Race Reports

New Forest Middle Dist - 25 Sept 2011

/media/16431/tri_banner.jpg

An early start having racked the day before, at Fordingbridge, and overnighted at a friend's house. Alarm at 4.15am for breakfast and then a drive to the fabulously named "Sandy Balls Holiday Camp" to park up and take a bus transfer to T1 and the lake.

Standing by the lake at 6.30am, I was questioning my sanity but at 7.10 we (old farts) followed Wave 1 (Quick Men & Ladies) into the water which was surprisingly warm (unlike Hever last year which was surprisingly freezing!) and at 7.22am we were off for a 1.9k swim. It all went well and I enjoyed myself. I estimate that I was about 35/36 mins for the swim but T1 was a bit of a mare as I got caught up trying to put dry kit on a wet body but my splits show 42 mins for Swim + T1. There was a bit of a run out to the road which was partly on mats but then on mud/sand which was okay except my Shimano cycle cleats clogged up and wouldn't clip to my pedals. Off the bike, clean the cleats, back on the bike and not happy.

 

The bike was more hilly than I expected and why is it all the flat stretches appear to be into a head wind? Perhaps I was travelling very fast (!) (wise up Andy, the time says otherwise). Great scenery with plenty of wildlife - horses, ponies, donkeys, cattle - and a lovely moment when a bull wandered out in front of me causing a slalom avoidance manoeuvre that had fellow cyclists applauding my cycling agility - but that was about all there was to applaud.

 

On reflection I found the bike tough (very undulating with little remission from climbing) and despite covering more than this distance regularly in training with Jeff & Peter - at about mile 45 the quad cramps started and it was  almost the Sussex Sportive all over again! So I pulled back on the speed and nursed my legs to the finish and after 56 miles it was a relief to get off the bike and dump it in T2.

 

Into the tent, off with the cycle kit and deep joy to pull on the trainers for the run. My split shows 3.32 for Bike + T2.

 

And off I plodded. No whippet out of the blocks as per usual but more a cart horse with one goal - to finish what I'd started.

 

A cross country half marathon is very different to my usual road races and I found it tough, especially with my thighs in shreds. Fortunately, I teamed up - at about mile 7 - with 2 other runners having similar fun, to see each other to the end. The final hill nearly killed me and my quads were spasming (quite odd to watch) but after 2.40 (an hour longer than my average half marathon time) I crossed the line and never has a chair been so welcoming.

 

Final time 6.55.39. Was hoping for somewhere around 6 hrs but I have re-aligned my expectations, since!!

 

What have I learned? Not to over estimate my own abilities and not to under estimate the course.

 

But more importantly I found out that even during the most negative parts of the bike course - when I was unsure how much further there was to cycle, when my legs were killing me, when I started to think there was no way of running 13 miles and when I just wanted to give up - that there is a part of me that refuses to give in. I was not going to let all that training go to waste, I was not going to tell everyone I'd achieved a DNF and, more importantly, I was not going to let myself down.

 

I don't care about the time. I'm proud to have finished such a huge race. To expect your body to deliver for 7 hours is a massive ask. Ironmen? Hats off guys - I'm in awe.

 

Andy.

 

Ps Perhaps now, I can be upgraded on The Forum from "Sprint Distance" athlete, to "Middle Distance". I feel I have earned it!

 

pps My mum made me smile. "I'm so proud of you, Andrew. You have to remember though, you're 53 and not getting any younger". Ouch!!

 Author: Andy Miles

European Long Dist Tri - 21 Aug 2011

 A fabulous Finnish finish

If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be on the start line  of the European Long Distance Triathlon Championships wearing a GBR tri-suit I would have told you that you may have overdosed on performance enhancing but brain befuddling "supplements". But there I was, feeling something of an imposter, amongst Europe's finest age group and pro athletes, pondering quite how deep the "deep water" start was going to be and if someone was suddenly going to let me know my selection was an unfortunate clerical oversight.

 

When I was offered a place on the team in February (you get a "Congratulations you have been selected e-mail") I looked up the weather in Tampere, Finland, where the race was to be held. -20c by day didn't look great and the 160cm of ice on the lake seemed to suggest skating drills should replace swimming ones.

 

Luckily there was no ice to break as the starter ordered us into the water. Whilst the balmy water temperature (19.6c) was comforting, the thought of a 4km out and back swim was rather scary to a landlubber like myself. When the team GBR race recce took place the team manager pointed out into the far distance beyond the horizon line.. "and somewhere out there is the turn buoy". Luckily my customary swim start tactics left me with plenty of feet (well all of them actually) to follow. I managed to find some kind of rhythm and sensed I was heading in the right kind of direction. This was confirmed as the leading age group ladies caught up and swam over the top of me.

 

Whilst the woman on top wearing rubber water play fantasy may be some people's idea of fun I didn't take too well to this assault. My survival instincts must have kicked in and I swallowed several gallons of Finland's finest lake water to act as ballast and enable me to remain submerged whilst the girls tap danced on my head.

 

I must have swum round the buoy at some stage as I could see the footbridge near the Olympic Stadium HQ where transition was. With great relief I hauled myself unglamorously out of the water happy to be alive and not experiencing the dreaded cramps that have reduced me to tears in the past. I was further uplifted by the cheers of support from team Wintergold (Daisy, Daniel, Alice and her parents had all come out too).

 

The bike leg was a confusing 6 lap effort that included lots of well marshalled roads, a section of motorway and a scalextric style cross over where you went from being on the left side of the road to the right with on-coming riders doing the opposite.

 

I was making quite good progress but couldn't push too hard or drink as my stomach was complaining about the small pond ingested during my encounter with the fast ladies. By lap 3 this pond was trying to make a bid for freedom sometimes up, sometimes down and sometimes both. Not wanting to break the strict ETU rules on revealing various bits of anatomy and not wanting to soil my new trisuit I skidded (no, not that kind of skid) to a halt outside the stadium. "Where's the loo?" I shouted at the congregated mass of spectators and officials. Various shrugs and looks of confusion suggested that my lack of Finnish ("missa on vessa", if you ever need to know) and coherency made me look rather

 

I decided to head into the stadium and search the myriad of corridors for the room I was increasingly desperate to locate. The combination of shiny floors and cycling cleats is not good. Add in a dose of panic and the dramatic backflip with double twist was inevitable. Picking myself from the floor I spied the facilities required and some 7 minutes later I emerged from the stygian gloom to remount my bike several kilos lighter. The next 3 laps were more comfortable in spite of the rising wind and the continuing game of Russian roulette at Scalextric corner.

 

Going into T2 it was lovely to hear "Go Daddy go" as the Wintergold cheerleaders made their presence heard. A leisurely transition (not forgetting a handful of chocolate éclairs for comfort and energy) and it was off on the scenic 4 lap lakeside run. It was quickly apparent that I had forgotten to pack my running legs so I settled into a 7'50 mile plod and cheered the other GBR athletes as we crossed paths (but not in the Scalextric manner of the bike course thankfully). The pro athletes were simply amazing and were already approaching the last of their 20 miles at a pace I could only dream of.

 

Every lap the family fan club gave me a boost as I tried to keep the numbers of people passing me level with the numbers of people I passed. A helpful Finnish age grouper swapped an éclair for details of the (totally unmarked and off course) loos. The slightly lighter load meant I picked up to a heady 7'49 mile pace and rewarded his kindness by overtaking him with a mile to go.

 

It was a really special to finish (and not in last place as I had feared) in an Olympic stadium in front of your own family.

 

A lovely holiday followed where I could spend some quality time with them and not my wetsuit. The lakes and sea were fabulous as were the Spy Museum and the Viking Feast. A better post race celebration would have been hard to find.

 

So for any of you dreaming of wearing GBR on your front I say keep on trying and keep on training - eventually you will be so old that you will get there!

 

Event details:

4k swim, 125k bike, 20.5k run

Drinks - 900ml High 5 and 3000ml lake water

Food - 3 High 5 gels and 4 eclairs

Fans - 5

Blisters - 0

 

Training details

3 key sessions a week for 18 weeks

 

Result details

Time 6.53.01 (1.09 swim, 2.00 T1, 3.13 bike, 1.30 T2, 2.28 run)

6th in age group

2nd Brit over 45 (would have been first without unfortunate loo incident)

61st overall including pros and all age groups

 

Number of medals I would have won in other age groups = Bronze 25-29, Gold under 20, Silver 50-54, Gold 55-59 (if only I were older or younger!)

 

 

Author:   Loz Wintergold

Bala Standard Tri Wales - 11th Sept 2011

Hi guys 
  
After a 5 hour drive I arrived at registration on Saturday in the pouring hard rain and wind!!! Welcome to Wales!!! Once i had registered i thought i would check out the swim course. Standing looking at this huge expanse of water, which resembled the Atlantic Ocean with white horses everywhere, i asked the guy next to me " where is the lake we will be swimming in?" He looked at me and laughed and said, "that's it there!" Oh shit, i thought let's hope the weather changes by tomorrow!!! Well it did!

Sunday morning arrived and the weather had changed, but for the worse, more rain and stronger winds!!! At  09.30hrs i watched the first wave go off and within a few minutes people were being pulled out of the water, very encouraging!!!! The next few waves were the same as swimmers were struggling against the elements!! Now it was time for my wave, with my heart in my boots, well in my feet, i made my way down the slippery slope and into the freezing cold water!! The first 750 metres was going to be out against the wind and some guy stood next to me said," you will need to swim fast otherwise you will make no headway". "Thanks mate", I said, " but i don't do fast swimming!" "Oh well, best of luck then", he said. By now the wind was so strong the waves looked like the side of houses and you could hardly see the marker buoys and i was bloody freezing!! 10.00hrs and  the hooter goes and we are off. Trying to get into some sort of rhythm i found almost impossible due to the waves, every time i tried to sight i was smacked in the face with what i saw was a huge wall of water!! Eventually after what felt like hours i made it to what i thought was the turnround buoy, only to be told by one of the rescue boats that it wasn't!!! I had to dig really deep at this point as i was feeling very cold and i knew i was struggling. From somewhere i found the self motivation to crack on and eventually i reached the REAL turnround bouy!!! I thought the 750 metre swim back was going to be easier with the wind behind but i found i was still struggling against the elements! After what felt like hours i could see the finish of the swim and remembered that we had been warned of the very rocky approach to the slipway. Suddenly a very friendly arm pulled me up out of the water and said " well done mate", i then managed a sort of run into T1 and was cheered on by the crowd and i heard the race commentator say i had taken 52 mins but i had done it!!!! I then had problems getting my wet suit off as i was so cold but at least the rain had stopped. After about 6 mins i was ready to leave transition. The bike leg was an undulating out and back course, on closed roads, and the first 12.5 miles was against the wind which was so strong that it was like cycling against a brick wall!!! By the time i had got to the turnround point i had overhauled several riders and on the return leg was able to make up more ground with the wind behind me. Arriving in T2 i decided to shed my thin long sleeve top i had put on for the bike as the sun, yes the SUN, was breaking through the clouds!!After 1min 35secs in T2 i was off on the run which was a 10k out and back undulating course on closed roads and, although the first half was against the still strong wind, i managed to overtake a few more and eventually crossed the finish line!!!

My Results:

 

SWIM: 1500m

52 mins 1 sec

T1

6 mins 16 secs

Bike: 40K

1 hr 20 mins 14 secs

T2

1 min 35 secs

Run: 10K

55 mins 9 secs

 

 

Overall time:

3 hrs 15 mins 17 secs

 

                              

Overall position: 461st out of 492 finishers [47 failed to finish and 28 of those were pulled out of the water!!]

Overall male position:                   374th

Age group position [over 60's]:   7th

 

I was trying to qualify to represent GB next year but due to the adverse weather conditions, which really affected my swim, i failed!!! But I have entered next year's race, so hopefully the weather won't be any worse and maybe I might JUST qualify for 2013 !!!!!

          

One consolation i suppose if I survived THAT SWIM I can at least call myself a swimmer!!!

 

 

Author: Del Hastings

 

   

Bar Race Birdman Swim 1000m - 14th Aug

After entering on the day and looking out at the grey choppy sea and grey sky I was thinking 'hmmm is this a good idea' I had also had the thought of doing the 2km swim rather than the 1km , but stuck to the 1km as it was the BAR event... I'm very glad I did.... There were surprisingly few club members present, although I know a some people were off marshalling for Olympic preparation events. In fact there weren't that many people entered at all...a lot of DNS maybe because of the weather.

So it was left to Colin, Andrew, Jules and me to share out the points.. Jules being very happy she was guaranteed 10 points and wanting to know how much of the swim she actually had to do to get them!

I wasn't at last year's event which I had heard a lot about; especially the strong current against you on the return leg and the choppy waves making it a lot lot harder than it should have been. So I was mentally prepared for a struggle on the way back. The start was a run into the waves and out to a buoy before turning round it and West. I dived in a bit early as after a quite a few strokes I noticed Jules was still bounding through the waves beside me! I must learn that dolphin diving technique for going through waves...anyway I got behind Colin and drafted him to the buoy , everything ok so far and then round the buoy and I had no idea where Colin was anymore. There are more important things on my mind, such as the waves being a lot bigger than they looked like from the shore. I found the out leg really hard, with the waves picking me up and throwing me down... at one point I was feeling quite sea sick due to the swell and the amount of water I was swallowing. So I stopped bilateral and just breathed on the one side which was better as I took on less water. At one point a wave just left my arms flailing out of the water and just left me static trying to spot anyone else above the waves to see where to go.

 

At this point I was still thinking that the return leg was going to be worse. I hadn't yet worked out the current was going the other way from last year. My joy at not having entered the 2km was lost in a struggle to survive the waves. Finally I spotted the turn around buoy and headed back and everything became a lot easier! The waves were now carrying me along with them and I really started to shift, a wonderful feeling after the battle outwards! So I regained my form and chased down a swimmer ahead and suddenly there was the finish. Navigating round the groynes I sprinted up the beach with encouragement from Colin to run... once a triathlete always a triathlete! He later told me I overtook 3 people from the water edge to the finish line :) thats 2 more than I did in the swim.

 

So all 4 of us finished and I think we all found it a struggle, I know Jules and Andrew did, Colin maybe less as he came in 8th overall! The times were surprisingly fast, at least I think mine is ...last time I swam a 1km sea swim it was 18 mins and that was one direction with the current, this time it was 15 mins which I find hard to believe given the battle outwards but I assume they got it right! 

 

So the 1,2,3 of MTSC men was Colin (8th), Trevor(20th) and Andrew(25th) and Jules(34th) was 1st woman :)

 

Writing this now I'm tempted to say it was a great swim , its amazing what the human mind is capable of forgetting, as really I found it pretty hellish. Halfway through I was seriously thinking I might not be able to finish the event if the return leg was going to be the same or worse as the outwards leg. Thank you for letting me forget how bad it was... bring on the next one!

 

 

http://www.rawenergypursuits.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Birdman-Swim-Provisional-Results-2011.pdf

 

 

Author: Trev Moore

Cow Man British Half Ironman Championships - 3 July 2011

It was only a training event and I had been feeling a bit poorly for the last week so it took a bit of cajoling to make me put the bike and wetsuit into the car as we went to see my folks in London. An enjoyable and late evening did little to enhance my enthusiasm as the alarm went off at 4am. Knowing that this was probably my best chance to test my equipment and body before my "A" race (the European Long Distance Championships) I reluctantly ate some toast and marmalade as I made my way along the M25 and M1 to a gravel pit in Milton Keynes.

 

Arriving at the venue I sensed that this is one well organised event and at a venue more attractive than I had anticipated. There was plenty of parking and plenty of loos. Massage tents, sponsor signs and transition areas were well marked out. Best of all were the giant (at least 20 feet high!) inflatable runner and cyclist that signal the way out of transition.

 

As the sun started to warm the air the first wave of 350 were under way. Being either a lady or an old git meant I had an extra 30 mins to decide what excuses I had either not to start or pack early on. Failing to think of anything I joined the 350 other athletes in my wave to waddle through the goose poo to the start area. The starter waited until I was facing the wrong way clearing my goggles to sound the start hooter. The water was surprisingly warm and unsurprisingly busy. I do not enjoy mass starts and took my customary place near the back and way off course. This would not usually have been a problem but the dry weather meant that my belly grounded several times and I had a bit of a tussle with some reeds.

 

Transition was a lame affair and poor Steve would be turning in his grave were he not alive and kicking. The bike course was a mix of delightful single carriageway and slightly less pleasant (but quite quick) dual carriageway. There were 2 and a ½ undulating laps were I managed to overhaul most of the fast swimmers.

 

Making sure I took a handful of chocolate éclairs - my current favourite energy source - I exited transition in an equally poor fashion to be astounded by the fact I could run. I mean proper running and not the Ironman plod I had been expecting. The run course was 4 laps of a mostly off road circuit with a couple of hills. Had I known it I was in Gold medal position coming off the bike (for my age group) but I am not sure I could have matched the 1.25 the eventual winner managed. I am also not sure if the accidental filling extraction hindered or helped me but I have made a note to go for something less toffee based next time. Still I was delighted with the 1.30 I did.

 

Through the finish area I found plenty of fruit, energy gels and water. By now it had become quite hot so I joined an increasing number of overcooked competitors in the lake to reflect on a great morning out.

 

It is a pity the other 2 Mid-Sussex crew did not make it as this is a super half. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to do a well organised but not overly challenging event.

 

Final score:

British Championship Bronze medal in age group

44th overall (out of 700ish)

4.35.07

Winner 4.04.57

 

 

A Finnish finish - proving I made it to the end in the European Long Course Championships in Finland and was 6th in age group. I would have won gold with my time in several of the younger age groups and all of the older ones! A full report to follow.

 

?Author: Lawrence Wintergold