Aug 162015
 

There was good representation from the club at the Bredon Triathlon today. Congratulations to all club members that competed.

Christopher Ricketts: 18th open male. 52nd overall. 1hr 25:42

Duncan Jubb: 11th male supervet. 73rd overall. 1hr 28:07

Ellen Hemsworth: 7th open female. 74th overall. 1hr 28:12

Gill Jubb: 2nd female supervet. 83rd overall. 1hr 30:29

Ros Townsend-Hope: 5th female supervet. 98th overall. 1hr 32:47

Catherine Kelly: 19th open female. 137th overall. 1hr 39:04

 

Aug 042015
 

The Great Britain first and second youth women’s teams enjoyed great success at the European Youth Relay Championships last Sunday 26 July.

In temperatures of around 30 degrees each of the three team members first completed a 300m swim in the crystal clear waters of Banyoles Lake, the setting for the 1992 Olympic rowing events. Then followed a 6.6km cycle leg around the lake and then a 1.6km run plus an additional 400m finish straight on the third leg.

Fourteen teams from 10 countries competed and the relatively unknown but very strong and consistent Russian team emerged as clear victors with a total time of 01:07:32. GBR 1 having lead after the first leg finished second in 01:08:20 with France third in 01:08:37.

The GBR 2 team which included Worcester Tri Club’s Nixie Turner finished seventh in 01:10:00, only 13 seconds separating them from fifth placed Spain. They finished ahead of the first teams of Portugal, Hungary, Ukraine and Sweden and all of the other second teams (Ukraine, Spain and Portugal), demonstrating the current strength and depth in British female youth and junior triathlon.

Nixie took the third and final leg and completed the course in an individual time of 23.47 – the sixth fastest third leg time. However her bike time of 10:19 was the fifth fastest of all the 42 competitors.

The GBR 1 youth men’s team went one better, winning their event in 01:00:05 with Spain second and Portugal third. The youth men’s GBR 2 team did not finish.

To cap off a fine day for British Triathlon the GBR U23 mixed relay team (which included female youth Issy Morris) came a close second to Italy in their event.

The GBR 1 and 2 Youth Men and Women’s relay teams.  Nixie Turner 4th from right.

The GBR 1 and 2 Youth Men and Women’s relay teams. Nixie Turner 4th from right.

Jul 152015
 

I entered this event as something to aim for after giving birth to my son a year ago. I hoped to be competitive but most of all I wanted to enjoy it as I love racing and have missed it. The event was in Falmouth and involved a 750m sea swim followed by a 5km run around the headland. After some lovely days of sunshine leading up to the event, the weather on race day was awful! Wind, rain and jellyfish made for a really tough swim. Sighting was hard due to the waves and I had quite a shock when I came face to face with a huge barrel jellyfish. I had no idea of my positioning after the swim but headed out on to the hilly run course thinking I had probably put myself out of medal contention. The run was uphill for the first half and I was finding it hard to settle my breathing but I gained on a few people.

After the finish I hung around at the beach cafe trying to warm up however, my husband and I spent most of the time chasing our wild toddler around whilst he roared at other freezing cold triathletes and attempted to steal their cake. So after lots of ‘shall we just go I won’t have won anything’ moments the results were finally announced. To my surprise I had won my category and became National Aquathlon Champion in the 25 – 29 age group.

 

 

Jul 092015
 

Congratulations to club junior Jodie Ruane who has been selected to represent the West Midlands at the National Inter-Regional Championships. Jodie only started triathlon last year but has had a very successful year including first place finishes at Sandwell Aquathlon, Wrekin College Aquathlon, Warwick Children’s Triathlon and Barton Marina Triathlon. Jodie competes in the TS2 category (11 – 12 year olds) and we wish her the best of luck for the competition in September.

Jun 202015
 

Worcester Triathlon Club junior Nixie Turner has qualified to represent Great Britain in the 2015 European Youth Relay Championships in Banyoles, Spain on 26 July by finishing in fifth place at the Blenheim Triathlon which this year acted as the qualifying event.

A strong 400m swim saw Turner emerge second from the water in just over five minutes and she then led for much of the technical 13.2km cycle leg, dropping all but two other athletes and completing the stage in 23.29 minutes.

Turner soon settled in to third place on the 3.1km run leg as strong runners Kate Waugh and Olivia Mathias pulled away from her and despite being passed by fellow West Midlands Triathlon Academy member Caitlin Roper she seemed destined for fourth place until a fantastic run by Scotland’s Erin Wallace just pushed her back to fifth in a total time of 45.23 compared to Waugh’s winning time of 44.04.

Great Britain will be sending two teams of three to the Championships plus two travelling reserves so the first eight finishers all qualified. After the race Turner, who is now sponsored by Echelon Cycles of Pershore and trains with Worcester St johns Cycling Club, Worcester Swimming Club and Worcester Athletics Club commented ‘I always enjoy racing at Blenheim and the bike course in particular suits me as I prefer a technically challenging course with some climbs to a straight, flat course, so when I heard that it was going to act as the qualifying event I knew I was in with a good chance and now I can’t wait to wear the GBR Trisuit for the first time’.

Although Turner has represented Great Britain before on an invitational basis, her latest race being at the European Junior Cup event at Quarteira in Portugal on 21 March where she finished a respectable 21st out of 57 entrants, this will be the first time that she has officially qualified. She will warm up for the race in Spain with another invitational entry to the European Junior Cup race at Holton in the Netherlands on 4 July.

Nixie at Blenheim

Jun 162015
 

Congratulations to club member Kaine Pritchett who completed Ironman Staffs 70.3 at the weekend. His race report is below.

Respect the distance. Something we all hear from time served triathletes and after this weekends Ironman Staffs 70.3 I fully understand. Having done the full distance Ironman last year, I entered Ironman Staffs 70.3 due to it being all new, its location and finally it will allow me to gauge how my Winter season training had panned out. Well this was the plan. Unfortunately due to injury woes, I ended up going into it with only 4 weeks training in total so decided I would go out at 80% and see how I get on. The weekend started with a bit of a faff around the logistics of registration and T1 racking between Shugborough Hall and Chasewater some 30 minutes apart from each other. Although this was an Ironman branded event, the event showed signs of disorganisation, which was in danger of souring the weekend if it wasn’t for the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers – I hope Ironman listen to all the feedback received and sort these issues for 2016. The weather on Saturday was very wet and colder than I like however I trusted in the weather reports for Sunday. Early start as I travelled from home but found myself in T1 checking my tyre pressures at 5:40 Sunday morning, some 2 hours before wave start, watching the sunrise and enjoying the buzz building up. To my surprise, Gordon Ramsay was racked almost right behind me so had to wish him luck as seemed rude not too, before I got my wetsuit on and made my way down to the swim start ready to watch the pro’s kick off at 7am. My race started at 7:40 and the shift began with a slow, cramped filled 47 minute swim – I was disappointed with the cramp as only a week prior I had done a 37 min 1.25 mile at Upton Warren. Out of the water it was a short jog on a concrete path to T1 where a quick (for me) five minute change and I was out on the bike. When I originally entered IM Staffs it was marketed as a flat and fast course, however as many may have read since the day this is not the case at all with a few short steep sections and then a tough climb at 70k up into Cannock Chase. Having got on the bike I continued to suffer with cramp however just kept on pushing through. Had a quick stop at around mile 35 to see my family and give my little boy a kiss which got a massive cheer from the crowd assembled and also made me well up for a few minutes once I got moving again. Eventually made it back to Shugborough in 3 hours 22 minutes where I almost suffered yet another problem in T2. I went to change and found my running gear bag was missing – aaagghhh!!! Support crew to the rescue and just as I got to breaking point they found it at the end of a different rack where it had possibly been replaced after a incorrect pick up. So after a 12 minute transition I was away for a very slow hilly run. But like all Ironman events it was the crowds and volunteers that made it easier – you can’t help to keep moving with all the encouragement and kind words from so many people – this is without doubt the best part of any distance Triathlon – I love it. Three wristbands later I found myself entering the finish chute and running down the red carpet in a final time of 7 hours and 2 minutes (run: 2:29). Finishers pic pose, medal and food later I found myself in the rest area where it started to rain but more importantly the sense of achievement kicked in. All things considered even finishing on Sunday was an achievement and as this was my first 70.3 I set a new PB – surely I can only get faster.

Jun 092015
 
So after the past two years of DNF’s at the full iron distance this year was going to be the year I turned it around and what better place to do it than what is regarded as one of the toughest Ironman events in the world, Ironman Lanzarote. Preparation leading up to the event was very up and down at times but I managed to get enough miles in the legs as I could to make it to the start line. The main goal was to finish and a bonus if I could beat my Outlaw time of 13hrs 20mins. Once I arrived on the Island I soon discovered why it is regarded as one of the toughest events in the world with almost being blown over as soon as I got off the plane. A little couple hour ride on the bike on the Wednesday I soon discovered the wind is another level out here and coming in from all angles. With a wind speed of 35mph TTing was out of the question and soon packed it in and returned back to the hotel. With another dip in the sea and all registered up Race day soon came around and luckly the wind had felt like it had died down a bit but was still in the min 20’s mph.
With a 7am start time I positioned myself ready for the day ahead with a finish time of around 12hr-13hrs in my head. With a mass start of over 1800 people on a 2 lap swim course it felt like I was stepping into a ring with Mike Tyson. People were punching, kicking, swimming over you, under you, dragging you back. For the first 500 metres it was a battle but soon found some clear water to get into my groove, by the time I got to the 2nd turn around point all hell broke lose again and it felt like no one has ever swam open water races before. This was pretty much how the rest of the swim went with the added bonus of the wind picking up in the 2nd lap and creating a bit of chop in the middle part of the course. With a finish time of 1hr 12mins I knew if I wasn’t in a battle for most of the swim I could have gone quicker but this was just the start of the long day ahead.
After collecting my bag from T1 on the beach and running up the sand bank to collect my bike for the ride ahead my legs were feeling good and was hoping for a 6hrs-6hrs 30min bike. With over 2551m of climbing with the adding factor of higher winds than normal, heat, even rain at one point this estimate soon rabidly disappeared and it was more about survival and making it in before the cutoff time. For the first third of the course the legs were feeling great and was keeping in my limit and not over pushing myself. Was passing people with ease on the climbs and was just able to get some time on the TT bars before a sudden cross wind would catch you and you soon was either cycling at a 45 degree angle or getting nearly blown off the bike. Cycling up some of the famous climbs especially through the national park with what can only be described as a long straight road as far as the eye can see which just goes up and up and up some more with a line of cyclist was an awesome sight to see. Making sure I ate and drank as much as possible the wheels soon came off around the 100km mark at the worst possible time as the biggest climb of the day was just getting started. The Climb up to Los Nieves can only be described as hell on wheels for me. I knew at the top was my special needs bag with a mars bar and a bottle of coke in it and this was much needed as this time. I just didn’t have the gears to get into any rhythm and was soon pedaling squares with what felt like the whole field passing me by. Its was going up and up and had to grind it out to the top. With a 10min stop with my special needs bag I was soon onto the decent and as the air temperature was dropping so high up I was feeling really cold and trying to switch back descend while your arms are shivering wasn’t great. So I took it carefully and soon began to warm back up once the sun popped back out from the mist. The rest of the ride was a battle to the end with some fast descents, broken up roads, winds from every direction and the heat I managed to finish the bike in 7hrs 33min, An hour over my expected time but with conditions being what described from everyone I spoke to says that was the worst conditions they have had on the bike course and every ones expected times were out.
So Just a little marathon to go. A change to the route for previous years now took you for one long bike lap out past the airport and back then 2 short 10km laps to the finish. My time goals was to run each 5km in around 30mins stopping at each aid station to drink/eat/water over head & body to the finish. This started off ok for the first 10km out past the airport but my run soon turned into a jog with the feeling of a golf ball blister on top of my toe coming through. I managed to run the first long lap with the crowds in there masses cheering you on along the way. My jog soon ended up being a shuffle walk shuffle with the bike taking more out of me than I thought. I didn’t care how I got to the end as long as I got there that was all that mattered. After shuffle walk shuffling with another athlete for around 10km the time soon pasted by and with 5kms to go and it soon turning dark I was determend to run the last 5kms to the finish non stop. After the past 2 years of DNF’s and disappointment I finally crossed that finish line in 14hrs 18mins. Was slightly disappointed with the time but given the conditions on the bike I didn’t care. The support form other athletes the crowds and the whole island gets behind everyone and every village you either cycled through or ran, especially the climbs in the middle of know where we all well supported and gave you that boost you needed. The views on the bike were awesome at times when I wasn’t in so much pain to look. So that is me done with the Iron distance for a couple of years at least and will be def be back to Lanzarote to compete again as the island and the race is already drawing me back to want more. Next up for me after a little recovery is the Avenger middle where I hope to get a PB over the distance.
Apr 132015
 

Congratulations to Ben Martin for completing the Worcester Half Marathon in 1hr 36mins. He will be competing in Ironman Lanzarote next month. Good luck!

Mar 262015
 

Congratulations to Rachel Ward who finished with a silver medal in her age category at the National Duathlon Championships. Rachel also finished 17th female overall.

Oct 292014
 

864th of 2187 Athletes

172nd of 288 Athletes in M40-44

During the week there had been a lot of pre-race activities that helped build the excitement leading to the race.   The parade of nations, Guinness World Record Attempt for an Underpants run, the banquet, and swimming with dolphins.

There was still plenty of relaxation though spent with Jason Wilkes and his family and Dean Edwards at their super cool pad on Ali’i Drive.   Some of this time was spent watching Kona’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Replace stars in the pavement with the world’s best triathletes in the flesh running down Ali’i Drive.  Rinny, Rachel, Frederik, Crowie, et al.

Going into the race, I was determined to be amongst the top 5 Ironman (IM) athletes in my age group in the world and win an Umeke (aka a wooden fruit bowl) given to the best of the best.  This group make Top Gun look ordinary ; )

Ha ha.  Rewind.  Perhaps I set my sights too low.  In reality, in my first Kona, it was just a privilege to be amongst some truly great athletes.

My goals were:

1. Have a smile on my face all day

2. Sub 10, if not finish in the light, if not finish and get a medal

I came perilously close to not completing one of my previous 6 IM races.  Nothing is ever guaranteed.  This is IM.

So onto the day of the race, I was fully awake by 3am after a decent six hours sleep.  There was loads of time before transition duties even with the 30 minute coastal road to Ali’i Drive so it was an easy and laid back start to the day.

It did not seem long before we were stood on the pier at 6.30 waiting to go down the steps of Dig Me Beach.  The beautifully warm waters awaited and an easy 400m swim to the end of the pier whilst taking in the fish on the bottom of the ocean.

The pier was lined, several deep, with supporters and volunteers alike each trying to get a view of the biggest spectacle in ironman racing, the swim start.  Only this is different.  This is Kona.  This is the World Champs.  Helicopters circled overhead.

And I am part of it.  My teeth were probably visible from a mile, so broad was my smile.  I chat briefly to the guy next to me whilst pinching myself.  Mike Reilly shouts over the microphone, ‘whose going to be an ironman today’. We both shout back, ‘I am’.

And then, BOOM.  Canon goes off.  Propelled forward by the surging masses.  Swim or get swum over.  The fish disturbed by the mass of white surf as we propel ourselves forward.  The Hawaiian drums beating in the background.

Self seeded too far back, it was a bun fight until the turnaround boat.  On the way back, I took a straight line via the buoys rather than stay with the pack which had wandered slightly.  Mostly clear waters.  That was until the final few hundred metres when everyone joined again into a scrum.  A one legged guy gave out more than he was taking as he weaved through the masses.  It made me smile. Go on son, get in there !

Out of the water within a whisker of Deano.  1hr 10.  The slowest swims of our lives.  Non wetsuit. Most consider it long.

T1 and for someone who is normally fairly rapid thorough transition, it appears I must have stopped for tea and biscuits.  That or extra lashings of factor 50!

After the initial 10k around town where everyone is settling down and trying to get some rhythm, the bike course is a classic out and back that demands patience due to the volcano created trade winds.

Out of town,  you hit the coastal road, Queen K.  For large sections of the course, you look out across the lava fields into the ocean.   Advance warning of each windy section is noticeable by the increasing chop in the beautiful turquoise waters.  These invited thoughts of a quick dash and splash rather than facing the fierce headwinds that start to kick-in as you reach Waikoloa.

The next key point is the climb to the halfway point at Hawi.  Ordinarily the climb would be ok.  When the winds kick in though, it quickly feels like you are being dragged back by a 20 stone beer boy!

At the turnaround, it is time to have some fun.  Underworld kicks into my head.  45mph. Lager, lager, lager.   Andrenaline rushes.   There is a god after all.  And he is an adrenaline drunkie!

A little while later the hangover kicks in.  Headwind again.  Yes, again! And there is 30 miles still to go. 10mph.  Give me a break.   Yeah, right.   You wanted this buddy!

Sub 10 was off.   Sub 11.15 or so was needed to finish in the light.  Surely that was never in doubt.

Coming into town, you are treated to the men’s front runners heading towards the Energy Lab.  Already 12 miles into the marathon.  You remind yourself that they started a good 20 minutes beforehand.  You still feel like a snail although are on a buzz witnessing the scene in front of you.

Kienle followed by Van Lierde.   The race was most definitely on.

Meanwhile I was finally getting into town for my slowest ever IM bike of 5.44.  Not overly surprising as my power has been way down since racing IM Boulder.  It was the first time I had felt like a bullet train on a bike though.  40+mph on the flats with ease.  It was also the first time I have done 10mph on a downhill feeling like a moped pulling a caravan.

The latter happened more than once.  The former unfortunately just the once.

As I was recalling my nutrition on the ride (16 gels, 2 bananas, 10 bottles of electrolyte water), Jason went past me without any acknowledgment.  I quickly caught him again to tell him how rude!

As evidenced by the race photos, I felt good in the first 10k on the out and back along Alii Drive.  Deano and I had exchanged high 5’s.  I had resisted the temptation to get in my car and drive off as I passed it sat in Jason’s drive.  My constant ice baths at each aid station were also clearly keeping the hot, humid sauna-esque conditions at bay.

Up Palani and big shouts from Jason’s family.  All was good as Miranda Carfrae, the eventual women’s winner, went past in the opposite direction like a Duracell bunny hunting down current 1st place Daniella Ryf.  I gave a big cheer although saved more for 3rd place Rachel Joyce….our current ultimate Brit Iron.

Chrissie Wellington followed closely on a bike and gave me a shout of encouragement.  Perhaps she knew what was about to happen!

Then followed the quietness of the energy lab.  This is the only part of the course closed to all but competitors.  There is an eerie silence broken only by running shoes hitting the tarmac.

Coming out of the energy lab, although it was now overcast, I was too cooked to take advantage on the slowing rising uphill section of the next few miles. Despite taking plenty of nutrition on the run (12 gels / packets of chomp chews and lots of fluids), I was low on energy.  It was hard to tell what had gone wrong.

Before I could get down, a guy with a prosthetic leg started his run into the Energy Lab.  Agony on his face, it was a reminder to pull my mind together and suck it up.  Although not able to go quickly, I made sure I was not walking.

Then finally that right turn down Palani.  Time to chat with a New Zealander and rejoice the efforts that had got us there in the first place.  Pulling out the sponges from my top, I can hear Mike Reilly.  I let those few people past me who don’t wish to saviour the moment.  That finish line will be all mine.  A Union Jack flag from Jason’s family and high fiving the spectators.  Finishing does not get better than this.

Anyone would have thought I had won.  Unashamedly lording it at the finish line! Self coached over the last five years, it has been a great journey from overweight smoker and drinker to Ironman Kona.  It was a sweet moment.

It turns out I had finished in 10 hours 50, one minute slower than the fastest IM athlete on the planet, Andreas Raelert.  His day had clearly been way tougher than mine!

Volunteers walk you into the post race amphitheatre to check you do not need the med tent.  It is time to lie on the grass and soak it all in whilst chatting and reminiscing with all the other athletes.  .

I am an Ironman again.  For the 7th time.  This time a Kona Ironman.  It will live with me forever.

That said, I will be back in a few years when the time is right.  It was that good.  I need to make at least one more visit with Vicki when my little girl is old enough to remember.