After having heard many great reports about this race from club mates over the years I decided to register for the 2017 DEVA Triathlon Standard Triathlon race to see what it was all about and I wasn’t disappointed.
Lynsey (my wife a.k.a The Ironwidow) and I decided to travel down on the Friday evening so that we could make the most of the weekend and have a relaxing Saturday checking out the historic architecture in Chester before the race on Sunday.
The journey leaving from the Glasgow city centre in late afternoon took around 4 and a bit hours and the drive down was pretty much traffic free. Not that I really noticed much from the passenger seat snoring away catching flies oblivious to the world going by. For our accommodation we had booked into the Premier Inn Hotel which ended up being about a 5 minutes’ walk to transition. Very handy indeed especially on race morning.
You had the option to register for the race on either the Saturday afternoon or in morning of the race but I decided to get all of this done on the Saturday as I was there anyway and I like to be prepared as best I can and not leave things to the last minute.
The registration tent was down by the swim start at a place called The Groves which was a lovely location. After racing the week before at Strathclyde Park where the check-in process was quite stressful as organisers were understaffed and unprepared for the volume of athletes this was the
complete reverse to that chaos as everything ran like clockwork. I joined the back of the line behind about 40 other athletes and had my race pack, t-shirt and goodie bag in around 10 minutes which was fantastic.
Transition opened for racking at 5:45am due to the middle distance race starting earlier and we were encouraged to have all of our gear inside at least 1 hour before your allocated race start time. I was in the 4th wave on the day which kicked off at 8:30am so decided to be in transition for around 7:30am. There was a bit of a small que to get into the area as BTF officials checked over bikes and helmets etc but it was again pretty quick and I had everything set up by about 7:45am. Racked and ready to go!
(includes run up to transition)
The swim takes place in the River Dee which runs through Chester. It’s a lovely location and reminded me quite a bit like the swim at Challenge Roth although much shorter. The water temperature was around 16 degrees which was perfect and current in the river was pretty much non-existent which meant
that everyone could spread out the full length of the river for the start.
I managed to position myself close to the middle at the front without too many issues before the start although right before the starter’s gun went off two athletes came out of nowhere and positioned themselves right in front of me. Unfortunately for the both of them I was a much stronger swimmer and ended up having no other option but to swim right over the top of them. I did feel guilty for about 30 seconds afterwards but reasoned with myself that they
were being cheeky in the first place by pushing in front knowing that they weren’t the strongest of swimmers. The rest of the swim pretty much went to plan. After swimming past the two athletes I got away to a quick start working hard then after about 400 meters I found a couple of swimmers just ahead of me that I could tag on to for a draft to save energy and decided to stick with them for the rest of the way around the swim route without any issues.
After exiting the water we then made our way up a hill, up some slippery steps and along into Grosvenor Park. At the time I didn’t realise that this run or dawdle in my case was being added to my swim time so was a little bit annoyed with myself afterwards for not giving this more effort as it didn’t reflect the good swim that I felt I had on the day. Into T1, bike located with no issues, wet suit off, bike shoes on (Ironman style ha ha!), helmet on and go! Go! Go!
After jumping on the bike you make your way out of Chester through a few winding turns before the road opens up to some nice country side. The first 20kms weren’t the best from my point of view as I was suffering from a slightly upset stomach which was affecting my power output. I did manage to
keep plugging away though and seemed to be holding my own as not many other cyclists seemed to pass me during that period.
The second half of the bike was much better as I started to feel stronger and my power was looking much more on the money. I managed to make up some ground passing a few of the swimmers that came out ahead of me which definitely gave me a small boost coming back into Chester. The only downside to the bike course was the sections of road they couldn’t close as I ended up having to break my rhythm to slow down quite considerably for slowing cars as they were negotiating clear road to safely pass other athletes on the course. Part of the race unfortunately.
Nothing really to note here other than you enter back into Grosvenor Park from the other side of the park where the dismount line is pretty much at the entrance to the transition area. It was quite narrow though so I was lucky to have not much traffic around at the time to negotiate. Bike racked, running shoes on, helmet off, lucky hat on and go! Go! Go!
Run (dawdle): 47:50
Well I knew before the race that this part of the day would be a battle as I really haven’t had the best lead up training wise due to a nagging injury which I noted in my previous report. My aim was really to get through it whether that was by running, walking, or shuffling and complete the event no matter what. I had accepted during the week and after my run at Strathclyde Park that my time on the run was not going to be very fast but that was not the point of getting out this year.
The run course could pretty much be described as being flat and fast with a mixture of tarmac but nothing too harsh under foot. After exiting transition you head back down to the river and run over the historic suspension bridge which is the marker for the start of the first lap. After crossing the bridge the route then takes you into the meadows. You then return alongside the Dee River on the opposite bank to the finishing line before crossing the river again
using the main road bridge and back along the groves. This was done 3 times
before heading down the finishing chute.
The 1st lap of the run course I managed without any issues but could feel quite a lot of discomfort in my left piriformis which was then causing my hamstring to slightly tighten up on the same leg. The 2nd lap was possibly the worst as I was in a lot of pain at this point and with my tight hamstring getting worse it was really affecting my stride and rhythm. Lap 3 was all about getting through it to the finishing line and it was what it was in the end. I’m by no means a quick runner but was happy to still get under 50 minutes especially with the injury.
Overall this is possibly the best standard distance race in the UK. The organisation is second to none and the course is awesome. I’m definitely
thinking of heading down again next year for another bash at it hopefully
without carrying any injuries next time round.
Next stop Lochore Sprint…..
posted by Alisdair McLaren on