Posts Tagged ‘triathlon’

York Triathlon

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022 | Sport

York Triathlon is a sprint distance race based at York Sport Village.

Registration gave me an C5 envelope and pointed to a packet with inside it that they said contained my stickers. What they actually meant was that the envelope as a whole contained the stickers and not the packet inside it. Which, when I opened it, turned out to be a bag of oats. I was there early enough to get a bacon sandwich (avoiding the wasps) and queue for one of the two toilets that seemed to be available: one gender-neutral one and one in the men’s changing room.

There was no assigned racking in transition so I put my bike in the first available space. However, after walking through it, the swim in and run out were at one end, and the bike in and out were at the other. So, to minimise time spent running in my bike shoes, I moved my bike as close to the bike in/out as possible. At this point, a technical official told me off for pushing my bike without my helmet fastened. This isn’t a rule.

The swim

The swim was a 400-metre pool-based swim that sort of snakes down the pool: there were four lanes and you had to do four lengths in each one before moving onto the next one. This worked well as it meant the lanes were nice and wide with plenty of space for overtaking. I’m sick of people giving bad estimates for their swim time and swimming over me so I’ve now added 30 seconds onto my actual swim time and that worked really well.

UK Triathlon (the event organiser) do not require you to wear a swim cap for their pool-based events so I was able to race in my Hyde Park Harriers swim cap.

The bike

The bike course could arguably be described as off-road. It was all on hard surface but neither was it on a road: it went through the pathways of York University campus. THere were cobbles (flat but often loose), lots of tight turns, speed bumps, road furniture and occasionally harassed-looking students wheeling large suitcases. I felt like I was playing the school level on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. To its credit, it was car-free.

The highly technical nature of the course meant that anyone with good bike handling skills could gain a lot of time. My cornering isn’t so smooth and so there was a lot of toing and throwing between the technical sections and the one or two straights.

The bike course was three kilometres long and required six laps to make up the distance. This is quite a big number to count and many people did seven.

The run

The run was four laps, mostly consisting of the cycle circuit with a few short grass sections. All of my prep has been long distance and I did not want to push too hard so I was pretty pleased with my time. There was an aid station on the final three laps so I was able to cool myself down with the some water (once I had worked out which was the High5 and which was the water!).

The result

My official time was:

1:11:00

That said, the official times are wrong. There seems to be a minute missing off the run: having compared with four other competitors we all have a mystery one-minute deduction on our run leg. Below, I’ve included the official timings and my watch timings. Given I have only ever gone sub-20 once over 5k, and it seems unlikely I would do this in a triathlon, especially one where I wasn’t trying to PB, I am included to believe my watch.

Section Official time Watch time
Swim 8:33 8:32
T1 1:09 1:18
Bike 39:46 39:29
T2 1:25 1:34
Run 20:07 21:02

Dan took a well-earned title of first Harrier home finishing 55 seconds faster. His new faster swim, combined with some solid bike handling skills, gave him an unailable lead going onto the run,

I did not splash out for the official photos ass they were £10 for one or £39 for the bundle.

Conclusion

Would I recommend it as a first triathlon? I would like more toilets, accurate timings and reasonably-priced photos. But it was well organised and, while technical, the bike course was car-free which would make it attractive for beginners.

Castle Howard middle distance triathlon

Monday, July 25th, 2022 | Sport

I did Castle Howard standard distance back in 2019. This year, I was taking in the middle-distance version known as The Gauntlet.

They run a huge range of events which means races starting at different times and a rush to get bikes out of transition to make space for future races. Doing the longest race of the day made this easier: we arrived before everyone else, had reserved racking all day, and the roads were back open by the time we left.

The swim

The lake at Castle Howard is not deep. It is filled with mud and plant life. It really makes you appreciate how nice Waterloo Lake at Roundhay Park is. More annoyingly, the swim cap would not stay on my head. I had to stop several times on the first lap to try and pull it back on my head and re-arrange my goggles. This left me at the back with all the swimmers who keep switching to breaststroke causing a domino effect as everyone behind them also switches to breaststroke.

After a lap of wrestling with the swim cap, I stood up in the deep mud and pulled my goggles under my swim cap. This left me a good 50 metres off the back of the field but by the 100m buoy, I was back on their feet and going past them. As we rounded the top buoys I found myself sitting on three people’s feet with two other swimmers to each side of me, boxing me in. I zig-zagged trying to find a way past but they were swimming in perfect synchronisation. In the end, I dropped right off and went around the left side.

At this point, my swim cap went sailing away. This meant all of the water filled my hair which made me surprisingly less aero. I headed for the final buoy while the rest of the swim pack incorrectly headed back towards the start despite the many warnings during the pre-race brief that they should head straight for the final buoy.

Lacking my swim cap, I came out looking like the creature from the Black Lagoon.

The bike

The bike course starts off on The Stray and I headed down the hill carefully avoiding any comfort breaking. Then a gust of wind blew a leaf into my arm and almost gave me a papercut. That sums up long format racing: one minute you are on top of the world, the next you are close to crying because you’ve been beaten up by a particularly aggressive leaf.

The course then goes out into the Howardian Hills. And they are hills. There are over 1,000 metres of climbing over the 90k which is about the same climbing as the full course at IRONMAN Copenhagen. Climbing really gets to my back when I’m putting out any kind of power so I spent most of the bike course with a lot of lower back pain. Thankfully, the second half of the course flattens out slightly and I could get down on my aero bars a little more.

The run

The run course also starts with a lovely downhill. My stomach hadn’t really settled all day and I was feeling sick by this point so I reminded myself that I was here to get the distance in and have fun. The course is entirely inside the castle grounds and is all off-road making it very scenic but difficult to get a good footing. There are only two real fills but it does go up and down a fair bit.

The weather was a weird mix of warm with a bit of rain occasionally. To cool me down, I took two cups of water at each aid station: one to drink and one to douse myself in. This worked well for the first two aid stations but on the third, I got the tables mixed up and managed to pour isotonic all over myself.

I went through the first lap in 55 minutes but made a decision to back off a little and under fuel to keep my stomach a little happier. I gave a “well done, keep going” to everyone I went passed but there wasn’t any chatting as everyone was hurting by this point. I pushed a little at the end to ensure my half marathon time was uncomfortably under two hours.

Post-race we got a massage and a chicken salad (both included in the entry fee), and I also ran into Jack and Kirsten who were running the yoga tent. After I went into the food tent, the heavens truly opened. Nice timing for me although everything in transition, including my towel, ended up soaked.

The result

I finished in:

6:23:53

Good enough for 76 out of 135. Here are my splits:

Section Time 2019
Swim 43:07 41:59
T1 7:02 4:12
Bike 3:34:28 1:58:51
T2 4:34 2:20
Run 1:54:39 58:41

I’ve included my 2019 times for comparison even though that was a standard distance. I’m pleased with the swim time was I was almost as fast as 2019 despite doing 400 metres more, and having to fiddle with my goggles and swim cap. My bike was 10 minutes quicker per lap and my run laps were faster, too.

Not quite Outlaw X but pretty much what I expected: a hillier bike course makes for a slower time. It had a similar course profile to Weymouth but I was a good 20 minutes faster despite a longer swim here.

This was my 50th triathlon. Does anyone know where I get my t-shirt?

Triathlon For Beginners book

Monday, July 18th, 2022 | Books

My new book is out! It is aimed at people who are looking to do their first ever triathlon and answers over 50 of the most common questions. It also includes swim, bike and run workouts, and 12-week training plans for both sprint and standard distances.

Exclusively available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format, ISBN-13: 979-8840393970.

Sub7 / Sub8

Friday, June 17th, 2022 | Sport

Since Kipchoge broke the two-hour marathon barrier, albeit in non-world record conditions, there has been talk of doing a similar thing with full distance triathlon: could men go under 7 hours and could women go under 8 hours? Given this would involve taking 20+ minutes off, rather than the couple of minutes #breaking2 required it seemed like quite a challenge.

However, the way they set up the challenge made things a little easier. They chose four athletes: Kat Matthews, Nicola Spirig, Kristian Blummenfelt and Joe Skipper (who stepped in for an injured Alister Brownlee just a week before) and gave them 10 pacers each. Importantly, they could also use the pacers for drafting.

This meant that they hit their targets almost with ease. The special wetsuits, swim pacers, nutrition on a bike were all nice extras. But the thing that really made the difference is that Joe Skipper had eight professional cyclists doing a team time trial in front of him. This meant they circled the track at 55 kph with the athlete on the back only needing to put out 280-300 Watts to sit in the draft. That’s still way more power than I could put out but less than they would usually racr a full distance triathlon at.

Blummenfelt finished in 6:44:25 with Skipper three minutes behind him. On the women’s side, Kat Matthews finished in 7:31:54 with Spirig also three minutes behind her. So, the barrier was broken easily in the end. But in no way comparable to a regular full distance race because the drafting made such a huge difference. Potentially they could go even faster as the swim conditions were not ideal and if you matched Skipper’s superior bike team with Blummenfelt’s run you would have a faster combination.

World Triathlon Leeds 2022

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 | Sport

There are not many things worth getting up at 6am two days in a row. But World Triathlon Leeds is one of them.

Saturday

Saturday was all about the cheering and a big family affair: my dad and sister were in the sprint and my mum and auntie were in the GoTri. We also had two family friends racing and three Harriers: Stu, Hanna and Yvette. I’m terrible at spotting faces so I was pretty pleased that I spotted most of them at the swim exit and on the run. Knowing people’s swim caps and wetsuit brands in advance is a big help.

It was pretty chilly so I had to go home at lunchtime and put some warmer clothes on. I made it back in time to watch the elite race. They changed the course direction this year meaning that they came down the hill on their bike. The result was the bikes came past at 60 kph. The blurs looked lovely, though.

Sunday

I was in the Yorkshire wave at 8:20, which still meant getting up at 5:45. Luckily, there were no queues to enter the park, register or get into transition this year.

We were back to a mass swim start this year so I let the rest of the field go before setting off. It only takes about 50-100 metres before they realise they have gone out way too hard and I start picking them off. By the first buoy, I had found someone’s feet to sit on. It’s different from swimming by yourself as you have to match the accelerations but otherwise felt pretty comfortable. Apparently, I was one of the few athletes that remembered to swim all the way up onto the swim ramp.

T1 was tough. They somehow made it even longer and even though the water was a luxurious 18 degrees, my cold hands failed to get my wetsuit off, even after I sat down. That cost my nearly a minute.

The bike started frantically. You climb up Park Avenue and once I was onto Princess Avenue my top priority was trying to stuff an energy bar into my gob. As a result, I didn’t settle until we reached Street Lane and I had passed the photographer. The bike course was rather windy but I managed to spend most of it on my aero bars. There was a big headwind coming down Stonegate Road and a big tailwind coming up it: as a result, I could descend at a comfortable speed and on the climb, I felt like I was flying. There was plenty of support on the bike course with Harriers at least four different points.

It was not quite a Vincent Luis-style crash but some poor guy went around the outside of the U-turn at the end of lap one and almost ran into a barrier on the far side of the road. On the second lap, I was ready for the photographer having hastily shoved another energy bar in going the other way.

T2 passed without incident. It was annoying to have to run so far in cleats, but JP assumes me that running in bare feet was no more joyful.

The run was the same as last year except in the other direction. This meant a steep climb out of transition (similar to running into town in the old days) but you are then rewarded with a long downhill. I made the strategic version to walk up the hill on the second and third lap. That cost me maybe 10 seconds per time, but also gave me enough recovery to peg it down the hill and I think there was a lot of time to be gained by running downhill effectively. I saw Graeme, Grace, Dan and Rafet on the run course and there was plenty of support on course from both Harriers and my family, too.

As we turned the final corner I was on 43:something and knew I ran a 45:something last year, so figured I might be able to get a run PB. Ths meant sprinting down the hill, but saving enough to look good for the photos.

I finished in:

2:42:43

Good enough for 18th out of 50 in the Yorkshire championship, but not as good as Ali who took second in his first ever standard distance race! Here is how I compared to last year:

Discipline 2022 2021 2019
Swim 34:18 33:34 39:25
T1 6:38 5:44 8:32
Bike 1:13:08 1:13:16 1:19:04
T2 3:58 4:52 4:02
Run 44:43 45:28 46:59
Total 2:42:43 2:42:52 2:58:00

The courses aren’t directly comparable. The 2019 event ran down into the city and the run direction changed between 2021 and 2022. The bike course also changed between 2019 and 2021. That said, I did beat last year’s time by a full 9 seconds! I had no idea until I looked it up later.

Afterwards, we had some lunch and watched the elite mixed team relay. It was freezing cold again but lovely to see the elites up close.

Summary

World Triathlon Leeds is probably one of the best weekend’s of the year. It’s right in the heart of the city so close enough that everyone comes out for it and there is something for everyone from the GoTri races to the elites. I hope Sunderland get as much joy from the event as we have.

Tadcaster Triathlon 2022

Friday, May 6th, 2022 | Sport

The triathlon season is back! 10 Harriers turned up to race with another three of Harriers volunteering and being a smaller event than Skipton, it made for a social atmosphere where it was easy to find each other.

I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up after completing Around The Park, Around The Clock the day before. However, I woke up feeling relatively fresh. And by that I mean I wasn’t overwhelming sore or achy. I did have to re-do my elastic laces so that my swollen feet would fit in my shoes, though.

I turned up 1:45 in advance to try and see everyone off and allow plenty of faffing time while I remembered all of the little touches: opening the velcro straps on my shoes, syncing my bike computer, having the final pre-race gel and pre-race wee, etc.

The swim

Tadcaster sets swimmers off in waves at 5-second intervals and it is annoying because that means someone is almost instantly on your toes. Luckily, this year I was the last of four so did not have that pressure. Someone overtook me on the last lap, though, which logically means she must have swum 18 lengths.

In the end, I came out of the water in 8:36, so pretty close to the 8:30 I had predicted. Everyone else was well ahead, so in future, I might deliberately underestimate my pace so that I end up with swimmers of similar ability.

The bike

The bike felt pretty good. Only two people came past me and I took one of those places back. I have not practised on my aero bars much over winter but I was able to use them without issues.

That said, my ultimate time was disappointing: 27:38 which was 99 seconds slower than 2021. That was a mixture of fatigue and fitness. I did not work quite as hard this year (165 bpm vs 173 bpm) but was also putting out a lot less power: 202 W vs 247 W.

The run

I set off on the run with some gentle expectations. At this point, my legs started to feel sore and so I did not want to push too hard because these events are supposed to be fun. I went through the first kilometre in 4:43 and roughly maintained this pace throughout factoring in gates, bridges and other chokepoints.

The run contained some interesting obstacles including a field full of cows, several of which were standing right on the footpath. It also finished on a set of steps.

After we crossed the finish line there we were handed a warm pie and a jar of chutney. Nice way to end a race.

The result

My final time was:

1:12:04

I was feeling pretty good about the race until I compared it to last year’s results. Not much gain on the swim and a significant loss on the bike. The run and overall are not comparable to last year the course flooded and the 6k trail run was replaced by a sub-5k road run.

Stage 2022 2021 2019
Swim+ 12:07 12:30 12:21
T1 01:03 01:10 02:36
Bike 27:38 25:59 28:41
T2 01:16 01:49 01:31
Run 30:02 22:54 32:32
Total 1:12:04 1:04:20 1:17:38

Recovering from a broken ankle, ongoing ear and kidney issues, focusing on ultrarunning rather than cycling and having done an ultra the day before are all good reasons to a be a bit slower this year. But hopefully, I can get some cycling form back once Man Vs Coast is out of the way.

Or maybe I’m just getting old. This race marks the start of my fifth season in triathlon and 48th event overall. Not sure who I order my 50 t-shirt from in two races time…

Thank you to all of the volunteers who made the event happen and see you all at World Triathlon Leeds!

British Triathlon Level 2

Sunday, April 24th, 2022 | Life

My certificate is here! In my next life, I’m going to train with a triathlon federation that either delivers coaching courses in the summer or is located in a warmer climate.

Goole Triathlon 2021

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 | Sport

My 18th and final triathlon of the year was a family affair with my dad and my sister racing, as well as friends Tim and Sophie. Plus with Elina, Venla and my mum forming the cheering squad it was very social day.

If you are thinking that a triathlon in October sounds like a chilly affair, you would be correct. I had my leggings, Merino base layer, hoodie and coat on and I was still freezing. Still, there was some silver lining: it was dry which was a big improvement on the heavy rain when we went to cheer my dad on in 2019.

Registration was 6-7 am which meant getting up at 5 and driving over in the dark. I had to wait until the sun came up to get the stickers on my bike as I couldn’t see the edges of the sticker sheet. This meant standing around for three hours waiting for my 9:10 start time. Thankfully, the butty van eventually turned up at around 8 am.

The swim

400-metre pool swim. I was in lane one which allowed us a little more space for overtaking. I had to sprint past two athletes on my second length and then got tagged by an athlete halfway through who I then ended up sitting on the feet of for the rest of the swim. Not sure if it was poor pacing on his part of the benefit of drafting but either way I was on the poolside in 8:36 by my watch.

After clocking up an eye-watering 18:51 T1 at Dalesman, this was a faff-free affair and I was out of there in 54 seconds.

The bike

The bike course was pan flat. There was some wind. I didn’t mind the headwind so much, it was the crosswind that made me a little nervous on the aero bars as I had to lean the bike a little in the wind. My speed was not quite what I wanted, I think because I had to stop at multiple junctions to wait for cars, as well as having to stop for cars overtaking parked cars and slower cyclists.

When I left T1, I left my gloves and arm warmers as I felt warm enough. I felt fine throughout the bike but when I arrived in T2, getting my socks and shoes on proved difficult due to numb hands.

The run

Once I was onto the run, I felt great. It was a straightforward out and back route and I went through the first two kilometres in 4:02. I thought about trying to push on for a 5k PB but correctly guessed that the course might come up short. A lost a couple of seconds in the third kilometre working out which way to go but then held the pace for the rest of the run.

The result

I finished in:

1:04:23

Here are my splits:

Disipline Time
Swim 9:04
T1 0:54
Bike 34:14
T2 1:20
Run 18:53

The bike course measured around 18 k so I averaged 31.5 kph. The run came in at 4.68 km which translates to a 4:02 pace. The race winner was about 10 minutes ahead of me, taking 2 minutes in the swim, 6 minutes on the bike and 2 minutes in the run. Very happy with that.

For a brief period, I was 2nd on the leaderboard.

It’s done in swim-speed order so the faster athletes tend to go later. But even after everyone had finished, I was still 28 out of 148. That means nothing in my age group though as 6 of the top 7, including the race winner, were also in the male 35-39 group 😂.

Everyone else smashed it, too. My dad may well have run a 5k PB if it was full distance and Katie was running great, too. I went past her on the way out but she was still right behind me when I reached the turnaround: not bad for her first-ever sprint triathlon!

Outlaw X

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021 | Sport

Welcome to race 17 in the 2021 Worfolk Triathlon Series (WTS). Based in the beautiful grounds of Thoresby Hall, it was set up to be a lovely almost-season-ender rating alongside Graeme, Naomi, Amy and Lydia. And the weather even held out to kee the lake nice and warm too.

The plan

My previous two middle distance races, Sundowner and IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth were both 6:47 and change. I was 99% sure I could beat that. My spreadsheet had me about 6:10:00 so that was my stretch goal. But if things went better than expected sub-6 would be lovely so I set that as a super-stretch goal.

My estimate was based on a 46-minute swim and 3:15:00 bike, which I got by halving what I did Outlaw with a minute or two off the swim. The sounds pessimistic on the bike but Outlaw full was pan flat whereas this allegedly had 900 metres of climbing in it. Next, I took my Outlaw full marathon time (4:06:ish) and put it into the Run Less, Run Faster pace charts that suggested a 4:06:00 marathon runner could run a 1:57:00 half. Finally, I gave myself 7 minutes and 5 minutes for transition based on Graeme, Aron and Jack’s time from two years ago.

The swim

OBS promised us a weed-free swim. “We’ve cut a channel through the weeds,” they said. They had not. Or if they had, it was a very narrow channel. They were everywhere. Possibly they had cut them which is why there was so many floating around. On my arms, on my legs, but worse was on my face: they would cling to me and I had to pull them off to take a breath.

Worse, being at the back the swimmers are not always the best at pacing. And the lake, even in the centre, was hilariously shallow. As a result, some of my fellow swimmers would get fed up, stand and start walking at random intervals. Another swimmer would go super-hard for 15 metres, then have to stop, and just as I was going around him he would go again. And he did this for basically the entire swim.

Thankfully, the weeds did clear up on the final third of the swim and I was able to get into more of a rhythm. It is a beautiful lake when you don’t have a face full of weeds. And I came out of the swim in under 45 minutes.

Transition 1

No faffing! Not even a toilet break or a feed stop. Just bike gear on and on the move. It was a 400-metre run to transition and an additional run up to the mount line filled with slower athletes. It felt like a parkrun where I had failed to seed myself properly as I dodged around slower-moving competitors. Just under 7 minutes in total.

Bike

I started eating as soon as I got on the bike and managed to keep eating every 30 minutes. The bike course was flat. Although it supposedly contained 900 metres of evaluation gain, my bike computer only recorded 650 metres, most of which came at the end.

As a result, the first 70 was pan flat. I forgot that when someone from Yorkshire describes something as “rolling” and when someone from Nottingham says “rolling” they mean every different things. This was great. Me and my aero legs were rolling around at anywhere from 30-35 kph.

I stopped for a wee at the aid station 56 km in. Unfortunately, the sudden braking and veering off into a layby set the Garmin crash detection feature off. I didn’t realise what it was and so it ended up sending an alert to Elina. So, between queuing for a toilet, using the toilet and texting Elina to let her know I hadn’t crashed, I lost a few minutes.

The final 20 km was rolling and my narrow hold on a 30+ kph average speed evaporated. I found myself desperate sprinting up the hills and descending as fast as I could in an attempt to get it back. And it worked! I finished with 30.09 kph on my bike computer (that had auto-pause on).

Transition 2

I braked hard for the dismount line and this triggered Garmin’s incident detection again. This time I spotted it. I ran with my bike on one hand and my bike computer in the other as I tried to read the tiny on-screen text about how to cancel the alert. No luck. Worse, my phone signal died so the second message to Elins didn’t send. I only got a message through to her when Paul kindly lent me his phone after the race.

I treated myself to a gel on the way out and passed the timing mat in under 4 minutes.

The run

As I headed out onto the run course I checked my watch. Just under 4 hours! That gave me 2 hours to run a half marathon and go sub-6. The dream was on!

I went through the first kilometre in around 4:51. I knew if I could maintain a 5:00 per km pace I would finish in around 1:45:00, although more like 1:50:00 or more once I added in some aid station walks and 1-2 toilet stops. But I was also very aware that I felt okay for the first two kilometres of Outlaw before settling into 40 kilometres of hell.

The run course was beautiful. The sun was shining hard by this point but much of it was a train run through the woods with plenty of shade. I kept fueling with a gel, energy drink and coke on each lap. I managed to hold the pace fairly constant despite an increasing discomfort in my hip and my toes starting to rub.

Paul was cheering us all on each lap and I was heading out on each lap just as Graeme was coming back. I actually spotted him on the second lap. That’s very rare for me: poor Amy has endured years of me not spotting her on the canal even though we were running right past each other.

The finish

As I came towards the end, I knew I was going to make it under-6, significantly, and set a half marathon PB to boot. So, I did what I have been meaning to do for ages and dropped down to an easy walk at the finish chute. If there is one thing I have learnt from doing 3 full distance races this year, it’s that it is worth really enjoying that finish. Plus everyone from the club was there to cheer me home.

I finished in:

5:46:47

Here are my splits with my previous races for comparison:

Disipline Outlaw X Weymouth Sundowner
Swim 44:37 27:06* 50:20
T1 6:49 11:15 7:35
Bike 3:03:47 3:46:10 3:34:01
T2 3:45 11:44 7:12
Run 1:47:49 2:11:44 2:09:05
Total 5:46:47 6:48:01 6:48:13

Weymouth swim was cut in half as they could not get the buoys out, apparently, despite it being calmer than Redcar. So, an hour faster than both of those races! I was more than happy to be the last Harrier home given the awesome times everyone else put up as well.

After going long three times this year, racing at the middle distance felt more like short format. That doesn’t mean it is easy: short format means going hard and putting out as much power as possible. But there is a lot to love, too: no discipline takes too long, there is less time to get sick of your nutrition and you get to finish with plenty of daylight left and the bar still open.

For now, it’s time for me to put my feet up and relax. Until the season-closer next weekend.

Ilkley Triathlon

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 | Sport

Ilkley Triathlon was a record-breaker for me. But not one based on time or result.

If you have ever been to Ilkley, you may have noticed that there is very little flat around there. We did a course recce on Thursday and did a quick lap of the course. The climb is not too bad: it averages around 5% and is hard work but if you drop down to your lowest gears you can keep a high cadence. The downhill is rather steeper, though!

The swim was lovely for a pool swim. There were only two other people in my lane and the pool itself only had three lanes so there was plenty of space for overtaking if needed. I drafted Aron for the first six lengths before cutting the water for myself. I wasn’t entirely sure how to pace 500-metres but had a little something left to give so sped up for the final two lengths.

The bike course was three laps and each lap hurt the legs more than the previous one. the descent was steep enough that I did some comfort breaking. And it is comfort breaking: on the second lap I had just overtaken another cyclist and didn’t want to hold them up, so descended faster out of politeness 😂. That said, I actually set my maximum speed on the third lap.

It was getting warm by the run so I doused myself with a cup of water. Alas, there was no bin for it so I ended up tucking the cup down my tri suit until I could find a public bin on the course. As we headed up the hill I managed to overtake a bike: probably the first time I have done that! Coming down was probably the hardest bit of the course: the steep descent really went into my knees and the leaves on the pavement didn’t provide much confidence. As I rounded the final corner I realised I still had some to give so I decided to sprint to the finish.

My total time was:

1:12:38

And my splits were:

Disipline Time
Swim 11:26
T1 1:33
Bike 33:56
T2 1:40
Run 22:02

My final place was 74 out of 279. Top third is not bad.

Some interesting comparisons to The Dalesman. My swim time at Ilkley was 7 minutes faster than my T1 time at Dalesman and my total race time at Ilkley was 21 minutes faster than my swim time at Dalesman. I can see the appeal of short format!

In what way did it break a record? In 2019, I completed 15 triathlons. Ilkley was race 16 of the 2021 WTS (Worfolk Triathlon Series).

Thank you to everyone at LBT and beyond who volunteered, marshalled and generally made the event happen. It turned out to be a wonderfully social day with so many club members and friends there. Grahame and Paula didn’t even realise the race was on until they cycled past looking for ice cream. Thank you to Tony, Ralph and Naomi for the photos.