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St Luke’s Hospice Triathlon
Report by Dean Thurlow
This is the second year I have entered the St Luke's Hospice Triathlon and once again thoroughly enjoyed the low key, grass roots feel of the whole day. Although it is billed as a Novice Triathlon, a few experienced athletes like myself, shamelessly entered in the hope of a good position. It worked! Last year I finished 13th-this year I came 7th.
Of course we were able to pass on help and tips, to the slightly greener triathletes who seemed to appreciate it. The thought did cross my mind at 5.30am on Sunday morning as the thunder and lightning started-do I really need this? Nobody from the Club was doing it; no one would miss me, last event of the season, does it matter? Well yes I suppose it does really.
It is easy to just get back into bed, but next time conditions are less than perfect, it becomes easier to give it a miss again. So as I was loading the bike onto the rack in the pouring rain, I knew I was doing the right thing.
The very small, crowded transition area of last year had been moved and made much bigger and better. It was still on the grass though and with all the rain, muddy. Soon to get muddier! It is a nice 33 metre pool at Blackshott’s Leisure Centre and the
12 'up, down, under the rope’ lengths went smoothly for everyone, even the ones who had a mini break at every lane change.
Long run to the now very muddy T1. Why did I buy white cycling shoes? Another long run to the road and mount line. Nice flat two lap bike course and plenty of surface water to wash the mud off. Long run back to T2 from the dismount line and by now the mud was squelching between my toes. Why did I buy lime green running shoes?
Two lap run course round local fields and rugby pitches, more mud and finish!
Phew session over!
Nice event, good cause and friendly people. Overall, a good day. Roll on next season.
CPT visit to Manchester Velodrome - photos and report
Report by our social coordinator, Selwyn Smith
Stop twisting ma lemon man…. in Manchester
So after strongly recommending the early train booking for ease and great value, there we were stuck in traffic for far too long trying to get through the Blackwall Tunnel.
Apart from the journey up and down which all drivers deserve a big pat on the back (apart from Brian M who unfortunately twisted his, packing the roof box that morning), it was definitely a fun CPT w/e on tour!
Majority of us opted out of the swim in the Commonwealth pool and into the hotel spa for some relaxation. Then it was down to business - at the hotel bar.
A few swifties by a few fifties (and almost fifties), then it was time for 'the main course' (in JH's words!), so we waltz a short way across town to the Indian Restaurant.
That's where it all started to go wrong - far too much food was laid in front of us (check out those Naan pics!)…and they ran out of beers…well Cobras! Not sure who's to blame for that. But do not fear, that didn't stop us as we took the executive decision to go on to Kingfishers!
A good few hours of solid eating and drinking later, we all went to bed in preparation for the daunting steep banks of the Velodrome the next day…or did we! A few hardy ones carried on a bit longer, one or two a bit longer still…danced the night away!
Morning time, nothing better than a fry up...black pudding, the works to prepare us for the daunting steep banks of the velodrome (déjà-vu).
Then, basically it was 'let battle commence!' By the end of the warm up, the majority were ready to call it a day. Very tiring having to concentrate a wee bit more than down at Herne Hill due to, yes you've guessed it - the daunting steep banks!
The Siberian pine was also covered in slippery looking advertisements. If you've ever been on one of Boris' super highways in the rain, you had reason to be cautious. But of course it was slip free paint so one soon got accustomed to this!
The two hours went far too quickly doing various drills and then finished up with a team pursuit….CPT won (well it was a CPT session!).
The photos tell the story very well of the weekend so have a peak!
I won't broadcast any incidents or near misses, but there were no splintered backs to Theresa's relief!
Things to take away
Some of the Naan bread rather than eating it all!
Two hours isn't enough, we just got started then the British Cycling nippers kicked us off!
If possible ride before a hangover, rather than after.
There was much positive response and everyone wants another go on the indoor track soon! London velodrome is opening March 2014 - looking into booking but so is the rest of GB. Newport has 3 hour slots from time to time and 'interesting night life' Watch this space...
Of course it was a dilemma: the London Fields Aquathlon or the Royal Parks Half Marathon.
Well, the latter has become something of a Thomas family event over the past few years with my brother Andy and his wife running and the long suffering Mrs T putting us all through our paces whilst also raising money for breast cancer care.
Photo right: My ‘half-brother’ Andy ….get it ?!
Safe in the knowledge that I am a member of the fastest, friendliest and coolest tri club in London, I opted for the Half Marathon as I knew my club mates would do me proud at the aquathlon without my ‘help’.
It is not all about going as fast as you can but this is a fast and beautiful course. The sun shone and my sister in law has the female bragging rights until next October.
Despite being overtaken by superman in the last two miles (at least it wasn’t a smurf like last year), I had a flyer and posted 1.25 and 47 seconds. This is a new PB by a whole 6 whole seconds.
If you get the chance and are lucky enough to get a ballot place, do this run at least once before you die!
I am now officially at the season’s end as we are away for the J and H duathlon.
What a year it has been for CPT. We go from strength to strength.
An early start but worth the view as we parked the car at West Dulwich Station:
IM Wales - The Gracious and the Plodder
My race performances can increasingly be summarised as “should do better”. But the same cannot be said of the people who famously make this an unbelievably atmospheric iron-distance race, some of whom I encountered close up.
First up, Mandy the miracle working massage therapist who worked for 40 minutes to release a spasm in my lower back that had plagued me since sleeping in an awkward position on a flight earlier in the week. Thanks to her healing hands and three Ibuprofen, my back didn’t trouble me once during the race. I sought her out after the finish to thank her and she was so delighted for me that she hugged me although I was still wet and covered in sweat, spilled electrolyte, snot and… (well, you know, it’s not pretty).
Next, the spectators at the steep rise out of Saundersfoot harbour and the unbelievable noise they produce – the section is maybe 50 metres long but the support along there alone makes participating in the race worthwhile – and it makes having to climb that steep little f*cker twice something to fill you with joy, not dread. And if you give them a smile for their efforts, they go completely wild, as if I was some important athlete. Fabulous. Then, the farmers' families camping out on their drive way, mum, dad, kids, in the middle of nowhere along the bike course, come rain or shine (we had both and no, the ranks of intrepid Welsh spectators did not thin out even as it started to pour).
Third, a young man whose canonisation as St Tim of Narberth must be imminent: Twelve miles from the finish, I had a flat in my front tyre; a tub. I have no idea how to fix those (they came with my Canyon TT and I hadn’t appreciate the difference between tubs and clinchers at the time). I try a sealant spray, to no effect. I waive down a motorbike patrol who advises me to head back into Narberth for the mechanic's tent. It’s tough to double back on yourself in a race, with fellow competitors coming your way all the time, but it’s the only option. The mechanic investigates, reckons the valve popped, screws in a new one, pumps the tyre up, gives it another check and sends back on my way. A mile up the road, the tyre is flat again. I turn around – again.
This time, the mechanic identifies a puncture. After carrying a spare tyre at Challenge Henley without any idea really what I would do with it in an emergency, I had decided against doing so here. The mechanic though can’t help me without one as he’s run out of all spares as a result of earlier repairs. My heart sinks. The race could be over. Step forward St Tim of Narberth who had already cheered me on at my first stop at the mechanic’s. He rushes home and produces a front wheel. How will I get it back to him? No worries, says Tim, asks me where I am staying and tells me to leave it at the hotel reception where he’d pick it up on Monday. How would I get my Zipp 404 front tyre back? No worries, says the mechanic, he’ll place it with my bike in transition and switches my front wheel for Tim’s. Agreeing these logistics takes all of 45 seconds.
And I’m off, reinvigorated by gratitude**. And finally, I suppose, the good folk of Tenby and Pembrokeshire generally, whether marshals or bystanders. Everything that you read about how supportive they are of this race and the competitors, before, during and after the event, is absolutely true and contrasts refreshingly with the upper class twits around Henley who harrumph about having to leave their Land Rovers on the driveway for a day when Challenge Henley is on.
IronMan Wales is not the easiest iron-distance race (a course recce is essential) but I thoroughly recommend it and I’m immensely proud (despite the underwhelming splits) to have completed it. A must do race. I may well do it again next year. Apologies to Chris Hall for not checking who else was competing and being on the look out for him. I was cheered by a competitor on the run with shouts of “Crystal Palace” which I suppose must have been him – I was in a dark place at the time and didn’t look up quickly enough.
** Did this put me in receipt of illegal outside assistance? I say no with confidence (and a cheeky smile): the exchange happened at the mechanic’s station (where assistance is expressly allowed) and with the mechanic involved at all times. The mechanic popped on the new wheel. He just sourced it innovatively. When I finally hobbled into transition many hours later, there was my Zipp 404 zipwired to my faithful Canyon. And we were barely over the Severn Bridge on Monday morning when Tim dropped me a line to say that he had successfully picked up his wheel from our hotel. His generosity (inspired, as he wrote to me, by his own participation in IM Wales last year) and quick thinking blew me away and made my day. What a grand fraternity endurance racing is.)
Haute Route Alps race report
When Wim retired from long distance triathlons after Challenge Henley, I cast about for the next big thing to undertake and train for together and chanced upon the Haute Route Alps, a seven day 870km/20,000m elevation gain sportive from Geneva to Nice. Wim, when consulted, grunted in what I liberally interpreted to be the affirmative, and I signed us up. Preparation would be like for Challenge Henley minus the swimming and running, i.e. lots of long sportives in the UK, plus a trip to Andalucia to practice on continental roads. But what with the long weather, injury, exams, we only managed to rack up about 2,500km in the 12 months before the event (and that includes the 112 miles cycled at Challenged Henley) when I had anticipated 4,000km (apparently, the average is 7,000km for Haute Route riders).
Except for the time trial day (1500m), each stage included at least 3,000m of climbing, sometimes over as little as 110km, and several of the days had net ascents of hundreds of metres (whereas our prep events were invariably out and backs, so 0m net ascent). And this seven days in a row. So I was a touch anxious whether we’d beat the broom wagon and avoid a DNF. Wim remained characteristically chilled. Day 1 from Geneva to Megeve was already a cracker at 153km and 3300m of climbing, Day 2 was shorter with a more aggressive cut-off, leaving us merely 20mins clear of the broom wagon by the time we limped into Val d’Isere. The organiser made much of Day 3, the marathon stage, but Wim and I were relaxed: the vital stats (162km/3800m) looked almost the same as the King of the Pennines – ok, there’d be a net ascent, but there’d be no 20%+ gradients either (but the threat from live stock was just as high as in the Yorkshire Dales – swinging around a corner on thankfully a flatter section of a descent, I nearly ran into a herd of goats). It worked out beautifully and during a particularly dispiriting false flat section climbing out of Susa in Italy back towards France, we picked up quite a few struggling riders and chainganged them to the next feed station as quickly as their tired legs and shattered minds allowed. Over the days, a rhythm emerged whereby after I’d skip up ahead on the climbs (often placing rather well on the timed climbs), we’d set off on the descent together and I’d catch up with Wim at the bottom (not easily done if Wim managed to get a hold of a group and I didn’t, as happened twice), to then tackle the flat sections together. It all became a bit of a blur of col de this, cime de that…
Endurance events are much about the mind. As the day grinds on, the field stretches out and glycogen stores start to deplete, demons of despair drift out of the dungeons of your brain. You better have a good playlist of bright and cheerful songs and thoughts ready to evoke in your mind. Better yet, don’t ride alone. Race numbers with names and country flags (confidential to Kati P. from L.: despite many years of living in England, Wim and I sported the German flag) made it easy to strike up a conversation, and by then end of Day 1, we had already met the group of riders who’d be a fixture over much of the 700km that remained: Mao the cheeky chatterbox Italian who talked countless stragglers up the ascents, Dutchman Joris whom I caught quietly drafting behind us, sent up front to take the wind for a while and adopted for the rest of the sportive when he did so in good grace, grizzled German Holger, a competitive rider at national level in his youth until a crash nearly crippled him, to name but a few of the many courteous, generous and often technically accomplished riders with whom we shared this adventure.
But it wasn’t all plain riding. We had just broken the back of Day 6, having reached the top of Col de Valberg, the second climb of the day, well within the cut off time. And with this, the toughest day, nearly done, there was no question we had conquered the Haute Route. I swung out from the feedstop onto the newly tarmacked road leading off the short side of Valberg, some 50m behind Wim and Joris. A smooth surface, wide open bends with excellent visibility – a far cry from suicidal English descents. A left hander, then a right hander. Wim and Joris looked like birds swooping as they leaned into the right hander. Then Wim exploded onto the surface. Bits flew. The bike slid unto the other side of the road where a car approached. Wim bounced like a ball. In his bright Tour of Wessex outfit against the black tarmac, the scene looked like an egg being cracked into a black frying pan. The oncoming car stopped. Wim jumped to his feet, Joris and I off our bikes. We cleared the road, inspected Wim who just had the usual road rash and was fit to continue the ride (as the medics confirmed when they arrived a little later). But the top tube of the Canyon sported a star shaped crack. A marshal arrived who called the Mavic technical support team. But Mavic had no more reserve bikes available, and the Canyon was evidently unsafe to ride. The race director had arrived on the scene and advised that Wim would now have to wait for the broom wagon. That would mean a DNF for Day 6 and the Haute Route as a whole. We’d come so far. We hugged and had a bit of an emotional moment, surrounded by the medics, the Mavic chap and the race director. The race director said he’d consider crediting Wim Day 6 with a notional time since he would have been able to continue had a reserve bike been available but he’d have to consult the jury. And a bike would still have to be found for Day 7. It occurred to me that Wim and I very nearly paid a high price for my vanity - “that’s my son”, I’d say smiling smugly when people thought we were mates or, occasionally, brothers. So I finished Day 6, including the genuinely nerve racking second major descent of the day (if Wim had crashed here, he might not have come home), in a subdued mood.
Wim was not DNFed for Day 6, a bike was found for him for Day 7 which was shortened due to the threat of thunderstorms. At the finish in Nice, I was just glad to see Abby at the finish in Nice with our boy alive and healthy if scratched up a bit.
Three years together of cols conquered, descents mastered, choppy waters braved, miles of glorious British countryside traversed, mountain ranges crossed and finish lines of great events gained – that’s a rich tapestry of memories Wim has graciously agreed to weave with me when he could have been sleeping late, lounging about, doodling on the internet or whatever else it is that teenage boys ordinarily get up to. So his retirement from endurance events has my unreserved blessing. Three cheers to the finest training and racing partner I could have ever wished for.
Ride London-Surrey 100 - Ride report
Ride report by Karen Ayers
Any pre-ride doubts about the day, due to logistics of travelling to and from the venue, were completely forgotten and forgiven. It was an absolutely amazing ride and one every keen cyclist should put on their To Do list!
The opportunity to ride completely traffic-free around London and familiar Surrey roads, was just unbelievable.
I set my alarm for 04:00 and set off to drive to Deptford, as I'd missed the chance to book parking at the O2 while I was away on holiday. I then cycled to Greenwich and went through the foot tunnel. I met up with a Dulwich Paragon rider heading the same way and once on the other side a Greenwich Triton who knew the way to the Olympic Park.
No sooner had I parked my bike against a tree then two familar faces arrived, Cathy and Suse. We joined the queue for the portaloos, which wasn't too long, and bumped into Haydn.
The bag drop and wave loading all worked very efficiently and we soon heard Boris setting the first riders off. Cathy, Suse and I were in blue wave H and we were 'loaded' on time. While waiting in the loading area, an ex-CPT member, Mike Hurst, who spotted my CPT top in the crowd, came over to say hello.
When our turn came, we cycled through the Olympic Park and out on to the roads for a two mile warm-up cycle to the start. Riders soon spread out and with both sides of the carriageways closed, there was plenty of room for everyone, no matter what speed. After about 12 minutes of drafting behind Cathy and Suse, I decided the pace really was a bit quick for me so I dropped back and watched them disappear!
Cycling through empty tunnels, past iconic London landmarks, along the River and through red traffic lights was pretty surreal and took some getting used to. We were even allowed to cycle over the Hammersmith Flyover.
Surprisingly there were supporters out even at that very early hour!
Mark T passed me quite early on in the ride, again spotting my CPT kit as he went by in a speedy peleton.
The course was, for the most part, fast and flat. I was actually quite glad to get out into the Surrey countryside for a change of terrain.
I overtook Boris at about 25 miles. The speed he was going, I'm very surprised he finished in 8 hours!
Unfortunately I didn't manage to draft very much, as groups flew past me and I would have had to strain to keep up with them so worked pretty much on my own for most of the ride. It would have been nice to have some protection from the wind on parts of the course!
I made one comfort stop at a random portaloo half way down a hill that didn't have a queue. I also stopped at one of the 'Hubs' at the top of Newlands Corner and wished I hadn't. Although very well organised, it took longer than I would have liked when I only needed a drink top up as I was carrying all the food I needed.
Another ex-CPT member, Noel Hanchard, also pulled up alongside me for a while for a quick catch up, then headed off into the hills.
Leith Hill wasn't as bad as I'd expected, although it was quite busy, with a few people walking, mainly as a result of changing gear at the wrong time and losing their chains. The supporters were out in force but were economical with the truth with repeated calls of 'almost at the top'. The route was then very fast to Box Hill, which seemed tougher than usual but I took great delight in overtaking a good number of riders, something that doesn't happen often on a Club Sunday ride!
Again, it was fast and fairly flat until a climb out of Kingston (which felt tougher than it should) and Wimbledon Village, but once we were heading towards Putney Bridge and the last few miles the pace really picked up.
I was fighting cramp in my left thigh and serious pins and needles in my hands, but was determined to keep the pace going.
I got held up at Vauxhall Bridge by a police motorcycle who was slowing everyone down to allow traffic to cross the bridge, as we slowed a very large peleton formed and once we were given the all clear, with the 99 mile sign just ahead, the pace stepped up again. I managed to sit behind two slightly faster cyclists for the last mile averaging nearly 37kph. Turning into The Mall, with the crowds cheering, flags waving and the banging on the barriers was a moment to savour but passed in a flash as I went through the Finish.
We were presented with a heavy medal and then a goody bag, which like the London Marathon, was heavy and full of bizarre offerings, including a sachet of salad cream and a mini tube of toothpaste!
I spotted Brian Smith, then Emma followed by Hans and Wim as well as friends from Dulwich Paragon. Hans had bonked but they were both really pleased with their times, as most people seemed to be. My goal time was 6:30-6:45, my dream time was 6:00, my actual time 5:52! I'm still buzzing! Check all the times on the Results page.
Emma and I headed back towards Blackfriars Pier to catch the ferry back to the O2. The signage was non-existant and we got split up on the way. By the time I'd queued for the ferry I could have cycled back to Deptford, but it was nice taking a trip on the river to finish off the day and I met up with yet another ex-CPT member, Claire Tinker, so had a good old chat with her.
Lauren (wearing London Dyanmo, her other Club, kit) was the first lady to cross the finish line and was interviewed by BBC and ITV! Her finish time placed her 3rd fastest female overall. Congratulations!.
I didn't see Ruki at the end but she had a slow puncture at the start, was helped by three fellow cyclists but had to make a stop at the first Hub to get it pumped up properly. She then had a 30 minute wait for a portaloo.
The ballot for 2014 opens on 12 August, if you want a chance to experience this exciting event, don't miss the deadline. The ballot will close once 80,000 names have entered.
Ride report by Karen Ayers
I’ve wanted to do the Dunwich Dynamo since reading and hearing about the ride from other CPT members, so was really pleased when Selwyn sent out an email encouraging members to ride this year. Unfortunately he didn’t get much response and, following surgery on his knee, he also had to decline. I didn’t fancy riding on my own as I’m not very good at following directions or even arrows, as you may remember from the Thorpe Triathlon. I didn’t think I’d be riding this year until Brian mentioned he was definitely riding with two friends and I was very welcome to join him. I had just over a week to sort out lights (thanks for all the offers) and make travel arrangements. I was excited!
I met Brian, and his friends Bill and Clive, by the Greenwich foot tunnel. This proved to be a very wise arrangement as I would never have found them amongst the hoards of cyclists at London Fields. While I was waiting at the top of the tunnel, a Canadian tourist asked me if I knew where the tunnel went. I explained it went under the river and pointed across to the other side on the Isle of Dogs. She was really disappointed when I explained it wasn’t a glass tunnel, but a very old Victorian tiled walkway with puddles on the floor. She thought she’d be able to see the fish in the River Thames! She decided to give it a miss!
As we waited for the off outside the Pub in the Park, we were surrounded by road bikes, recumbents, tandems, fixies and hybrids with riders of all shapes and sizes, some in full Club kit, others in jeans and trainers, some in fancy dress, some with helmets some without, and a very large group of Dulwich Paragon! We soaked up the atmosphere and before long and without any signal people started moving off.
As the queues for the bar and the loos were so long we agreed we’d stop as soon as we could at a convenient location. I think we actually cycled for a whole four minutes before we made our first stop at McDonalds, for a comfort break and a strong coffee! It was about 20:45 when we joined the constant stream of cyclists heading out of London.
The first part of the ride out to Epping Forest is along busy London streets but on the whole drivers were pretty considerate and understanding as traffic wasn’t moving very quickly anyway. A black cab pulled up alongside me in the traffic and I expected a mouthful of abuse but was pleasantly surprised when the cabbie asked me where we were going and were we doing it for charity. I explained it was just for fun, which he didn’t understand, but he wished us a good ride and continued on his way!
On the other side of Epping Forest we cycled through villages and then out onto more remote country lanes, overtaking and being overtaken until darkness started to creep in. As bike lights started to go on, we could see bikes snaking through the roads, red lights flashing ahead of us, as far as the eye could see.
I was a bit frightened on the first couple of bends when it became really dark and thought I was going to have to call Bruce to come and pick me up! But once I’d put my super powerful light on it was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed riding in the dark.
The roads were pretty flat, compared to Kent and Surrey, with just a couple of short climbs but nothing of any note. We reached the half way point just before 01:00, at a community hall, manned by volunteers, providing hot drinks, food and toilets. We had quite a long rest and set off again after taking some ProPlus, just in case!
Clive got a puncture at about 02:00 which gave us another short break from the saddle, as did a road closure further along the route, where there was a queue of cyclists carrying bikes over a temporary footbridge. Apparently we could have missed this if we had followed the diversion on the instruction sheet!
I was surprised at how short the actual hours of darkness are, how quickly the morning arrived and light started to creep back in. I didn’t feel tired at all, concentrating hard on the road and lights and bikes ahead of you must help. At about 04:00 it started to drizzle, that horrible wet air that just soaks you and makes your handlebars and brakes slippery, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits.
We made a final stop about 20 miles from the finish where we were offered free tea and coffee. Brian, Clive and Bill couldn’t resist the smell of cooking bacon so had a quick buttie but I decided to hold out for breakfast on the beach.
We gave a big cheer when we saw the first sign for Dunwich with seven miles to go, although it felt like a very long seven miles! There were lots of supporters at the finish cheering everyone into the car park. Bruce was already parked up when we arrived at 07:00 and Lisa arrived shortly after us. There was a huge queue for the cafe and even larger queue for the lorries transporting bikes back to London, so we were very pleased Lisa was taking ours!
Unfortunately, after a lovely sunny week with clear, warm nights, the weather turned so we didn’t see the full moon, the stars, the bats or the sunrise, we didn’t get breakfast on the beach or a dip in the sea, but we did have a fantastic night ride arriving in Dunwich after cycling approximately 120 miles. I think it was probably the most enjoyable 100+ ride I’ve ever done and one of the flattest.
Brian and I are definitely up for it again next year, who’s going to join us?
Brian and I make a guest appearance on this YouTube video at 5:30!
Long Course Weekend race report
Report by Hans Geberbauer
Wim and I headed to Tenby for the Long Course Weekend. Me because I wanted to recce the course for IM Wales, Wim because, while nominally an adult, still does as he’s told (provided there’s plenty of food and a luxurious hotel to compensate for his exertions), as well as having to get in the miles in preparation for the Alpine crossing next month.
We found Wales uncharacteristically sunny and without so much as a breeze. That made for an easy swim in smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom Tenby bay where I managed a PB over the Ironman distance while Wim settled for the half distance (not having swum since Challenge Henley). My own swim training this year has been minimalist (no pool swimming since February and only the races at Thorpe and Sussex for open water practice) so I am pleased there’s been no deterioration. However, conditions were so benign that I am not kidding myself that the IM Wales swim will be anything like this.
Saturday brought the 112m Wales Sportive (on the IM Wales course). No wind at all must surely be the exception but made for a fast first 60km. The highlight was a fast descent into dunes west of Pembroke – stunning scenery. I shudder to think how vulnerable this part of the course is to wind from any direction. We also quickly realised that the climbing (well over 2000m) is all crammed into the last 120km. We were doing very nicely to 95k, with our distinctive Tour of Wessex kit serving as a beacon for many riders. But we soon began to wilt in the withering heat. At every stop, we poured water over our necks for relief – some riders overcooked and required an ambulance and at the last water station we encountered a large group of riders sheltering in the shade that seemed neither minded nor able to move on.
Wim in particular was not enjoying himself towards the end and gave me permission to drop him with 20km to go, and I rushed for the wonderfully atmospheric finish down a chute in the very centre of Tenby. We both posted PBs for a sportive of this length, achieving faster times only at Challenge Henley (with less climbing and the adrenaline of a proper race pulsing through the veins) and placed well forward in the combined field of Long Course athletes and sportive riders.
IM Wales should be a good deal cooler but I fear I will also be met with a lot more wind. Between the threat of wind and climbs (some steep) bunched towards the back of the bike just before the run, Shakespeare comes to mind: “Road bike or time trial bike – that is the question”.
We skipped the Welsh Marathon as I saw no training benefit whatsoever in running a full or half marathon in 30 degree heat, although that landed us with a technical DNF for the Long Course Weekend where a DNS for the run day would have sufficed.
Wim (1.9km) 35:56
Hans (3.km) 1:19:53
Sussex Middle Distance Triathlon
Qualifying for the Wooden Spoon
Race report by Lisa Buchanan
Oh happy days to be racing again. You really appreciate it when you’ve been out of action for a while. The Sussex Triathlon has been on our calendar for ages and the day finally arrived. Were we prepared? Not quite. Things kept getting in the way… weddings, honeymoon, stress fracture… is that enough excuses?
Excuses at least helped my race-day mentality. I was relaxed, and I’m usually nervous. I wasn’t confident I could finish, having barely run since April, and there were so many unknowns about this distance – what/when to eat, how much kit to take… the optimal thing to do is try these things in training; do as I say, not as I do!
One certainty was the weather – scorchio. At 7am you could feel the heat. Also racing were Hans, Mark, Greig, plus Rob and Ron in the sprint. They must’ve scared the ladies away.
A change to the bike course was announced and we made sure Hans got the memo. The 60km loop plus 25km loop was replaced by 4 x 20km laps. Mark later reported it was nearly 1400m of ascent over 83km, and provided some informative graphs.
At 8.45am we entered the water. After baking in the wetsuit, getting into the pea-soup lake was bliss. Despite being a small field it was still a scrum around the first buoys (I never know why people go mad at the start of a long distance swim, but it seems to be tradition.) I ploughed in against the lily pads and bodies at my own pace.
My own pace turned out to be good. I had a cracking swim (I’m not sure the exact distance - they say 1.9km but 3 laps of 750m adds up to 2.2km.) Whatever, I was out in 30:29 feeling fresh, which was good because the bike was uphill from the start. I struggled on lap 1 – the unfamiliarity of the course and being fairly new to riding TT meant I wasn’t always on the ball with my gears, but I plugged away and settled by lap 2. My brain said EAT! so I ate my homemade flapjacks but they were cloying in the heat so I only managed 3. As I rode, one of my bottles, pump, and 2 gels flew off into the bushes, thus creating an illusion of speed. My thirst was all too real.
Little things perk you up. Overtaking men. Getting papped by Joseph Yee in the unofficial team car. Hans flying past yelling encouragement. I didn’t see him again until the finish, strapped to a massage table (I’ve never seen a masseur resort to bondage - Hans must be a slippery fellow!)
After 3 hours crisping up in the sun, knotted like a pretzel, flicking bees out of my face, my bum despairing of the saddle, I couldn’t wait to run just to be upright again.
By T2 I was in 3rd place but there were still 21km to go, the bit I was least confident about. But my running legs were there – that wonderful feeling when they turn over easily, getting into the groove. Now I just had to get to the end. It was 4 laps of pure trail, with one punishing hill 2.5km into each lap, and the heat was so oppressive no amount of water seemed to help. Mark and I were level-pegging for 2 laps until his compression socks took effect.
On completing lap 3, throwing the umpteenth cup of water at myself, I commented to the marshal that I was glad to be on my final lap, to which he said it was shorter. ‘Really? You’re kidding!’ ‘Yes, yes, the last one’s shorter; down there and follow the sign to the finish’. So I ran for home, grinning with joy. 3rd place - wow! I crossed the line, got my medal, chip removed and lay down in the shade. Ahhhhhh.
The race director came over – ‘You haven’t finished, its 4 laps and then a shorter loop.’ I won’t repeat my response. My choice was go back out or DNF. What was the point doing all that to DNF? Stripped of my medal and muttering obscenities, I ran like my backside was on fire. How much time had I lost pratting around at the finish? How many sleek athletes had galloped ahead?
Not as many as I thought. In the end I came 4th by less than a minute - aaargh! But I got a prize for 1st in age group and kudos for going back out. Maybe I’ll take a Garmin next time.
John followed, having clawed back time on the run. Chapeau to him for racing on a bike he only got from the repair shop on Friday, and for saying he enjoyed the flapjacks!
Having finished twice in this race and ‘re-modelled’ John’s bike at the last one, I wonder if I’m gaining enough plonker points to qualify for the Wooden Spoon?
Cycletta Woburn Abbey
Report by Brigit Brown
Cycletta is a newish series of women only bike rides. They are like normal sportives but with more marshals, more feed stops, more loos and (oh joy) plenty of support to sort out any mechanicals… And no MAMILs! Someone, somewhere must understand what it takes to get women cycling en-masse. There were 700 riders at this one (591 recorded finishers), spread over three distances: ‘Challenge’ 57km; ‘Classic’ 32km and ‘Novice’ 20km.
To be honest, this ‘softer’ approach almost put me off entering in the first place but glad that I did. It was great to see so many women of all ages and abilities cycling and enjoying themselves. Some were inexperienced and unfit and other were very fit indeed. The route was good – rolling hills, semi-rural setting, and (almost) traffic-free in many sections.
I opted for the ‘challenge’ distance which, at around 35 miles, is the same as the usual route I ride. It was a two-lap course. I took it easy to start with, but by the second lap felt relaxed enough to put my foot down and completed it nearly half an hour quicker than the first.
Notwithstanding some dodgy ‘cuisine’ on offer in the Cycletta Village (nothing vaguely healthy on offer for lunch - BYO!), there was a buzzy atmosphere at the finish. As an added bonus, Victoria Pendleton materialised and was totally charming to her many admirers.
This is a good quality event and ideal for ladies who might be put off by all that testosterone at standard sportives, fancy something a bit more chilled-out, or – as in my case - want to do a ride with less experienced friends.
Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - 23 June
Race report by Derek Chitty (sorry it's late, photos to follow)
I haven't raced at Bristol before so this was a new event for me and a step up, having not raced for three years due to heart rate problems. My first race this year was Tonbridge which was a tester to see how the body reacted. All went okay and I then concentrated on trying to qualify at Bristol for London in September.Training had been going okay and have steadily been building up to cope with Bristol.
Had good trip down to the city but got completely lost in Bristol trying to find the registration centre. Eventually found myself on bike course so did a reccy which turned out to be very useful. Decided this was a good course for my trusty old TT bike, so was looking forward to winding up the gears. Eventually found registration, picked up my numbers etc and then tried to sort out where to park on race day. This proved to be a bit of headache as a lot of one way streets and good walk from transition plus my B&B was on other side of water. Picked out some possible spots to park which again proved to be useful on race day, as I found a nice parking spot tucked away close to transition.
Had bit of prob at B&B as a security alarm on adjacent shop starting sounding at 10pm Saturday night and continued all through the night until 8am Sunday morning! Getting sleep was very difficult so did not feel great Sunday morning. It did not help that our wave was off at 11.56am so had a long morning waiting around.
Walking to race first Clubby I met was Rob Parry and had good chat with Rob, filling me in on the course etc. Into transition and started meeting some of my old mates, both Club and others from distant past. It was also nice to meet Club people who I had not met before. Just like the old days!
Eventually our wave was off on swim. Deep water start and around sixty in group which included some young guns, horribly quick in the water. Having been down to Tooting lido regularly water temp (17*) was no problem. It was very windy to the point, the marker buoys were leaning at an angle. Felt quite comfortable swimming, trying to build up a steady pace but then I received a kick in the right hip which at the time was no problem. I had reasonable swim for me and actually overtook a few in the last section.(winner of my group 14.14!) However, coming out of water and running toT1, I realised there was a problem, as I could not run smoothly without hip hurting. Despite this, from the results I had fastest transition time!
On the bike course we were immediately hit by the strong headwind. A gentle incline on closed roads, out to turn around and this is where my reccy paid off, as I knew where turn around was located. Then back to the start and the crowds, via a tricky, twisting section around the back of transition to start 2nd/final lap. However, I was struggling, as could not put power down on pedals as hip was painful, plus could not stay down on tribars as neck was painful on same side. Very frustrating as I knew in training I had been clocking good times for 20K. At finish looking at watch - 49 mins. Very disappointing. (fastest in my group 42.14)
Out of transition for the run and the nightmare began. I literally hobbled out onto the run course which started on incline, up onto flyover and much to my embarrassment there were some Club supporters at the top of this ramp giving me a shout. Nice to get the support but wish I could have re-acted to them! Once on the flat I did manage to get some form of running together and tried to make up bit of time. Sadly I had to keep stopping to ease off my hip which I can only assume was a nerve trapped. As the course was steady incline out to the turn around point this did not help my problem.
Even more embarrassing, a very loud voice coming towards me shouting 'this is a run not a walk CPT' ! Guess who - Fintan! Exchanged few pleasantries with Fintan and pressed on. Luckily the run was just one lap so was able to make it back to the finish, although it seemed an age before we reached the finish as there was an extra loop up flyover to finish on the top road above transition. Again miffed by time (38 mins) as I had clocked 29 mins for 5k at parkrun week before. (fastest in my group 27.50).
So, I made it - pleased to have finished under the circumstances but disappointed could not perform better. Having said that, one of the advantages of being very, very old is there are not many in our group and I was pleased to find I had finished 5th o/a. Fingers crossed I may have a chance of getting to London which will be brilliant and make up for the last three years when I did not think I would ever get back to training again!
Hopefully, I may be able to get to Bristol next year and get a more realistic time.
One bit of advice - if you have any symptoms or concerns of HR problems, get them checked out as soon as poss, with CRY or your doctor. The worry of what might be is greater than the worry of any treatment/procedures you may require.
Windsor swim - Race report
Race report by Michelle Carroll
Weather on the morning was thankfully brilliant sunshine, being Scottish does not make me hard to the cold weather we have been experiencing! If it had been as cold as it has been I’m not sure I would have been so enthusiastic. This was the first time I had raced a 1500m, let alone in open water. I didn’t really like the look of the water but I was there so I was getting in! We had a deep water start and the 13 degree temperature wasn't as bad as trying to stay in the one spot before the race started, thanks to the quick current of the Thames.
The start wasn't the usual mayhem and washing machine effect that I had experienced at Dorney Lake, but this was probably due to the fact I was up the front of an all female wave. Once I got into a rhythm I just focused on a pace and tried hard to swim through the current. Have to say I have extremely sore arms today! I probably need to work on sighting a bit more as I did manage to bang into a couple of people half way through the swim. It was pretty murky water and I couldn’t see much which was a bit scary to begin with. Turning around and coming back was easy and it wasn’t long before I was at the finish!
I got out of the water feeling like I had done OK and pleased I didn’t have a panic half way through. I looked at my time and was a bit disappointed but listening to everyone else complaining about the current I realised it probably wasn’t too bad. Once the final results were listed I was happy to see I came 3rd in my age group. Mat did the 3k swim and was also pleased with his result. Overall it was a good, well organised event and I will definitely be doing some more. I think I may even like the cold water!
Nottingham report and life in general
Report by Mark Thomas
For those reading this: it is more a philosophical reflection on the ageing process than a tri report.
That should have halved the interest!
My last visit to Holme Pierrepont national watersports centre in Nottingham was as a fresh face schoolboy of 18 (almost exactly 30 years previously) representing Wales in a coxless pair (rowing Jim) so I was curious to see how the ageing process had affected both of us.
On that occasion we did not shine: losing by quite a margin to Scotland of all nations.
I knew the field would be fast what with it being the first of the world sprint qualifiers and the nat champs.There were 7 spots up for grabs in each age group so all to play for.
Rob and Andy were off in the wave before me so we cheered them on their four bike laps and single run lap. Both nailed themselves although Rob reflected that he might have gone a bit too much
into the red.
Although there is still a competitive steely edge in the older age groups, there is also a degree of mutual admiration, respect and comraderie. Many of us know each other quite well from various global sojourns.
I will cut to the chase as I am sure you are gagging to know what passed.
Or who passed more like......a good swim by my modest standards but two large groups formed on the bike and although I would have liked to work with them I did not want to incur the wrath of the BTF, so I trialled it
old style. If it was indeed 20 km then an average speed of 38km/hr or so is good for me (breezy but not a breeze). Into T2 and I usually expect to peg back a few of the bigger aquabikers ......but only a few came my way.
The rest were all well capable of the sub 19 min 5km that I dug in for.
21st in the AG and although 15 places from a worlds spot those fifteen places were all within a minute or so ahead of me. Sub 1:04 (pretty well a PB) and still only 21st.
If I was 4 months older I would be in the 50+ and would have made the cut. So it is clear to me that I am not a minute too slow but four months too young.
As for my reflections on my performance from 30 years ago....If I could have seen my future self from that slinky boat, still out there try(i)ing my best and giving it my all I would have settled for that.
So the worlds?....maybe not this year....... I can't wait to get older!
Thames Turbo 3
Report by Peter King
As it appeared that I was a lone CPT soldier heading deep into Thames Turbo territory the words of Henry V Act 3 Scene 1 occupied my thoughts after a 04.15 alarm. Thankfully it was a sunny chilly day that greeted Louise and I along with a whole host of triathlon virgins at Hampton Pool.
Louise, being the fish in disguise that she is, was off about 06.50 whilst I was relegated to a somewhat more relaxed 08.15 paddle. Thankfully, as often happens at Thames Turbo races I wasn't held up by anyone and indeed even overtook a couple of swimmers. It was only really my verging on the comical ducking under the lane ropes that gave me a swim time of 7.40 for the 426 metres
Arm warmers on and out on the bike for a route that is as bumpy as any "pave" you would hope to find between Paris and Roubaix. The beauty is, that with the seven minute dead time that is unique to Thames Turbo races, the bike leg in effect becomes a 21 km time trial and with that in mind I gave it a fair wallop. Not overly pleased with my 38 minutes but thankfully the bumpy road surface hadn't loosened any fillings and I still had time to shake out my aching glutes.
Back into to T2 and 53 seconds later out on a nice flat run route round Bushy Park. I am not a great fan of short distance races as I find them all a bit harem scarem so with my HR around the 175 to 180 level after 2.5 km I did wonder who I was going to meet first; My Maker or the Finish Line. Thank fully the latter swung into view and I clocked a 19.41 for the 5km which was the first time I had managed sub 20 minutes
Total Time 1:08:31 which was about five minutes quicker than last year and amazingly put me 4th in my AG. I haven't been as proud since I won a Blue Peter Badge aged 12.
Race Report Mallorca 70.3
Report by Peter King
This was my second time round at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca and I was determined to better my 5:47 from the previous year. Certainly my swim and run times had improved and I was armed with a much better nutrition plan. The only weak spot was the bike after the dreadful winter.
As usual, with an early morning beach start, it resembled the back end of an Ibiza Rave with wetsuit fancy dress option; pumping Euro house and a lot of wide eyed edgy racers.
I squeezed through to the front end and kept left and happily out of the worst of the bun fight. Out of the water in just under 32 min, a 5 min improvement, and then a very long hike of 500 metres to transition
2 mins gained in transition with better planning then out on to a lovely, traffic free, stunning scenery bike ride. 10km flat, 15km at 6% gradient then the rest is downhill or flat. You could not ask for a nicer bike route! It was about the 65km mark that the glutes really started protesting and with some fairly heavy winds my ETA started slipping. Finished with a 3:03 so room for improvement there.
A quicker T2 and out onto the run which was about 10 degrees cooler than 2012. The run course had been altered making it wider and with much less road furniture to avoid which is a definite improvement. My new and improved nutrition strategy had paid off on the bike and I felt confident heading out on the 3 x 7.0333km run. A quick loo stop and a quickish walk through 3 drinks stations helped me gather my mojo on a tough second loop and was able to post a 1:42 for the 21.1km
Pleased? You bet! Great coaching and good solid advice over the winter helped me achieve more than I was hoping and given me a great lift for the rest of the year.
Back again next year? Already entered and some other CPT'ers are in for the ride to.
Race report - Croydon Half Marathon Sunday(!) 7 April
Report by Peter King
After my solid Dorney Race Your Pace Half Marathon a few weeks ago I was some what nervous as to how I would fair on the rolling hills of Croydon. I had even been slightly professional and had a recce of the course a week earlier when out on a ride so I knew what to expect.
Race morning and for the first time in ages it was actually a sunny if some what frosty morning so no excuses as I set off on the Saturday morning to race start. This is where the new professional attitude flew out the window as although I knew the correct course I had failed to remember the correct day!!
Race morning (Take 2!!) and for the first time since the previous day it was actually a sunny if somewhat frosty morning so no excuses from the weather.
Again I had set myself a pace that I wanted to work to of just sub 4.20 / km and settled into a rhythm nice and early. The hills aren't steep but roll on so my idea was to keep over pace on the flats and manage hills as they came round.
First lap was covered in just over 42 mins and at that point there was a possible sub 1:30 on the cards but the long drag up past Lloyd Park on the second lap probably put pay to that and I rolled in with a very pleasing 1:31.
Good to see a merry band of CPT to chat to pre and post race all of whom seemed happy with the days achievements. Next stop is (even) sunnier Mallorca for some 70.3 action and yes I have checked my flight and race day details!!
The Fool's Errand II
Report by Karen Ayers
For some unexplained reason, I thought it would be a good idea to enter The Fool's Errand II - More Fool You 120k sportive. I did the event last year and wanted to go back, but as I'm a fair-weather cyclist, decided to wait until the day to enter. It wasn't too icy when I woke up at 06:00 so I set off for a new start location in Hildenborough.
There weren't many people at registration but plenty of tea, coffee and jaffa cakes. Just as I was about to set off Clare Wyngard and Karen Grieves turned up so I cycled with them, we picked up two other ladies for some of the course, but didn't manage to find any groups to work with on a very hilly route (which wasn't the same as last year) with over 1600m of climbing.
We got lost once, someone had very kindly removed the arrows so ended up doing 128k. There was a stop in Wrotham at Widehorizons Margaret McMillan House (the charity organising and benefiting from the event), where we had a comfort break, refilled our bottles and tucked into fruit and energy bars, before heading back out for the hills.
If I'd realised where the route was going, I would have taken a short cut and followed the road signs back to Hildenborough, but after 120k I didn't recognise the bottom of the steepest and longest hill on the ride, Carters Hill. I managed to get about half way, but with other cyclists walking and cars going in both directions, I was unable to weave across the road and eventually gave up before my knee caps popped!! It was a slow walk in cleats to the top but it did mean I could finish on the fast, sweeping Riverhill back to Hildenborough and a big bowl of chilli and rice, tea and more biscuits.
My official finish time is slower than last year, but last year I didn't stop, the route was shorter and there wasn't quite as much climbing! My actual ride time was a couple of minutes longer, but so was the route!
Hot Chillee sportive
Report by Mark Thomas
I know they are considered an expensive long ride by many but my colleague from work had signed up for the Hot Chillee 68 mile sportive last Saturday (6 April) and was looking for some company (or maybe just someone to share the petrol with?) so I joined him. It also included Leith Hill which I need to be reacquainted with for a middle distance Tri later in the season.
What a lovely day it was! A bit chilly on the tootsies but brilliantly sign-posted and well marshalled with more bananas than a monkey house.
I managed a respectable 4.09 and snuck into the gold time ....always believe in your soul, you're indestructible yeah!
I have a couple of gruesome pics for you all too!
If you want to save yourself a few quid and fancy some new roads with no potholes you could upload the route maps from the organisers website onto your Garmin.
Mark's top tip: Miss out the last 10km which is busy.
Happy cycling and let's hope the sun stays with us.
I might even do the epic with someone (over 80 miles) if anyone is up for it over the warmer months.
SCCU Sporting 10 (G10/46) - race report
Report by Rob Parry
As you'll know from my recent mails, this was my first ever venture into the murky world of time trialling. After posting my entry form and cheque, and crossing my fingers that I hadn't missed the deadline (or some obscure rule that prevented me from entering), it was strangely exciting to receive the confirmation package through the post a week later that contained the map of the route and the directions for getting to the start. Real cloak-and-dagger stuff!
HQ was a village hall down in Oakwoodhill, and the atmosphere was very low key. No queues for registration – just a table with a stack of race numbers, and a start list that you sign yourself onto. A few other competitors had set up their turbos and rollers, so with 30 minutes to race start, I got on mine and spent 20 minutes working up to race effort. At which point it started to rain. A lot. Riding a turbo, in a field, in the pouring rain, was certainly a new experience, and not one that I can say I particularly enjoyed!
Warmed up and ready to go, I joined the queue of riders who were being sent off at one minute intervals. The start is pretty cool, as you get a countdown from one official, whilst another holds your wheel from behind, giving you a helpful push when it's your time to go.
As I set off and got my head down, I realised that whilst I knew the distance and the lefts and rights, I had not thought to check the course profile. It turned out to be quite hilly, with a total ascent of 100 metres over the 10 mile course. The road surface was waterlogged and in pretty bad shape too, with debris and potholes everywhere. I managed to swerve most of them, but one unavoidable hole nearly took me out, and is probably what my rear light is lying at the bottom of now :-) Despite this, the course was fun to ride and well signposted, with countdown markers at every mile. It was when I reached the one mile marker that I remembered the words of Merckx (or Cancellara, or someone) who said something like "if you don't collapse after a time trial, then you didn't ride hard enough". I realised then that I'd been treating this too much like a triathlon! So with no subsequent run to endure, I buried myself for the last few minutes to try and make up some more time. The finish is a little bizarre too – two guys by the side of the road. You fly past, shouting your race number to them, and then just keep on going and cruise the last few minutes on your own back to HQ.
Back at HQ, and a long wait as the time are written by hand on a poster on the wall. My time of 24:30 was enough for 5th place ,which meant a round of applause and a bottle of wine, and seemingly a lot of admiration from the crowd as the organiser stressed the fact that I was a triathlete (as everyone else was racing for cycling clubs, and I think in their minds, triathletes are all runners who don't know how to ride a bike!). I wasn't too disappointed with not winning, given that pro cyclist Wouter Sybrandy took that honour with a blinding 22:08 ride, but have definitely got the TT bug now, and looking forward to the 25 miler on 12 May. Hope to see some of you down there with me!
There were a number of CPT starters on the list unlike Rob they are all fairweather cyclists and all had a DNS!
Hell of AshdownReport by Geoff Dillon
I was the lucky one who took poor Jim's place in the Hell of Ashdown sportive today....and denied him the fun of experiencing the icy winds, sleet, occasional icy roads and the nine savage climbs. Here's a quick report.
As fully expected, the day of the event was bitterly cold and overcast, with an icy breeze. Having spent the previous few days chewing over what I should wear to avoid getting too cold at the start and too hot in the middle, I lined up not over-dressed, and hoped for the best. I did try and put two pairs of thick thermal socks on, but my shoes wouldn't fit.
The name of the event has some psychological benefit, I think; we were all expecting Hell and although it didn't take long for the route to "bring it on", in the form of Berry's Hill Road, I was ready to slay it. The 110k route was usually either going up or going down, each time for long stretches. I nearly didn't make it past the first five miles, when I went over a pothole whilst hurtling downhill, The jolt loosened the handlebars, which fell forward. Somehow I managed to avoid going over the top of the bike. I cycled gingerly with handlebars sloped more than a track bike's until the first feed stop at 26 miles. Thankfully there was a mechanic there to sort things out. The feed stops, in village halls, were great, by the way. I could have stayed there all day.
In another drama, I went off course after 38 miles and after about 10 minutes of thinking why haven't I seen any other cyclists recently, I had to retrace my steps and rejoin the route. Very frustrating!
The hills were regular and brutal. The one leading to the second feed stop at 49 miles was probably well over a mile long. It was largely due to the fact that you could always see riders ahead of you that kept most people going.
By 50 miles I was starting to fear I would 'bonk' before the end. And the much-anticipated Star Hill climb to Knockholt at 55 miles threatened to finish me. But once again I think I psychologically over-estimated it and it was merely a nightmare, rather than being utter hell. By the last 2-3 miles, I had a spring in my pedal strokes as I knew the last of the big climbs had come and gone, and finished with a flurry, in 5 hours 11 minutes.
This is a truly challenging event and you feel proud to receive the certificate at the end. It's also very well organised.
Poor Jim was knocked off his bike during a road race in Botswana. He suffered a broken collar bone is awaiting an operation. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Dorney Race Your Pace Half Marathon Report by Peter King
This is the second time I have done the Race Your Pace Half Marathon at Dorney Lake. The first was very windy and I posted a 1:34:23. It was good to go back to Dorney and see what things were looking like post Olympics and if some of the gold fever was still in the air. Amazingly there was hardly any wind which must be a first up there and even the sun was shining. The race was delayed, as was last years, due to parking problems but the horn sounded at 10.15 to get us underway. The start was very crowded with plenty of people bunched at the front who needed to be got past but with all the grass on the side being "Olympic legacy mud" this took a while but after half a km I managed to settle into a steady pace of 4:20 / km. It took a while to work it out but I was going to be over the 90mins mark at that pace so on the last of the four laps I upped the pace to 4:10 to try and make the grade but it looks like the crowded start got the better of me and I crossed the line in 1:30:28. A tedious lap race maybe but as a testing ground for your pacing and setting a benchmark it ticks all the boxes and I am extremely happy with my improvement on last year.
Race reports from down underReport by Lauren Whitmore
Roy’s home town of Busselton (home of Ironman Western Australia) was holding a Festival of Sport during our trip so I decided to do the 10km run and the 3.6km swim around the jetty. I haven’t raced a 10km for a few years and I’d forgotten how painful trying to run fast can be. Despite an 8am start it was already hot so I was pleased that I resisted the temptation to enter the half marathon! I was very happy with my time of 43:56, especially as I’ve been struggling to do any running recently due to injury. Results >
The jetty swim, the main event of the weekend, was the next day. One of Roy’s mates started the event eight years ago and it’s grown from about 30 participants to over 1500 (including relay teams). I was off in the first wave and everyone looked super fast. There were a few Olympians there, racing for a $1000 prize for anyone breaking 40 minutes.
Unfortunately the conditions were not kind, unlike the previous day when the sea looked like a lake, grrr. It was a non-wetsuit swim, so my main concern was avoiding the ‘stingers’ which had got Roy pretty badly a couple of days earlier.
I struggled round in 1:02 which must be my slowest open water swim ever, the conditions were tough – the winner swam five minutes slower than he did last year - but my lack of swim training (due to another injury) definitely showed.
Roy finished just ahead of me in 1:01, a significant victory given we got engaged a few days before and we were racing to decide which surname we’d keep! Results >