Head Coach Teresa Harman explains her experience of racing a middle distance event for the first time:
My Day at the Monster Middle Distance Triathlon (1900m Swim/56m Bike/13m Run) on 19th August 2012
My day began with the alarm clock going off at 4.45am, I had not got much sleep since the night was hot and muggy and I was restless watching the clock. My stomach was already churning so I decided to take a tablet to help with that situation and believe it or not I only had 2 loo stops before leaving the house. Mark and I were staying in a lovely B&B about 10 miles or so from the race start so after a hearty breakfast of porridge we drove quietly to the venue. We had already registered and racked our bikes the day before which left us very little to do on the morning of the race except get our wetsuits on and walk a mile or so to the start of the swim. It was great seeing so many other B2T members just as nervous as I was and to chat beforehand helped my nerves tremendously; they were all very encouraging and supportive. After a very short briefing we were asked to get ourselves into the river ready for the start in a few minutes.
The water was a good temperature and you could at least see through it. The Elites were lined up in their pink hats at the front, whilst the rest of the masses in our grey hats mingled behind them. I decided I would stay well to the back and give them a minute or so before starting my first Middle Distance triathlon. The gun went off and as usual everyone began to fight for space and clear water watched on by Mark and I at the back but after a minute or so we decided we should perhaps get going too. It did not take us long to find a clear run on the right hand side of the river and for the most part kept in clear water. We overtook lots of swimmers without any hassle at all and it seemed a long way for me before reaching the buoy with around 200m to go to the climb out. This was up onto a floating pontoon and then a temporary ladder with marshals there to help you out of the water.
Everyone was fighting to get out at the same time and this I did not enjoy but I tried to stay calm and just walked along the red carpet trying to remove my wetsuit before getting into T1. Again I tried to stay focused and not worry about how much time I spent in transition getting ready but as I exited transition Pete Bryan shouted at me that I had had a really good swim and had gone from being last up to the top 1/3 of swimmers which encouraged me no end. I was now on the bike leg, 56 miles of flat fenland in temperatures rising to a height of 31 degrees. I was looking forward to this part as I put the training in and I knew there were no gruelling hills ahead of me. My strategy was to keep at 15/16mph throughout the whole ride and try not to get carried away with speed so as to leave something in my legs for the run. It was so important to get hydration and fuelling correct on a day like today so I ate even though I did not feel much like eating. My legs felt really good all the way around and when I stopped to fill up my water bottle and take a pee it was lovely to have Mark stop a minute or so behind me to offer me more encouragement.
Arriving back at T2 which was at a different venue to T1 I saw Continue Reading…
Alan Reade and Maurice Young give their impressions of this race, first Alan:
This is a decent and fairly local (an hour’s drive from Braintree) early season race, it also doubles up as a qualifier for the World Duathlon Championships so the standard is high and there is lots of shiny carbon in the transition area, don’t let this put you off though as there are competitors of all abilities taking part (including one very impressive 80 year old gentleman). It is a very popular race and usually sells out quickly.
The race starts with a 7.5km run around thevillage of Bottishamwhich includes one small ascent; otherwise it’s a fast & flat course with the last mile on grass around the school field.
Back into transition and out for the just over 40km bike leg. Again mostly flat with a few drags but in the Cambridgeshire countryside hills are not the enemy, the wind is and yesterday was no different with a constant crosswind for most of the race making the 40km ride harder than usual (being a stat freak I compared last years bike splits with this years where I could find competitors who raced both and found the splits to be in the region of 3 minutes slower this year).
Once again into transition and a repeat of the first run to finish off, which as you would expect is a lot harder second time around. Water and a banana await you on the finish line and prizes for the overall top 3 men & women and all the age group winners. This years race memento was a saddle bag with theCambridgetriathlon club logo on it.
A well organised race that has been going for a good number of years now and I can Continue Reading…
Want to know what ‘going long’ is really like? Club Chairman, Level 3 Coach and multiple Iron distance competitor, Mark Harman gives his expert view of this Autumn race in Spain.
Challenge Barcelona is an Ironman distance race, 2.4km swim, 180km bike finishing with a 42km run, set in Calella on the coast of Spain just north of Barcelona. Four Born2Tri racers travelled out to the race, the same team of Matt Shingleton, Pete Bryan, Paul Stevens and Mark Harman who successfully raced Ironman France 2009. Here is a story of the race.
An Ironman, sitting on the plane my back hurts, my legs are tired and aching, I am fatigued and unmotivated, unfortunately this is the flight out to the race and not home. I know this feeling well as Continue Reading…
Brian Powell takes you through the experience of ‘going long’ in this excellent race report from this race on 3rd July 2011 where not only did he beat the ‘Iron’ distance in 10hrs 55mins but he also came 14th in his age group, read on for more….
The Ironman Austria Triathlon takes place in the lakeside resort of Klagenfurt which is located in the Carinthia region of Austria. Lake Wörther is a large inland lake at the base of the Alps which is crystal clear and 24 degrees in July. Carinthia, Klagenfurt and the region around Lake Wörther provide the perfect setting for triathlon. For the week of the Ironman race Klagenfurt is turned into “Iron City” and you are made to feel very welcome wherever you go.
My training had gone well with no injuries or illness during my 6 months of preparation. My training plan had included two trips to Majorca. Once to attend the Born2Tri training camp and the second to compete in the 70.3 Ironman, both of which had gone well and recorded a 5hour 13min half Ironman. Continue Reading…
On 29th May 2011 Andy Baldwin took this one on (again!) along with Andy French
The main reason I did this race again was I had such a bad race the previous year, the weather was awful and I got on the bike frozen! So this year the morning of the event dawned with conditions looking to be ok except for the 20mph wind, which would come back to bite on the bike but a huge improvement on last year.
The transition area is about 400 metres from the swim area, the downside of this event is everybody has to be out of transition by 8.00 a.m. regardless of start time, so you could be standing around for over an hour with not much shelter if the weather is bad.
The lake, or should I say pond is a shocker. The deepest part comes up to your waist and under foot about twelve inches of silt. The course is two laps which at some points you can touch the bottom with your fingers so you can imagine visibility was nonexistent. Got through the swim without much drama and exited for the 400 metre run up a slight incline over grass to transition. As I said at the start not much to recommend the swim!
This is a two lap route on well signposted roads. The first part of the lap we had a Continue Reading…
Andy French reports on the sprint and super-sprint races and in particular the sterling efforts his wife, Alex.
A trio of Born2Tri victims made the journey to Oxford for this one, with congratulations to Alexandra French who was partaking in her first open-water event at the Sprint distance.
Conditions were favourable although rather windy and with some nice spots of the sun. Despite several visits to the loo and a few hundred yards of pacing around, Alex found herself in her new tri suit and shoes, ready to display her newly acquired ’Born2Tri skills’. The sun was beaming down at the 1400hrs start time, resulting in the quickest time we’ve seen Alex get into any lake to date. At the swim off, (the high elbows were clearly noticeable!) Alex did very well, keeping to the middle of the pack and completing the 750m swim in just over 18mins, (not bad for somebody who couldn’t swim front crawl a year ago). She followed this up with a great 19km bike time of 49mins and a 5km run in 27mins, giving a total time of 1hr 42mins 44secs – a fantastic achievement. I think she might be hooked, which will now mean an additional training partner for the Andy’s.
Andy French and Andy Baldwin found themselves in the morning Super-Sprint, following a ’keyboard / brain malfunction’ some weeks previously by Andy B…(remember kids, always check your entries before pressing the submit button). Anyway, need not have worried, it was a tidy course, kicking off with a lovely clean lake swim. The run to T1 was up a very steep hill into transition, which left us both looking for the oxygen tent about 400m later. I understand that the bike and run courses had been changed slightly from last year, but both were contained within smoothish roads within the grounds. The 13km on the bike was 2 laps, and the 3km run an ‘out and back’ affair. Andy French came in at 52mins 58secs, (1st in age group and 6th overall), followed by Andy Baldwin in 54mins 56secs, (3rd in age group and 13th overall). In a field of 150, not a bad show for Born2Tri.
Thoroughly recommended event, but we’ll try not to book it next year it if it clashes with the Halstead event again!!
Melissa Dowell looks back on competing and winning her age group (not to mention qualifying for the 2011 world championships in Kona) in this toughest Ironman race of them all
Bike 6 hrs 32 mins
Run 3hrs 53 mins
Overall 11 hrs 28 mins 1st in age group
Training had generally gone well and working with a coach, Jo Carritt, for the first time this season, meant I felt I had trained a similar volume but smarter.
Disaster struck on the way to the airport. My work colleagues and family had been struck down by a sickness bug the weekend before my race. I thought I had had a lucky escape, but oh no. I started vomiting on the journey to the airport. I had a difficult journey to Lanzarote. The following day was spent drinking flat coke and eating only a small bread roll. On the Friday, the day before race day, I was recovering but still only tolerating small amounts of food. I was concerned I may be a DNS or DNF!
Race day arrived. I managed a small bowl of porridge at 4:30 a.m. and set off to the start determined not to be late like last year in Nice.
The swim starts with the pros at the water’s edge and the age groupers standing 20 or 30 metres behind. I had been warned about the mad run down the beach and the brutal swim start so decided to line up early on the front of the 20 metre line. A full 40 mins before race start I was there, standing in the dark!
At 7 a.m. the gun went and as expected I was run down and entered the water with the first 50 or so swimmers. The swim was difficult for a few hundred metres but then settled down. My plan was to find some good feet and take it easy. I struggled to find good feet and settled on swimming behind someone who was a bit slow! Eventually I found a female pro and sat behind her. When I dived back in for the second lap I decided to try to find better feet. Boy did I find some. This chap was great, and I had a very relaxed but fast second lap. Exiting the water, I was 2nd female, behind Rachel Joyce (the female race winner) and 44th overall out of over 1200.
My plan for the bike course was to take it steady for the first Continue Reading…
Stewart Tanner took on this legendary race and here’s how he did it:
“A day (well a morning) in the Surrey Hills”
Having had a break from entering too many races, I had decided to put a few in the schedule for 2011, the main one being UK Ironman 70.3 in June. The HIMUK (as it used to be known) is a hilly affair, and unfortunately as our County is not blessed with too many hills I had decided to try to enter a few events which would help prepare me for the forthcoming challenge.
The Ballbuster has in the past been held in February, and as a result suffered from some harsh and unpredictable weather, although this year the organisers had put it back a month to early March, in the hope of better weather. The race itself is centred around Box Hill in Surrey – the venue recently announced as the main part of the route for the 2012 Olympic Road Race – and is comprised of 5 x eight mile loops – 1 x run; 3 x bike; 1 x run starting from the top of Box Hill. The gradient profile is not as bad as one might imagine, and the route can basically be summarised as 3 miles gentle descent; 2 miles flat(ish); 1 mile gentle incline and the final sting in the tail – 2 miles steep incline up Box Hill. The organisers warn not to get too carried away with the run on the ”downs” as they take a surprising toll on the quads, which can prove problematic when trying to push for the elusive finish line, the fifth time up “The Hill”. I try and remember this important advice.
As all experienced racers know, you should never try anything new out in a race for the first time. Don’t race in new trainers; don’t run in those new socks; don’t try that new carbo drink everyone else seems to be using……unless you have tried them out for a good period in training first. So, having bought a new “training bike” two weeks ago, and realised that my “training bike” was probably lighter than my trusted 15 year old Principia, and, perhaps even more worryingly, only sat on the bike on the turbo to get the most basic of set-ups , I decided to ignore this sage advise, and take my brand new, never before ridden, with slightly quirky SRAM “double tab” shifters, to the race…..what could possibly go wrong?
Registration opened at 06:30 and as we had opted to stay near the event the night before, the alarm didn’t have to be set for quite such an ungodly hour. A quick breakfast of toast and peanut butter and a last check in the bag to make sure no important essentials were left and I jumped in the car to head off. The thermometer told me it was -2. It felt a lot colder, and for the 20 minute drive to the start I had the dilemma of what to wear to race in – did I really need the three layers I had on, and possibly a fourth for my planned, high speed bike leg? I arrived at the start, none the wiser.
Registration was slick and efficient, unlike the last minute dash by everyone to the loos (details omitted) and the organisers had even thrown in (well as part of the £66 entrance fee) a very nice “hoody” sweatshirt for all competitors, rather than the usual “one wash only” race T shirt and water bottle which seem to adorn most (not too) goodie bags.
My shiny new “training bike” was soon racked carefully in transition, next to some bikes which were probably worth as much as my car, and the usual bars and gels were carefully laid out, in the hope that I wouldn’t forget them when I came stumbling in from the first run.
The 5 minute warning was called, and the very brief briefing came and went, of which I heard “Good morning ladies & gentlemen” and then could hear nothing else until “good luck” – I’m sure the rest couldn’t have been that important. The 295 other competitors were all now lined up around me at the start, all looking far fitter and keener than I felt, apart from maybe a rather large bloke who looked as though he had just stumbled across this gathering and thought he’d join in…..well at least I wouldn’t come last, I thought.
The klaxon went off, at 8.00 a.m. sharp, and we all shot off, at what I thought was an alarming pace – if we kept this up, I wasn’t convinced I would even make the road which was about 200 yards away. The pace did ease off, although not down to a level I had planned to run at, but as it seemed as though I was running backwards through the crowd, I though I better push on and try and stay with the pace – after all it was down hill, so I could afford to go a little faster….wasn’t that what they had said before? By mile 3 most runners had settled into their groove, and there were small groups running at their own pace. The only water station en-route at mile three was passed, by what seemed like most runners, un-touched and we pushed on, trying to remember any bad pot holes and how sharp the sharp bends were for the bike leg.
The route was very well signposted and marshalled, and as most sane individuals were still asleep, traffic was also very light. Before we knew it “The Hill” was upon us. 2 miles of up, with a few switch backs to break the monotony. I was surprised that my pace (up until now) had been good, although it was annoying that some people managed to maintain their pace from the flat up the Hill as though it wasn’t there. I kidded myself I was pacing myself, when in reality, I didn’t want to end up in one of the many ambulances which dotted the course. “200 metres to the top” my soon to be favourite marshal on the whole course shouted – wow that wasn’t as bad as I thought, and as I ran over the timing mat, pressed my “Lap” button on my very complicated watch – which told me I had done the first 8 miles in 1:02 – I was pleased – very pleased, but had I gone too fast? Now where did I leave that bike? The advantage of coming into transition after everyone else (well almost) is that it’s much easier to find your bike – another cunning ploy I kidded myself . My shiny new steed was waiting for me and after a quick(ish) change of shoes and then 2 minutes of dithering shall I? Shan’t I? Put my shell on…..I was off, out of transition, running across the grass collecting increasing large lumps of mud in my cleats. Within about 2 minutes I had realised that my decision to go “without shell” was a mistake. I was FREEZING. Having run up a steep hill for two miles you get quite warm. I was now biking down hill and getting very, very cold. The route on the bike (well the first 6 miles of each lap) is fast, being downhill, or pretty flat and on predominantly well surfaced roads. The bloke on the bike, which must have been the price of my car, then came past me. For a while I was pleased that I must have beaten him on the run and had a reasonable lead on the bike, and then of course reality struck. He was on his second (or maybe worse…third) lap!!
The climb up Box Hill is steady. Not too steep on the bike, although this is probably the worst part of the course for badly pitted roads. A small crowd of well-wishers had gathered at the top to see us whizz (or what that wheeze) by, before pushing on to lap 2, and the realisation that I could no longer feel my feet or fingers.
The remainder of the second and the third lap passed by in a similar fashion to the first, although on the third lap we had to ensure we didn’t plough into any of the lead runners who by this stage were already on their final lap. The final push up Box Hill on the bike started to take its toll. Someone had been out and steepened the gradient it seemed. It was no longer the steady climb experienced in lap 1. Still, my trusty, new shiny bike had made it all the way round. Nothing had fallen off; worked its way lose or broken. I crossed the now familiar blue timing mat in a time of 1:35. Only one more lap to go I thought……. as I saw the winner already relaxing by the side of the finish line.
As I left transition, and broke into what I laughingly call a run, I experienced the familiar “cement legs syndrome”. Looking down at my pace on my very complicated watch, I was concerned that the “auto pause” may kick in due to my (lack of) speed. However, after about 800 metres everything started to loosen up and I was soon into my pace, although somewhat off the pace of the first lap. I looked ahead and tried to reel in any one I thought I might stand a chance of getting past. Then I noticed that the big bloke at the start – the bloke who had stumbled on the gathering of us fine athletes – was ahead of me! How did that happen? Could he not count to 3 on the bike? Had he given up after the second lap? All sorts of thoughts passed through my mind as to how he could be ahead, but none of them, surprisingly, were that he was simply faster than me….although I was catching him.
Now last year, just after the football world cup in South Africa, I had cause to visit Johannesburg. In a desperate attempt to bring the kids something back “cultural”; “local” and “memorable” rather than the usual Toblerone from T3 arrivals, I decided to buy them two vuvuzelas – they were in the sale. Now these things are loud, very loud, so loud in fact that they are banned in the house and can only be used outside. It was about the point when I was just about to speed past the big bloke and mulling over whether to ask him what he thought of the 3rd bike lap, that I heard the very distinctive sound of the vuvuzelas. The kids had arrived to cheer me on. The first drive past (they were in a car at this stage) I think shocked locals and competitors alike. Headley Heath isn’t used to such things on a lazy Saturday morning. It did have the desired effect though, as every time I though about easing up, I heard the distant drone, and knew I couldn’t (well didn’t want to) slow down until I had past my cheering, adoring, very loud kids. The trouble was, they then drove only 500m down the road and did it again – when was I going to get the chance to rest? The other competitors were no longer too shocked by these loud outbursts and were also supported with equal gusto, which amused them (we think).
Before we knew it a small group of us were at the bottom of Box Hill – the final push. I forced down a gel to see me through. Mistake. No water, mouth stuck together in a claggy mess and to make matters worse, the rest of the group forgot to change down a gear and proceeded to romp up the Hill. A quick glace over my shoulder to make sure the big bloke wasn’t going to make a surprise attacking move on the hill, and I settled into a steady plod up the switchbacks. “200 metres to the finish” my now best buddy shouted, and with a final turn and to rapturous applause (I think) I crossed the line – looking down to see my split of 1:08 – I was pleased, very pleased, but I was also very very light headed and needed to sit down……quickly.
Out of 296 starters, my overall time of 3:53:09 saw me placed 187th, and 25th in age group out of 49. It was the first race for a while, and had gone well, and I don’t think I could have gone any faster. The winning time was a staggering (well to me it was staggering) 2:43, and after a quick prize giving ceremony everyone shuffled off home, and by 2.00 p.m., Box Hill was back to its normal tranquil setting.
In summary, a well organised race on good roads with some stunning views along the way…. I may even be tempted to give it a crack again next year.
Enjoy the season.