Monster Mojo May 5th

I was initially only planning on doing one middle distance this year (Chester). But, as is often the case, race day doesn’t always go to plan. Especially when trying something completely new. I decided to give it a go, to see what I need to work on, with one month until Chester middle-distance. It was also a good opportunity to see how my bike form was after bike-packing in Spain for 9 days, clocking up 46 hours.

Senior athletes, James Chapman and Tom Levy, had been talking about this race for a while, and it sounded like a decent course. After a few issues with my bike (which is still being repaired), fellow Beacon Tri member James McLean offered me his TT bike, and thanks to some serious organisation by Team Manager Tom Levy, it was all ready for race day.

It was an early start, leaving Norwich at 4am. After registering and setting up transition, it transpired that the swim had been cut from 1.9km down to 1.2km (which I was more than pleased about) due to the cold water and weather (despite being May, it was only 3 degrees). The swim kicked off with no time allowed to acclimatise, and I immediately experienced my first open water mass swim start the hard way: a brain-freeze, a few kicks and ‘punches’ to the face, hyperventilating and someone grabbing onto my leg for a tow-along! After about 5 minutes I lost the ability to use my left hand because of the cold, which made me even slower but also meant I couldn’t swim in a straight line for more than 5 strokes (adding on at least 75-100m). I cam out of the water in 14th-last position, about 6 minutes down on the group of contenders containing Beacon Tri senior athlete James Chapman.

Into T1, felt very dizzy. After faffing around on the floor for a couple of minutes trying to get my wetsuit (thanks to Ben Strickson of UEA Tri for letting me borrow his wetsuit!) off with a non-functioning left hand, I was onto the bike course. However, this was short-lived as my useless left hand wouldn’t let me get my left foot into the shoe. I wasted a precious minute pulling over to the side of the road and putting my shoes on. Once I got into a rhythm on the bike, I began to feel great. The hard work in Spain had paid dividends and I was gaining ground. John Jacobs of Paradise Tri came past me having taken a wrong turn after coming out T1 in 1st place. After 5 miles I worked my way back up to John, and we formed a good bike group with Mark Atkinson for the rest of the ride. Mark did the lion’s share of the work with John and me contributing when we could. Even at 12 metres, the draft benefit at 25mph was huge. Simon Brierley of Paradise Tri was calling out the splits each lap and we were making up lost time on the leaders. Towards the end of the bike, I had to stop at a traffic light for about 30 seconds but had the 3rd fastest bike, in 2.20 for 51 miles (there was a group who took the wrong turn, adding 6-7 minutes).

I came into T2 hot-headed to run down the leaders over the 20k. After a quicker-than-normal T2, I got out onto the run course going a bit too fast, doing the first 5km at 6.20/mile pace. I started the run in about 9th place but was quickly up to 4th, and only 50m behind 3rd. The course was quite slow with only some tarmac sections. I found the psychological element of doing four laps of a 5km loop very difficult (thanks to Simon Brierley for the encouragement, would have walked about 5 miles otherwise). After about 4/5 miles the wheels started to come off and my pace gradually slowed to 6.55/mile. I went past James Chapman, who had sadly had stomach issues on the day meaning he was not able to hold onto his lead. This meant I was up to 3rd but I was slowing down and was soon passed, putting me back to 4th place, where I eventually finished after a hard slog. It was a great learning experience and I was happy with the overall result! Next up is Stradbroke tri (organised by Jill and Iain) and then Chester Middle-distance tri.

Ely Duathlon March 2019 - Luke Lynds

The first race of the 2019 season was an early 5am start which reminded me exactly why I loved racing......

Being early in the season, Ely was a perfect chance for me to test out my fitness and see where any weaknesses may be. Race morning had the typical perfect weather for racing; wet, windy and absolutely freezing! A speedy registration left me with plenty of time to organise, rack and relax before the race start. With all pre race rituals completed (most involving the loo) I zipped up into my trisuit and started my warm up. The minutes before the start were slightly tense as I had been fighting knee pains whilst running in the weeks before so all body parts were crossed hoping it would hold up.

All racers started at the same time so as the race unfolded I knew roughly where I was positioned in the field.

The first run unfolded nicely. Me, along with the eventual first and second place broke away running the 4.94km course in 18.04 I came into transition on heels of 2nd place but managed to make it out just in front. I made a rookie mistake of not checking what gear I was in which lost me some time and made me ride away in slow motion. The bike was cold, wet and lonely but despite the weather not wanting to play nice I actually really enjoyed the course. The roads were nice and fast and the scenery was nice (and grey). I lost a fair amount of time to the two people in front but this wasn't a surprise as biking has been my weakest discipline compared to the older guys. However for most of the ride I tried to tuck myself into a super aero position attempting to combat the wind. It wasn’t too long before the turning to t2 came up after a short out and back section. Now comes the sad part. After dismounting and racking my bike I went to unclip my helmet only to find that my hands were so numb from the cold, I couldn't feel where my strap was. I fumbled around for a few seconds until my superman in fluro came to my rescue and helped out. But that's not the end. My hands and feet wouldn't do what I asked them to and I spent another while trying to force my feet into wet running shoes all whilst hearing dad shouting and laughing at me from a distance because 'he thought he taught me how to put my shoes on when I was 2'. During that awkward moment 4th place had arrived and left. I ran out after him with a 30 second gap and the proud title of 2nd slowest t2. I managed to crawl back up to the shoulder of 3rd place by about kilometer 2 and after a few seconds to gather myself I pushed hard trying to get a gap, I knew I had got a few meters on him but never looked back. The final 2.5 km I was running scared just trying to push and not blow too soon. The finish line couldn't have arrived sooner (mainly because I started to taste a bit of blood) but also I felt like my body was about to shut down. I was cheered home to a 3rd place finish overall which was a very pleasant surprise for the start of the season and hopefully a good sign for the races to come


BUCS Sprint Triathlon - Alfie Bentley

This race marked a year since my first triathlon, and so it offered a great opportunity to see if a year of training had paid off.

I knocked exactly 2 minutes off my swim time and over 3 minutes off my bike split compared with last year’s result. Overall, I finished nearly four minutes faster and was 135th male (last year I was 221st). I was a tad disappointed with a slower run than the previous year but I think this could partly be blamed on the heat (around 25C) and it was still the 68th fastest on the day. Regardless it was a great weekend away with the UEA Tri team, and another excuse to wear my new Beacon tri suit. 

Nottingham Triathlon - Matt Floyd

 Nottingham race report: This race was a GB qualifier for the European Championships in Glasgow in August 2018. The start was brutal. I was amongst the middle-middle part of the wave. I received multiple swings, dunks and scratches, resulting in my slowest 750m swim time ever. The poor swim start, was followed by a poor T1. The marginal aero gains of my helmet (kindly leant to me by GBR Brockwell) which would have saved seconds on the bike leg, were unfortunately lost, by trying to strap my helmet. The bike leg was a fast one, averaging over 24mph- I overtook a fair few. The bike leg was also a frustrating one. 200m in front of me, a pack of 10 guys were in their own little chain gang; very cheeky in a non-draft legal race. And the fact that no one was disqualified, bewildered me. The run was great, with a time of 18.20 (5K). I came 8th in my age group with a sprint PB of 1:01:50. I was successful in qualifying to represent GB age groupers at Glasgow. Very happy that the training had paid off and the 4 weeks sober prior to the race was worth it.

Blenhiem Triathlon - Matt Floyd

Blenheim Palace tri race report: The aim of Blenheim Palace Tri was to finish within the top 10. This year I felt stronger than ever and ready to smash the swim. The swim commenced at 11am, the wave consisting of 400 brave souls. I managed to get out the main pack early on, swimming in relatively clean water. The two in front were swimming to the first buoy, instead of the further one located at 500m out. As a result, I made some marginal ground on them. I came out of the water around 5th. T1 which is a 400m run up hill with an average gradient of 4-5%, was brutal. Luckily the other triathletes were also in the pain cave, I overtook 3 guys. For T1 I had the 6th fastest split. The cycle was my least favourite discipline of the day. I couldn’t really get into it and next year I will defiantly use my road bike opposed to my TT bike, partly because there are so many rolling hills. I overtook one other guy on the bike and came into T2 2nd overall in my wave. The run was actually pretty good considering I had been injured for a good while, 3 weeks prior. This did hamper my build up, but to go sub 4.00/km pace at Blenheim is alright going. In my wave I finished 2nd and overall 12th out of 4200 other competitors. Next year a top 10 finish I am very hopeful of! 

Edinburgh Half Marathon - Jake Brockwell

Yet another crack at the sub 1.20 half! 

After 5 half marathons I missed the sub 1hr 20min still eludes me. After Norwich this year, I got home and signed up to Edinburgh (a notoriously quick course!). Unfortunately, at the beginning of May I tore my gluteal muscle which took me out for 3 weeks. Learnt my lesson to actually stretch and foam roll etc now (Got to keep Lorna happy!)

It was touch and go whether I’d be on the start line or not with the injury but it seemed a shame to come all that way (+ all that $$$$) and not try and at least get round. 

In the end, it was more the lack of fitness and training rather than the injury which showed through in the first half of the race. From 5 to 9 miles I settled into a nice rhythm and looked on course for a 1.20/21. At mile 9 the form fell to bits, the left glute and hamstring seemed to go from under me. The pace went from 6.05/mile to 6.50/mile, the pain just wouldn’t let me go any quicker. It was a brutal last few miles, and I crossed the line in 1.22.30. Chuffed with that time to be honest, before the race I honestly thought just finishing would be a miracle. Hopefully with a bit more training, the sub-1.20 target will come at Peterborough this Autumn. Even managed a hobble up Arthur’s Seat the next day!

Unfortunately, the last few miles of the race took its toll and did some hefty damage to the injury. Back on the bike and in the water for now. Thanks as ever to Beacon tri and all of our sponsors (Chestnut Nursery, Tri -Harder, Ride Harder, Schwalbe Tyres, Xtenex Laces and Sport Link) for their continued support.

Stradbroke Triathlon - My first time guiding - Tom Levy

To the delight of my girlfriend Sunday came around and I was up nice and early for my first proper race of the season. An early bowl of cereal and off I went to pick up Iain. 

Unlike years before my first race of the season wasn’t to be on my own. For the first time ever I was to be guiding Iain on the Tandem for the cycle and then on the run. SO come 6:30 I arrived at Iain’s and with the tandem just about fitting into the car we were off. I won’t lie, the weather wasn’t not the greatest. With the fog gradually getting worse the further away from Norwich we traveled my nerves weren’t settling. 

We arrived at Stradbroke with everything there in flying form as usual. Active Outdoor Sports know how to put on an event and this didn’t disappoint. Iain quickly registered and off to transition we went. Georgie, one of the head marshals there, kindly asked where abouts in transition would it be most useful to place the tandem. After a little debate we decide to try and stay out of everyones way and place it right next to bike out in a corner where no one could trip over it.

Tandem, shoes, helmet sorted in transition it was now time to weight. With the fog easing and my nerves calming the time ticked by nice and quickly. 09:09 was Iain’s swim time, after his 160m pool swim he’d rush out into transition where he would find me with the tandem and off we’d go. So as to plan I left at the poolside and ventured out into to transition. Although the fog had cleared the temperature had was still COLD!!! Trying to stay warm in transition I resorted to squats (not advisable in a ti-suit) and a bit of dancing, to the amusement of the marshals. 

Iain comes rushing out of the pool into transition and we are off. Helmets on, shoes on, tandem off the rack and we waddle out over the mount line. “Right foot in?”…’click’ …”In” and off we go. Round the first left hand turn, up the road round another left hander and into a rhythm. This was only my 3rd ride on a tandem and the first in a race, so I had warned Iain that we probably weren’t going to be too quick. Well the first down hill section in to a right hand turn really proved to me how much thinking I was going to have to give this. Flying down the slight hill I realised double the weight, nearly the same drag, and the same 25mm tyres as everyone else bikes was going to make for quick descending. Around that corner and I started to feel at home a little more on it. 

I would like to say a massive thank you to Simon, the race director, for spray painting the pot holes with orange paint. I will make sure to take out shares in the paint company next year before this race, because he used A LOT of paint. There were holes everywhere. Big, gapping ditches in the middle of the road. Dodging and weaving these whilst being slung round corners, we slowly started real others in but this wasn’t the aim of the ride, or the race. To make it round safely and enjoy ourselves was the aim and we defiantly did that. 

Into transition with our helmets off and running shoes on we headed out on to the run. As it was a small race around a lot of single track fields we weren’t tethered at the wrist. This helped me as Iain is a much stronger runner than me at the moment. Getting cheered on by our sponsors Tri Harder helped! Although I tried my best to ‘guide’ Iain around the course I was more just shouting making directions and little bits of information from behind him most of the time. 

Crossing the line I definitely felt spent while Iain claimed his legs had only just warmed up. In a time of 48:40 we placed 7th overall. A massive congratulations to Tom Huband who dominated the field with an out standing bike split of 26:00 for 17km on a course that is HARD WORK! It was brilliant to see so many friendly and failure faces. A massive THANK YOU    to the race organisers and our sponsors: Chestnut Nursery, Tri -Harder, Ride Harder, Schwalbe Tyres, Xtenex Laces and Sport Link

Would I do it again????? In a heart beat. Guiding Iain was some of the best fun I have had in a race for years!

Wroxham 5K - Rob Aldous

Nostalgia was the main feeling turning up to sign on at my old high school, that being said it meant that I knew the roads we ran on well and it added to a sense of ease on this run. It was a fun race from the start slowly passing through the ranks getting further and further forward is always good feeling heading into the last kilometre I felt strong and started to ready myself for one final kick at the end which I probably left slightly late managing to cross the line at 19:57 just managing to beat my sub twenty goal and set a new personal best. I’m looking forward to the next race in the series with the goal of taking a few more seconds off my time.

Spring Waveny Triathlon - Rob Aldous

I had hoped to leave the bad weather with my race a Diss but it was not to be another grey and slightly damp day welcomed me at Waveney. The race was pool based meaning small waves of five people but the rush from being first out from my wave was still a great motivator only to be dampened about 3K into the bike when I was overtaken by someone else in my wave. After that it was a somewhat lonely ride the small waves meaning everyone was very spread out on the bike however that wouldn’t last when I passed fellow athlete Lauren who was marshalling at this race I expected this to be the only friendly face I would see during the race however not a few kilometres later I passed Ian and Matt at the side of the road after what I would later find out was a rear wheel blowout. After that it was plain sailing back to transition and into a run that was never flat but after a hill session the week before I was well prepared to smash it up the hill to the turnabout point and the empty the tank on the return journey. Crossing the line I was happy with my results and another good race under my belt, however I am still looking forward to my first race in the sun this year.  

Diss Duathlon - Rob Aldous

Waking up to a wet and grey day is never how you want a race day to start luckily by the time I had arrived and racked up the rain had stopped leaving the race to just be a cold and damp. At the start of the race I found myself running in a good group running the pace I wanted which made the first 5K fly by, entering into transition I felt good and knuckled down into a cold 30K on the bike where the largest challenge was avoiding all the flint on the road form the snowfall that had happened in the weeks previous, a challenge that would seemingly catch many out from those I passed walking dejectedly toward the finish. Coming out again for the final run I felt strong and pushed through enjoying the downhill into the town centre before chasing a man in a bright blue Yorkshire kit for the remaining 2K to the line. The pace from the chase gave me allowed a good finishing time that all things considered I was proud of.