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CPT Race reports

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FinishedBrighton Marina - 21 September 2003
Report by Karen Ayers

Six members, and Ruki, competed in this very hilly and challenging race, Bevan, Noel, Alastair, Karen, Mary and Theresa. 1000m swim, 32k bike and 8k run.

The swim is held in the Marina but you don't have to swim around the boats and the water didn't taste of diesel!! The water was fairly clear and you could see your hands and the feet in front of you. It was very salty and Ruki claimed she saw large white fish swimming around, but I'm convinced they were just carrier bags!!. The swim exit was rather tricky up slippery ladders onto a pontoon, then quite a long run to transition, through the shopping mall, across the road, round the Asda petrol station (superbly marshalled by our very own Neil Atherton), across another road, past McDonalds (but no time to stop for breakfast) and then into transition.

To exit the Marina you have to cycle round the one-way system then immediately up a hill. From there on most of the course is uphill!! Dean assured me it was no worse than a typical Sunday morning ride so I'll never believe another word he says!! There are a couple of particularly steep hills, one with a give way half way up it, the other curves at the same time and is so steep you can only make it to the top standing on the pedals. There's a fast flat and two fairly fast downhills so you can make up some time. The cycle is two laps so the second time around, with tired legs, you know exactly what you've got to face!!

The run was meant to be a flat out and back but there had been a rock slide on the lower promenade so the run was moved to the top promenade. This meant running out of transition, through two car parks then up the zigzag ramps that take you out of the marina and up to the cliff top to an out and back cross country run on grass with a couple of nasty little hills. To finish you had to sprint back down the ramps to the marina.

It was the hardest course I've ever done, harder than Tonbridge, but very satisfying when it was over and I was treating myself to post-race Jaffa Cakes!!!

This is a no frills race, with no t-shirts or goody bags (winners get a sports bottle for their efforts) and rather chaotically organised but if you are looking for a challenging course with great scenery and lots of hills then put this one on your list for next year!

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Clacton Olympic Triathlon- 21 September 2003
Report by Frances Greenall

It was great! A very good course for my end of season Olympic bid. Glyn and I travelled down together and arrived to register and listen to the race briefing. The sea swim started with a 15 minute walk along the prom to the start point. We went off in small waves of 9 people each and it was a good thing it was tide assisted. That actually means that you don't need to do much swimming to achieve a PB, for me a swim of 26 minutes, excluding transition! I did an individual medlay of strokes as the swell was making front crawl breathing a bit difficult, then up a ramp and back to transition for the bike. The start of the cycle course is not timed until you reach the main road so that plus a very fast and flat course meant a great cycle ride that I really enjoyed and another PB. The run was an out and back along the promenade, very pleasant and lots of encouragement from the locals. A final gravel slope led to the finish and I did it in my usual run time of 1:06, so that was very acceptable, overall time 2:57:56 so I am completely delighted. A great way to end the season.

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Perranporth Surf Challenge Triathlon - 14 September 2003
Report by David Blagden

The Perranporth Surf Challenge Triathlon claims to be the best in its field, this being only my 2nd olympic (ish) distance event I couldn't possibly confirm this, I can however compare it with my 1st at London this year.

The London course is flat.

The only stage which was flat at this event was the beach run, although the sand did have some contours. Mother nature also played its part in ensuring the swim stage wasn't flat. Considering the vast majority of contestants were part of lifesaving groups either at Perranporth or other local beaches a considerable amount of time was still spent deciding if the swim section should take place (it had already been red flagged).

Here's where my interest in this event came from, having surfed (without a sail) for ten years, I thought I'd have an advantage if waves were to arrive the day of the contest and arrive they very much did. There are several ways of sizing waves, let me just say that, having got around the second buoy after a swim parallel to the beach and a long spell in the washing machine on the way out, I turned round to see a watery wall approaching approximately 12 feet high, that's from eye level, the additional threat being posed by several people in the wave being propelled towards me. My mistake of wearing a wetsuit became even more apparent, as your best defense in these conditions is to dive down deep under the wave, exactly the opposite from the desired wetsuit design principles of being buoyant.

The cycle was a breeze too, a head on breeze at the one stretch of the course which wasn't uphill. The start of the two lap course was also memorable as it presented a long steep climb which fools you into believing its leveling out before dashing those hopes with another hill, I was glad to reach the summit on both occasions, heart racing, or to use the technical term, anaerobic. All this then a stroll down the beach and back.

The weather was beautiful, everyone was friendly, there was a good supporting crowd and everyone finished up on the beach with a beer, happy to be in the calm after the storm.

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The lakeHIMUK - 31 August 2003
Report by Stuart Westgate

For 2003, the third annual UK IronMan event moved from its previous spectacular venue in Llanberis to the serene Dorset country town of Sherbourne. Set in the impressive estate of Sherbourne Castle the race was still at Half IronMan distance - the organisers had (again) said that if successful, the race may well increase to full Ironman distance in future years. There were nine club members competing in this year's race, several of whom were attempting Half Ironman distance for the first time, and most were feeling pre-race nerves at the prospect of up to seven hours of racing before them.

Assembled in the early morning cold for the expected 7 o'clock start, a delay was announced by the safety officer due to poor visibility - a thick fog had settled on the lake and it wasn't until over an hour later and after much shivering and numbed feet, that the mist cleared and we were finally allowed to make our way into the water and across to the start line. The swim course had been subject to some discussion, fears about a mass start of 1500 competitors had been addressed a little by late changes to the course layout which meant the start would be in-water, competitors formed-up according to estimated swim time. Despite this, when the start horn sounded, the water erupted in a chaos of arms and legs with some people seeking the calmer waters of the far bank being cut across by those dashing directly down the length of the lake, circumstances that improved little until after the turn around the buoy at the far end for the return toward transition.

Out of the water, greeted by cheers from hundreds of spectators, we ran into the change tent grabbing our 'Bike Bags' from our numbered hooks and frantically pulled off our wetsuits. Moments later we collected our bikes and were back out cycling past the crowds and out into the Dorset countryside. First casualty - lying on the path being tended by a spectator was an unfortunate victim of a collision after a dropped drink bottle - making everyone a little more cautious as we streamed en masse toward the first hill. The bike course was undulating with a couple of big climbs and some very fast descents - the regular feed points offered water, Gatorade, banana and gels were a great improvement on last year. Again, a couple of nasty collisions on the fastest descent made people more cautious on the second loop and on the return into Sherbourne.

Into transition, bike taken by the crew as you run through, grab the run bag, change and out into the run. Hills. The two lap run route had a couple of painful hills which tortured the legs followed by a long, flat, picturesque route around the lake and the old castle ruins. The midday sun was by now burning down relieved only by the occasional shelter of trees. Most people were hurting on the run but finally the reward of cheering crowds as the finish approached for their moment of glory - across the finish line for medals and photos.

Claire, Greg & StuartGenerally, the race was well organised and went smoothly. Despite the routes having been laid out using GPS technology there was some post race speculation about 'short' distances but on closer analysis this seems to have been within the acceptable tolerance - a difference of a few minutes here or there. Overall, everyone seems to have really enjoyed the race and hit their target times - a few of us made a bit of a family holiday out of the event and several said we'd come back next year for another go. A Half IronMan club championship perhaps?

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World Duathlon Championship - 30 August 2003
Report by Syreeta Stracey

Got back from Switzerland after possibly the worst race I have ever had and that goes for some other athletes around the world. On race day the temperatures dropped so bad that 40 women dropped out of the race with hypothermia. There were ambulances all round the course picking people up who had passed out from the cold.

On the first lap of the run my shoulder freezed up and I had to slow down until the pain went. Then on the first lap of the bike couse I had a golf ball size cramp in my left leg, I was pedalling with one leg at one point while I was trying to get rid of my cramp. I then started feeling so cold that I was shaking uncontrollably and had cramps all over my body. As the race went on I just got colder and colder and at one point my body just shut down completely, I was completly disorientated, I managed to unclip one leg, but then I was just shaking and cramping all over. At this point I was on the last lap of the bike when Vikki Pincombe and one of the elite men came over unclipped my other leg and started rubbing my back, arms and legs to try and get me warm. Vikki gave me her jacket and after about 20 minutes she held the front of the bike and the guy held the back and he picked me up and put me back on my bike and pushed me on the bike 'til I could cycle again. I was so pale that my own mum and dad didn't reconise me when I cycled round again. When I got to T2 my feet were frozen to my cycling shoes and I was so disorientated I couldn't rack my bike back. I eventually got my shoes off and put my trainers on and went to do the 2nd run. As I was going up a hill my quadriceps went into spasms and I was just about to stop, when I felt someone grab hold of my hand, this Canadian woman pulled me up to the top of the hill until we got to a flat, then I was able to run (or shuffle) back to the finish. I have never felt so cold in my life. I was frozen to the bone. I was so distressed I was in tears all round the course. I didn't stop shaking 'til about 10:00 that night, and I was still cold all the following day. I was speaking to some of the male athletes and they even said that they wouldn't have coped in such conditions. Our team manager said that he has never seen weather conditions like that before.

On the up side, those that weren't affected by the weather did really well. Great Britain got the most medals. seven golds, eight silvers, three bronze, and the rest of the weekend was absolutly brilliant. I made a lot of friends on the GB team and other countries, the opening and closing ceromony were wicked and the highlight of the weekend had to be signing authographs, can you believe!!!

Anyway onwards and upwards, I don't think anything can get much worse than that. Some of us are going to go Italy to do the European Champs in October.

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Subaru Ironman Canada - 24 August 2003
2.4 mile swim - 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run
Report by Alistair Young

As far as the race was concerned it was touch and go whether it would actually take place due to the severe forest fires in the area. With only 18 hours to go we were told that the race was on but with significant changes to the swim and run courses. On race morning Chirs and I were on the lake shore with the other 2,000 competitors and although Chris was his ever 'unflustered' self I must admit my nerves (or more accurately my 'what the hell am I doing this for' feeling) were getting the better of me!.

Because the swim was now two circuits it became a mass of bodies and fists, reminiscent of either the local salmon swimming upstream on top of each other or more accurately the Crystal Palace Tri club swim training lanes on a Thursday night (particularly when Mick and Phil are feeling frisky!). That said, Chirs and I got through the swim with no bruises managing transition to get out on the roller-coaster bike ride.

> For me the bike ride was the hardest discipline and with two major climbs and 6.5hrs in the saddle it was my real achievement of the day. Chris had a good bike until 85 miles and then the impact of the final climb resulted in the re-occurence of a recent knee niggle.

Back into the host town Penticton I was grateful to at last commence the "sensible" part of the event! Once again the changed course created hundreds of bodies all over the place making weaving a necessity but unlike the swim most were so knackered that the legs were only generating versions of what could be called 'running".

Amazingly for almost nine miles I managed to keep a steady and comfortable pace clocking sub eight minute miles throughout. Both Chris and I had agreed that a sensible strategy at this stage will be to "run and walk" and I started this with 16 miles to go. With the crowds cheering their constant "awesome" and "good job", the familar faces and the ever present McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King the route actually went relatively quickly. Chris however suffered badly with his knee. The loop allowed us to see one another on several occassions and that gave some further encouragement. Despite his reduced movement and slower marathon time than Austria Chris still managed an overall improvement and with an event like this to go quicker is quite an achievement.

Finally I would just like to thank all those who wished me luck and those who helped me in my training particularly the Tuesday night track group (especially Steve S), Martin M and Frithy for all their words of encouragement (not!!!??) and those from CPT (especially Jon H for his swim advice).

Well, will I do one again.........never..........although I honestly think I could knock 5 mins off the swim and...................

Alastair - 1.09.40 (S) 6.31.39 (B) 4.00.00 (R) - 11hrs .56.10 (774 finisher)

Chris 1.18.12 (S) 7.07.07 (B) 6.16.09 (R) - 14hrs 56.18 (1687 finisher)

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Paddock Wood Half Marathon - 23 March 2003
Report by Karen Ayers

Paddock Wood, what can I say!! It was too hot, much hotter than last year, and that was bad. I don't know how anyone can do IM Lanzarote when all I did was half that run, with no swim or bike beforehand!! I feel quite pathetic.

I really wanted to do the run in two hours and thought that I could. I'd worked out my times for each mile and set off quite happily. I kept to my plan for the first six miles. I crossed the half way mark at 61 minutes exactly. I knew I couldn't make up any time but as long as I was quicker than my 2:07 at Stevenage I would have been happy. By nine miles I really didn't think I was going to finish at all. My feet were killing me, I'd got blisters on my blisters and felt sick. I'd stopped for water at each drink station but water wasn't enough in that heat. The last three miles were complete and absolute agony, it was only that my whole family (Bruce, Matthew, sister, brother-in-law, two nephews and my Mum) were waiting at the finish line that kept me going, very slowly and painfully to the end. I thought I was going to be one of those wobbly dogs at the end who collapsed and had to be taken away in an ambulance. I was really disappointed to finish in 2:09:35, but at least I finished and I was quicker than I was for the same event last year, so that's something.

I went to bed at 9pm but didn't sleep very well because my blisters hurt in what ever position I tried to sleep in. My quads are aching more than they have ever ached after any event and I look like a little old lady going up and down stairs, holding on to the handrails for support! It's always the second day that's worse so I won't be going far tomorrow!!!

No doubt, I'll be back again next year to see if I can achieve my two hour target.

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Last updated: 24 September 2003
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