HSV ST Albans triathlon

While many of you are preparing for Lanza, some of us can only dream of such achievements maybe in some far away future.

Nevertheless I thought it might be interesting to post a race report from a tri more close to home and of a distance more suitable for beginners like myself.

Last Sunday, the 8th of May, I participated in my first triathlon: the HSV St Albans sprint triathlon.

Since there was no information as to when racking and registration would start (only that it would close at 6.15am), I dragged my nervous self out of bed at about 4am; only to arrive at St Albans at 0500 and noticing they still needed a hand in setting up transition.

Nothing more therapeutic to get rid of those “first timer”- nerves.

After registration, painting (made me feel immediately like the real deal), a meticulous transition set-up of my gear and a short race  briefing it was time to get ready for the swim.  As swimmers were seeded by estimated swim time over the 400m pool swim (with the slowest first and with 15sec intervals), I got even more nervous.  Was the time I entered too optimistic? I started as number 115 and I noticed that almost every athlete lined up behind me displayed a tan, that this early in the season could only be explained by Club La Santa-like training camp experience!!!!!!!

Within the next few minutes, while I waited for my start time, I managed to pull myself together: I too put in the training! And whatever was going to happen in the next hour and a half or so, I was going to do everything possible not to shame the Tri London kit I was wearing.

3..2..1… and I was off and fairly quickly found a good rythm that by a quick glance at the huge timer overhead was rather fast as well.

But being faster than I imagined soon proved to have a downside.  As I catched a few swimmers before me they kindly let me pass at the turns after a gentle tap on the feet.  Until I met mister “the Greenwich meridian runs trough my ass”!  He refused to let me pass!  I must have tapped whole sentences in morse code on his feet.  And I can assure you some of those where not for publication!

Even after being told by marshals to let me pass, he just would not give way. So decided to draft on his feet and buried my frustration, only to be happy to exit the water 20secs faster than I ever did before on that distance.

T1 felt slow. And it was! Clearly I need a lot more training at this than those  I did in my backyard.

After leaving transition it was at least another 300m run on concrete to the mounting point; my cleats barely survived!

On to the bike. Since I did a recce of the course the day before by car I new what was coming and what to expect.  I can tell you it looks and feels a lot different when it rains like you’re in the shower.  I decided to power on on the straights, but be very conservative on every turn and roundabout.  Although this took a lot of energy accelerating after them every time, I’m happy I did, looking at the amount of road rash I saw on fellow athletes after the race.

After 13k (yes I know) I thought disaster struk: my right calf gastrocnemius muscle totally cramped up.  For a few seconds I thought my race was over.  But then I remembered a race report on the site from a far more experienced club member and geared down and by pushing my heals down and with the increased cadence the cramp gently came down.  Although this costed me a lot in speed, I was very happy with how I handled the situation and was able to continue.

After dismounting, again that horrible 300m concrete, cleat destroying, run before entering T2.

At least T2 felt, and was, a bit faster.  But here again a lot of training is still needed.

On starting the run I was prepared to feel the ever famous jelly legs, but nothing could have prepared me for what I felt next.

No jelly legs, legs felt fine!  My abdominal muscles and I even think maybe a part of my diaphragm were fully contracted!

I couldn’t run in any other way than leaning forward and my breathing was horrible: I could only hyperventilated on the top of my lungs.  The feeling was horrible!  Was it due to the tuck down during the bike on the aero bars, I don’t know.

If there’s anybody amongst you who had this and knows how to avoid it, please let me know ’cause I never want to feel that again!

Needless to say I was very disappointed with my run, as it took half of it to get rid of this cramp and by then my time was far below what I know I can do.

After finishing though I had to be satisfied: 1:10:40, nothing to be ashamed for for a first tri!

I learned a lot and am hungry for more.

Even more good news came the day after when the results were emailed: 14th overall and 4th in my AG.  Although it was a very small, local tri I was happy with the result and proud to have represented Tri London in this way.

So let me end with a big thank you Tri London, you have made me hooked to this sport for life!

Starting off down under

Geelong Triathlon
Trilondon just received a great race report from one of our Trilonders, Stephen Thompson. Below is his report from Geelong, Australia.
Where? Geelong, 1 hour along the bay from Melbourne.
When? Sunday 20 Feb
What? Oly distance triathlon

Eh up the gang

So, my first race since the move over here, in the hometown of the Auzzie Rules Footy team I’m now a fan of.  The reason for that being their vest looks like a Highgate Harriers vest and the first AFL game I ever watched a few years ago was Geelong beating Collingwood.  Very exciting stuff :)  Been training with a tri club over here that have a great set up. Swim squads at two pools of your choice each morning and avo, bike and run sessions to join in on also, great banter.  Anyway, onwards to the race report

Swimming – straight from the beach.

Sea swim, beach start.  Here’s a tip some of the guys (ex surf life savers) told me after the race (cheers guys) – don’t start at the front for a beach start.  Perfect spot is somewhere you can get a clear run but be a few rows back. You’ll have more speed when you hit the water and Bob’s your uncle.
As for my effort, course was a triangular loop kinda and water was a bit choppy on the way out, bit warm-ish too.  Not much drafting to be done as waves went off in 3 minute intervals and you ended up having to dodge the stragglers from groups ahead.  Didn’t feel like was making good time, but never really do in the swim.  Into T1, short enough, bikes all racked right by the beach.  Row 19, wettie off, away I went onto…

The bike

Windy day, and even though I had the disc on it felt fine actually.  One loop for the course but not a straight out and back, a few hairpin turnarounds and a bit twisty to get out onto the open roads right out of/back into transition.  Turns out the wind was much more with you than against for the first half of the course, even though it felt like it was pretty even.  Hit halfway and smack, wind all the way back into T2…total killer.  I picked up a straggler at 37 km.  It was the dude who came just ahead of me in my age group for the race.  I called him for drafting but his response was “Dude, you passed me, there was nowhere else to go”.  I really had no response.  Hand him the rulebook maybe but I didn’t have one handy.

The Run

Out of T2 with my drafting buddy and some other guy in from our age group. Drafting buddy (Troy) flew.  Other dude was slow.  I was somewhere in between.  Gutted I couldn’t jump off the bike and kick Troy’s arse and have the rulebook ready and waiting for him at the finish line, but I’ve had a buggered knee since October pretty much and have just started being able to get out running once to twice a week in the past month or so, so really didn’t have the legs for it.  Course was out and back also, random part being you ran back through transition at about the 4 km mark.  Rolling gradients, bit twisty for first 4 km.  I was giving it all I had but I felt slow and heavy.  Still, chin up, keep calm and carry on chasing Troy.  Felt like crap until 8 km then magically opened up and felt good on the final 2 km, fast also even dare I say it.

So there you have it folks.  Podiuming in age group in first race over here, and first race in some Auzzie race series which takes in my next two Oly’s (Mooloolaba in March – Adam Chaddy and Mark Brikkie from the club are racing that one too, anyone else I haven’t mentioned?, then Sydney in April).

Also racing the Victorian State Sprint champs tomo morning and feeling better about my running, had a few good sessions this week.  Might even chuck up a race report about that, I’m sure you’re all very excited at the prospect. Yarn.


Stephen (aka Bungle’s main man, Kermit’s partner in crime, Zippy’s beeee-atch, Grover’s sidekick)

Salomon Turbo X (aka salomon slop)

Great cross country race, 10 miles of trail, banks, bog and slop! Big thanks to Olivia for encouraging us to do this and for driving, much appreciated!

So myself, Olivia and Kev headed early this morning for the race, grey clouds but fortunately no rain. Off we went and collected our timing chips, reluctantly removed our layers (all of us having the strategy of less is best!) and swiftly made our way to the front of the start line.

So we were off and Olivia and I wished Kev good luck, we knew we wouldn’t see him again unless he got stuck up to his neck in bog somewhere!

First 2 miles were fairly easy, just trail, gentle inclines in the forest and mostly avoidable puddles. It always takes me a few miles to really settle into
my run so until I did I just dropped back from Olivia but tried to keep her in my sights. And then came the slop! Unavoidable trenches, waist high in muddy    water. No doubt the photographer had a field day, the first real plunge of the day and I couldn’t stop laughing.

We went for another 6 or so miles, through muddy water filled trenches, narrow rivers, rancid smelling bog, up and down steep banks on our hands knees or backsides (which ever deemed appropriate) and along sandy trails with shoes now so heavy it felt like I was wearing 2 pairs. Then mile 8… the Turbo X part… A separately timed part of the course, a mile of serious bog (being from the west Ireland I feel fully justified calling this serious bog). Olivia and I are running together again but now her longer legs are much better at tackling the depths of the bog than my stumps. It was hilarious, literally waist high in thick shoe sucking bog and I’m screaming with laughter so much that one girl asked me was I ok as she thought I wastrouble… I’m fine just laughing so hard I can’t move…Loved it!

There is a mile or so to home where we are weaving through the forest trails with teasing glimpses of the finish line. I managed to catch up with Olivia ‘s long legs and we finished close together at I think around 1hr 39min. Kev of course, as expected, was back at the car and changed by the time we waddled over.

Jonny, we asked one long haired, bearded guy if he was you and had our eye out but didn’t come across you, hope you had a good day anyway!

Brilliant day out, so much fun and I think the attached picture says it all!