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Wealden Manic Tri 2014

Wealden Manic Tri 2014

On the warm and sunny morning of Sunday Aug 3rd, four MSTC club members converged on the normally private estate of Newplace Park near Uckfield, to take part in the Wealden Manic Tri 'Club challenge', one of several races organised by HedgeHogTri that morning on the same circuit.

Jean Fish, Mark Jordan, Lucy Williams and Phil couch competed in a super-sprint relay race, each leg consisting of a 300m swim in a positively balmy lake with water temps above 20 Degree C and a 10 km blast on the bike around the lanes near Framfield which was undulating, but still pretty quick to ride. Then followed two laps of the stunning Newplace grounds, skirting the lake in which we had swam and through a cool section of woodland, before dropping into a gully and back up to the start/finish area for another circuit. Anxieties started to build as we  assessed the competition: Mark pointing out that we had a GB age grouper in one of the Steyning teams, Jean declaring that the champagne post charity swim the night before was a bad idea and finally Phil skulked off to the bushes to get 'in the zone'…

The support crew of Lucy's partner Keith and the cheeky face of 2 year old Poppy arrived just in time,  providing Mid Sussex crew with an extra few cheers for each lap completed.

The race format dictated that we competed in Female, Male, Female, Male order. Jean pluckily volunteered to go off first in the mass start, also deciding that she would complete her first ever Non-wetsuit open water swim: go girl!

The first leg was led out of the water by the age-grouper from Steyning AC, who completed the 300m swim in a blistering 4 mins and 8 secs, before hot footing it up to transition. Those of us not in the water looked at each other, realising that there was going to be a hotly contested race. Jean completed her swim and began the chase down, her bike going well barring a small detour due to confusing signage and completed a run that saw the field group up nicely for spectators and competitors alike. 'Oh F&*k' she cried as she ran past on her first lap; perhaps the first and last time we will hear Mrs Fish swear in a race!  At this point 'Steyning A' were well out in front, but a few minutes covered the remaining teams and everyone had their race face on! One of the most amusing parts of the day had to be the look of relief on Jean's face when she had realised that she didn't have to do the whole thing all over again.  None of us had realised that she was waiting in the wings to 'go again' and was worried about getting home in time for Rose's Hen Night!!

Mark was next off, scooting down to the lake in quick time, before taking the plunge and completing his lap, (including the run back up to transition) in fewer than 6 mins. He then completed one of the fastest relay bike times of the day and ran his socks off, catching at least one of our targets in the process. It was impressive stuff and for someone who trains solely for long distance events:  his times showed that he still had plenty of fast twitch fibres to employ!

Mark handed over to Lucy, who has been focussing on Duathlon recently and was concerned at not having swum for over 6 months. She completed her swim without fuss and then showed her strength on the bike, scooting around in 23 minutes. The Duathlon training focus was even more obvious on the run, Lucy completing the fastest female run split across all of the events staged at Newplace that day.  Whilst doing so, she also reeled in another team and made ground on Steyning A, who were still a few minutes ahead:  we began to think we could win the relay event for MSTC.

Phil was next out and after the effort already put in, was determined not to let the team down. The swim was slightly surreal as barring Paul hedger on the pontoon, a chap on a paddle board and a very concerned looking Mallard, the lake was empty. Once back through the handover area and hearing the shouts of encouragement from team MSTC, he tore off on the bike leg like a Jack Russell chasing a bunny, soon wishing that the 10km bike was even shorter as the adrenaline rush subsided. Once out on the run, things settled down and Mid Sussex consolidated their second place, the gap to Steyning A closing, but just too wide to bridge.

We were all delighted with our performance and really enjoyed the sense of 'team' that you rarely get in a multisport event; it had been a great mornings racing. After a thrilling race in a fantastic local setting, we all vowed to return next year to take the crown from Steyning and bring it home to MSTC: roll on season 2015!

Results:
http://www.hedgehogtri.co.uk/web/hedgehogtri/results.html

Ride London 10 August 2014

I used to think of myself as a fair weather cyclist.  Not any more, after having battled through the back end of tropical storm Bertha.

On 10 August 2014, "Team Fish-hook" (Jean Fish, Mike Hook and I), embarked on the Prudential Ride London 100 bike race.  Taking in the sights of London and the Surrey hills, it is the biggest cycling sportive in the UK.

It's fair to say we had been training over the preceding 2 months in the most glorious sunshine.  One barmy Sunday, I even had to stop to buy sun cream.  However, the weather had different plans for race day, forecasting torrential rain and high winds.  

When we registered at the Excel centre two days before the event there were countless people in a blind panic at the waterproof gear area.  An amused worker told me they'd cleared their entire stock of jackets the day before and had had to get an emergency delivery overnight.  Still, there was no rain to be seen outside and we were confident the forecast couldn't be as bad as predicted.  With some reluctance Team Fish-hook agreed we would pack our overshoes 'just in case'.  I don't think the reality of situation really sunk it until it was too late.

We arrived at the start line at 7 a.m. in Stratford and got into our allocated wave positions.  The role out of 24,000 riders from the Olympic Park was seamless and impressive to say the least.  There was no rain at that point and morale was high.  We were however, disappointed to learn that the organisers decided to cut out Leith Hill and Box Hill from the ride and reduce the distance from 100 to 86 miles.  Little did we know what a wise choice had been made.

The first 20 miles took in the sights of London, going through Stratford, the City, along the Embankment and out through Chiswick.  Riding through London with no traffic lights or cars is nothing short of a privilege.  It was exciting to see the Tower of London and The Eye as we sped past, and to ride under the Thames through the Blackwall Tunnel.

It was only when we reached Richmond Park that the heavens opened.  The rain was so heavy we could barely see in front of us, water was streaming down our faces and into our eyes (glasses or no glasses), and the roads started flooding.  We were wet to our skin in minutes and our brakes were pretty ineffectual.  I was then truly grateful we would not have to tackle any large descents in these conditions.  The sudden downpour caused a jam.  We were made to stop and stand in the rain for 20 minutes along with the other 6,000 rides trapped in the park.  You just had to laugh at the madness of what we were doing, voluntarily, and how far we still had to go…

The next 66 miles become much more of a blur in mind.  Time bent to feel as though it were passing both slowly and yet extremely fast at the same time.  We became acutely aware of the danger of the other swerving riders around us and our failing brakes.  It was certainly novel to be cycling through puddles that were up to a foot deep and I have never avoided cycling on drain covers so intently.  The aim of the day turned from racing into completing the event accident free.  We devised a genius plan to locate each other in the crowd and try to stay together - by someone shouting 'Fish' and waiting for the other Team members to respond with 'Hook'.  As I said, it was genius.

We did have some rest-bite from the rain and enjoyed speeding along three a breast as fast as the crowds would allow along the flat of closed dual carriageways in Surrey, and having snack breaks of ISO gels, Jelly Babies and Builder's Bars.  I should say it wasn't entirely flat -the climb at Newlands Corner warmed us up nicely.  There were friendly crowds cheering us on as we came back into London through Kingston and Wimbledon, allowing us to pretend (however fleetingly) that we were part of the Tour de France.  

We managed to stay together to sprint up the Mall and claim victory as three of the 20,709 riders across the finish line.  We may not have cycled 100 miles but we took on Storm Bertha and won.  After careful thought, it was decided that none of us would attempt the double arm raise off the bike celebration (for fear of falling on our faces).  We'd had enough adventure and mild peril for one day…


The ballot for Ride London 2015 opens on Monday, 18 August 2014.

5-3-1 Charity swim 2014

5-3-1 Charity swim 2014

The 5-3-1 charity swim was a great success with several participants completing all the distances on offer to swim a whopping 9km! Early reports indicate the event has raised over £1000 for the Lauren's Silver Swimmers charity. Louise and Stuart Silverlock were most grateful and sent the following letter through to Mark Jordan. 

Dear Mark,

We wanted to write and thank you for organising the open water swim at Ardingly on 2nd August 2014 in aid of Lauren's Silver Swimmers. It was an extremely emotional day for us as it brings to the forefront again the loss we have to go through on a daily basis. Although the charity was something we wanted to achieve, it is still immensely hard to put into words how we struggle on a daily basis.

I would be grateful if you could forward this letter to everyone involved with the day along with our sincere thanks for the kindness shown to both myself and Stuart. It highlights in more detail the aim of the charity which I found somewhat difficult to convey yesterday.

LaurenAs you know, we lost our daughter Lauren in December 2012 aged just 9. Lauren was born at 24 weeks and spent the first 6 months of her life in many hospitals around the country. As a result of her extreme prematurity Lauren was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Lauren was a fighter from birth and seemed to take great pride in proving all the medics wrong. We were told of many things Lauren would be unlikely to achieve, although what they didn't realise was her great strength and personality that would prove everyone wrong. Lauren achieved everything in her short life and much much more.

When Lauren was a year old she was given Aquatic Hydrotherapy treatment which was to prove invaluable to her overall wellbeing and body strength. However this treatment was given to her for only 6 weeks, having one half hour session each week. It was then up to us, as her family, whether we were able to continue to provide Lauren with further treatment, of which there was no question. The treatment in the water has outstanding results, allowing children like Lauren to achieve their full potential. This treatment however is expensive, costing in excess of £45.00 for a half hour session. Of course we did our best as a family to ensure she received this treatment weekly as it was clear that the benefits were huge. Lauren enjoyed her sessions and it gave her an experience that most children take for granted, swimming.

The focus of the charity is to be able to subsidise the cost of Aquatic therapy for children that would benefit from regular and constant treatment. Our long term dream is to build 'Lauren's dream', an aquatic pool available for all.  

With the generous support of people like you and all of those involved with the swim, we will be able to help many of these children.  

The generosity of everyone yesterday, giving their time to take part in this event, is something we will never forget. I know the final figures haven't been calculated as yet but the amount that has been indicated to us is truly amazing and it is thanks to people like yourself, dedicating so much time and effort in organising the event, that will enable us to continue to work towards 'Lauren's Dream.  

Thank you to everyone that was involved in the day, the organisers, the people in the safety boat and canoes, the people on the side ensuring no-one skipped a circuit!!, and to all those that entered the water and swam for so long. I really am humbled at what I witnessed yesterday and feel thank you is not enough to show how much we appreciated you all giving your time for our charity.

Best Regards 

Louise and Stuart Silverlock

 

For more information on our charity and upcoming events please email me lasilverlock@yahoo.co.uk .