2014 race reports
If you've competed in a race and want to write a report, even if it's only describing the course for people who might consider doing the event in future, please do.
You can e-mail your report to the webmaster for publication together with any digital images you have of the event.
Report by Karen Ayers
Hope I'm not boring you with race reports from Spain, but it's such a great experience I wanted to share and encourage others to join us next year!
On Saturday 20 September, Greg, Suse, Bruce and I took part in the Triatlon Carboneras Sprint race and Audrey in the SuperSprint.
Registration and the race finish were situated in the town square alongside the castle which made a spectacular backdrop.
The Olympic distance race started first, then the Sprint, at 18:00 and the SuperSprint was scheduled for 19:00 but was delayed until 19:20, which meant the slower riders completed the bike lap at dusk.
The swim was a mass beach start, with a sea temperature of 26.5 wetsuits were not required for the 750m swim. After watching the Olympic swimmers go off course, we made sure we knew exactly where we needed to go. The swim was a bit chaotic, especially with a stag group racing together! (Spot the CPT kit).
There was a pretty long run on the beach and round a car park to a spacious transition (bike times include T1 and T2).
The bike consisted of two undulating laps. After about 6k of ups and downs, there was a very fast 4k back into town and along the beach road for the start of the second lap.
Unfortunately on my second lap, drafting some fast male competitors (my max speed was just over 63k), I spotted Bruce walking back down the hill. He'd punctured just as he'd finished the first climb and had to make his way back for a disappointing DNF.
As I headed out on my run Suse overtook me heading out on her second lap so I cheered her on.
The run went along the beach promenade with lots of support from all the marshals and everyone enjoying the cafes and ice cream parlours along the route. I'm pretty sure I heard, well done old lady, but as my Spanish isn't brilliant I didn't let it put me off as I might have misheard!
The run turnaround was on the beach, running on the sand was pretty tough. The route then went through a paved shopping street then through the carpeted finish funnel right outside the castle.
Suse was delighted to run through the tape as the first female to cross the finish line.
Finishers were treated to cold drinks, including beer, fresh fruit and sandwiches.
Audrey was very pleased to finish her first triathlon for over two years.
Once all the results had been verified presentations and awards were made inside the castle.
Suse, as first female, was presented with an impressive trophy.
Greg and I both received medals for our first place SuperVet wins.
If anyone wants a trip to Spain to race either at Pulpi or Carboneras next September, just let us know. You'll be very welcome to come and stay with Bruce and I as we will be racing again. As I'm sure the others will agree, it was a fantastic event and there's some great cycling to be had for the rest of your stay!
Triatlon de Pulpi - 06 September
Report by Karen Ayers
As we were missing Southwater this year, Bruce and I thought it would be fun to enter a triathlon, or two, while holidaying in Spain. I discovered a local race and entered us both. Unbeknown to me, the race was the Andalucian Sprint Championship and the field was very fast with top athletes from all the local clubs competing for the championship.
When we arrived at registration, at a very civilized 1pm on a Saturday, everyone looked tanned, svelte and very serious! We felt out of place especially as we don’t speak any Spanish so were struggling to understand the race instructions. We obviously looked British as the man at registration knew who we were without us actually giving our names!
We had our photo taken with our race numbers then joined the queue for transition. We weren’t allowed in without our passports (or some form of ID), so I had to go back to the car to get the necessary documents. We then discovered you aren’t allowed to keep anything in transition other than the items you actually require for racing, all of which must be kept tidily in your numbered basket.
The men’s wave went off first at 16:00. The men were rounded up in a pen on the beach and entered the water, along a slippery jetty, by race number. Numbers had been allocated in age order, so Bruce had one of the highest numbers and therefore was amongst the last to enter the water. There were a couple of men in wetsuits, despite the 27 degree water temperature. Another British competitor we met in transition explained anyone over 50 can wear a wetsuit whatever the temperature! Unfortunately the 750m swim started before about 25 men, including Bruce, had even made it to the start.
As we hadn’t been able to work out where the bike mount line was, I went to watch the first men leave transition, then ran back to see Bruce come out of the water and make the long run from the beach to transition.
Drafting is allowed in sprint races in Spain so large groups of very fast athletes sped past on the three lap, 20k route. I cheered Bruce on at the end of his first lap then headed back to the beach for the women’s wave.
There were only 50 women and I was number 50 so the last to enter the water. The starter waited for all the women to form a line before starting the race. It was quite choppy swimming to the first buoy and seemed to take forever to get there but it was faster getting back to the beach. There was a shower to run through before heading up to transition. There was another long, uphill run out of transition to the mount line.
The 20k bike course , on closed roads, was pretty flat with a number of roundabouts and a dead turn. It was a great feeling overtaking at least 15 women on the bike. Unfortunately I didn’t find anyone to draft but did have a small group forming behind me! It was windy, in both directions, out on the bike, how does that work?! My drink, which had been sitting in the sun since I’d racked my bike was so hot it nearly exploded when I released the top for the first drink. I knew it was going to be hard to run back down the hill in my bike shoes so managed to get my feet out of my shoes before the dismount line (not something I usually do in UK races!).
The 5k run was two laps on an undulating course and was extremely hot, over 36 degrees, so the bottles of cold water being handed out were a great relief and ended up over my head. Bruce cheered me on from a nasty little hill in the middle of the run. Quite a few of the women I’d overtaken on the bike quickly overtook me on the run.
Once the finish line was in sight I managed to pick up the pace very slightly. I’d hoped to finish in about 1:35 so was very pleased to finish in 1:28 and Bruce was very pleased to finish his first race in two years.
There was a real party atmosphere after the race with post-race beer for all finishers, as well as piles of juicy, fresh fruit. It seemed as though everyone stayed for the presentations, even though they weren’t made until about 20:30.
Despite feeling slightly out of place and much larger than all the other competitors we enjoyed our first Spanish triathlon and look forward to the next on 20 September when we will be joined by Audrey, Greg and Suse.
Dunwich Dynamo - 12-13 July
Another great ride to Dunwich. Congratulations to everyone who made it through the night, Selwyn, Josie, Audrey, Brian M, Sara and Mark, Irish Claire, Andreas, Ruki,
Gary, Glyn, Jane, James, Katie, Kati and me!
The journey started at Crystal Palace railway station followed by a short cycle from Hoxton station to the Pub on the Park at London Fields, where we were greeted by cyclists scattered all across the road and round the park. Unbelievably, James managed to find us and Fay and her husband passed by just in time to join the team photo, although they opted to cycle on their own.
The first group set off while the second group headed to McDonalds for a loo and coffee stop. The sky looked ominous but it was warm, with less traffic than last year as we headed out of London.
The group who set off first got caught in a downpour cycling through Epping Forest but the second group managed to keep the rain ahead of them, just having some surface spray to contend with.
It looked as though we were going to be one down after about 45k as Josie was badly affected by the red strobe lights and had to stop. A taxi was called to take her and her bike to the nearest Travel Lodge. At this point, the two groups merged and made it to village hall food stop, approximately 51 miles in, pretty much together.
There were bikes and people everywhere, with some having a quick nap in uncomfortable looking places, but CPT are made of hardier stuff. We enjoyed the hot food (although I'm not sure I'd recommend curry soup at 1am!), and a cup of tea before heading back into the night.
We had a couple of punctures along the way and the groups divided with riders jumping from group to group. At some point Josie rejoined us as the Travel Lodge was full and there was no way of getting home.
This year, although we still didn't see the full moon, the stars or the bats, we did at least have the wind behind us nearly all the way and what a difference that made, we seemed to fly along following the lights ahead through the winding country lanes. We took a couple of wrong turns but soon got back on route.
It's hard to keep together as you can only see lights when you check behind you. So apologies to those who got dropped somewhere along the way. Andreas and James kept cycling off the front and disappearing, sometimes reappearing but towards the end weren't seen again until we reached Dunwich.
Kati and I worked hard to keep up with Brian, Selwyn, Glyn and Gary. We should have stayed with the others as we got absolutely soaked about five miles from the finish. The rain came down so hard it wasn't really worth putting waterproofs on as we were already wet to the skin. The rain stopped almost as soon as we reached Dunwich and the following groups didn't get wet at all!
It's amazing that you don't feel tired as you are cycling but as soon as you stop you feel tired and hungry! We queued for a very welcome cup of tea and bacon buttie before loading the bikes into Audrey's brother's van and heading home on the minibus.
Approx 114 miles (slight variations depending on route taken and how accurate computers are), with average speeds of between 14-16 mph. Brian and I were more than an hour quicker than last year and that was longer stops and more punctures!
Comments from the riders:
"Thanks for great company and much fun. Next year is a defo from me" (Kati)
"Thanks all for a great Dunwich experience – I would not have made it to the end without everyone’s help and company! I can recommend my recovery breakfast of Carlsberg and a scone" (Jane)
"Now the pain of the ride has begun to fade from my memory, I have put the date in my diary for 2015. Thanks for all your support, sorry for being so grumpy at the end! (Audrey)
"I actually quite enjoyed it - much more than I thought I might. If the forecast is for a dry / moonlit night I could be persuaded to do it next year. Afterall there's the best veggie sausage and egg butty to dream about" (Ruki)
"The most challenging event I have ever completed... and almost didn't complete! Thanks for being such a support bunch.
With a solid 14hrs sleep and a faint recollection of eating a cucumber around 6pm... I have no urge to ever do that event again... but we will see..." (Josie)
"It's such a bonkers event that I for one will defo. do it again. (Glyn), although his picture (right) says otherwise!!
Thanks to Selwyn for organising everyone and the minibus and for keeping our spirits up along the way.
Kitzbühel Triathlon European Championships
Race report by Mark Thomas
Off to Kitzbühel for the ETU Triathlon Championships.
Olympic distance this time with two laps each with three climbs: 720 metres of climbing over the 40k.
You could not ask for a more beautiful setting with running across alpine pastures and swimming in glacial lakes.
Your intrepid reporter did not have an uneventful time however as I missed the closing of transition and had to use all of my charm to be allowed to put the shoes next to my bike even though the first wave was not due to enter the water for another 10 minutes.
We were played the heartbeat ITU countdown on the pontoon which all helped to sooth things further as you can imagine.
A good swim, not too much argy bargy as there was about 800m to the first buoy and we were all spread out across the pontoon so no more nics in my lovely wetsuit.
Tough bike but I had at least one climbing leg attached and then I pegged back a few places on the run, although I say so myself I was running smooth…...
28th in the AG and 6th Brit….. it gets tougher each year and more expensive so maybe I will do some more local racing next year…… the trip from Casa Tomaso to Brockwell Lido is not as involved.
Mrs T enjoyed the spa hotel as did I once all the pain and anxiety was over with!
Kitzbuhel is beautiful….
Oh and we saw some guy called Brownlee winning.
Alistair was not the only rider to flash by...
City to Summit race report
By Rob Parry
Andy and I raced the Rat Race City to Summit back in May, which is billed as the toughest iron-distance triathlon in the world.
This race turned out to be every bit as savage as it sounds. We had expected – and feared – the typical Scottish weather of wind, rain and snow as they had in the previous year, but the freak heat wave that weekend turned out to be arguably worse as we burnt through our water supplies on the self-supported marathon, and had to resort to drinking from streams!
Despite this, the course was set in some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever raced in, and the organisation of the event by Rat Race was second to none.
I highly recommend this race for anyone who wants a real triathlon adventure, and if you enter before the end of July then you’ll get in for the quite frankly ridiculous price of £199, which is quite incredible given this includes having your run kit transported to T2 and your swim kit picked up and delivered to the finish for you, along with more than enough signage and support along the way (and a nice medal, buff, T-shirt and certificate if you finish).
My day can be summarised as: successful swim, hopes of a podium dashed 30k into the bike, unexplained disaster in the form of a back suddenly going into spasm, and then a long, slow, death march to the finish!
For a longer race report read my blog. More general details on the race are on the Rat Race website.
I will definitely be back one day as I feel I have unfinished business on this course, just won’t be next year as this clashes with my planned A-race being the ITU Long Distance World Champs in Sweden.
Porto Colom - Mallorca - race report
Report by Mark Thomas
So, I dragged my long suffering family to the south of Mallorca on our Easter hols to see me stumbling out of the water, jumping on and off a bike and collapsing over the finish. Such is the lot of the triathlon supporter.
I opted for the shorter 500 swim, 50 km bike and 5 (actually nearer 6) km run known as the 55.5. There was a double distance on offer (the 111) but I declined that.
The swim was a 400 wave mass start with a jump off the quay…..congested is understatement …..even round the second buoy it was as frothy as a foam party.
The highlight of the bike ride was the 500m climb up San Salvador. If you want to experience it for yourself here is a you tube of the descent.
It is a dead end so you climb it first, round the cones and down.
The run was scorchio and nearer 6 than 5 km out to the lighthouse and back I managed to peg a few places back.
To cut a long story short, they missed me off the results page and I had quite a battle to get my time posted. Not sure why. Anyway all cool now and the organiser, Jaume has been brilliant in sorting out this glitch and has promised to send me a trophy for coming second in my age group.
I would definitely recommend the race. Hotels are cheap in the area (we found a family room for 40 euros for the night with a pool: you see, I do look after them !)
Why not join me next year? 50 euors including a finisher’s bottle of vino tinto.
Clumber Park Duathlon race report
Report by Rob Buckler
I'm pleased to report that I came fourth in my age group at the Clumber Park Standard Distance Duathlon on Saturday. But for a mechanical failure
on the bike, necessitating some lightning work with the allen keys, I might well have come second. Still, fourth was good enough to give me automatic qualification for the British World Championships Team this
year, though for various reasons I don't think I'm going to take up my
Interestingly, my time was quicker than when I won the bronze in the
British Duathlon Championships in 2008 (in the age group below). Must be all those hill reps with Emily, the chain gangs with Selwyn and, last but not least, Jon's Super Saturdays!
A big thank you to those coaches for their help.
Race your Pace Half Marathon
Report by Peter King
Well it really was a case of Groundhog day as this is the third time I have competed here (nothing if not a creature of habit!!) and with last year's 1:30:38 still a thorn in my side to be removed I had been really looking forward to this race over the last few months.
Struggling home in frightening wind on Friday night then waking to still howling gales didn't bode well but Dorney Lake was sunny, dry and possibly the windiest I have ever encountered!
I set off with the 7 min mile pacers and sheltered in the pack for two of the four laps. The wind was blowing pretty much across the lake so the name of the game on the leg up from the clubhouse was staying out of the lake with some heavy gusts. The down leg served little respite but was a touch easier.
So two laps in the pack and then the pacer pulled off and it was time to pick it up a touch and try for a decent time. With a HR 10-15 beats higher on the windy up leg it was rather tough going to say the least and difficult to do the maths as to how my pacing was going.
Rounding the top and heading down the lake for the final time and it was all guns blazing at 6.30 min mile pace and crossed the line in 1:29:11 which I am ridiculously pleased with considering the conditions and bagged me a 3rd in my Age Group to boot. Great training from my coach and beautiful support and inspiration from Louise all made it a wonderful day. Bring on the rest of the season!!