Helmsley Triathlon

Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool run a triathlon as a fundraiser each year and it has been on my list for a while: a swim in a heated outdoor pool followed by a bike course around the Moors and a multi-terrain run. It did mean getting up at 4:15 am to drive to Helmsley but surely it would be worth it for the views.

The swim

The pool is beautiful. I wouldn’t quite say bath water but it was a perfect temperature once you were swimming. The swim consisted of 32 lengths (800 metres) and I seemed to seed myself just right, with one overtake and one giveaway during the swim. My lane counter was also wonderful encouraging.

I felt a bit overwhelmed at times during the swim. It’s been very disappointing going from multiple-Ironman finisher to lacking confidence in open water again and here I wasn’t even in open water. It was just a pool that happens to be outside. It has been difficult for me to swim this year and it really shows. I was happy enough with my pace, though.

With one DNF and two cancelled swims, this turned out to be my first completed triathlon swim of the year.

The bike

They said the bike course was hilly. But they also posted a screenshot, with no GPX supplied, saying the elevation gain was 323 metres. I took this to mean they were warning anyone coming up from Lincolnshire that Yorkshire was a bit hillier than home.

But the elevation was simply wrong. We took on the Bransdale Loop through the heather of the Moors, which was very beautiful, but also amounted to 732 metres of elevation gain. There were multiple steep climbs with a maximum gradient of 18%. I was running out of food by the end because I did not expect to be out on the bike course for so long.

The views were stunning, though.

The run

The run starts with a four-kilometre climb up the hill we had just cycled down. I went for a run-walk strategy. Once the hill was completed we turned off the road and went onto trail which was practically all down hill. Game birds were hiding in the hedges and would often run out in a panic as we approached.

Most of it was well-signposted and I only got lost at one point after the farm. The answer was to just keep following the bridleway and I eventually discovered I had indeed been going the correct way. There was a final little hill to get back to the pool and then it was a victory lap of the field.

The result

My total time was:


And my splits were:

Discipline Time
Swim 19:41
T1 2:52
Bike 1:56:52
T2 2:31
Run 1:05:38

This put me 32nd out of 46 in the open (men and trans women) category. This year I have been concentrating on ultrarunning and not training for any kind of speed so it is probably a fair result.

A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool that made the race happen.



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 at 11:00 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.