Race Report from one of our newer members, Tom Fright:
Where: Green Park Business Park, Reading
Organiser: Cisco systems (using various companies for help e.g. mysportingtimes, db max, nuffield health, probably others i forget)
Course Details: Pool swim, 18km flat bike consisting on 6x3km loops, 6.5km run on gravel paths
Marshalling: Yes, plenty
Facillities: pretty good- nuffield health gym was the base;Freebies: technical tee, swim hat/food/discount vouchers etc
Pre: firstly couldn’t have asked for better weather given recent conditions! was about 15 degrees and no real wind. there was plenty of parking to be found and registration was very easy. racking was interesting as the tri had started at 11 (but i wasn’t due in the water til 1) so it was a bit of a guessing game as to whether you’d found a space or stolen someone’s who was out on the bike- luckily I managed the former. There were briefings every 30mins ish, and they were nicely to the point. had a further briefing before getting in the pool which again was nice and short. So overall it was very easy and stress free by this point
Swim: i hadn’t been looking forward to this, mainly because it involved swimming, but also because they were trying to fit 16 people in a 4 lane 20m pool for each wave. we were ordered from fastest to slowest in each lane (about 30secs overall difference in provided times) with the fastest going off first and the rest following every 10seconds. Overall this worked amazingly better than i’d anticipated, even if i did end up coming out of the pool last in my lane! the lap counters were very helpful, dropping in a 2 laps to go sign at the end of your lane. I exited in 6:55 which I was really happy with, lobbing nearly 2 1/2 mins off my time from my first tri in september (admittedly a 20m vs a 50m so was bound to be quicker).
T1: Transition was excellent here, straight out of the pool and into the adjoining car park that was serving as the transition area. They also had a heated changing tent you could use, if you’d needed to get changed. thankfully, the weather made a tri-suit a no-brainer. I found my bike, and got through unscathed, and was then barked instructions as to my route from the first couple of marshalls, which was much less irritating than it may sound!
Bike: Was interested to see the benefit of a winter’s worth of turbo sessions here, and have to give martin a big thanks as the sessions have really paid off. the course was pretty much flat (+/-5m of ascent/descent) although there were a lot of speed bumps to break up your rhythm. the fact the laps were short though meant there were plenty of people on the bike leg for your to be your metophorical “carrot and stick”! the organisers had also provided some book markers which were really useful as lap counters, and made life pretty easy- even if my watch was determined i was still in the swimming pool so keeping count of laps could’ve been a nightmare! Anyway got overtaken by 2 guys on extremely nice bikes which i decided made it completely acceptable and made it back to transition with a bike leg of 28mins for the 18km, so had averaged over 38km/h- 8km/h more than my last tri…so yes, it seems the nights spent in the village hall have been well worth it!
T2: No complaints here, unstrapped easy enough, and jumped off and into my shoes, remembering to switch my watch to run mode this time!
Run: did not feel great at all to begin with, paying a little for the 2 big personal bests already done, and the fact i’ve not been able to run more than 15km/week all winter. having said that my biggest lesson learnt was to remember to know whether your watch is set to mins/km or mins/mile! for me, its always the former but for some reason on “auto multisport” had changed to the latter. Thus i found myself feeling horribly worried about my fitness as I had intended to run at roughly 4min/km and here i was trying to get my watch to read 4min/mile! quite clearly I’m neither roger bannister or mo farah, and so ended up being quite surprised when my run was coming to an end approaching “my” 4km mark. so yes, needless to say the run wasn’t the highlight, and I think 27mins for a 6.5km is probably my slowest race time I’ve recorded for some time, having come from a running background.
Overall: ranked 26th/8th/12th for an overall rank of 3rd, with 1:04:05 (t1+t2 was 1:19). Was pretty pleased overall as the swim and bike is where i’ve been putting in the effort this winter, did have to suck up a little pride having found out I got beaten by a girl, but I did hold off the F40-44 age grouper by 2 minutes so it could have been worse!
Really enjoyed the experience overall, obviously you’re not going to taper for something like this in March, but was a more interesting training session than slogging 10k’s in -2 or technique swims at 06:30am! Would really recommend it to anyone for next year wanting a little marker to see where you’re at, but also the event was incredibly well suported by all the local employees lining the roads. With it only costing £30 it’s nearly half what you’ll pay for most other events, and obviously was all for a good cause, with some people raising upwards of £1000 for red nose day. Would put a massive note here though, that I was obviously going to enjoy a day where the temperature reached double figures and the sun came out, given this hasn’t happened since…I really can’t remember. Had it been any other day of the week, maybe i’d have been less enthusiastic, but still definitely an event to consider for next year for any oly/sprint people!