Crossing the fine line in racing hard – why Intrinsic won’t have it any other way
Team Intrinsic’s Matthew Cox has an unquenchable thirst for pushing the boundaries, but who can blame him when racing is this much fun. First in category – 2nd overall – at the Immortal Wimbleball Classic, he has the kindness of strangers to thank for surviving an unconventional taper into the JLL Property Triathlon …
“Ironman Exmoor 70.3 was one of the first races on my bucket list,” Matt explains “but was discontinued the year I planned to enter. However, it’s been taken over by a brilliant local company Immortal Sport who’ve turned the event into a Weekender.
“Wimbleball in Somerset is a stunning setting for swim, bike, run: a beautiful lake surrounded by the iconic hills of Exmoor National Park. The ‘Triple Crown’ starts on Saturday morning with a 10k Loop that takes in some lakeside running and a trip onto the moors, followed by an Olympic distance ‘Classic’ race in the evening and a 70.3 distance on Sunday morning. I planned to race the 70.3 but transferred through injury from the earlier season Immortal Stourhead to the Immortal Classic Wimbleball.
“The evening start meant I could enjoy a relaxed day. I arrived in plenty of time, setting up transition early and catching up with friends and club members. No nerves just excitement to get racing again.
“I just missed the toes of the faster swimmers and covered the 1500m course virtually solo with a small group about 5-10m back. I exited the water in about 5th place after a solid swim for me.
“T1 went well into the bike, overtaking three people up the first hill on the closed road section, before taking the lead on the long fast drag about 10 miles into the course. But the 28 mile cycle was brutal. The second half felt relentless hill after hill and I was just regretting the heavier wheelset I’d opted for when a lad flew past me with about 5 miles to go. Inspired to give it a last little push, my head was already preparing to run hard off the bike.
Racing from pear-shaped to podium
“I had a minor mishap in T2 as I came into the mount line a little too hot and dragged my foot during my flying dismount, taking off my toenail and a substantial amount of skin of the sole of my foot. But I was too far in the zone to notice until later.
“The run felt strong for mile one of 6.5, but as soon as I hit the first incline (of many) I knew I was in for a hard one. My legs were pretty shot and my uphill running form was non-existent. However, I was keen to push hard and re-took the lead at the big dam at mile 2. By mile 4 and the trig point above the lake I had roughly a minute lead. I tried to push the lead further on the downhill section during mile 5 but as I hit the dam on the way back things went rapidly pear-shaped for me.
“By the time I reached lakeside I was in bits, my legs felt like lead and I couldn’t hold any pace. The last mile felt like one of the longest I’ve ever run. I can’t really remember much of it apart from a feeling of running backwards whilst the eventual winner flew really strong past me. Clinging to a podium spot, the finish line could not come soon enough. I crossed it exhausted, but still chuffed to take 2nd place overall.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers
“Once again, triathlon proved to be one of the friendliest places. Immortal Sport staff and volunteers couldn’t do enough to help me: once I’d left the finish area, a competitor racing the 70.3 the next morning came to the rescue with chocolate and the help of a team-mate and the winner’s Dad. Thank you all!
“I was tired for the drive home so I played it safe with a couple of unscheduled stops and a nap in a lay-by. Racing hard is a fine line and I think I might have dipped my toes the wrong side of it this time … but everyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t have it any other way!
“Massive shout out to Immortal Sport, the Immortal Wimbleball volunteers and competitors for a great hard race. And thanks as ever to Intrinsic FE and its MD Chris Roberts for indulging my passion. Now just time to recover before making our mark again at the big one – bring on the JLL Property Triathlon at Dorney Lake on Friday!”
Matthew Cox, Team Intrinsic Race Statistics – Immortal Wimbleball Classic, 22nd June 2019
Overall finish: 2nd – 02:34:36
Swim (1,500 metres) 00:23:18 (Split position gender – 2)
T1 00:02:44 (Split position gender – 1)
Cycle (42k) 01:22:21 (Split position gender – 1)
T2 00:00:45 (Split position gender – 3)
Run (10k) 00:45:26 (Split position gender – 2)
- Team Intrinsic represents the combined interests of Intrinsic Facilities Engineering Ltd and Intrinsic Facilities Management Ltd
- Immortal Classic Wimbleball, Exmoor – Saturday 22nd June, 2019 – 1500m swim/ 42k bike/ 10k run
- JLL Property Triathlon, Dorney Lake – Friday 28th June, 2019 – 750m swim/ 21.2k bike/ 5km run