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    London Region Event of the Year 2012

    Crystal Palace Triathlon

    Members of CPT collecting the London Region Event of the Year trophy

 

 

2012 news - November

CPT in action

NOV28

London Region Awards - 10 NovemberMembers of CPT collecting the London Region Event of the Year trophy.

CPT at the London Region Awards

Members of the CPT London League team collecting the Mob Match trophy, presented by Steve Trew and Annie Emmerson.

CPT - London League Mob Match winners

NOV27

Survival Of The Fittest race reportKeithReport by Keith Brewster

I used to love tearing around adventure playgrounds as a boy but apparently this is no longer acceptable behaviour for a thirty something year old man, especially with the sort of ‘tash I’m currently wearing.  I think this is why I enjoy these sort of obstacle course races so much and I’m not the only one.  There were about 10,000 entries for the Survival Of The Fittest race at Battersea power station split up into 27 waves doing the 10k race during the day and 12 waves doing a floodlight 5k in the evening.

Keith at Survival of the FittestI went in the 2nd wave and wanted to get off near the front of my wave, the first obstacle was a load of hay bales almost immediately after the start line so I thought there could be a long delay and potential carnage mid field!  I was actually at the start line ready to go with ten minutes to spare much to Beth and my parents surprise, I don’t think I’ve ever not been rushing around before a race with only moments to spare.  So I got a good start and over the bales without incident then there was a bit of running before the next obstacles.  I started working my way through the fast starters as they realised there was another 9.5k to go, settling down to a more realistic pace and was up to 2nd place by the second obstacle.  I could see 1st place with his green trainers a little way ahead but couldn’t close the gap and he stayed out of reach for the whole race. 

Keith at Survival of the FittestUnfortunately I didn’t see “green trainers” tackle the 3rd obstacle, a massive paddling pool which we had to wade through about thigh deep with a net floating in the middle.  The marshal shouted “Under the net” and I obediently dived under the water, leaving me soaked with 9k to go and a bit earlier than really necessary, it turns out the sensible way to tackle that was to crouch down and lift the net up, leaving your shorts dry! 

I was quite surprised to catch the tail end of wave 1 at about 1.5k (they’d had a 15 minute head start!) crawling through some tunnels but the race then opened up through Battersea Park, the only obstacle for the next few kilometres was a steeple chase in the park.  After a bit more running we were back at the power station and there were some sand bags, cones and beer barrels to be carried and all sorts of things to climb over and through including some scrapped cars, one of which looked suspiciously like our last car.  We had to climb in through the back window, out the front and slide down the bonnet.  My favourite part was a series of wet wooden ramps to clamber up and slide down, I’m such a child! 

Keith at Survival of the FittestThe race was surprisingly hard and I was feeling pretty exhausted and battered by the final obstacle, the famous 8 foot wall.  I took a moment to gather myself though and just had enough strength left to haul myself over the top and drop down to the finish line, wet, muddy and bleeding!

There are loads of these sort of muddy, “adventure races” cropping up but Rat Race who organised this race are organising the mother of all obstacle course races next year,  the Dirty Weekend next May.  With 200 obstacles over 20 miles it’s going to be like the Ironman of the adventure race world!  They’re saying expect finishing times between 4-12 hours.  Sounds good to me...

(Note from webmaster: I hope that doesn't clash with our race weekend (18-19 May) when it's all hands to the deck)

NOV26

Lauren at the WildmanWeekend results - 24/25 NovemberHaydn and Lauren raced the Wildman Duathlon, an off-road event, on Saturday. Lauren took a tumble on the bike, so not sure if it's blood or mud on her face?! Who was the fastest?

On Sunday, Dave ran the Movember 10k at Greenwich and immediately shaved his mo off, not waiting until the end of the month!


NOV26

parkrun results - 24 NovemberBrockwell parkrun
127th 34:16 Malcolm Hicks

Bromley parkrun
65th 22:18 Brian Morris (1st time)
88th 22:58 Mick McManus (PB)

Crystal Palace parkrun
2nd 18:32 Greg Lewis (PB)
14th 20:56 Phil Feldman
23rd 22:06 Suse Fairfax

The PBs page has been updated.

NOV22

Hall of Fame Kati and David MillerLook who Kati bumped into at Cadence at the weekend.

David Miller looks very different out of cycle kit, but hopefully he was impressed by Kati's CPT kit!

A CPT contingent attended the British Triathlon Awards at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham at the weekend. Unfortunately the Crystal Palace Triathlon didn't win BTF Event of the Year (after winning London Region and Triathlon England event of the year) but we had a great evening mixing with the Brownlees, Stuart Hayes (who 'danced' drunkenly to Saturday Night Fever) and Helen Jenkins.

Suse & Jonny Brownlee     Sara & Stuart Hayes

Sheila & Jonny Brownlee

Karen & Helen Jenkins     Karen & Bruce with Alistair Brownlee

Stuart Hayes - Saturday Night Fever

NOV21

Winter training schedule - Super Saturdays to Easter

There are seven extended Saturday sessions planned:
1 December, 15 December, 12 January, 26 January, 9 February, 23 February, 23 March, and three more before the end of May.

The intention is that these sessions will build on each other and provide a background structure to your Winter training programme - obviously you can pick 'n' mix although we hope that by committing to all the sessions you will see a greater training benefit.

These sessions are targeted at those aspiring to be in the CPT London League team, any member looking to be more competitive in their age-group next year, all new members wanting to learn more about triathlon and any member who just wants a good, coached work-out!

Each session will aim to have at least three ability groups with:

a slow-paced group - looking to encourage those new to the sport and/or looking to take things at a slower pace, for whatever reason.

an intermediate/experienced group - looking to support the development of our competitive age-group athletes (who are not quite at club 'league team' level)

a faster/most skilled group - aimed at working with any members aspiring to represent CPT in the London League Team next year  

Details of the first two sessions: 

Saturday 1 December

- Meet 09:20 at the lock-up facility beside CPSIC (map)
- Session ends: 12:00. We will be using the CPNSC Outdoor Track
- Coaches will be Jon Horsman, Phil Taylor and Scott Wise
- This session is aimed at: reviewing/improving your run technique prior to the hard work over the Winter; establishing the basis for an effective endurance workout on the turbo; assessing your requirement for winter conditioning work.
- You will need your turbo and bike as well as run kit. There are some club turbos available but these need to be booked in advance
- Session fee: £10 (no charge for annual training members) plus charge for use of the CPNSC track.
- Please confirm you are attending by 00:00 on 29th November by emailing: Sally

Saturday 15 December

- Meet 08:50 at  High Elms Country Park (map on the website). Session ends: 12:00.
- Coaches will be Jon Horsman, Phil Taylor and Scott Wise
- The session is aimed at improving hill climbing technique on the bike (these will be coach-led ride groups) and then working on mixed pace running using the rolling terrain of the country park trails
- Session fee: £10 (no charge for annual training members) plus cakes and coffee afterwards!
- Please confirm you are attending by 00:00 on 13 December by emailing: Sally

2012-2013 CPT Winter Saturday Training Programme (PDF)

NOV21

British Cycling Breeze Blog Dawn recently wrote an article for the Breeze/British Cycling website on cycling throughout her pregnancy.

NOV20

Training link with Herne Hill HarriersChristmas has come early to the Club with the gift of more running! From 1 December 2012 until 1 June 2013, CPT will be trialling a training link with Herne Hill Harriers. It’s a great opportunity for those who are hungry for more training, or curious about what can be learned from another club, and it doesn’t clash with our own running schedule. Details of the arrangement are;

- Members of CPT will be able to attend HHH run sessions by showing their CPT membership card and paying any fees appropriate.

- Members of HHH will be able to attend CPT training sessions by showing their HHH membership card and pay the session fee.

- Home members of each club will take priority if capacity at sessions is at any time exceeded.

- Members will continue to represent their own Club when racing.

- The training link applies to both Adult and Junior members.

The Committee will review how this is working in April 2013, and any issues that arise should be referred to the Run Coordinator to take forward. View the HHH training schedule and fees.

We hope you will take advantage of this and enjoy the winter season on foot.

NOV20

Weekend result - 17 NovemberKeith and Dave raced at Saturday's Mens Health Survival of the Fittest. Dave reports "Keith was an amazing 17th out of 7821. I was hot on his heels finishing only 2382 places behind him! But I went under the hour so very pleased with that".

NOV20

parkrun results - 17 NovemberBromley parkrun
28th 20:29 Haydn Whitmore (1st time)
107th 24:26 Dean Thurlow (1st time)
112th 24:33 Emma Snowdon (PB)

Dulwich parkrun
20th 19:46 Selwyn Smith
99th 28:20 Grant Georgiades

The PBs page has been updated.

NOV15

Running School recommendationSelwyn'When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is' is what The Real Hustle taught me!

So signing up to the free 1/2 hour running analysis offer, being so open minded :-), I was prepared for about two minutes of analysis and 28 minutes of sales chat!

Oh how wrong I was, hence another one of my 'overly excited essays' on my experience!

Obviously everyone's entitled to their own opinion as I think a fair few have taken up this offer already but if you haven't been, I would strongly recommend you pop a long - you have until the end of November!

The Running SchoolI was welcomed at The Running School by a cheerful Aussie called Chris who I found passionate about his work and proceeded to take me through my paces!  My analysis went way over the 30 mins (got a lot wrong with my technique!) and only had a minute or so of 'not really sales chat' but what the technique sessions would entail!

In that 30 minutes, I learnt so much about my running technique and how little adjustments here and there could shave substantial time off my PBs and reduce injury!

I used to go running and when things began to hurt and my body made strange noises, I'd just turn my music up - not anymore!

Selwyn's run styleI feel my runs are more like swim sessions now, focusing on technique and weaknesses with every step. I check my reflection out in every shop window… I look such a vain runner but if it works!!!!!

The only muscles that ached the next day were my cheek muscles… you would be constantly laughing as well if you ran like Forest Gump through Crystal Palace!

And everything makes so much sense now.  I used to think JH's running drills on the track were for his own amusement, taking advantage of us being so uncoordinated but now I know they're for a worthy purpose!

I would definitely take the sessions up if it wasn't for my drinking problem (that 'runs' my wallet dry!).

So soon I'll be running just as good as Rob Parry (when not injured!), no, I don't mean his times, but his comical technique!

PBs here I come... or injury... from running into lampposts whilst checking my reflection out… not because of my new running style of course!

Keep running  

NB - I don't get any commission, I just found it very useful and hope you do too.

NOV14

Winter Ballbuster duathlon race reportLisaRace report by Lisa Collins

Ballbuster is five 8 mile laps around Box Hill (1 x run, 3 x bike, 1 x run), starting from the car park opposite the café. Regular club riders will be familiar with parts of the course - the race takes you
along Box Hill Lisa running at the BallbusterRoad, then it’s all left
turns onto Headley Road, Tots Hill, Lodge Bottom Road and Zig Zag Road. The standard is very high with some pretty unbelievable winning times, and people come from all over the UK to race there.

It was absolutely freezing (even for a Yorkshire lass) when we got there at 7am. Our numb fingers were fiddling with race numbers and timing chips with the dexterity of an elephant. My training had been curtailed by injury and a cold so I wasn’t as prepared as I’d like, and after a week sitting on my backside I was on the edge with all that pent-up energy. After a John running at the Ballbustermoment’s silence on the
start line in respect of Remembrance Sunday, the race began and I was relieved to find all my bits working. In fact, the only hiccup was that my gel insoles were so cold they were like planks of wood in my shoes, and it took a mile or so of ungraceful stomping for them to warm up and soften!

The first run was faster than planned, but not dangerously so. I still felt I had plenty in the tank. Transition took a little longer than usual as
gloves and jacket had to be worn. I was
happy to get aboard my steed, with the sun breaking through on the frost and autumnal leaves like a pretty postcard, and I was making good progress Lisa cycling at the Ballbuster
until an attack of cramp in my left leg took me by surprise. I’ve never had cramp on the bike before and discovered that trying to stretch out while pedalling is, shall we say, interesting! I didn’t know what else to do except ignore it, but the moment I exerted any effort it bit me back. I was half laughing at myself, half groaning for most of it, trying to cycle with one leg.

John on the bike at the BallbusterBy the third lap I was much better (isn’t it funny how the body can change like that?) It was astonishing to see the leading men heading out on the run. By the time it was my turn, my insoles had gone cold again so cue more robotic stomping. Not sure what the answer is for that particular problem, so answers on a postcard please!

I was gobsmacked to catch up to John about half way through the run on Lodge Bottom Road. John says this encouraged him to go faster (see, I try to help as much as I can!) That stretch was the hardest part for me - it was endless and there
are no landmarks to tick off. I felt sick
Lisa on the bike at the Ballbustertoo, no doubt from the cocktail of gels, jelly beans and beetroot water sloshing about in my stomach - it’s a miracle I didn’t throw up! My Garmin also conked out at around 8km, 43 minutes in, so I lost that encouraging measure of progress. Having started slowly I’d gained speed, but now I was in the dark.

Chris running at the BallbusterSupport around the course was great from the marshals, dog walkers and cyclists alike. However, there was only one water station on the course which hadn’t even been set up for the first run. It’s a long, hard race and a lot of competitors were dropping like flies; I’ve never seen so many DNFs in a race. Fortunately, being a goody two shoes, I’d come prepared with a nutrition belt.

It’s the only time that John has ever beaten me on the bike, and I’ve beaten him on a run, and by a happy coincidence we crossed the line at the same time. He assures me he will not be beaten at Pirie 10… we’ll see!

NOV14

parkrun - 17 November and 22 SeptemberThe parkrun at Crystal Palace has been cancelled on Saturday 17 November as there is a junior cross country even taking place in the park.

Fintan suggests giving the Hilly Fields parkrun a go, he says it's just as described, hilly and mostly on grass! The launch of another local parkrun had escaped my notice but looking at the results one CPT member has given it a go, although hasn't returned to try and beat his time!

Hilly Fields parkrun - 22 September
13th 24:17 David Rose (1st run)

David's time has been added to the parkrun PBs page and tops the table at Hilly Fields. Who will be first to knock him off?

NOV13

Weekend results - 11 NovemberCPT at the Beckenham 10k Trail RunA few members had near perfect conditions for a cross country run on Sunday, taking part in the Beckenham 10k Trail Run. Dave and Bernie can just be spotted on the start line in their CPT kit!

John and Lisa crossed the finish line at the Ballbuster together, with Chris following a few minutes behind. The Ballbuster PBs page has also been updated. Lisa has promised a race report but says "It was jolly hard work!".

NOV10

parkrun results - 10 NovemberBrockwell parkrun
104th 28:35 Ella Fields

Bromley parkrun
74th 23:27 Mick McManus (PB)
115th 25:14 Emma Snowdon (1st time)

The PBs page has been updated.

NOV06

Knog Muddy Hell resultsI previously reported that Keith was the second fastest novice rider in the Knog Muddy Hell on 27 October.

I missed congratulating Richard Lewey on winning third prize in the men's fancy dress competition!

Keith completed 6 laps in the novice category in a time of 37:28, he actually tied with the winner.

Richard completed 5 laps in the vets category in a time of 38:46 putting him in 38th place (the winner did 6 laps in 35:07).

NOV05

Trinity - Change to swim time - Friday 16 November The CPT juniors will be holding a swimming gala as the last in their 2012 Club Championship events at Trinity on Friday 16 November. The gala will start at 19:30 and finish at 20:30, so for this Friday only the adult swim session will be held from 20:30 - 21:30. You are, of course, very welcome to come along earlier to cheer the Juniors on.

nov05

Super Saturday - 3 November

We had a really good turnout for Saturday's ride/run session from High Elms Country Park on 3 November, with a mixture of 26 adult/junior members. I'm not sure if it was the slightly later start than usual or the promise of cake that brought so many out!

Jon divided us into three groups, the faster cyclists, which formed the biggest group, set off with Jon, the intermediate group, a much smaller and more select group, was led by Dean, and Brian led everyone else. The fast group set off first, so anyone who couldn't keep up the pace could drop back to the next group, but this didn't prove necessary.

We all cycled a similar route, including the 5k climb up Cudham Lane North and South. We practised some through and off at Badgers Mount before returning to the country park. My group got back a bit early so we cycled up High Elms Road, just to see where it went. It came out in Downe village near the Christmas Tree Farm.

Unfortunately Hans didn't make it back to the car park. He had a puncture out on the road and somehow managed to lose the nut that secures the spindle while he was changing the inner tube.  Selwyn had to rescue him by car.

The coaches then led a cross-country run around the country park, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Helen, Sara and I went for a short ride while the others were running and managed to time our return to the car park at exactly the right moment to get to the head of the cafe queue before everyone else!

A variety of cooked breakfasts, cakes, cream teas and snacks were consumed while we all compared notes from the ride.

A very successful session and nice to use a different venue for a change. 

nov05

Running time trial

On 15 October a few adults ran a time trial at the track with the juniors, the next time trial will take place on Monday 12 November and every four weeks after. 

2000m
08:21 Emily
07:34 Neil P
09:04 Sheila

An Excel spreadsheet will also be updated and available to download to track your progress.

NOV05

League updateCathy, our League coordinator, reports: Well done to everyone who raced the Jekyll and Hyde duathlon and especially for the London League result. This has provided several members with their third event to qualify for the Club League so there's been quite a few shuffles to the League standings as a result. Also, according to the race matrix, there are no other qualifying events listed at present before the awards ceremony (Xmas party, 1st December) so this may well be the final Club League result....

Female senior
1 Suse Fairfax
2 Katie Crowe
3 Cathy Cooke

Female vets
1 Kati Pusey
2 Sheila Horsman
3 Ruki Sidhwa

Female supervets
1 Karen Ayers

Male seniors
1 Rob Parry
2 James Nellist
3 Victor Thompson

Male vets
1 Jon Horsman
2 Greg Lewis
3 Mark Thomas

Male supervets
1 Haydn Whitmore
2 Martin Leat
3 Tim Thomas

NOV03

Entries now openEntries are now open for the following races which are always popular with CPT members:

Pirie 10 - Sunday 2 December - A two lap course, across Farthing Down and Happy Valley organised by SLH (free tea and cake for all competitors!) with a 10:30 start. Find out more on the SLH website or download the entry form. Read about CPT at the Pirie 10 in 2008.

Knacker Cracker - Tuesday 1 January - Starting and finishing at the foot of Box Hill, around 10k, with 475m of ascent and descent, all on tracks and paths, with an 11am start (a great hangover cure!). Visit the Trionium website or enter online. Read Lisa's race report from 2012.

Tadworth 10 - Sunday 6 January - A scenic and challenging 10 mile, two-lap course comprising 75% road and 25% tracks and grass starting and finishing on the Epsom race course with a very friendly 11:30 start. No tea and coffee but we usually find somewhere for a pub lunch afterwards. Find out more on the Tadworth AC website, or enter online or download an entry form. Read my race report from 2009.

Bookham 10k - Sunday 3 February - A one-lap run run, mostly on trails, including 285m of ascent and descent passing through some of the North Downs' most fabulous scenery, with great views and mud, with a 10:00 start. Find out more, enter online or download and an entry form. Read Dave's race report from 2009.

Note: To qualify for the discounted affiliated entry price you must be an individual member of England Athletics. There is no longer a Club code.

Don't forget to let me know when you've entered so I can add you to the race matrxi.

NOV03

parkrun results - 3 NovemberBrockwell parkrun
7th 18:51 Mark Brown
120th 33:52 Malcolm Hicks (PB)

Crystal Palace parkrun
1st 19:11 John Buchanan
19th 21:32 Emanuele Vignoli
20th 21:34 Lisa Collins
42nd 23:42 Alex Novakovic (1st time)
74th 28:43 Ella Fields

Dulwich parkrun
33rd 20:53 Rob Fisker-Van Veen (1st time)

The PBs page has been updated.

NOV02

Late results A few late results from October:

- Run to the Beat
- Paras 10

Congratulations to Keith Brewster for placing 2nd novice rider in the Knog Muddy Hell on 27 October.

NOV01

Worlds Race Report - Auckland - 22 OctoberRobReport by Rob Parry
Results

As I queued at the Malaysian Airlines check in desk at Heathrow and sized up the competition around me, just having said my goodbyes to the entire member base of my fan club who had come to see me off (my Mum, her partner Bob, and Emily), I couldn’t help but think that this was a very long way to be going for a sprint triathlon!

28 hours, two flights, a quick stop at Kuala Lumpur Airport for noodles and a refresher workout in the hotel gym (that was quickly packed with GB age groupers who had obviously had the same idea), a batch of sleeping tablets, a breakfast of “either scrambled egg, or curried prawns and rice - except we’ve run out of eggs”, and no idea what time zone I should be in, I finally arrived in Auckland.

Arrival at Auckland airportAs we were travelling on the main GB Age Group flight with Nirvana Holidays, we were treated to the traditional Maori welcome in the form of a haka-style display from the indigenous Auckland tribe. Kia Ora!! After a short trip to the official Team GB hotel, I met my roommate (Jim Bishop, a 40-44 age grouper from Bristol), and we wasted no time in unpacking our bikes to get in a quick recce of the bike course. We had our first experience of typical Auckland weather on this ride: blue skies and sunshine, then clouds, then rain and high winds, and then sunshine again. New Zealanders call it “four seasons in a day”; I called it “UK weather on steroids”! As I clung onto the handlebars and leaned into the wind, I was starting to regret the decision to bring my deep-dish wheels.

Six days with nothing to do except prepare for a race is a very long time it turns out; especially when that race is a sprint triathlon. There was a huge expo that was running all week, with a number of small events taking place each day in the build up to the elite races over the weekend, and the age group waves on the Monday. Aside from the aquathlon, this week was filled with recce rides and swims of the course (or “bike/swim famils” as they are known out here), a couple of easy runs, and a lot of sitting around in the team hotel and discussing things like course profiles, gear ratios and tyre pressures.

Parade or Nations - AucklandAround us, the whole city was buzzing with triathlon, with (triathlate) celebs-spots and bling bikes a daily occurrence. The opening ceremony gave a good sense of the scale of the event, and it was fun being part of the Parade of Nations, despite there being more people in the parade than there were spectators watching it!

The day after landing, and onto my warm-up event: the grandly titled “ITU Aquathlon World Championships” (ironic because there was no direct qualification criteria for this race). I nearly backed-out after deliberating over the value of going hard so soon after landing, but decided to go ahead after a number of competitors told me that the age groupers only use this event as an easy course recce. Yeah, right!  - I thought, after the schooling I received in the swim followed shortly by another schooling on the run (helped slightly by subsequent news that it was over distance by 300m). Still, it felt good, and an 18:19 run split around a twisty 5.3k course was up there somewhere with my PB.

The day before our race day was the Elite Men’s race, and excitement was already building in the hotel following a number of good results for the GB Junior and Women Elites. I bumped into Johnny Brownlee in the lift just 3 hours before start time, and asked him how he was going. He told me he was feeling good, was happy about the torrential rain and wind, and couldn’t wait to get out there. “Watch out, Gomez!” I thought to myself, and I wished him good luck. I couldn’t get over how calm and friendly he was – definitely a role model for the sport, and a great demonstration of how to deal with pressure, given that he needed a good result against Gomez to become the series World Champion. It certainly helped put our races into perspective!

Straight after the elite race, the 3000 or so age groupers lined up at the HUGE transition to check our bikes in. I wasn’t ecstatic about leaving my bike out in the rain and sea air overnight, especially seeing as we weren’t allowed to cover the bikes at all, but at least it meant there was one less thing to think about come race day.

Race day, and the usual super-early start. The winds had died down a bit, and with no rain in sight, we were hopeful for better conditions then the pros had endured. It was still dark, but transition was buzzing with activity as athletes set up their stations and recced the various ins and outs.

All of the GB team in my age group had been allocated spots next to one another, and this was the first time that I’d been able to put faces to all the names I had seen on the BTF website. Great chance for some introductions and maybe a bit of banter? Not from this lot it seemed, not today! I tried briefly but gave up, as it seemed that talking to your opponents at this stage of the day was not the way it was done. I’d love for some of these guys to have bumped into Johnny this time yesterday!

Onto the race. The swim was a 750m out and back in the Auckland harbor, with a deep-water start and one hand having to touch the elite’s dive platform. Transition was crazy-long – longer than the London Triathlon, with a thin carpet hiding a number of dangerous obstacles like tram tracks. The bike was a technical one lapper with a number of hills and a few dead-turns, all on silky-smooth tarmac, which was exposed to the winds from the sea along most of the route. An equally long T2, before a single-lap 5.3k run around the marina, with endless sharp turns and more tram tracks and other obstacles to avoid.

The swim - Auckland

Before jumping into the water, I made sure to say good luck and shake the hands of the guys either side of me. It would surely help when we started playing underwater rugby with one another! I normally hang back in the swim, but this was the Worlds, and I hadn’t come all this way to give it any less than 100%!

The fog-horn went off, and I pushed off as hard as I could, and didn’t lift my head to breathe or sight for at least 10 strokes – instead being guided straight by my two new friends. I’d never felt this good at the beginning of an open-water triathlon before. I was getting knocked in the head from both sides with every stroke, and I now had someone whacking my foot, but I wasn’t phased at all like I normally would be, and was actually keeping up for a change! As we made a push for position around the first buoy, I even started to overtake the guys either side of me!

As the course left the shelter of the jetties at the turn point, the swell picked up considerably, and sighting got tougher. I turned around the second buoy and headed for the end, and got my head down and pushed as hard as I could. Keeping pace with all those around me, and even passing swimmers from waves that started 3 minutes earlier, and then a few from the wave 6 minutes earlier. I felt awesome at this point – surely a PB??! I leapt out of the water and checked my watch – 13m+? How could that be? I had swum the course in 12m25 3 days before. No time to dwell now, as I was gearing up for my favourite leg.

Rob on his bike - AucklandThere were tons of spectators crowded around the exit of T1, no doubt hopeful for a few eventful bike mount attempts. Don’t mess it up now! On safely and time to get my head down. Everyone had their age group letter marked on their right calf, so it was easy to see who you were racing against. I was on the hunt now for the letter F! It wasn’t long before I started to catch some of the faster swimmers from my group, and as we approached the first hill, I jumped out of the saddle and swung the bike from left to right. The rest of the bike leg went well, and I had taken back quite a few places before heading into T2. Time to bring on the pain!

Rob on the run - AucklandI’d gone into the race telling myself that no matter how much it hurt, I would give it everything on the run. My main worry would be that my old stress fractures on my fibulas would flair up on this hard course, but instead it was stomach cramps that had come from nowhere, right from about 200m in. I was ready to push through the pain, but any attempt to raise the pace left my completely breathless. Just as I turned a corner, in front of me was an Aussie from my group doubled-over and throwing up. At this point I decided to play it safe and cruise home.

Not a minute had gone by before that same Aussie tore past me at a pace that I knew I had no chance of matching. Okay, that’s how you do it! No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t dig deep enough to raise my pace though. Back to survival mode. The support on the course was awesome, although I couldn’t help but feel that I was letting down every bearer of a GB flag, as I jogged past them. A few Kiwis and Aussies with the now-dreaded ‘F’ on their calf tore past me at was must have been close to 3:10min/k, and I knew I was done for.

With about 500m to go, I gave it one last push, and staggered over the line, totally forgetting to style it out for the finishing camera that was streaming live on the internet! Job done – could have gone better (over a minute slower run than in the aquathlon), but then could have gone much worse. The air was buzzing that evening with tales of punctures and crashes, and there were a few very somber –looking age groupers around the hotel!

The post race party was basically just one big swap-shop, with everyone desperate to exchange their team kit with ones from other nations. Some were even weaving through the crowds with their still-wet tri suits raised above their heads! I got down to business, and walked away with polo shirts from Mexico and Brazil. The awards ceremony was long but great to watch, and gave us the chance to see all of the gold, silver and bronze medalists from each group. Hmm, I would quite one of those! One day maybe (yeah right). The biggest cheer of the night was when the solitary finisher in the 80-84 group took the stage to receive his gold medal – really inspiring stuff.

Racing at the Worlds – competing not just for yourself but for your country, with countless cheers of ‘Go Team GB!’ directed at you - was an unforgettable experience, and I can only hope that I get a chance to do it again. As the 4th GB in my group, I missed out on pre-qualification for London next year by one place, with third place just under a minute up the road (argh that one minute lost on the run!). Oh well, just means I’ll have to target the qually races again next year. Bring it on!

Rob on his bike - Auckland


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