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Bedford Triathlon - At dawn look to the east

Bedford Triathlon - At dawn look to the east

Both Rob and Neil qualified directly for the European Championships with Rachael as 1st reserve Steve is also a reserve on the waiting list with the other all fairing very well and flying the club flag but being just outside of the selection group but may get in on the roll down. 

A race that is well worth doing if you are in the area or are happy to travel the distance. 

Bedford - it's a pleasant kind of place - or so it seemed in the small amount that we were exposed to. Nestled in between ring roads and out of town shopping centers lay the embankment, a park with a clean straight river with limited weeds, friendly fowl, lots of green areas, a tarmac covered path around the perimeter and men in shorts and compression tights. Almost a perfect setting for a triathlon.

So seven of MSTC's finest and Colin set of in search or glory or humiliation in a field where over half of the competitors were to finish in less that 2hours 30 minutes. 

Lawrence was unfortunately unable to start, being a fine family man Lawrence decided to bring his family and after an unfortunate family accident followed by an afternoon in A&E Loz was not able to start, but child and dad are ok. (post event note - Loz chose not to take his family to the Worthing Tri and managed to start the event) 

Tents were erected and advice was sought from two of MSTC best know members as to how to best to prepare for the most competitive race of the season - off to the pub is the unanimous retort, yep it may be counter intuitive but bladder and intestine loading is the way to go. 

A question arises; Should you take your family to a triathlon (so far it would seem the answer is one vote for no and none for yes) - when this is asked of you what goes through your mind, will they: 

(a)  cramp my style

(b)  get in the way

(c)   affect my preparation

(d)   result in an afternoon in hospital and a DNS

(e)   cost too much

(f)    affect my performance

(g)   prevent me from sharing a tent with three fit members of the opposite sex who have just downed a load of beer, are testosterone loaded and hyped up for the race of their year. 

Rachael considered the options very carefully! - 2-0 in favour of leaving the family at home. 

It was an early start, so late to bed - yep counter intuitive again. Neil chose a remote location away from Tent de Rachael worried that too much noise may keep him up and ruin his race. 

He was quite right - Robs flatulence was thunderous as methane bazookas echoed around the campsite accompanied by teenage laughter from the blokes and telling off from Rachael - it was going to be a long night for us all. 

As the three bladder and intestine loaded men were shepherded and zipped into the holding pens located at each end of the tent Rachael monitored the door and the emergency escape route, a good idea - or was it. 

As the noise subsided all were gassed into a restless sleep with the odd groan of 'get of' and 'yes of course I love you, now go to sleep' coming from one of the holding pens. 

Two hours later it dawned on the blokes - not the sunrise - the bladder, gently sloshing as it was pressed down on cold hard soil or spiky vertebrate.

What to do? 

Tough men are turned to pulp at the thought of having to wake a sleeping woman in the middle of the night - so they lay there zipped in their pens trying to ignore their bloating and expanding abdomens as the exit continued to be  guarded by slumber. 'You will not pass' Gandalf's staff pushed gently into the bladder 'You will not pass' another jab from the staff as stars of pain appeared before our eyes. 

Sh----------t  sh-------t I can t take it any more, I am sure Terry Waite's captivity went quicker than those few hours lying there wide awake with a pulsating melon in your pants expanding as it sucks up moisture from a hidden oasis of beer. 

'Is any one awake' a voice as puny as a baby smeagol on horse tranquilizers gently filters through the nylon of the holding pen, the sound came from a creature so rancid, its body pulsating with pain, devoid of testosterone and scared sh---tless of the possible consequences of waking the guardian of the tent - once more just in case 'is any one awake' 

'Yes' 

'What?' 

''Yes' 

It wakes - 

A butterfly fluttered somewhere in northern Uzbekistan - the holding pens were ripped apart as three grown men trampled uncontrollably over a helpless prostrate female, flung themselves in to the open air entered Modor, scaled Mount Doom and threw their precious (it was that colour) into the crack of doom of shiny porcelain urinals - Middle Earth was safe or so it seemed. 

Five hours later the race was to start, four hours of which consisted of Steve refusing to leave the campsite until his bowels moved. And move they did - a couple of times at the campsite followed by a few more at transition. The battle of the bowels has passed 

Preparation was complete. 

The veiling shadow that glowers in the East takes shape as the battle of transitions continued. 

Colin won the battle of T1 with a glorious time of 1.11 a full 5 seconds in front of Neil who just sneaked in front of Rob by one second. 

T2 was not so good for Colin who had gone over to the dark side and ran down the wrong aisle, Steve was determined to gain back his transition crown and put in an incredible 57 seconds a full two seconds in front of Neil, this is attained by carrying your shoes our of transition and putting them on past the timing mat, Colin trailed out of transition some 27 later to rue his orienteering skills. 

The swim was wet, the bike consisted of putting out a constant 400 watts, the run hurt.

by Colin Chambers

 

Results (in finishing order) 

 

Swim

T1

Bike

T2

Run

Overall

Neil Giles

 

24.48

1.16

1.03.58

0.59

37.14

02.08.14

James Dear

 

28.12

1.23

1.03.15

1.19

39.16

02.13.22

Robert Hoodless

 

26.29

1.17

1.09.14

1.09

39.53

02.18.00

Colin Chambers

 

27.11

1.11

1.06.55

1.24

42.05

02.18.45

Steve Alden

 

28.06

1.22

1.09.35

0.57

40.23

02.20.21

Rachael Baker

 

28.30

1.42

1.15.00

1.09

44.18

02.30.37

Hazel Tuppen

 

28.08

1.52

1.20.05

1.27

45.43

02.37.13

 

Southern Counties 100 mile time trial

Southern Counties 100 mile time trial

The most recent long distance BAR event was the Southern Counties 100 mile time trial. As is customary the event was held at a time on a Sunday morning when most normal people would be in a restful state of slumber and dreaming of a slow transition to partial wakefulness, Sunday papers and a fry up. Instead 4 foolhardy MSTC athletes coaxed their aged and reluctant minds and bodies into a daring challenge of endurance and bike handling. David Jones, Jim Graham, Rupert Robinson and I were these brave cyclists. 

The course is rather peculiar in the number of roundabouts you encounter with 52 roundabout junctions in the first 56 miles. It is also unusual in having a major intersection with traffic lights at 60 miles. If you get stopped by the lights you have to stop (obviously) or be dq'ed or run over. If you are unlucky enough (and I was) to just get the lights going red you can wait for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds (I am sad enough to go back and time it). The course continues to be a typical in that it then does 2½ laps of a circuit that incorporates some very rolling and poorly surfaced single carriageway. This makes for a proper test of man and bike (I say this as no women entered the event because they have a good deal more sense).

Jim's story..

The 100 mile TT was a reality check for me. I plodded along for 50 miles at 20mph (quite decent by my standards) but got overtaken by dozens of riders doing 25mph. I overtook nobody. I then took a wrong turn and did 25 miles of the previous section of the course. When I eventually started the second half of the course I appeared to be right at the back of the pack and felt rather fed up so I retired. At about half-way the finish was sign-posted and I thought it best to attend to domestic commitments rather than get home a couple of hours later than promised.

Cycling on busy A-roads was a bit scary but it was a good training session. I hadn't appreciated how many great amateur cyclists there are out there. Shame I'm not one of them.

If I did it again, I would taper training properly to have fresh legs and use my best bike with a disc. I would also have the route properly mapped out on my garmin as route is a bit complicated and easy to take a wrong turn.

May I add that Jim was going quite well and underestimates his athletic prowess? However, he also underestimates his navigational abilities and puts himself as a frontrunner in theForestGump prize category for end of season awards. Had he not attended to "domestic duties" he would have completed 137 miles!

 

Rupert's story.

For me I was aiming for Sub 4.10, wanting to beat my time from last year. I uploaded the ghost rider from last year to race my Garmin. I was seven minutes from the scratch man (for those not familiar with this term it refers to the fastest rider on previous performances not someone who provides a rough post race massage) & I wondered how long I would keep him off  my back.

The first two laps of the usual Crawley 25 mile course went well with my average speed staying around 25 mph despite the headwind.

As I was approaching the Shell Garage towards the 52 mile mark  the heavens opened - it was like being on a boat, making riding up the hill increasingly difficult.

I was pleased to pass the 56 mile mark at Southwater feeling like I was at the half way point. It was just after this that Rob caught me for 7 mins. I tried to hang on & we both got stopped at the traffic lights. I was off like a bullet out of a gun only to be passed by Rob again on that long drag up towards Washington.

This was when I had my first signs of cramp. Going too hard from the traffic lights suddenly made me pay, when will I learn! The two laps through Ashington and Patridge green were lumpy but the tailwind helped the miles pass by.

My average speed had dropped to 24.1 in the remaining two laps but I knew I was on for a PB especially when I saw Dave Jones ahead.

Dave had started 19 minutes in front of me and this spurred me on so that I could finish in the time I wanted.

9th - a PB- 5th year on the bounce- 4.09.43!

Man my undercarriage was sore!

 Dave's story..

I spoke to the Mr Stealth (after all he is near silent and deadly fast) about his ride. He was as enigmatic as ever and looking as fresh as if he had just gone for a Sunday morning amble.

Dave told me that he enjoyed the last 40 miles as he was tucking into the ample post race refreshments. Clearly he had been riding a different race - I suspect that he was using this race as training for something much more substantial. It would not surprise me if we saw our training guru going for something ironlike in the near future and that will be very interesting.

 Loz's story

I really was using this race as training in my build up for the night time Half Ironman I will be doing in glamorous Dartford. As usual I had decided to rebuild my bike late the evening before the race and was pleased with the loan from Jon Webster of his speedfill drinking system. This ingenious device is a large flat triangle shaped bottle that fits on the downtube of the bike with a long straw that you zip tie so that it dangles from the tribars near your face meaning you are reminded to drink regularly and can remain aero whilst doing so. 

I was riding without any support (Rupert and Dave were getting drinks handed up by Doug) and was testing my theory that 1.25 litres of High 10 (twice as strong as High 5) would be enough to rehydrate and fuel me. I had read an interesting article on taking the minimum amount of liquid you need in long distance events to prevent gastrointestinal shutdown (and consequently bonk) when entering the run of a long distance triathlon. 

My prerace routine (no warm up, visit loo, accidentally let air out of tyres with track pump, visit loo, pour sticky energy drink over my bike and legs, visit loo) had gone seamlessly. As I rushed to the start I was aware of an unpleasant feeling between my legs. I ignored it as I headed to the start keeper with 20 seconds to spare. 

5,4,3,2,1, go.

It did not take me long to work out this annoying pain. The filler cap of the speedfil was catching my knee on every revolution. I spent the next couple of miles working out that if I averaged 80 rpm and was going to be cycling for about 250 minutes I would be slowly eroding my knee 20,000 times. I really should try these things before a race. 

Still the rough road surface at 5 miles meant I could refocus on the job of keeping my disintegrating tribars (didn't quite tighten the bolts properly) from falling into my front wheel. 

The next 95 miles were a case of ignoring which bits hurt most - my undercarriage, my knee, my legs or my head.

Rupert was going like a train and ahead of me at 50 miles and I was pleased that my legs didn't fail me on the last circuit to finish just over a minute in front of him. It was probably my increasing power to weight ratio as I decreased my weight through skin erosion and dehydration. 

There was then a pleasant tailwind for the 4 mile ride back to the HQ where I quickly donned my trainers to see if I could run for an hour after the bike. I could - with the thoughts of post race cake delights urging me on. 

So I have learnt that: 

  • I should build and test my bike and hydration kit before race day.
  • You can do 5 hours of exercise on 1.25 litres of drink but preferably if there is a very well catered tea and cake venue where you finish.
  • Riding on a dual carriageway in the rain is no sensible way to spend Sunday morning.
  • It's great when it is over.

 Loz

 

Tri-Star 111 Milton Keynes

Tri-Star 111 Milton Keynes

WARNING DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME

The below event was completed by a non trained triathlete so you don't have to go through the same pain

First thoughts of the weekend were:-

  • Why?
  • When was this a good idea?

The race brief described an 'Event village'. Trade descriptions act was being broken there I think. 2 tents in a field with some racking didn't instil me with confidence.

Quick drive of the bike course made the confidence rise slightly until the last 2k and a big hill appears. What made it worse was the realisation that I had to do it 3 times.

Race Day

4:40 is an ungodly hour FACT. Breakfast at that time is even harder, what makes it worse is the sight of late night revellers sharing breakfast with you and thinking that used to be me.

What a difference an afternoon made. When arriving at 6 the place was fully set up looking much more pro than the day before. 199 competitors who looked like they knew what they were doing, and me. A quick 'morning' to Phil Graves completed my time bumbling around transition.

I never realised how quick the last hour before start can go. Off to the lake we went. The sun was out the lake looked great, a quick brief and it was no turning back 'get in and warm up'.

Now I've never done mass start races before. Where do you go? Back,side, in the middle. I opted for holding back and went off steady. To my surprise my steady was much faster than most of the people in front of me. Oh well best go over the top then. Everything came together; I could sight and keep pace. The last 200m was into the sun so you couldn't see the last 10ft long 5ft high marker buoy, act like a sheep and follow the others.

I got a great helping hand out of the water in a very respectable time of 20 mins. The first thing I see is Claire beaming at me (damn better run into transition then).

Transition wasn't a great performance, being a bit of a tart it was on with the socks, on with more padded shorts and off.

Now I haven't cycled 60 miles before so I was a bit worried about that. Head down and stare at the computer telling me the average speed. Keep that at over 15mph and I'm doing well. End of the first lap and the hill appeared from round a corner. Just to make it worse the camera man was half way up the hill. I thought it only fitting to call him an evil sod.

I now have respect for the ability to eat whilst cycling. How do you peel a banana at 20 mph? Badly, seemed to be the answer. The only option was smack it on the tri bar and suck the mush out, well it made a difference to gel after gel

The best bit of the cycle is the last 5k back to the start/finish. I had fresh tape on the tri bars and came through the line to Claire's shouts of encouragement at nearly 30mph in the best aero position a 14 stone man can get into.

The 2nd laps aim was to do it in the same time, I was 5 mins slower so not too shabby. The 3rd small loop was spent thinking 'can I run after this, is there anything left?'

Quick bit of Webster's factor 100 and I'm off for an afternoon run in the sun. Well those of you that know me know how much I LOVE running!

It started well for the first 2k, after that my shins hurt like hell and forced the walk of shame. Still my best discipline. Could I do 3 laps of this? Damn right I could, I'd got this far and I wasn't stopping now. 2 laps down and the pain got greater but the speed walk got faster.

Now I had read the race website where it said how to get the best photo, so in the last 100m before you turned into the finishing Shute the glasses came off the hat was adjusted. The marshals said 'You wanna look good for the finish line'. The only thing that came to mind was saying 'Does my bum look big in this?'

Turning the last corner was great, red carpet pom pom girls and people shouting your name. I had done it, the fat bloke from Hassocks who swims, cycles and runs a bit completed the longest race of his life with a genuine smile on his face 5hrs 31mins later. Claire was there patiently waiting to cheer me over the line.

I didn't need to worry about here being lonely for 5hrs. She was talking to all the pros from all over the world. But never fear the fat man in a tri suite will be with you soon.

Being told well done from an Aussie pro that Claire had been talking to was a nice moment for me, these guys are all so down to earth.

I would recommend this race to anyone who doesn't like a long run. It was amazing to do and complete.

I would just say don't try this without any training, I did and it hurts  A LOT

Final times

  • 20mins 50 secs swim
  • 3hr 45mins bike                                             
  • 1hr 10mins run

 Total 5hr 31ins

 Tim Cresswell