Racing and indeed training has been in short supply in recent years but 2018 was to be the year of the comeback! Old family friends had been pestering us to visit for some time so why no combine it with a triathlon, that’s how we found ourselves more than a little under-trained and at the most southerly British triathlon.
Supersprint, Sprint and Olympic distances on offer as well as tristar and junior races. Nae messing, Olympic or bust. Other than the bike course the rest of the race venue is pretty compact, with a sea swim in the shadow of Elizabeth Castle. Never having completed a sea swim before it was an ideal introduction, two laps in the shelter of the bay; depending on the tide and how fast you swim it can be an Australian exit between the laps but we still had enough water to swim round the buoy. Once out the water there are a number of steps up to the promenade in into transition.
The bike out and therefore the mount (and dismount) line are quite narrow so getting caught behind a classic ‘all the gear’ kinda guy delayed my bike start a little but once out on the road you have one side of the avenue so plenty of space for everyone to whizz passed at my right ear. The course takes you first along the sea front before taking you inland and dropping back down towards the coast on the west side of the island, some simply stunning views as you descend minding out for the hairpin on the drop to La Pulente.
The course is described as challenging, I’d guess in part because of some tight turns as well as some hills. An added challenge this year were the recently resurfaced roads and the first rain in four weeks which fell on race morning! Adding more caution to my already uber cautious descending.
Once on the west coast of the island you hit the 5-mile road, straight, flat and windy five miles, well at least I thought it was windy until you turn inland again. That and an unexpected incline were a bit of a surprise. The road goes up for a bit before you turn left for a loop round the head land. Back out to join the road we left and to continue heading inland. A sharp left turn takes you up another incline before dropping down to another headland and another surprise! The road appears to head down towards the coast, round a bend I’m preparing to enjoy down the hill. The road goes round to the right and there are marshals advising caution ‘hard right, hard right’ they say, aye right says I as I once more marvel at the views. More slow down signals and shouts of ‘hard right coming up’ ‘HARD RIGHT’ from the marshal in the middle of the road. Ah she means THAT hard right as the course makes a right angled turn to your right and up a steep wee hill, cue furious changing of gears and crossing of fingers that the chain doesn’t drop off.
The rest of the route is pretty much inland on the small roads of the island, very little traffic and both signs and marshals at all junctions. At about 20 miles the descent starts back to the sea front and the last 1.5 miles on the avenue back to transition.
The run is 4 x 2.5Km laps of the marina, out along the top of the harbour wall and then down and back on the quayside round the top and then out and back along the other side. Bands are given at the end of each lap to identify when to finish. Pretty much flat with a few slight inclines in and out of the harbour sides.
My personal performance not much to write home about but this was a thoroughly well organised, friendly and inclusive race, difficult but correct decisions made with regard to the weather.
I would recommend this race, and it’s not a bad destination for a short break as well!
posted by Susan Lynch on