Posts Tagged ‘triathlon’

Braham Pie-athlon

Monday, December 18th, 2017 | Sport

It’s Christmas. Which means mince pies are everywhere. In the kitchen. In the office. And, apparently, on the triathlon course. Why? Because last Sunday was the Braham pie-athlon.

Organised by Tadcaster Triathlon Team, it was identical to their first Go Tri event that I raced last month with one important difference: in each transition area, you had to scoff a mince pie.

I was hoping for good things. At the last one, I was ill. That said, I still completed it in a time of 33:21, and this time I had to add a few mince pies as well.

Despite a frosty and wet morning, the day warmed up a little. By the start of the race, it was a balmy 6 degrees Celsius. Everyone laughed at me for lining up on the start line in just a t-shirt, but it was clearly the correct decision as I was good temperature throughout the race.

And we’re off

The first 2km was relatively easy. I’m running on a damaged ankle at the moment, which gave me a bit of grief but didn’t slow me down.

However, things got tough as we arrived in transition one. I had done extensive training before the race. However, I had done it all using deep-filled mince pies. We were handed a thin and crispy one. This has a totally different filling to pastry ratio making it much more difficult to eat.

It also put me at a disadvantage against the people changing their shoes, as they could eat and shoe-change. Thus, it didn’t really slow them down. Whereas I was otherwise ready to pick my bike up.

The bike leg

I exited transition alongside one other guide and got ahead of him. For a good five metres. That was mainly due to me being able to hop on my bike quickly whereas it took him a few seconds to clip into his £2,000 Felt B-series TT bike. Once he had clipped in, he caught up pretty quickly.

We headed down the old A1 and I quickly overtook someone. I was then on my own for the next 3km before spotting someone in my metaphorical mirrors. I kept ahead of him for another 3km, but with 1km to go, he finally overtook me. The effort had worn him out though, and I took the place back as we reached the dismount line and ran into transition two.

The final sprint

We were handed our second mince pies as we left T2, meaning we could eat them on the run. This is hard to do. It’s impossible to eat and breathe in sufficient oxygen for running at the same time. But by the 500m mark I had I had finished munching and the stomach pains disappeared.

The results

I came 9th out of a field of 22. Last time I was 22 out of 32, which suggests that I am improving or that the good athletes were scared off by their lack of scoffing skills.

My final time was:

34:25

That means it was 1:04 slower than last time. Not a great result as even if you say it took me all of that time to scoff the mince pies, it means I haven’t really improved much.

However, it seems everyone found it harder.

The guy who won both races, Harry Robson, was 2:56 slower with this race. The guy who came second in this race was also 2:26 slower than the previous event. So, perhaps it was an improvement after all.

The splits

It’s impossible to report exact splits without a fancy triathlon watch (so, I will be needing one of those) but I can estimate it from the pace fluctuations.

I’ve put in last time as a comparison.

Section Pie-athlon Previous race
Run 9:52 9:48
T1 2:05 (11:57) 0:35 (10:23)
Bike 16:57 (28:52) 17:32 (27:55)
T2 0:35 (29:27) 0:50 (28:45)
Run 4:58 (34:25) 4:36 (33:21)
Total 34:25 33:21
Gap to winner 5:10 7:02

Looking at the data, I think it’s probably nonsense: you just cannot accurately gauge which section is which without a clear marker that a sports watch would provide.

Conclusion

It was a lot of fun. I would definitely do another pie-athlon. Tadcaster Triathlon Team did a great job of organising it. I finished the day with a long bath. For my bike. Then I had a quick shower with the remaining hot water.

Triathlon For Beginners

Thursday, December 7th, 2017 | Books, Sport

Triathlon For Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more is a book by Dan Golding.

I was keen to read it to see how my current knowledge matched up. As it turns out, it matches up reasonably well. If you’ve been around the triathlon world for any amount of time, or done a few, you will probably know a lot of what is in the book.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Golding goes deeper into the science of each aspect so unless you really know your stuff, there is something to learn.

Take nutrition, for example. I knew we had around 90 minutes of glycogen. But, after that is gone, exactly how many kcals do I need to put in my body to keep going, and at what rate? Everyone is different, of course, but Golding provides a guide.

He also expounds on an important concept that books are picking up on more and more (including mine): you have to remind the reader that reading this book isn’t enough; they need to put it into practice, too.

How much this helps, I’m not sure. But the anecdotes about what happens probably do help. Between Golding’s recollection of being unable to get his wetsuit off, and my own experience of running out of T2 still wearing my cycling helmet, I think I’ll think I’ll be able to convince myself that transition practice is time well spent.

If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or you’re still in your first season, this book is worth reading.

GO TRI Braham

Monday, November 20th, 2017 | Sport

Hot off the heels of GO TRI Temple Newsam, I signed up for GO TRI Braham.

It was a different setup: less running and more cycling. The cycling was on the road and slightly less hilly. It was also more competitive: people turned up with racing bikes and separate shoes for running and cycling.

The competitiveness was most obvious on the road. I held my own on the run but I was overtaken by a lot of people in the cycle, even on the climb. The revised format made it a quicker course, though, and in the end, I finished 22nd, same as last week.

My time was 33:21

Despite being slow relative to the other athletes, I wasn’t too disappointed by my time. Despite being ill, I still averaged 24kmph. That is nothing to write home about if you are a cyclist. But, as I struggled to get my speed above 20kmph on the towpath, and kept telling myself I would be faster on clear roads, a little vindication did make me feel better.

The event was well organised and the results were online the same day.

GO TRI Temple Newsam

Sunday, November 19th, 2017 | Sport

Last week, I completed my first triathlon. Except it wasn’t a triathlon, nor was it anything like a real distance.

It was the “GO TRI Temple Newsam”, a novice event designed to get people into triathlon that is organised by the British Triathlon federation. It took the format of a duathlon with a 2km run, 5km bike and another 2km run.

Despite a slow start, leaving me dead last, I managed to pull up the pace and pass most of the field. In the end, I came home in 22nd position, out of a field of 58. Not a total disaster for my first event.

My time was 37:07.

Coming off the bike was hard. I did a duathlon training session on my birthday, and for the first kilometre, I had no running legs. That’s not a huge thing when you are running 10k, but quite a big thing when you are only running two.

It was also a good reminder that my descending on the bike sucks. I lost a few places coming down the hill because I was on my breaks and other people weren’t. Luckily, what goes down must come up, and I was a faster climber than everyone who overtook me.

Event-wise, I think it was good. It felt a tad disorganised at times, but that didn’t really matter: everyone knew what was going on and there were marshalls at all of the key points, so that is all you need.

My only criticism is that we were promised a secure transition area for our bikes. But, that turned out to be the middle of the field. Not a problem when you are riding a Halfords-own-brand bike, but if you brought your £1,000 bike (which is pretty common if you are into your cycling) you would probably be quite annoyed.

It was good fun and I would do it again. Especially when it warms up a little bit!