Race Reports

LEJOG - 2012

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Land's End to John o' Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities; in the southwest and northeast. The traditional distance by road is approx 900 miles.

The five - Brad Williams, Dave Ricketts, Ian Anderson, Steve Alden and Mark Jordan are going to try to complete the journey in 9 days - indeed they have to because Dave Ricketts is booked to perform surgery on the 10th day and has his flight booked from Wick to Gatwick.

LEJOG might be a common and well trodden path but it will be  real challenge to the five.  

The planned route is to pedal just under 100 miles each day. Amazingly, Emma Alden is driving the support wagon for the entire journey; what a star!!!!  

They are raising money for Help for Heroes andy have set up a website for sponsorship/donations click here

There will be a daily post on this club website to keep you informed.

 

I should have the route up here soon so you could pop out and join in for a day.

BRAT Standard Triathlon

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5:30am - Race day starts at a hotel in Coventry where my first concious effort is to down the pint of sports drink placed next to the bed, closely followed by two hob-nob cereal bars (chocolate covered), a banana, and more fluid. It's the breakfast of champions. 

6:00am - I'm on the road getting increasingly nervous (and tetchy) but somehow navigate my way safely to the venue where it all starts to go quite badly wrong. I get out the car and promptly turn my ankle on a large lump in the ground, then to help me get over it the valve on my front wheel shears off as I put the pump on it - to put it in context, it is now 6:55am, race brief is in 15mins, and my wave has to be in the water in 25mins - my kit is not yet in transition, and my water bottles still need filling. 

Much swearing ensues and my (long suffering) wife sorts out the water bottles and my race belt whilst I flap big style and change the front inner tube. 7:06am - wheel changed but I am flapping even more as I think I pinched the inner tune when I put the tyre back on - It is pumped up and appears sound but I still flap like a good 'un. I dare not check the pressure on the back wheel - it was 110 last night - that will have to do. 

7:10am I get my kit into transition and roughly laid out. A quick sprint to the race briefing where I use the time profitably to get into my wetsuit and pray I heard all the important bits. I race back to transition to check the layout of my kit and do some last minute prep. I look at my watch and it is saying 7:25am - I should be in the water now!!!!! A quick sprint and I am at the water where I literally have enough time to let some water into the front of my suit and we are into the 30second countdown. 

The horn goes and we're off. I reckon it's 350m before I  man up and deal with the cold water on my face, but from then on all I can think about is whether I pinched the inner tube and am I going back to a flat front tyre. My mind is nothing if not focused! I try to practice all my drills to be hydrodynamic, and exit the water in 31mins - a PB (thank you Mark). Up the hill to transition pulling off my wetsuit as I go, at the bike my drills are a little slow but and I exit without further mishap.

I quickly get passed by one guy on a swanky looking bike, but he applies the brakes going down a hill shortly afterwards (pussy) so I pile on the gears and fly past him. Onwards we go and I quickly start passing the faster swimmers. I know I am pushing hard as my legs are feeling the burn after 5 miles, but I am having a great time hunting down those in front of me.

Into my second loop it starts to rain, but as anyone who has been cycling this summer will know - it is just part of your Sunday morning ride. I am now a little worried about the run as the course is primarily on grass and it could be a little slippery, but I am on a flying lap and stop worrying too much. All the marshals are awesome and manage the traffic to allow the bikes to exit junctions without danger - I shout my thanks to as many as I can.

Back into transition, where my wife (and fellow triathlon widows) are cheering hard. I look at my watch and realise I have done 40km in about 1:07 - ANOTHER PB!!! My goal for the whole event was sub 2:45:00 and I am well ahead of that target. Good drills follow and I am out and running (slight embellishment there - more of a fast shoe shuffle) on the four laps of a flat (Ha!!) course. What they failed to mention was the 50ft tall berm you have to climb/descend on each lap, but like a good boy I keep running (unlike some).

By the time I get to the final lap, I have been needing the loo for some time (drank too much lake water), and when the kidney pain sets in I debate the pros and cons of peeing on the run or darting behind a container - decency prevails and I lose 45seconds and 600mls - a quick dash to the finish and it is all over: 2:31:29. It's not every day you take 38mins off your PB and finish in the top half of the field (just)! 

My post stretch reward is copious amounts of fluid and a bacon buttie - nutritionally dubious but well received nevertheless. 

Lots of lessons learnt about prior preparation and planning - but all in all a very successful day out. 

Andy Lennox

ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Champs

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There were more than a dozen GB age groupers and we forged a pretty good team spirit. We met up for the race briefing and enjoyed the pasta party together. Most of us warmed up together at race start and spent the event giving each other high-fives plus cheers of encouragement.

Great award ceremony and dinner on race night. British girl narrowly beaten into second place in the professional category. A few podium finishes for GB age groupers, including Coventry triathlon legend Steve Howes (4 times Kona qualifier plus channel swimming buddy with Steve Mac and Jamie Goodhead).

Summary
Very Scenic tough hilly run/bike/run 10k/150k/30k.
This is THE Long Course Duathlon. Highly recommended. Terrific organisation (imagine Challenge Roth without the swim or the flat bits). As difficult as running/cycling Ditchling Beacon constantly for 8 hours or so.

Location
Easy 1 hour train journey from Zurich airpost. My hotel in Old Town Zofingen was 5 mins walk from train station and 5 mins walk from race start. Beautiful cobbled streets and pretty Swiss buildings like in a fairy story.Didn't have to cycle on the cobbled streets, fortunately.

Race
Gorgeous cycle up and down big hills with cows grazing beside Alpine Chalets. Some challenging sharp turns 30+mph but well marshalled and no traffic to speak of. Some flat-out TT aero sections for good measure. Insanely steep for running. Walked up and sprinted down every hill. Lots of people burned out running up the hills and were spent by the end, but I kept to HR zones and finished nice and strong.

Finished about 20-30 mins quicker than I predicted and came 6th in my ITU Age Group category. If I had been 3 months older, I would have taken bronze!!!!!!!

Results
I am delighted with my 8:06 and being top GBR athlete in my category on the day.
However, if Loz Wintergold had not pulled out with a knee injury then he would have finished some way in front no doubt.


See video clip
http://www.videoportal.sf.tv/video?id=adab32e3-97e9-414e-950b-4ff87ac19784

 

The male professional winner's speech got a bit awkward when he revealed the depth of his rivalry with the third place man. Throws darts at a picture of his rival to motivate in training. Read out a spiteful Tweet where the third place man falsely accused him of doping. The organisers cut his speech short when the world number one duathlete revealed he was learning to swim and intended competing in triathlon.

Lucy Gossage won silver as she represented the GE Great Britain Team at the prestigious Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Switzerland  https://www.britishtriathlon.org/news/silver-success-for-gossage-at-european-championships_2259
 
Gossage said: "I'm very pleased to finish second on what is definitely the hardest course I have raced. I was certainly not prepared for the true brutality of the runs! Eva had an incredible race and thoroughly deserved the win. I'm sure I'll go back one day now that I know what to expect!"
 
The men's race was won by Joerie Vansteelant of Belgium. Britain's Matt Moorhouse was 21st in a time of 7:47.26.
 
The GE Great Britain Age-Group Team celebrated more medals with Dominic Rohan-Gates (M25-29) and Nikalas Cook (M35-39) winning gold and Steven Howes (M50-54) adding a silver medal.

by Jim Graham

 

Bedford Triathlon - At dawn look to the east

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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

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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