Check out Paul Newsome's full race report on Kitzbuhel here:
Check out Paul Newsome's full race report on Kitzbuhel here:
The pre race plan was elegantly simple: Arrive early, pitch the tent, register, curry, bed. The military however say that plans never last longer than first contact with the enemy - in this case myself.
8 minutes into the 117 mile drive, I announce to my wife that I have forgotten my wallet. About turn, collect wallet, try again.
12 minutes into the restarted 117 mile drive we hit the first of four traffic jams - at that point I decided the only course of action was to break out the wriggly worms.
For the uninitiated, these are some excellent sweeties made by the natural confectionary company that Helen swears that the gelatin content has improved her nails (race report and beauty tips, how I spoil you...). Two bags and 50miles later and I am feeling a little sick.
Anyway, four hours and forty minutes into the two and a half hour drive, we arrive at Rutland water to be met by a phalanx of MSTC members patronising the on site restaurant. I register, collect my t-shirt, and debate how many free gels it is polite to cram into your envelope before grabbing a large handful.
We pitch the tent in the field next door and walk the 7mins back to the restaurant after realising that neither of us can be bothered to drive into town for a take-out. Fish and chips are ordered, and we settle down to enjoy the company of our fellow MSTC athletes - who all decide it is time to head to their hotels several miles away.
We are forced into idle small talk over dinner until a passing Dalmatian called "Pebbles" decides she fancies my dog and destroys a good proportion of the seating area with her extending lead in her efforts to get to him! We are clearly causing a scene and decide it is time to head back to the tent.
The children of the two families camping next to us put on a delightful display of unruly behaviour until at 9:58pm (and two minutes before my "THAT'S IT" limit) they are ushered off to bed. Peace ensues, and we too head to our queen size inflatable mattress/divan, feather pillows and duck down duvet. Blissful sleep awaits.
At that point the geese decide its time to get up, and see no reason as to why we should not join them. I make a mental note to add "shotgun" to my equipment checklist, and attempt to return to sleep.
5:15 arrives too soon, and I am up flapping like a good-un. Breakfast is consumed en route to the facilities, and pre-race nerves start to show. Back to the tent where I collect the bike and my new Tri-bag, and off to transition I head.
Transition is well laid out, with plenty of space for us all. Considering I have the least distance to travel, I am still racked and ready a full 50mins prior to race brief, and 85mins prior to my start time. I wander around for a bit and try to calm myself with some caffeine. Eventually the MSTC posse start showing themselves around the briefing area and we club together like so many lemmings on our way to the cliff.
Race briefing had some memorable moments, with competitors being told to take their hands off their helmets, and a joke about Barrett homes. We wish each other luck, and start congregating in swim hat colour groups.
The race starts with a blast of the horn, and the first wave is off. Another wave heads out 10mins later, and then before my wave can go, the first swimmers are coming back in - 18mins since starting. I tell myself that jealousy is not nice, but my ego continues to chunter unkind thoughts.
It's our turn at last and off we go over the 30ft of sharp stones hidden below the surface. I start swimming as soon as I can, and am amazed by the visibility in the water. We head out to the first buoy, and I start overtaking those who went out too quickly. My sighting practice has stood me in good stead, and I round each buoy right next to it. Competition for this prime line is stiff, and I have a new black eye to prove it.
Out of the water in just over 31mins, and I run to the bike. Now I am very chuffed by this development - normally I shuffle up the slope doing a dog trot at best with my legs not working post swim. So shocked that I am actually running at this point, I forget to unzip my wetsuit until I am almost at my bike!
T1 progresses well and out I head on to the bike course. All goes well on the roads, descents are fast and ascents slowed by the weight of traffic stuck behind slower bikes. I manage a fair bit of overtaking and make it past the 8mile mark where my bike broke last year. Every mile from here is going into the unknown but I am loving it.
I keep the speed average up above 20mph and finally make it back to the main road thinking "not long now". That final 5.5mile stretch seems to last forever, with some great potholes on the descent into the last village almost breaking my wrists with the shock of hitting them. Up the final hill, down the link road, and back to T2.
I look at my watch and it shows 1:53. I have a target of 2:40 in my head so off I go. It's going to be close - but doable.
I keep my pacing short with high cadence to get my legs working, and all seems to be going well until the dam. A guy at the feed station shouts "High Five", and I start wondering why the hell I would want to high five him when what I really need is a drink. I grab the two cups offered and pour them over my head. As I grab another to drink someone else shouts "water", and the penny drops.
As the sun beats down across the dam I am now a sticky mess.
I tap hands with passing club mates as we go which is a great encouragement, but by the end of the second mile I feel myself slowing in the heat. From the dam to the turnaround point takes forever, but I make it to the feed station and ensure I douse myself in several cups of water to wash off the high five.
I focus on maintaining cadence and pray for cloud to hide the sun - but it is not to be. I look at my watch and realise that I have little chance of running the final 4km in 16mins as it has taken 30mins to run the first 6. I dig in for a bit, determined to be sub 2:45.
The final rise from the cattle grids up towards the watersports centre drains my legs some more, and I start hearing the tannoy more clearly - almost home.
Through the yacht park I go and I am greeted with my first sight of the finish line accompanied by the sound of cow-bells. The MSTC posse make some noise, and I am lifted enormously as I head to the line. I hear someone coming up behind me and I push on to hold off their attempt to beat me at the last.
I cross the line elated and lean against the railings not knowing whether to collapse or be sick - I know for sure I have left nothing out there on my race. Finish time of 2:43 - but a bit disappointed to not get 2:40. I console myself with a cheeseburger and tell tall tales to my friends.
Overall I had great race, and am proud to have competed at a national championships level for my sport - I am finally beginning to believe that I am a triathlete. Best of all I did not get chicked until 6km into the run - I must be getting better.
Andrew Lennox, 22/06/2014
Some Dambuster finishers enjoying a well earned beer (alcohol free, of course)
I entered this event as I wanted a change from doing Wimbleball again, so this was going to be a whole new experience. I drove down to the New Forest in Hampshire on Saturday and had no problems until I got within a few miles of the race headquarters when my sat nav took me down a very narrow track and I mean narrow!!! Eventually I found my way back onto the correct road through the National Park avoiding the ponies and horses and into the grounds of Avon Tyrrell House Activity Centre, which was where the event was taking place.
Luckily the weather was fine as I had to park my van in the middle of the field between the lake and the house. Many vehicles and tents were already there as the different events had started on the Friday with a Triple Enduroman [Iron distance] and 200 mile run.
Saturday's events were a Double and a 100 mile run. Sunday's programme was a Single, the Half and a 50 mile run!!
A real festival of endurance which was making me feel quite inferior as I was only doing the Half!!! As I am too old now to camp I had booked a room in the "House", so I booked in and then had a walk around to soak up the atmosphere.
Not to bore you too much I'll try and explain the layout of the area. The "House" sits at the top of a hill surrounded by woodland and slopes on one side down through the parking field to the lake approximately 500m away. The other side of the "House" is the "roundabout" which is the start and finish of all the events. Also it is the lap counting point and it is where the support crews congregate, so it is a hub of activity as there is always someone coming through completing either a lap or finishing and of course starting, just amazing support for everyone taking part.
There were some world class endurance athletes taking part so the place was buzzing! Later that evening I registered, I was going to be in Wave 1 starting at 08.30hrs and my race number was 148. It was then time for dinner, which was pretty good and plenty of it! No sooner had I finished dinner and it was time for the race briefing which was very informative.
I racked my bike in the allotted tennis court adjacent to the "roundabout" . Next it was time to get my kit sorted ready for the morning. Bedtime at last but could I sleep!!! Within two hours I was wide awake thinking about tomorrows event!! The rest of the night went the same way a couple of hours sleep then awake!!! After a fitful night I got up at 05.00hrs as I had to go for the bike/helmet check and I passed that with flying colours!!!! Filled up my water bottles next and laid out my kit in the change tent which was optional or you could put it by your bike. I chose the tent option as there was more room to change etc. and as I knew I wasn't going to win there would be no rush at T1 !!!!
I stood at the roundabout for awhile and just watched and soaked up the vibes. I got chatting to some guy and he told me I could leave my running shoes by his support crew tent which he said would save me a little time at T2. as we had been told at the briefing that as you completed your bike leg someone would take your bike from you and rack it so if you wanted you could leave your run shoes somewhere near the "roundabout". Great I thought every second counts!! But I was to regret this move later!!!
Next was breakfast, bloody hell no porridge!!! Oh well cornflakes would do and by now the nerves were kicking in so I wasn't that hungry!! Soon it was time to put on the penguin suit and waddle down to the lake!!! We had been told to take an old pair of trainers and leave by the swim exit as there were some stoney sections to overcome enroute to T1. The water temperature was not bad so I got in and had a little paddle around to ease the nerves!
It was 08.30 hrs and we were off! The swim was 7 laps anticlockwise round the small lake and after each lap you sort of pulled into a layby and called out your number! Like playing bingo!!! I have never swam laps before in a race so that seemed a little weird but at least I didn't get giddy going round!!! The next thing I know it was my last lap and I was approaching the exit ramp and I wasn't the last either as there were two others still in the water!! No they weren't ducks they were competitors!!!! Makes a change not to be last out the water I thought!!![ there was only 24 in my wave!!] and there was only a total of 48 competing in the Half.
Now it was a 500m run up the hill through the middle of the car park field to T1 pulling my wet suit down to my waist as I ran, well jogged!!! As the weather was looking good I had already decided to just wear my tri suit for the bike and run. So it was off with the wet suit, on with the bike shoes, a few metres jog to the bike rack and another little walk up a few steps and it was onto the "roundabout" for the start of the 5 bike laps. The course was undulating and at times went through the New Forest National Park, that was strange taking part in a triathlon and having to avoid horses, ponies and cows in the road!!! They look at you like they own the place!!!! At least I didn't hit one!!
There was a bit of a drag up Braggers Lane towards the end of each lap before re-entering the grounds of Avon Tyrrell House, then it levelled out before a very short fast descent to the "roundabout". Call out your number as you went over the timing mat and it was back out on the next lap. No mishaps on the bike and soon it was the end of the last lap and back onto the "roundabout" for T2.
As I dismounted I was told I had to rack my own bike back on the tennis court!!! So much for my hidden shoes for a fast getaway!! Of course I had already taken my feet out of my bike shoes before dismounting so I had to jog to the bike rack across tarmac and stoney ground and then back again to get my running shoes on!!! The plans of mice and men eh!!! At least I remembered to rub the grit off the bottom of my socks before setting off on the first of 12 laps.
The first two laps I felt pretty good and was running fairly strong for me! The course was all off road, very technical with tree roots [which had been marked with orange paint] and there were two spots where it was quite muddy and wet. It was a tough run route and each lap got harder, the sun got hotter and I got slower. As you entered the "roundabout" at the end of each lap you called out your race number as you went over the timing mat and the crowds were cheering and clapping which was a great feeling and certainly helped me push through the pain!
After six laps I had that feeling, you know what it's like, this is bloody hard and am I going to finish!! But you just dig in deep and carry on. At the end of the ninth lap I knew I had got it cracked as there were only two normal laps to do then the last lap you do a U turn over the timing mat and run the last lap in reverse so that everyone watching and racing knows you are about to finish your challenge. Oh my god what a fantastic feeling as you run round and the crowds cheer and clap and those runners going in the opposite direction high five you and clap!! I had a few lumps in my throat! Then it was up the last hill and down onto the by now infamous "roundabout" to the cheering crowds and the FINISH!!
Bloody hell that was TOUGH!! Will I do it again? Maybe, might even try the SINGLE!! What am I saying!!!!
swim 1.3 miles 51mins 9 secs a PB for me! 22nd out of 24
T1 5 mins no PB !!!
bike 58 miles 3hrs 31mins 31 secs another PB 15th out of 24
T2 3 mins
run 13 miles 2hrs 34 mins 31 secs 16th out 24
overall time : 7hrs 5 mins 11 secs a fabulous PB for me!!
overall position in Wave1 14th out of 24
overall position out Wave1 and Wave 2 33rd out of 47
the next youngest was 52yrs old 16 yrs younger than me!!!
I know it's been a long race report and probably boring but I just wanted to give everyone a feeling for the atmosphere and the race setup. Also I was so pleased with my overall time that I just wanted to share it with you all. Thank you all for your support.
Paul Newsome, Colin Chamber and Martin Shoesmith traveled to the Euro and World Sprint Qualifying event on Saturday 31st May. Being a youngster, Paul was rewarded with a 7.30am start, Colin and I, being very old, a 12pm start. This meant Colin and I travel up and back in a day, leaving Cuckfield 7.45am. The event is held in and around the international rowing center at Holme Peirpoint, a 2km long, perfect rectangle lake, about 1.7m deep (I could stand up).
Transition is interesting, it's a "double transition" area,
which means you have to leave your
running shoes in T2, all alone…with no bike for company. Which makes finding them amongst another 249 pairs potentially tricky. Its a good job I left a "flag"
to find mine, Colin's are bright pink so he was OK.
The Swim was nuts, 250 in our wave, I should have brought the
dirty washing to this big washing machine. There was a ton of weed
in the water, and for 150 meters it was getting stuck in my fingers
and feet, if we had got out at this stage, like they do at the
World Series, we would have all looked like a platoon of wetsuited
camouflaged SAS commandos. Exit from the lake is via a soft and
grippy blue carpet… just like the pros, heaven. Then 4
laps around the lake on the bike.
The event is a Mecca for BTF Officials, we were carefully watched from all angles, and 30 cyclist in our wave were "draft busted". There were 2 on motorbikes following us around and around, and Colin was pushing his luck drafting one of them. I escaped, as I had Colin's spare number on. Then T2 to find your trainers, then a run around the lake. On your run, you can see the finish line all the way around the lake and it was mighty tempting to take a quick dip across the 8 rowing lanes for my first ever 1st place.
On the run in, you can see the grandstand, hear the noise of the crowd, the blue carpet and the finish line. What a super fast time from Paul, smashing the club record by 3 minutes, what a great performance. Colin was on a massive PB, but a running injury ended his chances…it still counts Colin, that's 0-2 for the year BTW. You get your times straight away, icecream and home. I strongly recommend this event, its top notch. Allow 3 hours for the drive, buy bright loud trainers, and ask Colin for his spare number…don't explain
|(M) 25-29||Mid Sussex Tri Club||01:01:10||12:10||0.55||28:57:00||0.48||18:20|
|(M) 50-54||Mid Sussex Tri Club||01:04:47||12:43||01:03||29:36:00||0.48||20:37|
|(M) 50-54||Mid Sussex Tri Club||01:04:52||12:11||0.58||29:08:00||0.54||21:41|
Shoesmith 2nd June