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Swimming, Sprint, Standard, Half Distance and Something of the Night....

It's been a busy fortnight for TTCers! The previous weekend saw a number in the lakes at Cirencester, some of whom were moving up to the Standard distance for the first time. We also had Jenny S representing us in the Aquabike event.

Jenny finished the 1500m swim and 41k bike course in 2:22. She was particularly pleased with her swim leg where she managed to crack 35mins following some intensive open water training at Croft Farm.

Meanwhile on the Standard course, Nick Slim came home 3rd overall and first in his age group in 2:03 despite a couple of falls on the run course, Gwynn placed second in his age group in 2:22, Anne finished in 3:02 followed by two first timers, Dan (3:08) and Jenny H (3:20). Special mention and arguably performance of the weekend goes to Tom. While playing cricket the week before he injured his foot. Following x-rays it was thought to just be badly bruised but a day after completing his first standard race in a creditable 2:37 he was told he had fractured his toe. As he said 'no wonder it was a bit painful'. He is now working out how to attached cleats to his surgical boot.

Having not had enough of swimming the previous weekend Paul, Karl, Anne & Gwynn took on the Big Brutal 10k Swim in Snowdon. Paul finished an impressive 2nd in a fantastic time of 2:15, Karl was 11th (2:44), Gwynn (3:12) and Anne (4.10)

Kathy stepped up to the half distance as she completed the 113 event at the Cotswold Water Park. I'll let her describe her experience.

It all started with a 4am wake up, But the plus side was seeing the sun rise over the lake, beautiful. Cotswold 113 was my first half distance race and to be honest was way out of my comfort zone. I do triathlon for fun, I like to do well but I'm not very competitive. This was going to be a challenge

Wave 2 started well and by the first buoy I had clear space in front . Not in the lead by any means and just the right number of other swimmers to disguise my poor sighting skills. I was lucky I guess.

Total rookie error and lost my bike in transition. 5 minutes later I was off. The bike leg was always going to be my nemesis. The furthest I'd ridden in races was 15 miles.. big step up. The route was flat and fast with one pesky hill.. scenery was stunning and roads were quiet.

Got a bit emotional when I came back in, as I'd not only got round without a flat tyre (nope, still can't sort that out) but also hadn't fallen off.

Then to the run, a 3 lap course of the lake and surrounding village.. bit narrow in places which held up the faster runners I'm sure. Feed stations were fab, lots of selection. You know what it's like, your at a wedding and you miss the food call.. you rock up to the buffet and all that's left is 2 sausage rolls and the salad garnish, well that's what it's like when your towards the back at races.. stuff just runs out.. but not here.. even on lap 3 there was a full buffet selection of cake, crisps, biscuits, sweets, and my snacks of choice banana and twiglets.

I wasn't the fastest and finished 762 out of 803 in 7:04. 1100 entered so I did better than the 300 who didn't get to the start line and 38 that DNF. As to my next challenge, not sure yet but possibly something that doesn't involve buying Sudacrem on the way home.

We had three other finishers in the event: Brian finishing in 5:41, David (5:43) and Gavin (5:49). Great TTC representation!

Meanwhile a little nearer home, it was the Club's open water sprint Tri at Bredon's Hardwick and what a lovely day it was! Despite the competition from the 113 event, we managed a healthy 170 entrants with over 150 making it to the start line in the lake including a large contingency from the Malvern, Evesham and Gloucester Clubs.

Recent new building at the water park resulted in a longish transition from swim to bike and a re-jig of the run route but competitors seemed to cope well with it.

Moving on to the results, as is customary, Nick posted the best time of the day (1:08) to take the honours. He was followed home by a procession of TTCers with Steve coming in at 1:17,Scott and Martin (1:18), Kate (1:28), Russ (1:29), Mark (1:30), Liz (1:31), Tony and Pete (1:32), Suzie (1:33), Jill (1:37), Dan (1:38), Mike (1:39), Ali (1:46), Jenny (1:50), and Gerry in her first open water event in 2:17.

In the relay event Claudia and Nicky joined forces at the last minute to take first place in a time of 1:19 with a ten minute advantage over the second place finishers.

It was a great day all round with a of positive comments by competitors which ended with a well earned barbecue for the competitors and marshals who did a fantastic job on behalf of the Club.

Finally, in the depths of the night, close to the Thames in Kent, something stirs - a lean mean racing machine in the shape of Ed! He takes up the story..........

Everyone I mentioned it to, fellow triathletes included, asked why would you want to do a triathlon at night?! The ‘quirk’ of Midnight Man was the 6pm start time on a Saturday, with competitors racing Full, Half and Quarter IM distance events. I opted for the half distance, having set myself the goal of breaking that duck before the end of the season.

The advantage of an evening race was no ridiculous wake-up call in the morning, and meant I could spend all day ‘fuelling’! Soon enough, though, the time came and we were ushered into the water. Race starts always seem to be a bit of a tumble dryer affair and this one was no different, so I tried to start steady, assuring myself I would make up places later on. By halfway I was into a rhythm, but found myself in no-man’s land – no feet to draft today.

Then it was out of the water and onto the bike. For a change, I managed to get through transition without any dramas – the mental visualisation must have paid off! The bad news was that my heart rate was still something close to that of a small rodent. And that didn’t change much for a while either! Fresh legs meant I felt strong on the flat bike course, so I kept pushing. After six or seven laps (of 10), I could see my splits and average speed dropping, so I decided to back off and keep something for the run. Even so, I arrived at T2 quicker than my original expectations, which was a great boost psychologically.

Now that it was dark, finding my space in transition was slightly trickier and I ran past it twice! But it was as I stepped out onto the run course that it all seemed to unravel. With race nutrition normally a weakness, I had made a conscious effort to consume my mobile buffet. What I had neglected to consider, however, was my stomach’s capability to digest while in a TT position. Now, as I started to run, all I could focus on was the nausea. Finally, after about 10km, it subsided and I was able to increase my pace to slightly-above-shuffling. Looking at my watch, I knew I was still on course to beat my target time and, with a final effort, I staggered across the line! (I'm not sure that finishing 10th in 4:47 is really a shuffle Ed).

As usual, enjoyment was deferred until after the finish, but the event was well organised and marshalled. Racing in the dark was a novel experience and provided its own challenges, not least staying up past bedtime! Climbing into bed that night, I spared a thought for those racing the full distance. They would see the sun rise; I certainly wouldn't!

Unfortunately, as it was dark and he no doubt had his superhero cape on, we don't have a picture of Ed, but the one below at least gives a sense of the event. If one turns up, I'll put it in a future update.

So that's two new contenders for the long one next year who have emerged this week then........ Roll on 2018 hey Ed and Kathy?

I'm sure that others were also busy over the past couple of weeks and there's no doubt a lot of fine performances I've missed. If you want them to appear in future, do as Kathy and Ed did and drop me a few words!

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