Many Fusion members were up and out early on a glorious Saturday morning last weekend to race at the 1st multisport festival at Strathclyde Park. Included was British Sprint Championships, 2018 European Sprint Championships qualifier, IRC qualification (Tri Star 2+ 3), and the British Mixed Relay Championships.
I’m delighted to say that between Fusion Triathlon Club and Pro Endurance Coaching clients and service users, we had a good go at dominating the day, if not in numbers certainly in results. Not the best run event ever, lets hope for an improvement for next years ETU sprint champs! Plenty of race reports here…..
So there I found myself, on another odyssey through space, time and Scottish triathlons, waiting ready to go just off the jetty in the British sprint championships wondering whether this was a particularly good idea or not since it was the second time wearing a wetsuit and 1st time swimming in one. All doubts disappeared in a splash and a squeal as a few over enthusiastic athletes tried to wade down an adjacent ramp to cool down in the water and fell on their faces due to the slippy …. deposits on the concrete. Having a distinct lack of open water swimming experience the plan overall was a) don’t get tangled up in the swim with anyone else b) avoid letting my crappy cycling technique ruin my run and have enough energy in the tank to get faster in the last 2k – achieved both so I’m happy I came out of this event with a couple of experiences to make me better next time. Swim kicked off with a 10 minute dunk in the water as we waited for the supersprint dudes to get far enough along the cycle route – I was happy with this as it gave me time for a quick attempt at swimming in said wetsuit and getting some bearings on the start process – that being spotting the packs forming near the front and sitting about 7-8 metres back to avoid a toe for elevenses. Big horn went and we were off, first thought was I can see maybe 4-5 metres, a number of other swimmers but I can’t actually see the big red buoy against the green background of the park (I am colour blind so I maybe should have considered this). Lesson learnt for me was next time place the buoy against some bigger background and use that to sight direction until last 10 or so metres. Cycle started with plenty of energy and a complete lack of knowledge of the course. It finished the other way round. Loved the course with the smooth roads and no real 180 turns but it was actually a bit hillier than expected. I was impressed with how much faster some of the other riders were than me and confirmed my real weak spot from Bishopbriggs triathlon a few weeks ago being my cycling. So mucho miles required over the rest of the summer – and some things to consider through watching others race by. Run was lovely – first 200 metres along the pavement prior to dropping onto the path along the loch were full of people shouting encouragement and being nice. Not much to say other than it went to plan with a steady 3k followed by being able to increase pace for the last 2k. Much better control than Bishopbriggs and hope to extend that next time. Last couple of years have been enjoy training and do one race per year. This year I’ve done two so far and come to the realisation I should be doing as many as possible, and as long as I don’t mistake my race suit for a bikini when packing there’s actually very little to be worried about in the actual event – everyone involved is there to help you round, so I’d say to those on the cusp of wanting to try a race – just go for it – there’s literally nothing to lose & lots to gain (or should that be lots of pain?)
I decided that this year I’d dip my toes into open water Sprint distance Triathlon after doing a few pool swim events so far in my forays into the sport. Unbeknownst to me until the week before, Strathclyde Park Triathlon is kind of a big deal and moreso this year with it being an ETU Qualifier and the British Championships.. So maybe not the one I should have had a go with. But since I was signed up I decided just to go for it!
On arriving I almost got back in my car and drove away, it was so busy and overwhelming and once I realized I had a flat front tyre on my new bike I was close to loosing it entirely. Despite having spare inner tubes, it turns out my new bike requires bigger valves due to the deeper rim… rookie error. This really did cause significant panic before I’d even left the car park but luckily the two Lorna’s from Ayrodynamics Tri Club who I’d befriended at Bute were passing and offered to help me out. Lesson well and truly learnt and I owe my opportunity to race to Lorna Sloan for giving me a new inner tube – many many thanks Lorna! I’ll be getting a replacement to you!
I then had a bit of difficulty getting the tyre over the last little bit but was ably assisted by Derek in the registration queue – cheers Derek.. I guess the benefit of it taking a while in registration meant I could get myself together a bit… Well just a wee bit.
So on to the race itself!
Being zipped into a wetsuit on a roasting hot day standing amongst 153 other women of all ages really is something. There was a lot of water quality and PB chat going on so to avoid the rising panic my earplugs went in and I enjoyed the silence. We entered the water from the pontoon and I strategically picked a nice open spot at the back to avoid the washing machine that would follow. The horn went and I waited a few seconds before settling into a nice steady rhythm behind all the mayhem. For me, this was all about getting round the swim in one piece and avoiding being plucked out the water by a boat! I was delighted to see I wasn’t last out the water and even more delighted to manage to get half out my wetsuit on exiting the water before T1..
T1 was fine albeit slower than I would have liked – more practice required in getting out a wetsuit!
Then onto the bike – my favourite part!! Well normally..
I got on and immediately realized the positive impact of my new steed – she flies! I worked my way up the course overtaking and ensuring that I stayed well outboard of people to avoid a drafting penalty. All was going well until the turn into lap three and my chain came clean off.. I managed to get it back on but it cost me dearly and those I had just overtaken left me for dust.. So what followed was a very concerted effort to try and make up some lost time and get back up the field! But my luck didn’t improve. On the descent before lap 4 my right hand Aerobar came clean out of the holder into my extended hand while doing about 50kmh this was quite scary but by good fortune and a bit of brute force I managed to shove it back in and just spent the rest of the race holding it in and trying to change gear in a very tentative fashion!
I got to T2 at pretty much the same time as Ros and Mary Anne which I was very pleased about – both exceptionally strong ladies!
Then I just had to run, but in the heat my body decided this wasn’t a great idea.. I didn’t realise how slowly I was going until my dad shouted ‘that’s it, just take it nice and steady..’ I think this was meant as encouragement but reinforced that I was pretty much going backwards
3/4 into my lap 1 Ali (aka Bruce) passed and headed for the home straight – I’ve never been so pleased to be lapped by someone! An absolutely outstanding race by Ali and a time and position that was hard-fought and well deserved! Well done mrs!
I kept plugging away and despite a few unplanned stops to wretch at the side of the path due to the heat, I came into the final straight and realized i was almost there. I went all out for a sprint finish and was so pleased to cross the line! I did it
I had a few wee obstacles and a bit of bad luck to overcome but on the whole I’m really pleased with how I got on. I just missed the cut-off for the ETU min standard qualification at 121.38% – but I’m absolutely amazed that despite everything I got that close in my first open water swim! Lots to improve upon, learn from and also to be proud of. Congratulations to everyone who raced from Fusion, to those who were on the podium, to those who qualified and a great many who are within the 120%. Thanks also to everyone for the support and encouragement before and during the race, it makes all the difference!
I can also report the steed is is currently at the bike doctor receiving some much needed treatment before Stirling this weekend!
The day started at 6 am to register. You needed a good sense of humour to get through the 90minute wait to sign in. There was a lot about the organisation of the event that left people guessing but in truth the actual race was incredible. The standard and numbers of racers was incredible. The water temp was 19 degrees and with over 200 swimming for that first buoy only 120m away the carnage was inevitable. The transition out of the bike was easy enough and the bike course was great being closed roads. The power meter paid for itself as it was so easy to destroy the slight risers and be left empty for the faster flat sections. The run was flat all but for an insulting little climb at the turn. This made the turn hard work and unsettled the pace. This was only my 4th triathlon but far and away the most fun. The course is fast but forces a bit of discipline on the bike. I would highly recommend it for all comers. Once again hats off to Crawford as each race I have improved. I managed 12th in age group in a time that would have seen me 5th the year before. The race is rapid with some serious folk but this made it all the more fun to be part of.
Having focused on Ironman distance events for the past 3 years and looking to have a break this year I decided to enter Strathclyde Park as a bit of a fun day out. My lead up to the event was probably not ideal having to take an enforced 4 week break from running due to a piriformis injury but instead of withdrawing I thought I would see how I’d go and access the pain as I went around the course. SWIM: 11:55 My swim got off to a decent start as I decided to position myself further to the right attempting to avoid the washing machine that I knew would be taking place as people tried to swim a more direct route to the first turning marker. It did mean though that I ended up swimming a further 100m more than was needed but I wasn’t really bothered. I found a good set of feet to tag onto and pretty much got a good draft all the way round. BIKE: 36.30 I really enjoyed this course the last time I raced here which was around 3 years ago when it was a standard distance and it was no different this time round. I stuck to a plan of slowly building each lap working up the short climbs and then using the speed of the downhills to let loose. Unfortunately I had forgotten to calibrate my Garmin with my power meter so had to go on feel rather than numbers. I felt that I was going strong on each lap but I did feel like my legs at times were a bit lethargic and maybe could have pushed harder had they not felt this way. RUN: 23:31 Well there’s not really much I can say about the run leg other than it was a lot slower than I would have hoped to have covered the 5km. My injury instantly came to the fore as soon as I left transition and I just couldn’t put any effort in as it was quite painful. I felt like I was running in slow motion as more and more athletes came flying past which wasn’t the best feeling. The thought of withdrawing after the first lap did cross my mind but I’ve never had a DNF before so I kept plodding along through to the finish which I’m glad that I did. Overall I had a great experience. Thanks to all the Fusion Team supporting during the race as it does make a big difference hearing the cheers when you are out there. It was also fantastic seeing everyone out on the course giving it their all. Special shout out to RTB, Dave and Derek who kept me going through the run. Next stop DEVA this weekend.