After a good parkrun and a 9 mile TT I was feeling a bit more confident after the setback with illness a couple of weeks ago. The morning was looking good for racing with just a light breeze, a pleasant change after a blustery day before. Having stood around for a while was quite glad when the start came, warmed up, then the start was taking a while so needed to warm up again. The horn went and the river was a mess of silt, it was like swimming at night with your face in the water. About 100m in I really started to struggle with breathing, tried to contain the thoughts and work through it. By the turn buoy I’d settled down, put the Chimp back in its cage and set about focussing on the rest of the race. Grateful for the OW swim practice the day before I just set into my rhythm and focussed on the last buoy. Swim exit came and went fine, T1 was far better than it has been in previous years. Out onto the bike and I was glad for the mount practice the day before, seemed to go alright with the new shoes. The bike course was a good loop, some cross and head winds, but just a matter of head down and power on. Roads were nice so quite quick. After a nice downhill stretch was almost back in transition, T2 was going smoothly until I couldn’t get my feet in my shoes, they were a bit numb with the wind chill from the bike. Run course was 2 laps with a mixture of grass and path. Felt much better than the brick sets as I set off, think they prepared me for far worse! Having settled into the groove lap 1 was finally over. Thinking about last weeks Parkrun I knew I was doing alright, and would manage to hang in there, lap 2 seemed to go by much quicker (turns out it was a negative split) and before I knew it I was under the bridge and in the last 500m, and on for a sprint finish, beat 1, but lost to another. Overall an enjoyable race, albeit quite sore afterwards!