Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ripon Triathlon Analysis

Looking at the results for the past two years we can see the gains made;


Swimming was improved, and given that it was a non wetsuit swim this year, makes it all the more pleasing, doubly so when you take into account a quicker T1 (00:01:00 as oposed to 00:01:59), which would mostly come from not having to take off the wetsuit.

My bike was almsot 4 minutes quicker, which allowig for a flat tyre and my shoe issues is a good result, and shows that the time spent on the A168 has been time well spent.

Yes I lost time on the run, but given how hot it was I think only loosing 31 seconds to my last time wasn’t a bad effort, and the 40th fastest of the day. As mention previosuly I was running myself up the results, overtaking many people, which is no bad thing.

T1 was a lot quicker, not really a surprise as there was no wetsuit to contend with, but T2 was a little slower. Not sure why, must have been the extra effort of putting on my hat to stop sun burn…


All in all I went almost 5 minutes quicker, and still think that going sub 2:15 is very doable, all I need is for my bike to not flat and for it to not be brutally hot. Oh, and to get a whole lot more training in!


The Great Pier Swim

Sunday saw me taking the plunge in the Geat Pier Swim in Southend, a 3k sea swim from Chalkwell Beach along the front and under the pier to finish on Jubilee Beach. I had only signed up fir it to acompany my littlest sister but whn she pulled out I had already paid and was up for the challenge. After all, it ws only 3k not the 3.8 of and IM swim and there would be no bike or run to follow. Simple.

Sadly the organisation of the race was not great. From getting there nice and early at 8:30 only find they had lost my entry (and my sisters when I said I could be her) and I would have to wait till 10:00 to get my hat and chip, I was not best pleased (this wasn’t the only peros this happened to). Still, I found I nice bench and had a 90 minute sleep. Once it was 10 I queued up again, to find they still ony really had one person who knew what they were doing manning the registration desk, and scribbling down the details ofthe people they had not managed to get on theri system. Whilst I had been waiting I assertained that a lot of the wetsuit swimmers wouldn’t be going off for another hour and a half, so I sneekily asked if I could be transfered to the non wetsuit category. After all, my last race was non wetsuit, how bad could it be.


Once I was numbered by and clad in little more than my trisuit, hat and goggles I reflected on the decision to go non wetsuit. Yes I would be in the first wave, yes there would be fewer people around to bump into, yes I wouldn’t have to wait an extra 90 minutes to get going and this ment less waiting for my family of awesome supporters. But whereas the last week had been hot, very ht u around 30 degrees it was now chilly and overcast. And didn’t I swim faster in a wetsuit. Oh well. Decision made.

We went onto the beach after a saftey briefing where someone took some photos of us and we then wandered into the water. Wait, shouldn’t we be counted in? There are people here in board shorts who look likethye have never swum 1k let alone 3! Shouldn’t someone be doing something saftey?

Never mind, I’d be find, The shore was only a 20/30 meters away. Thy had lost the hooter to start the race so the crowd counted down and then we were off! To start the water was nice and smooth, but as we got furhter along the seafront it got rougher and rougher. The promise of jellyfish stuck as I got stunch on my right shoulder and then on my left ankle, that ne seemeing caught in my timing chip strap! Then it got rougher still, and colder. This was the point were I was thinking I really should have been doing this in a wesuit. But what could I do now, get out? No chance, not with my family walking along the seafron beside me. What would thye say? I’d never hear the last of it!


As the wave kicked up my normally smooth stoke was disrupted by me often finding myself midstroke and mid air, having come out of the wave and ended up having to resort to breast stroke (hangs head in shame) to get through some of the bigger wave, particully at the section where we swam through the pier. Where we were shouted at by what seeemd to be all the coastgaurds in the world.

Coastgaurds! Where had they all been? I’ve done many OWSs now and have always been able to see a canoest of some kind, from the big IM races through to the small races done in a pond (I’m looking at you Bridge Triathlon!) I had’t seen a single safetly crew member the whole swim! Taking to the family after it turns out they were equaly worried abut the lack of support, often not being able to see any lifegaurd types at all, and only one marshal halfway along the course on the beach!

Fortunatly, as sure of my abilities as I was, they wer ekeeping an eye on me, walking along the front in pace with me, and where there was a building on the beach front, sending someone ahead so they always had a set of eyes on me. Wearing a nice bright blue trisuit did make it easier to spot me, rather than being just another body in a dark coloured wetsuit.

After getting though the pier it was a short swim/paddle to the shore to exit the water and run under the gantry, over the timing mats to stop the timer. Awesome. This is the point where my training had kicked in and as I was coming of the water I was racing up the beach, tearing off my goggles and swim hat getting ready to make my way to transition. It was only when someone thrust a towel at me that I realised I was done and that I could stop. I had barely stopped moving when someone had yanked off my safety braclet (dunno why, thye didn’t count me in) and had removed my timing chip.

Meeting the family hugs and high fives were exchanged and we headed home. to ry and get warm again.

Come monday evening the results where posted online. I eagerly hunted for my time (having only brought my not waterproof garmin) only to find my time wasn’t there. Did I even do the race? Who know, once again their admin had let them down.

Will I be doing this race again? Honesty not unless they make big changes.

Firstly their admin was an utter shambles, with no one really knowing what they were doing. I was tempted to suggets that this was becasue they were a charity, but actualy they were the events team of a charity, they sould be used to organising stuff like this. It was pretty poor.

Secondly they had massivly insufficient safety procedures in place, They had no idea of who was in or out of the water (maybe they counted them in during the later waves?) and the amunt of safety people in the water was well below what I would expect. I don’t know if there is an Open Water Swimming federation which gived it a seal of approval (like the BTF do) but I would be highly surprised to find that this race had goten such an award. It seemed almost like it was the fist time they had run such a race. I know when trying to marshal such a long race it can be tricky, but this race was a free for all ability wise and seemed to haev a different, kore casusal tye of athelet on the start line than you would see on the start line of and Iron Distance race. I found parts of the swim hard going, I’d hate to think what it would have been like for someone less experienced or even half as fit.

Almost done

It’s not even August yet and it seems like the majority of the season is over. With manage races clashing with each other and with family commitments it seems like this is a season lite on racing. Three triathlons done and one sea swim done, one 100 miler bike ride/race/sportif, and two more possible traithlons to go.

Races so far have been the very windy Skipton triathlon, the slightly short Newby Hall triathlon and the very hot (so hot) Ripon Triathlon, which was my A race of the year and one where I was looking to go fast. Had hoped for a sub 2:15, due to the hear will have to settle for a 2:20.

Rcaes I’m Still looing at doing are the National Team Relays at Holme Pierrepont with my Tri club, and the Leeds Triathlon, which seeing as it’s just round the corner seems daft not to do.

Less than two weeks to go until the RideLondon-Surrey 100, a 100 mile bike race round much of the Olympic road race course, which should be a good day out, as long as it doesn’t rain too much. It will be August so there is no better either way.

New 5k PB

Finally, all the effort put in at the track has paid off and I have a new PB for 5k. Set at the Southend parkrun I managed to break the 19 minute barrier and ran a 18:51 (18:53 by their clock) which gave me a finish position of 6th. I knew it was a fast course having gone quick there previosuly, but that was whilst pushing Boy2 in the pushchair. A quick start of the three lap course had me blowing hard and doing my best to keep the pace going, not made easier by the wind coming in from over the sea wall.


I did my best to stick with the seeminly 12 year old in front of me, but blast if that little begger wasn’t fast! But if running at the Leeds parkrun has taught me anything, those 14 yearolds (as he turned out to be) are often quick. I put it down to not having jobs/kids etc.

Still, rule5 applied and I manged to hang on to make it my first sub 19.

A good day!

New tyre day

New tyres to replace the one ruined at Ripon. Went for a different kind of look!


Not sure if ‘m going to look like a showy git on them, but we’ll see.

Ripon Triathlon – Race Report

This was the big one. This was my A race for the year. An easy swim, smoth bike and a flat run and I’ll have that sub 2:15 I felt I could achieve. Last year when I came to Ripon it was just after IM Lanzarotte and I was tired. I still managed to have a decent race, swimming well and having an OK bike. Yes I did die on the run a little but like I said, I was tired. Finishing in 2:25 (with a 2min penatly for a numbers violation, wtf,) pushing me to 2:27 I felt that I could go faster, much faster, and with the entertainment for the kids it was decided we would be returning.

I’d been working hard in the pool the months previosuly, and whilst not getting massivly quicker, although now consistently under 27 mins fo the 1500, I was feling less tired after the swim which boded well for a good bike/run. With my new found freedom on a wednesday I’d been getting some long bikes in, bricking on occasion and had even been able to make it ot some of the club rack sessions. I was feeling in a good position.

It was hot in Ripon, very hot. So hot infact that wetsuits where not allowed, and after much grumbling from the ther triahtlets accepted. Then came the anouncement that this meant we could’t swim in compression wear, being allowed to put it on in T1 (cos that would work well). This did cause slight concer as my right calf sometimes cramps up on the run when I race, something with my calf gaurds have put an end to. Oh well, everyone was in the same boat.

The swim went well. Rather well actualy, I didn’t have any problems sighting and managed to draft off the faster swimers most of the way round. I normally get a minute quicker from my pool based times when I don the wetsuit, so to come out of a non wetsuit swim with my fastest time over the 1500 I was quite pleased.

A non wetsuit swim ment a slick transition for T1, until I got to the mount line. What an idiot!  had put the shoes the wrong way round on the bike, something I’d only ever done once before during A Day In The Lakes 2011. Cussing my stupidity I had to stop and switch them over as athletes I’d worked hard to beat on the swim streamed past me. Balls. Two races in a row I’d cocked up my shoes/mounting.

Once I was away I had another issue, my bike computer wasn’t working so I had little idea about how hard I was going. Nothing for it, race as hard as I felt I could. The rolli gcountryside of North Yorkshire rolled past quickly, I caught a few people, got caught by fewer, and generally, had a good time. The section past the airfield was nice, if you like strong headwinds, we knew they where strong as we could see the airsock in a horizontal position aiming right at us, but the section back after turning was quick. Gel number one done and settlin in nicley this is where I started having an issue. I seemed to be loosing all go forward momentum. Only for a moment and then I was fine again.It was odd. Every 5 mins or so I would really struggle and then be fine again. Another gel taken and I just had to battle on. Past the section where I nealry crashed in the rain the year previously (from being tired and not paying attention) and I knew I was nearly home. A quick look at the watch showed I would have to have the run of my life to get under 2:15.

T2 was slick as a slick thing, flying dsmount, running past people who had come in just before me, I had the bike racked, hat on and gel and water in my hand and out of run exit before you could say ‘Brownlee Brothers.’ I hadn’t gone far before I had passed the leading lady and I was out on to the run course proper. I’ve already mentioned that it was hot, and the heat is not something my body copes well with, but this heat was brutal. I hadn’t gone far whe I knew I wouldn’t be doing a fast one, or anyne else for that matter. Everyone seemed to be struggling equaly. However I had a good run for the conditions. Whilst I wasn’t running for time, I was definetly running for position, and was overtaking people left right and centre. People who had seemingly blasted passed me on the run where passed and left behind on the run. It was hard, but others seemed to be finding it harder. Kind residents along the run route had set up garden sprinklers to help keep people cool and these where much appreciated, mostly in helping to wash away the sticky mess left from my empty gel wrappers. The km’s ticked steadlly away until the 8km mark when my right calf started to cramp. This was something I would just have to get through, only 2000 metres to go. Only thing which made it harder was that was the point where you could start t hear the commentry and music/ drumming from the finish area. I was close, but not close enough. By this point I’d stopped looking at the watch, I wasn’t goi g to get my target time, I was going to be going quicker than last year, I just needed to run through the pain. The run back took us along the canal which offered some much needed shade before heading back into the main area of Ripon Race course and th finish area. Coming towards the finish line I saw my riend Stu coming in off the bike having started in a alter wave so I gave him a good cheer. I could se the clock tick past 2:20 as I raced towards the finish, ecouraged by the photographer there to do a littel showboating (I’m going to miss that hat) before colapsing in  a tired, sweaty, bloody (thanks to the shoes) heap. Race done. Time to get a beer and look at the results.

Overall I came 37th,

Swim – 0:26:28 -Good considering it was a non wetsuit swim, didn’t feel tired

T1 – 00:01:00 quick, apart from the balls up with my shoes

Bike – 01:09:54 – Fairly happy, but what happened with the loosing speed?

T2 – 00:00:59 – Quick. Liked it

Run – 00:42:08 – Poor by normal standards, but in that heat I’ll take it.

So not too bad. I missed my gaol, but did better than previosuly. I’d had a good swim and wait, what’s this?? racking the bike onto the back of the car I noticed my front tyre was flat, and from looking at the damage to the edges, had been ridden on for quite a distence! That was probably why I struggled so much on the bike. Well OK then, a 1:09 bike with a flat tyre seems much better now. Does mean I need to buy more tyres now though. Bummer.

Time to head home, drink some beers and get the low down from the younger brother who had raced in liverpool that morning.