Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Leicester Sprint Triathlon 2013


While it’s fresh in my mind I’ll jot down some notes on my first triathlon, I’ll pad this out with some photos when I get a chance.

This was my first triathlon, a friend, Lisa Potter, suggested back in November that it would be a good thing to aim for, so immediately I signed up for it.

I cycle to work every day roughly a 22 mile round trip and my running is not too shabby so how hard could it be… all I had to do was learn to swim!!

Luckily I work at a Leisure Centre that has a pool, it’s a leisure beach pool so lengths is out of the question but it’s possible to do 15m widths. I spoke to Greg Wholton at work and he set me on my my teaching me the basics, all I had to do was 400m in the pool.

Training in November and December was going well and I had started to combine the Swim, Bike and Run in the Centre, I was averaging at about 1.22 – 1.30 my swim went from 13 minutes down to 7.30 and progress was good.

I had just returned from a trip to Slovenia and I was pretty fit in January so with the heavy snow in I decided to ski 12.6 miles cross-country, BOOM… 2 miles from work I blew my calf muscle… this was a major set back… I couldn’t run, to be fair walking was an issue!

I carried on cycling to work and swimming while I could to maintain fitness… in March I tried another run and it went again straight away… this was going to be a problem!!

I spoke to Carol Hayes who strapped it and properly diagnosed it, 6 weeks off and then a gentle re introduction to running was the plan, this would take me right up to the 7th May!! The race was was on the 27th May… not much time to get properly prepare.

I took Carols advice seriously, I didn’t do any running or training on my calf, I just maintained the cycling. Swimming was an issue as a Rotator Cuff injury from climbing was becoming a problem and starting to hurt so I stopped swimming as well.

May came quickly around and I had a trip to a place called Kessingland on the East Coast planned so I used this as my get back into swimming and running excuse… I did a few long gentle runs on the Beach and spent some time in the pool, it was all hard again and I was panicking!!

Back at work and Steph talked me into doing another Swim, Bike & Run session the week before the Triathlon, this was exactly what I needed, I had only run 3 times since January and I was very nervous about the triathlon, on the whole, in that session, my Swim was 8:40, Bike 46.03 and the Run was 21.45, although a lot slower than I wanted I didn’t feel too bad, the calf was still intact!!

That was my final session before the Triathlon, I spoke to Scott from the Gym at work about nutrition and I was sorted… all I had to do was turn up and take part!

Triathlon Day

I hardly slept the night before the Triathlon, that nervous excited butterflies in the stomach feeling … I kept running through the transitions and racking and when I was going to take on fluid and how I was going to lay my kit out and… and… and …. Pants… 7:15am … I’d slept in!!

A mad dash round to get sorted and out the door…

The venue was Leicester Grammar School which is situated just outside Leicester near the village of Great Glen.

When we arrived at 8:25 I met Steph and we got registered and went to the race briefing, this proved massively important because we were clearly talked through the transition zone, where to enter and exit for the bike and the run, there were a few during the race that either paid no attention or hadn’t been there and were running about lost!, and got a good idea of the runnings or the day, signage on the cycle route and the marshals on the running route.

My start time was 10:32 so I took my time getting my transition area sorted and just sat back and watched what everyone was doing to get my head round it all.

I had my Gel 15 minutes before my start time, got changed and wandered over to the pool, I was remarkably relaxed!!

400m Swim

This was never going to be pretty… I was in lane 5, to my right I had a girl who was a swimmer and all I could think was worry about my own pace, take my time, I can do this.

We were starting in waves of 3 minutes and there was already two people in my lane, they were moving easily, I was preparing to flounder!!

As the marshal gave the 30 second count down I got into the pool… stay calm I thought… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … gone… I was off… and whats more I was keeping pace with the swimmer!! Excellent! My training had paid off… I found myself quickly at the other end and things were going great… just 15 more lengths to go…

… things did go great and I kept a good pace right up till the end of the 10th length, I got totally shut down… it became a mission to just do the 11th length… catch breath… 12th… catch breath… 13th… 14th… 15th … and thank god for the 16th

My plan to go at my own pace had busted out the window and I had gone off far too fast… yes it was a quick 10 lengths but it cost me dearly and I finished my swim in a time of 08:36.

Straight out and into transition 1…

Transition 1

As we left the pool we ran out a fire door, down a ramp and along the path to the transition area. It was a weird sensation, I remember the wind taking my breath away and my eyes adjusting to the light …

My transition area was situated close to the pool and I found it with ease.

All my run through and watching YouTube had paid off, my sunglasses were inside my helmet which was on top of my race number lying over the tri bars on the bike, my shoes were open and at the end of a towel lying on the ground next to my bike.

I stood on my towel, picked up my glasses and put them on straight away followed by helmet clipped closed and race belt straight on… once all done I slipped straight into my shoes and pulled the Velcro over… done… I was off…

Transition 1 done in 01:12 and off on the cycle.

20k Cycle

As we cleared transition we left the school and into Great Glen, the course was very windy!

I took note of what Johnny had said in the briefing and looked for the BIG Yellow signs… this gave me time to consider the turn and thank the marshals at each point.

It was a good course that had the uphills, downhills and straights, it was just a shame about the wind.

At one point I was going flying down a hill there was nobody in front or behind and there was a chicane over a bridge coming up, I dropped the gears and went for it, the bike reached a speed of 59.6KPH and zoomed straight through it…

I’d fuelled myself well, my cycling too and from work was paying off and I thought to myself … “I am a machine!!” and boshhhhh … straight into a head wind that almost stopped me dead!!

I passed quite a few people on the bike and I was going as fast as I could on the straights, towards the end I was thinking that I was going well and then some bloke on a full on carbon bike with tear drop helmet passed me, in comparison, I then felt like I was on a 3 wheeled scooter with wobbly wheels and a broken pedal, this bloke was flying!

15 minutes before the end I knew I needed to take on a gel so I got it out from my pocket and carefully opened it with my teeth… this was the first time I had tried to have a gel whilst cycling and in the process of trying to put the top back in my pocket it got the gel all over my right hand which in turn then transferred to my handel bar, break, and tri bar… more practice needed!!

Coming back through Great Glen it was nice to hear people cheering and clapping, we entered the school and back into transition for the 2nd time…

The cycle was done in 41:04

Transition 2

This was going to be easy… I had gone through this a few times at work and I was totally happy with it…

In rack bike, out of shoes and straight into trainers, helmet and glasses off … gone…

As I left the racks in our area were very low and somebody on the other side was struggling to get his bike under… as he tilted his bike under it sent my bike off the rack… so …

Re rack… and gone… bit of a delay… number belt turned around as I leave the transition area…

Transition 2 done in 01:18, I lost at least 30 seconds running back to re rack my bike… off on the run..

5k Run

I was worried about the running, since tearing my calf in January I had only managed 5 runs so I didn’t have any idea if it would hold up, hurt or even if I’d manage it!

We left the transition area via a different route to the bikes.. (learnt in the briefing which I was glad I attended!) to a cheering crowd, this was good, I got quickly into my stride and felt comfortable… we left the school and headed down hill back into Great Glen, the marshals and signage was out, these were the slightly smaller yellow signs that we had to follow..

It was nice to hear people out cheering, there were a few families in Great Glen that were cheering everyone on… this was very much appreciated and helped spur me on…

I was feeling good, I had a good stride and was pacing myself at around 16kph.

We ran to a turnaround point and doubled back to run back to the school… again the same people were out cheering and I picked my pace up … all was going good just one long hill up and into the school… the calf was fine… happy days!

I remember passing a girl on the way down who was holding her stomach and she had tears streaming down her face… she had a stitch… on the way back it was excellent to see her running.. I passed Steph and then Nicola who were on the way to the turn around point.. they were both looking comfortable…

Back into the school and the end was in sight… I tried to speed up but my legs would physically not do it… no matter how many times I called myself all sorts of bad words I couldn’t go any faster!

I finished with lots of people clapping and to familiar faces…

It was done…

Run done in 18:42



I was very pleased to have finished my first triathlon, I did it in a total time of 01.10:55 my goal had been 01.15:00…

So two goals broken and feeling happy!

Now planning to do the Desford Sprint Tri in August so watch this space…

Massive thanks to Racetime Events and all the Marshals and Volunteers who put the time and effort in on a Bank Holiday Monday to help run such a smooth event.

Thanks to all the guys who came to watch and a massive well done to Steph, Nicola and Ian (and everyone else) who took part!

Me & Steph at the finish line...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

IFSC European Youth Bouldering Championships Grindelwald - Keep upto date

This weekend sees the first round of the IFSC European Youth Bouldering Championships, in Grindelwald, Switzerland, where 5 members of Team GB will be competing.

Nathan Phillips, Tara Hayes, Rachel Carr, Gracie Martin and Hamish Potokar will all travel to Europe with Team Manager Tom Greenall for this first round. Tom has written a good article on the BMC Site here;

Over the course of the event there are a number of different ways of keeping upto date with the progress of the team.

Firstly, Tom will be tweeting, so if you don’t follow him are keen to keep upto date then follow;

I assume the hashtag that will be used for all team GB related information will be the standard one #gbjuniorboulderingteam

Secondly, Tim Hatch, in the same way he developed the App to keep track of the scores during the senior Bouldering Team Competitions, he has modified the app to keep track of the scores during the Junior Bouldering Competitions. Tim’s caveat is "it should work" this will be the first time it’s going to be tested live so there may be a few glitches, I doubt very much if there will be any problems but it’s a good way to arse cover!! Anyway, the app can be downloaded for the iPhone from the App Store, it works on the iPad its just smaller.

The app is called “IFSC Europe” and can be downloaded here;

Thirdly, the event is going to be streamed live here;

The full details, timings etc can be found on the IFSC Website;