happen!  Crossing the line was a fairly special moment.  Very tired, I got a bit emotional for a minute.  Wasn’t expecting that!

Thank you to everyone for all the support.  We are at £2,497.00 at the moment.  A few brave souls, who I suspect thought they were pretty safe, suggested they might double the sponsorship if this one got completed, so it might even get a bit higher.  After the rescue of the crew of Rambler in the Fastnet Race last week we were all reminded why the RNLI are so important for us to support.  A special thank you to Jason at Specialized for sorting the bike out.


Can’t promise the mid life crisis is over… Now where do I go from here? Haven’t earned the tattoo yet.’

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