Gala is always one of the popular sprint races due to the time of year as an early test for lots of athletes. Normally the weather can effect the mainly off-road course condition on the run though this year the run course had been altered and the weather would just effect the athletes.
After the usual early 8am start for registration we then just had to hang around through the early swim heats until about 11am. Susan and I were racing in the 2nd last heat and Johnny and Forbes were in the final one.
After a poor swim I headed out on the bike. I had left a jacket by my bike in case but decided I wouldn’t need it as the weather was still OK (I did have on toe covers on my shoes which is the best fiver ever spent!). The good thing about Gala is you go straight up a short steep hill so get warmed up fairly quickly. If you are strong on the bike you can also pass a good few stragglers which helps the motivation. At about 12km into the course the roads were starting to get a bit damp and there were some interesting corners on back country roads on the TT bike.
Back into transition and both mount and dismount had gone well for my first race and off on the new run course. Rather than being taken through the forest trails it is now back out on the roads and left up a long hill. Personally I prefer this to an off-road route but the hill was a tough slog. By now it was absolutely pouring with rain though as I was on the run I was warm enough not to really notice.
A couple of laps and my first race was finished. 1hr 13mins was an OK time and 18th place. After my swim time I was happy with that and I hadn’t dropped as many places on the run as I sometimes do.
In the final heat the conditions turned out to be much tougher as they got the rain for most of the bike course which ended up with some athletes dropping out due to the cold. Johnny needed a marshal to undo his helmet in T2.