Going to make this a two parter, one of the race, one about China.

40 minutes before the race I was all ready to go with my transition laid out so I thought I would top up my tyres with air. I saw the mechanic put on the valve of the pump and then the next second he had taken the wheel valves apart. My deep section front wheels has a couple of valve extenders which apparently intrigued him so he thought he would have a look. I couldn't get the threads to re-align, and he continued to take more parts off the wheel. I couldn't get the threads to go back in and we couldn't get much air in without it so he handed my a spare wheel, complete with reflectors and spoke-e-dokes for the race. Brilliant. The language barrier hindered my efforts to explain that the wheel was fine and just needed un-buggering. I found an English speaker just before we ran to the start and I hope that in the 40mins that the swim would take that they would be able to fix it and when I ran to T1 my bike would have the wheel back on. Alas, it did not.

I knew what I had to do, separate what was in my control and what was not and get on with it. This really wasn't easy. I was in China, with a bike I had never ridden (but was very grateful to have!), and without my race wheels, I was now riding against some top athletes with a less than ideal set up. At least I was more fortunate than Erich who made one last adjustment to his wetsuit sleeve and wripped a huge gash in the arm like the incredible hulk. Just as we were being called through to the start line he was wrapping up his arm in electrical tape.

The swim was cold, for the Americans and Australians, warm for the British, though they had threatened to cut down the distance and indeed did so for the age group athletes. It was a 4 lap swim with a beach exit each lap. My goggles were full of water for the first two laps which meant I was a nuicanse to myself and the group. So I just hung out at the back of the lead group which was going at a pretty comfortable pace with only Kieran Doe getting away.

30m after the mount line was a little 10% hill which was fun. A sweeping coastal path was the first part of the route which was very enjoyable but needed great handling skills to maximise speed, which I did not have. The was also a 2km hill mid way round and some super fast descents - a real bike riders course, really enjoyable but I was really struggling to find any kind of rhythm and was slow.

My running legs felt good on the 4 lap out and back course. I was keeping pace with the best runners for 2 laps, and even though I didn't feel it, the times show that I slowed on the last lap. By this time I was still chasing hard to run down Lee who had blown after two laps in an effort to get in the prize money. But I was too slow and was 200m short of catching him.

I was relieved to have made it round after my second attempt at the race (after being ill and not being able to travel to the first race). The post race food was 4 slices of brown bread, which was just what I had been craving all race ;-)

Immediately after the finish, the mechanic handed my a reassambled wheel, full of air. Just in time for the post race photo....

I really enjoyed the race. Great venue, challenging course and just a lot of fun. My swim and run were descent enough, the bike split was what let me down. The new bike was running great, the random wheels less so, but in the end I just didn't have it in the legs, simple as that.