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CPT Race reports

Up & Running

NB: These pages have now been archived. They are kept for information only and may contain broken links to pages that have since moved or no longer exist.

If you've competed in a race and want to write a report, even if it's only describing the course for people who might consider doing the event in future, please do. You can e-mail your report to the webmaster (webmaster@crystalpalace-tri.co.uk) for publication.

If you have any photographs to accompany your report you can e-mail electronic images. If you only have prints, give them to Karen at a training session, I'll get them scanned and returned to you ASAP.


ITU European Duathlon Championship 2006ITU European Duathlon Championship 2006 - Rimini, Italy
8th October 2006
Report by Ron Yee

One year after doing the London Duathlon and joining CPT, I found myself travelling with great anticipation to the European Duathlon Championships in Rimini - Italy in the GB Age Group Team. Despite the inconvenience of an extra day off work I opted to travel with the BTA group which left from Stanstead very early Thursday morning, leaving the rest of Thursday to reassemble my bike and Friday to train and familiarise myself with the course.

RonUpon arrival I was relieved to find my bike in its double coffin (cheers Nigel) already waiting for me, unlike Andy McRobbie (flying separately from Luton with his parents) who discovered that his bike had been flown to Milan because the hold on his flight was too full with other bikes.

Being more used to squeezing my training into the odd slots left after dealing with the demands of a wife and young family, it really felt decadent to have all ones time devoted to nothing but racing and I soon slipped into holiday mode but then I suppose it was one - certainly got more sleep than I was used to!

At the race briefing on Friday evening we were informed that the course had changed from that illustrated on the website (transition which was originally planned around a large roundabout had to be moved on safety grounds) meaning the bike course was now slightly longer at 42km but was going to be very fast due to being flat. However in order to slow down the bike course speed and to make the bike element more TV friendly there were additional chicanes and small detours introduced (this later proved to be the undoing of many athletes - including me). We also later discovered that the run course was longer but more of that later.

AndyOn Saturday the juniors were first off and moral was boosted whilst we were racking our bikes when news came through that Alistair Brownlee had got gold. Our attention was then turned to supporting GB's own world champion Catriona Morrison, Helen Lawrence and Michelle Lee in the woman's race but Vanessa Fernandez was uncatchable, leading from the start and constantly extending her lead despite not having a pelaton to share the work!

During the Elite and U23 men's race it started to rain and we saw the legendary Benny Vansteelant, who previously had a commanding lead, come off his bike and retire. Then the punctures started happening, we noticed that the elites would carry on riding their flat tubulars until they reached the aid station when they would be offered new wheels (never buy an ex elite wheel!).

Finally at 4pm it was time for the age group men's race. Due to the large field we were set off in three waves at approx three minute intervals. Andy was in the first wave with the senior men, then me with the veteran men followed by the amazing super vets in the last wave. The run started well and I really felt comfortable but after the first lap I noticed I was nearly a minute down on my race plan so I began to stride out and started to pass people - a great feeling! I almost caught up with Andy but knew that would be short lived as soon as he got on his bike (well he is a professional cyclist!) Run 1 - 11.6 km - 42m 55s.

RonIt was a relief to get on the bike and power away on the big chainring at 100rpm but disaster struck as I went round the first "feature detour". My back wheel slipped from under me and I ended up doing the splits trying to save myself (I later discovered I had completely worn down the yellow bits on the cleats on my left shoe). I then had to suffer the indigence of being helped to my feet by a glamorous female soldier who couldn't stop laughing at what had just happened, until a French cyclist did exactly the same thing 10ft behind me! Worse was yet to come for me, a few moments later as I was cycling away my saddle began to sway slightly from side to side then suddenly slipped completely into the seat tube. (The team mechanic later told me that I must have damaged my carbon seat post in a previous crash probably the one at the London Duathlon and putting all my weight on it sideways during this incident was the last straw). At this point I was really confused as to what to do but knowing that I was being followed by the motor bike cameraman I carried on half cycling like a clown on a kids bike and half out of the saddle. On completing the first lap 7km lap I stopped at the aid station not exactly sure what I wanted or what they could do for me, but after a few moments of international gesticulation a mechanic took off the saddle replaced the collar and re-fixed the seat post about an inch further in than the damage. It wasn't ideal but at least I could ride more comfortably than without the saddle and by taking every turn carefully I eventually finished the bike course without further incident, in a reasonable time too! 42km - 1h 17m 40s.

As always the final run was a matter of survival, I just ran. As I went round I could hear shouts of 'go on GB' and 'come on Ron you're looking good' knowing full well what they really meant was you're looking tired - just hang in there! Anyway I passed a few runners and was passed by a few runners, eventually finishing the final 5k in 22m 28s.

AndyMy overall time was 2h 25m 40s making me 24th in my age group. Andy finished in 2h 15m 28s and 8th in his age group. The medal ceremony was at the post race pasta party with the majority of the medals seemingly going to the host nation Italy. GB did manage a few but the biggest cheers by far went to the winners of the 70+ category - really hope I will still be cycling at their age. After the party I was knackered and left but Andy stayed on with the Scottish contingent and the elites and went on to a few interesting venues... get him to tell you that story.

Sunday was a lazy day. I got up early to watch Andy's mum Catriona race with the age group woman and then did a bit of sight seeing before dismantling my bike for the flight back.

In summary, I had a great time and despite not ever being a potential medal winner I am looking forward to doing it again sometime. I got to know several people that I previously only nodded to at races and found the elites, especially the women, were really friendly normal people. But I guess the high point of the trip was a comedy moment during the post race massage when I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when the poor young lady was trying to sort out my groin strain!

© Photos www.sportserviceitalia.com


London Triathlon - Olympic Relay
5th August 2006
Report by Derek Chitty

Having raced at the first 'Official' London ten years ago I would normally have been racing as an individual. However, not being able to run since May, I was not intending to race, but having carried on swimming/biking as normal I was persuaded by my daughters to race with their boyfriends in the Olympic relay team - me on bike leg. Neither of these guys had competed in such an event before but were keen to get into triathlon. Although he had swum in competitions as teenager some 15 years ago Stuart had never used a wetsuit or swum in open water. Dave, in the RAF, plays a lot of football and had a few odd road races under his belt with an occasional 10K.

The race now firmly at Excel with a brilliant indoor transition area, with trade stands, seminars etc over the whole weekend. The day had started very hot and the 15.15 relay start was still hot. Transition was chaos. Rows between bikes too close and bikes side by side too close. With just on 500 teams involved accidents were bound to happen. People getting knocked over by swimmers coming in or by bikes going out. Just locating your team mate was a challenge. The 'baton' is the timing chip taken off the incoming leg.

Stuart had a bit of a rough time in the swim and did not really get going until the second lap but still managed 30.33 min swim. He was a bit miffed and felt should have swum better.

Dave had a good run, running very easily and picking off runners on each of the four laps, finishing with a very good 40.46 min.

Changeovers went well. The weakest link was the bike leg!! As I lifted my bike off rack it became caught with the adjoining bike. Once free I then caught somebody's leg with my pedal and my shoe flew off the pedal. I back tracked, picked up the shoe and finally got away. However, out on the course for some unknown reason my heart rate problem kicked in. Riding with 210 HR does not encourage one to push hard! I obviously had to ease off and try to get back to normal. Unfortunately this did not happen and for the four laps I was firing on 'three cylinders'. I clocked 1hr 25 but at least kept the team going. Having done 1.09 last year I was a bit gutted.

However, we finished 135th which was very respectable.

Dave and Stuart are now hooked on triathlon and I am working on them to join CPT.

London is a great event, although expensive, and has improved every year to become the biggest event certainly in Europe. The course is probably one of the best around, with closed roads for the bike, the run course is visible all around and the swim ideal in the docks. Water quality is good. For spectators a brilliant course as you can get to most of the sections to spectate. The atmosphere on Saturday was great but we felt was a bit deflated for the age group /Elite races on Sunday.

Anyone not raced at this event should try at least one year.


Timex WomenOnlyTimex WomenOnly Triathlon
14th June 2006
Report by Julie Traupe

Well, today I managed to put another race under my belt. My first open water and the longest one for me yet. I am suprised that I finished as all of these things just kept happening as if they wanted to see the worst in me.

Nilu & JulieMatt and I got to the race and I was all ready to register, I realised that I forgot my wetsuit at home. DUH!!! I was willing to do the race without one, but unfortunately it was compulsary. Matt and I had to dig into the pocket book and buy a new one. Shame that there were no special deals especially since we just bought my initial one not even a week ago! Oh well....makes a good story eh? They told me my swim time would be faster than without a wet suit, but I have quickly discovered if that was the case.... I am glad I wore the wetsuit!!!. The swim was kinda cool because we got out after one loop, had to run a bit and they got to dive in again. Felt like one of the pros. It looked like Nilu had a terrific swim, especially since she arrived at the race about 15 minutes before the start. The M4 had a lot of traffic and an accident. Glad she made it!

The bike went really well, but because I am still a little wonky on my bike, especially when drinking (not from drinking), I lost my water bottle and ran over it! Luckily I had Lucozade as well, but after a while it started to make my teeth feel like they were wearing little woolie jumpers. Gross!!! That seemed to get me through, but talk about adding salt to a wound... every lap I completed I had to pass my poor little bottle lying there. Everytime I saw it, I couldn't help but think about how badly I was gagging for water, or a beer! Suppose it ended up being a blessing as the energy drink actually seemed to give me some energy on the run.

The run was great, but a bit of a challenge mentally as it was an out and back loop that was done three times. Since it was on the rowing lake, it had massive signs showing the distance every 250m but they never seemed to get any closer. I swear I was on 250m for at least 10 minutes. I saw each sign six times, we bonded well ;-), but Matt and Frances were quite encouraging! I never let myself stop as there was a lady, who was a real inspiration! She was probably in her late 60s early 70s maybe, who never stopped. She kept going with the biggest smile on her face. Amazing!!!

The race was flat with the exception of a small little hill, but it was so small you didn't even notice it until you were already over it.

I finished about where I wanted, and was on target for my run and bike, but still not sure what happened with the swim. But mysteries are mysteries for a reason eh?

It was a pretty hot day with a water dude hired to hose people down! Nilu sure looked like she enjoyed it. Hey, at the end of the day how often do we get a man showering us down at the end of the race :-) Definately a perk!!!

All in all, I had a pretty great day and I am glad to be home.


Ironman UK 70.3Ironman 70.3
18th June 2006
Report by Matt Lawrence

"On what may become regarded as the hardest Ironman 70.3 course in the world Chris McCormack and Catriona Morrison won the UK Ironman 70.3 at Wimbleball Lake yesterday...."

- is the start of the official race report on the Ironman website.

Race detailsWe arrived at the race venue midday Saturday and were instantly amazed by the roads. I turned to Julie, "I hope these are not part of the race!" I said as my 4x4 struggled up the 16% gradient hill. I continued on through the back roads and a few wrong turnings later we came across the marvellous site that was Wimbleball Lake and the setting up of Ironman UK 70.3. Wandering through all the banners, marquees and all the sponsors stalls it felt like a carnival had arrived. People everywhere! They were enjoying the music and food, getting hats signed by the pros and acknowledging those who had worked so hard just to get to this point. "Registration" I asked a volunteer who directed me quickly to the tent. I was in and out in seconds with goodie bag, athlete pass and a funky HIMUK bracelet that reminded me of those things that you wore to get on the waterslides. Into the TriUK expo and as ever Julie was wondering about her next pair of running shoes, (because you don't already have enough Julie!). I racked the bike and dealt with the blue and red transition bags. I was thinking I didn't like leaving my bike overnight in some field.

"It can't get stolen, besides there are some nice bikes so mine won't stand out." - Next morning and the eventual winner was the one without his bike. Chris McCormack had his bike stolen overnight. Probably the competition!

Powerade manIt was getting on a bit and the weather was hot. Memories of Weymouth and the heat that I experienced there made me a little worried, but I had learnt a thing or two from all of the guys down there. We decided it was time to make the 1 hour long trip back to Taunton to the hotel.

Food and an early night were in order as we had been up since 4 a.m. Settling down I knew it was an early start so I tried to go to sleep. The heat didn't make it very pleasant and the room was not great with the sun riding straight in.

Matt getting into his wetsuit3.40 a.m. - ALARM! I didn't know there were two three o'clocks in one day. I rolled out of bed and started the process of getting the stuff together. The aim was to get to the site for 5 a.m. as my wave would get called to the water at 5.50 a.m. We didn't see anyone in the darkness of those back roads until 2 miles out from the venue and then this convoy of car lights started to appear.

Park, final check for stuff and then down to put the shoes, bottles and CO2 cartridges on the bike. Mike and I had a quick chat in transition, but neither of us were really awake. I started getting the wetsuit on as it was now 5.30 a.m. and they were calling for a final count. "Here we go" I thought and moved through to where all the athletes had gathered ready for the long descent to the waters edge. Again Mike and I were talking about the course and the fact this was an impressive set-up. Waves 1 and 2 went off no problem and the cheers from the dedicated family and crowds went up, it was amazing so many people crawled out of bed at such a ridiculous hour to watch a load of lunatics go and splash in the lake. A quick dip in the water to seal the wetsuit and to my joy it was not to cold at all (remember Weymouth!)

Lake swimMusic from JAWS playing in the back ground and then the inevitable "3, 2, 1……" and off went the horn! (No I wasn't looking around and thinking 321 was my number!) It was mad as everyone moved into the water and looked to start their swim. I knew in my mind if anyone touched me that I would just keep calm, focus on my technique and give them a swift kick! My memories from that swim are few as it was so quick. Clear water and easy sighting meant that the wave who had started in front of us were now among us. "Different colour swim caps?" I thought as I made my way past those who were struggling. I knew it was a good swim, but as I crawled out and saw the 33 minutes on my watch I was blown away. Then the hill! Yes, the swim had a hill! A run 400m up to transition on uneven grass and trying to keep your bearings. "Go Crystal palace!" I heard from people I had never even met. I had lost contact with Mike now and wasn't going to see him again till the run, but I was hoping that he enjoyed the swim as much as I did.

Leaving the lakeInto the tents, wetsuit off, and out to the bike. In transition the volunteers were just cleaning up after us. I took my time after the race to thank those who I saw as this could not have been done without those passionate people.

Grabbed the beast and out I went. I just remember thinking at this stage to keep it steady. Anyone who knows me and the bike knows that I pick up all my time here, but with hills like these I wouldn't last a lap. It was overcast and slightly cold but that beats burning hot sun. It started straight away with a big climb away from the lake. 1900m of climbing here in HIMUK so definately a course to be respected. I knew it was going to be a long day in the saddle.

Bike courseA two lap course with the first half of the lap mainly downhill with some tricky 1:5 descents. The second half of the lap had all the climbs that just never stopped. The first time I've seen athletes get off their bikes take off their shoes and push their bike up the 14% gradients barefoot. The first lap was ok but the climbs in the second lap started to get the better of me and I was only too happy hand over my bike in T2 and put on the running shoes. Weymouth had taught me I needed proper nutrition and hydration and I am glad to say it went without incident. Coming back down towards the lake I was glad to have finished and to see Julie smiling at me. It was then that I realised my luck. During my morning set-up I had forgotten to put the CO2 on the bike. "How lucky am I?" One puncture and I was on my own. Couldn't believe I had made that mistake and I had seen more than a dozen punctures out on those roads.

Into T2 and the legs were feeling ok. Got the running shoes on and off I went. Well if the bike course was meant to be a killer then the run course was the final nail in the coffin. I have never seen anything like this. The combination of the sharp up and down hills on hard surface and otherwise uneven terrain to run on after such a hard bike made this half marathon more difficult than most.

It was the big hill that cracked most athletes and reports of people being sick were common. I made the decision to walk the big hill and then carry on with the run. I had a gel at the same aid station in each of the 3 laps even though by now I was sick of them. I was carrying water so I could never be dehydrated and kept refilling at every aid station. The key to this was pacing and survival. Those who had been quick on the bike and first lap were slowly going behind me and I started thinking how right it was to pace myself on the bike. Thanks to Andrea Newton for the best tip of the day, "If you can't breathe on the bike when you're eating then you are going to fast!" This rang in my head and no doubt that was the reason I was still running and others were slowing.

Mike and I had a brief conversation, but it was clear that he was working as hard as me and so we wished each other the best and strode on.

Matt runningThe end came and it was only in those final hundred metres that my body started to complain. The cheer of the crowd and the self satisfaction of conquering such a hard course was worth all that pain. I am sure that Mike will agree that Julie was fantastic support and unlike Nigel gives POSITIVE words of encouragement that lifted our spirits. (Nigel we did miss the abuse…. A bit!)

I was so hungry that a quick hotdog was on the cards. Didn't feel too good though, but I didn't care. As I sat on the grass and listened to the finishers crossing I realised that Ironman sanctioned events are truly the best in the world. I could not knock the Wimbleball event. Mike finished safely too and he seemed pretty satisfied. I cannot repeat how he told me he felt during the race, but I am sure you can guess.

I was changed 30 minutes later and still eating anything I could lay my hands on. A final shopping reward and it was time to say goodbye to Wimbleball and HIMUK. As we drove back I showed Julie the 16% hills and she looked at them in disbelief. Entering Taunton and the traffic was heavy. Elton John was in town, just my luck!

Matt finishedA race that I cannot describe really, you have to go and do it! Notable events on the day are that Chris McCormack had his bike stolen. A ladies bike "snapped" 10 miles into the ride and a local Tri club gave her a mountain bike to finish on….and she did! Rumours of 55+ MPH speeds on the course also circulated. All I know is it was quick.

Registering for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 UK starts soon. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to push their boundaries; this is a course that will find your weaknesses eventually.

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Last updated: 25 October 2006
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