Friday, 27 September 2013

I have a dream

No this isn’t some rip off of the great speech by Martin Luther King but is instead a place for me to publicly air my triathlon goals.

If the goal is written down then there is no shying away from it. It is there for all to see.

These goals do not come with a time limit as they may not happen for the foreseeable future, but I am allowed to dream. Right?

I have drawn some pictures to accompany these dreams. Apologies for the poor drawings in advance.

1. Own a GBR trisuit

This dream would culminate in me representing Great Britain as an Age Grouper. I am not saying at what distance or even event but I seriously want me one of these.

The reason I want one so badly stemmed from the recent ITU World Championships which were held in Hyde Park in September 2013. I was fortunate enough to attend and was wowed by the atmosphere. I badly want some of that. Everyone shouting “Go on GB”. It was overwhelming.

One day I will have one of those trisuits. It may be for any discipline of multisport but one day I will have one.

2. Experience Kona

I have tried and tried to ignore this bucket list race but let’s be honest, this race is on everyone’s bucket list. It is the pinnacle of our sport and was the venue for the first Ironman. Who wouldn’t want to race there?

Well I do and there are four possible ways to the Big Island, well five if you are a celebrity Chef ;o)

i. Place in an Ironman race and win a place. This is the true legitimate way to Kona and would be the way I would prefer to get there. The problem is I am no good at climbing hills on a bike and I am such a slow runner. Both of these can be improved on with the correct training though. Seriously though the hill thing is all about weight. I sit here typing weighing 15 stones (95 kg). If you are an average sized male reader let’s assume you weigh 13 stone (82kg). To replicate the difficulties I have climbing, go out find a hill get your bike and try cycling up said hill with half a bag of cement tied to your body. It’s no wonder I struggle with hills really. There are even races which would suit a non climber such as myself and who knows I may throw my hat into the ring at one of these in an attempt to qualify for Kona. For example:-

a. Kalmar in Sweden has a max elevation difference of 50m between the lowest and highest parts of the course. This would seriously allow me to get some speed on the bike.

b. Ironman Florida in Panama City. The highest point on this course is only 49m above sea level. This is another course which would suit my cycling style.

Don’t get me wrong there would be a lot of work to put in to get to Kona this way as my run is still awful and I would need to work on bike stamina but with enough work, I believe this would be achievable.

ii. Kona Lottery – for $40 you can apply for a lottery place. There are five places given to international athletes every year, more if I was a resident in the US. Who knows what is possible, but as Dale Winton said “you have to be in it to win it”. Subsequently I will be entering the Kona Lottery every year from this year in an attempt to get my way to the Big Island to crash the party.

iii. Kona Legacy – to qualify for the legacy programme you have to have completed 12 full distance Ironman branded events. This is my least favourite way of getting to Kona, with the average Ironman costing £350. This equates to £4200 in race fees alone without even considering travel to the races. Very expensive. But who knows. I will get there one day.

iv. Kona Auction – the WTC auction off several places every year with the proceeds going to charity. These slots got for upwards of $20000 though so aren’t cheap but are for a good cause. If I won the National Lottery though, this would be my way of going to Kona.

v. Be Gordon Ramsey. Don’t even get me started on this debacle.

There we have it my dreams laid bare for you all to see. Some may find them amusing but whatever it’s my life and they are my dreams.

As a friend of mine (@AJMEAGS) states #dreambelieveachieve and he has just been invited to train at the British Triathlon satellite site in Eastbourne. He had a dream, believed it was possible and has given everything to make it happen including winning silver at the World Duathlon Championships. Good work pal.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 26 September 2013

That weekend I/we won a triathlon

Earlier in the year I tried to set up a triathlon relay team to take part in the Leeds Triathlon. It all started as a bit of banter on twitter and before you knew it I had sourced a triathlon relay team through Twitter and we were set to compete in the Leeds Olympic distance triathlon.

The team consisted of

Me – swim (as if it would be anything else)

@thebaldygit – bike

@nicolaclarefox – run

Through a series of unfortunate clashes my other two team members had to drop out. We were still booked to compete but I had no team.

The team was originally set up through Twitter so it only seemed fitting that the replacements were sought via Twitter. After a slight panic I managed to find two suitable replacements.

@boarderstu took the role of the cyclist as this is what he specialises in

@Team_B_o_B took the role of the runner and as he is a runner this seemed fitting.

Wow this looked a good team on paper. Me who is quickest at swimming, Stu who is a really good cyclist and Martin who runs A LOT.

Don’t get carried away. We’ve not even made the start line yet.

The race was scheduled for Sunday 8th September. Time to relax after the panic that had ensued.

Aquathlon – 7th September

I hadn’t done much outdoor swimming since London so decided to go to a local aquathlon on Saturday 7th September to see what my pacing was like in a race situation.

I was entered in the Premiership along with three other athletes and there were 15 or so athletes entered in the Championship at the aquathlon which was held at Tyram Lakes.

The Championship had to complete two swim laps (totalling about 500m) and two run laps (totalling 2.5km) whereas the Premiership had 3 swim (750m) and 3 run (3.75km) to complete.

We all waited for the hooter to go as everyone set off at the same time.

I was feeling really good so decided to sprint away from the line. When the hooter went, I was gone head down and powering through the water. I expected someone to come with me but no one did. At the first turn after about 40m I was clear. Oh bugger I should’ve listened to the briefing more. I knew I had to turn and head to the next yellow buoy. After that I didn’t know where to go.

I was still clear at the second buoy and decided to go on gut and made my way towards where I thought the next buoy was. After 20m I still couldn’t see where I was meant to be heading to. I had to stop and check round me. Chuff the next buoy was about 90 degrees of to my right. It had been obscured at the second buoy. Oh dear I had also led every other swimmer off course. I was still in the lead by about 10 seconds. After I had corrected my navigational issues I swam to the next buoy before I exited the first lap in the lead and this was an amazing feeling. I even got announced by the MC. Wow this felt good. I ran along the grass matting which formed the Australian exit before diving in and swimming my second lap. I was still in the lead after the second lap. The third lap continued as the first two and my lead of about 10 seconds was maintained.

I was officially FIRST OUT OF THE WATER and felt amazing. I nearly caught one of the Championship swimmers as well.

Unfortunately this is where my race fell to bits. I know I had hoped to be first out of the water but I didn’t think it would happen. I hadn’t prepared for a speedy transition and unfortunately got overtaken in transition whilst I was tying my laces.

Now we all know that running is my weak point and despite being overtaken by all the other Premiership runners I kept my head and completed the three run laps.

Still no one can take my swimming win from me.

This gave me unparalleled confidence for the swim in the morning.

Olympic Relay triathlon – 8th September

When the race information arrived I couldn’t help but notice that there were 11 relay teams and this again piqued my interest in a first place finish.

I woke up on race morning at 04:30 to travel to Leeds. The relay teams were in the first wave along with all women and men aged over 55.

The first wave was set to go at 08:00 hence my ridiculously early start. Given the fact triathlon also turns me into an OCD sufferer I also offered to pick up my team mates then I was in control of whether we arrived.

I had to leave home at 05:30 to enable me to collect Martin at 06:00 and Stuart at 06:30 to arrive at 7am.

All went to plan and as we had registered yesterday there were no last minute panics.

We arrived at Roundhay Park to a beautiful sunrise and made our way to transition. After we had all completed our pre race rituals, which I won’t describe. I got into my wetsuit and nearly fell over doing so. One of the race officials stated that we just had to hand the chip over from swimmer to cyclist and cyclist to runner. Sweet, no removing of wetsuits to contend with in a rush I thought. I made my way down to the water secretly hoping for my second FIRST OUT OF THE WATER of the weekend.

I manoeuvred to the front of the pack before the hooter went. One of the swimmers near me asked one of the kayakers if they were leading the swim. They said they were. Right I thought follow the kayaker. I joked to the woman who had asked the question about keeping my feet and all she replied was “Interesting”. She then said to try and keep on her feet to draft instead.

Oh great who is this woman?

My confidence took a nosedive but I decided to take her advice.

When the hooter went I thrust my head into the water and powered through the water. When I looked up after about 40 seconds, I thought I must have managed to maintain her pace. Except, she was gone along with her feet to draft off. She was out of sight. Seriously WHO IS THIS WOMAN?

I had veered slightly off course and had dropped back to about 15th place. After I had corrected my navigational problem by the first buoy, I was back up to about 10th. Time to settle into myself, as I had nearly overcooked that start. I turned the buoy and knew this was a long straight. I started to pick off those swimmers ahead of me. I have no idea of placing at the third buoy but was swimming well. At this buoy you perform a 180 degree turn and swim back and this is the longest straight. I knuckled down with the job at hand and maintained a good pace before the turn for home at the fourth buoy.

At the fourth buoy I was neck a neck with another swimmer but got dropped in the swim to home. I was a body length down as we approached the exit pontoon. I jumped up to the pontoon but smashed my knee into the side. In the adrenaline I thought nothing of it. I jogged past two swimmers on the way to transition.

Running uphill in a wetsuit is not much fun. As I only had to hand the chip over, this is what I did. On my jog up the hill, I got the worst cramp but I only had 100m to go so ignored it. When I got to transition Stuart, Stuart’s mum and Martin were screaming at me. They were telling me to remove my wetsuit.


When did this change?

When I had been swimming apparently. Oh great

Cue swift removal of wetsuit before I could hand the chip over. Thank goodness for the breakaway zipper on my HUUB Archimedes wetsuit.

After I had handed the chip over to Stuart he was on his way.

Now for the quizzing of my teammates and family as we had about an hour to kill until Stuart returned.

Was I first? No. Dolphin woman AKA Jess Learmonth was 5 minutes quicker than me. I was the fifth swimmer back though which I was pleased with.

Was I first relay back? This caused some debate. At the time they thought I was but on checking the results I was second relay team back.

I was really pleased with my swim time of 23:46 for 1500m though. A massive PB. My best OW 1500m was 28:04 so that’s a 4:18 improvement. WOW.

If you’re the swimmer in a relay you get bored as you are finished really early. I took myself off to get changed and waited with Martin for Stuarts return. Stuart who has blogged about the triathlon here came back as the second relay team about 30 seconds down on the first relay team back.

He handed over to Martin and Martin was gone. It was a pleasure to see him run. He tore it up. The run course was three laps and by the end of the first lap he had overtaken the relay leader and had a 30 second advantage. OH MY GOD we were winning. Martin was still elading at the end of the second lap and me and Stuart “Mexican Waved” him as he ran past. We made our way to the finish line to await Martins arrival. We watched every person crossing the line to see if it was the rival team’s runner. They didn’t finish before Martin. And there he was, Martin was on the home straight. Me and Stuart decided to run with him over the line after all it was a team effort. He was flying he dropped me and Stuart and stormed over the line.

Wow we were the Leeds relay triathlon champions. WOW WOW WOW WOW.

Except we weren’t officially. There was an issue with the timing system so they couldn’t officially confirm it. Out time was 02:25:51 which made it about 10:30. The winners would be announced at 13:00.

What do champions do after a hard day at the office. Go get cake. We went to get cake and after Stu had his piece stolen by a ninja like cake thief, which you can read about here, we sat around regaling our tales from the day.

At 12:45 we heard a rumour we were first.

At 13:00 the presentation occurred and we were officially announced as the winners.

If Carlsberg did weekends!

For our efforts we got

A winners mug (not a medal unfortunately), a number belt and some USN goodies.

My quest for shinies continues.

What an amazing day out. I dropped Martin off at home and then went to convalesce with my busted knee. In my haste to exit the water when I dinged it on the side of the pontoon, I had severely bruised my knee and now could hardly move it.

Oh the joys.

I should come with a clumsy warning.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

All triathlon distances in 2013 - Complete

At the start of the year I set myself the challenge of completing a triathlon at every distance in this calendar year.

You could say that the approach to these distances has been erratic at best.

In an ideal world, I would have increased the distance with each passing triathlon, thus the running order should have been

1. Supersprint
2. Sprint
3. Olympic
4. Half iron
5. Iron distance.

So far my season has gone like this.

1. 3/4 Olympic
2. Half Iron
3. Sprint
4. Iron distance
5. Olympic

To complete my challenge I needed to find a supersprint.

A supersprint consists of a 200 or 400m swim, followed by a 10km bike and a 2.5km run.

I was really struggling to find a suitable race for late in the season. There are a limited number of Supersprint races especially later in the triathlon season.

One option was the Brownlee triathlon but the cost and the fact I had plan for this meant this was not feasible.

Then all of a sudden out of nowhere I saw on Twitter an advert for the Derby supersprint. This race was being held on Sunday 1st September. HMMMMMMMM?!?!?!?!?!?

Not ideal as this is the same date as my Wife's birthday. How to broach this one?

I decided to just go with honesty. After a really nervous phone call, my plan was approved.

I really do have an understanding wife. Not only have both our holidays this year have either been for triathlons or training camps, but now I was allowed to do a triathlon on her birthday.

She is so supportive of me, it is unreal and this unwavering support is one of the reasons I have succeeded in every triathlon I have.

In my darkest moments she is there to reassure me and for this I am eternally grateful.

So after paying the £20 entry fee (a lot cheaper than the £95 the Brownlee triathlon anted for the same distance), I was enrolled for the Derby Supersprint. Sweet my main goal for 2013 would now be completed.

I got up on the 1st September at 05:00 to travel to Derby for the triathlon. This was exceptionally early for such a short triathlon. I had my breakfast and was on the road. I had packed everything the night before to not wake the neighbours.

During my drive I was mentally checking through everything that I had packed and with about 20 minutes to go, I realised I had made a rookie mistake. I had forgotten my number belt. Balls, balls, balls. I would either have to borrow or buy a number belt at the venue.

HUUB were sponsoring the event so there was a chance they would have number belts with them. As soon as I arrived I unpacked my gear and made my way over to the Sports Centre. I saw the HUUB van and asked if they had number belts. They said yes but were too busy to sell me one there and then. Disaster averted so I went to register.

After I returned from registration there was no one at the HUUB van. Right so now we have few choices left. Either: -
•   I pin both the race numbers to my trisuit and wear them for the pool swim
•   I pin one to my gilet for the bike (as it was about 10 degrees) and pin another to my trisuit for the run and wear the one on my trisuit for the swim.
•   Wait around for someone to return to the HUUB van.
•   Beg for a number belt
•   Borrow a number belt
•   Steal a number belt
I saw the BTF race official and explained and thankfully she had some elastic with her that she kindly lent me to act as a number belt. Phew. I quickly set out my transition area and got undressed to my trisuit before making my way to the Sports Centre for the swim in the pool.


What can I say about the swim?

As you all know by now, this is the bit of triathlon I am best at. I had entered an estimated time of 3 minutes and 10 seconds for the 200m, which I thought, was achievable.

The swim was 8 lengths of the 25m pool and we were swimming in groups of 5 (one swimmer per lane) at 5 minutes intervals. I got in the pool and waited for the go from the starter. We were on our way and I quickly pulled clear of the other swimmers in my group. I was motoring. I exited the water in 3 minutes and 12 seconds according to my Garmin. Sweet I was nearly at my estimated pace. I jogged out of the pool hall (depositing my swim hat in the bin) and ran down the dewy grass.

I entered T1 after 3:48 had passed which was the 8th quickest time of the day. I was thrilled.


I faffed a bit in T1 getting my gilet and gloves on. One of the other swimmers from my group overtook me. I really need to work on my transitions. The time was 01:44. Not too bad but a lot of room for improvement as the best T1 time was 29 seconds.

I so need to practice the shoes clipped to the bike thing.

One of the reasons I was slower was that it was 11 degrees and I wasted time putting on my gilet to keep the chill off my chest.


The bike course was a complete unknown to me and I found it quite complex. There were lots of tight bends; this restricted my chances to put the hammer down. For the first time in a triathlon I did not get overtaken on the bike, which was another bonus. I did overtake two people though, which is always nice.

There was a sting in the tail of the course in the shape of a little hill towards the end but I noted this on the way out and kept something in the tank. I was a little disappointed with my time of 19:09 for the 5.91 miles as this equated to an average speed of under 19mph and I proved in my TT that I could average over 21mph. I think this loss of speed was due to the complexity of the course but it was the same course for everyone. I shouldn't complain I had the 27th quickest bike split our of 90 people


I breezed into T2 and racked my bike. I had unvelcroed my show on the way to the dismount line and slipped my feet out to save time. I quickly put on my trainers, took off my gilet and set off jogging.

This was the first triathlon where I have gone sockless and given the short distance I didn't see this as a problem. Even me with my wussy feet can put up with rubbing for 2.5km. My feet were still wet from the swim and it took me a few seconds to get the trainers on and laced. At this point I noticed a woman had just pulled into T2 panting. I joked only 13 minutes of hard work to go. My T2 time was 1:04, which I was pleased with.

Note to self invest in some elastic laces for your new racing flats to save more time.

I had purchased some Skechers Go Run 2 at the London Triathlon and this was the time to see what these lightweight flats were made of.


I set off jogging at a reasonable pace and saw someone in the distance. I tried to remember to race my own race and not chase them down so as not to blow up on the run. I was not going to walk during this 2.5km. I ignored the person ahead of me and ran at a quick pace for me.

The next time I looked up I was gaining on the person in front. Unintentional but I'll take any bonus. The run course was flat and this played to my strengths. You left transition ran around the edge of a field before heading back towards transition before leaving the field and joining a running track where you completed two laps. I have never ever run on a running track before so this was a pleasant surprise.

I enjoyed the experience of running on a proper running track and was really starting to gain on the person in front. In the last 100 or so meters I opened up my run and started to speed up. I gained on the person in front and flew past with 10m to spare. I love saving something for a sprint finish. It is such an invigorating feeling sprinting towards the finish line.

My run time for the 2.5km was 12:55 and as such was a new PB for the distance. It was also the first time that I have not been overtaken on the run in a triathlon. Maybe there is a runner in my body somewhere and it is trying to break out. I had the 46th quickest run, which is not quite top half but close enough for me.

Oh and I really enjoyed my new racing flats. I felt fats and had a new PB. Now I just need to see how far I can run in them blister and sock free. Hopefully a 5km and maybe some 10km runs but that’s for experimentation over the coming months.

It turns out my prediction of 13 minutes of pain was justified as well. The woman I joked with had used me as a pacer and kept me in her sights and finished in just over 13 minutes as well. Someone using me as a pacer. Whatever next?

I was elated with my performance on the day. Overall I was the 31st quickest athlete on the day with a time of 38:42:55.

After a quick packing of my stuff, it was a quick drive back home to celebrate my achievement of completing a triathlon at every distance in 2013, a good race, some new PB's and more importantly my wife's birthday.

Hope you are all still enjoying the journey as it has a long way to go yet.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

My first TT

A colleague at work asked me to try my hand at TT racing after we had been out on several bike rides after work. TT racing scared me as he said a good target would be to complete the 10 mile course in under 30 minutes. Before the London Triathlon my best 10 mile was in the region of 33 minutes. I resisted his suggestions as he had already mentioned a time to aim for and I was nowhere near it.

However after London when I realised that my bike position was incorrect due to my "sticky out" knees and after I had raised my saddle by 40ish mm, my speed increased. During the bike leg of the sprint relays I averaged a speed of just over 20mph which would mean that I could complete the 10 mile TT course in around 30 minutes.

TT racing for the uninitiated is basically you racing yourself. The courses must contain an out and back and vary in distance. there are 10 mile courses, 25 mile courses, 50 mile courses and 100 mile courses. You push yourself as hard as you physically can to complete the alloted distance. Yes there are winners but you are only racing yourself in the aim of setting a PB. Each rider sets off at one minute intervals.

There is a course near to where I work which was 9.7 miles long and run by Lincsquad. The bonus of this course is that it contained part of the route for the Brigg triathlon which I am racing on the 29th September.

I decided to give this a bash. It was the last time that Lincsquad were holding this TT for 2013. I arrived at the Pub car park over an hour before the race was meant to start and thought I would have a low starting number which would mean I was off early. No such luck I was given number 48. This was a good omen for me as my childhood house number was 48 so this put me in a good mood. The thing that didn't was the near two hour wait for my start time.

I have honestly never been to the toilet as much as I did during that two hours. I'd tried to take on a lot of fluid before leaving work so that I wouldn't need a bottle on the bike. That backfired somewhat as I must have paid a vists at least 8 times.

I also had to deal with nerves, having never completed a TT before I had no idea what to expect and this made me nervous. There were bikes a lot fancier than mine in the car park and this made me even more nervous.

About 15 minutes before my start I decided to go and warm up. I pedalled the opposite way to the course and managed to get my heart rate up. Desperate not to miss my start time I arrived back at the start line too early. The next 8 minutes were agony. I knew my body was cooling down but daren't leave in case I missed my start time. Finally competitor number 47 was off and I wheeled into position. At 30 seconds to go the starting assitant took hold of my bike to hold me steady and told me to clip in.

I was really doing this.

I clipped in and felt weird putting my trust in someone to hold me upright. After a few wobbles I relaxed.

The starter counted down

10 seconds.....

5 seconds.....






I pushed down on my pedals with everything I had in me and was away. This was it me against me. Lets see what I could do.

I quickly got up to speed, I think I even overcooked it as according to the data my HR rocketed from 70 bpm to 196 bpm in the space of 30 seconds. I settled into a rhythm quickly and was in the zone. I really wish my cadnce sensor had worked so I could work out what my cadence was. Instead I had to monitor my heart rate to estimate my effort. I tried to keep my HR between 167 and 172 so that I could guage my effort. There was very little wind on this evening, if anything there was a slight cross wind. I was really enjoying this. I felt like I was going at a good pace as well.

The route passes through Hibaldstow and the road surface through this village left something to be desired but I knew to expect this as I had ridden on it before. The last half a mile ebfore the turn point is deceptively unflat, I really had to put the effort in to maintain my pace, I even had to change gears for this section. I stayed tucked in the aero position for most of the ride out and only came out of position at the turn point so I had access to my brakes. I turned the roundabout and was straight into a downhill section. Back into the aero position and time to change down the gears to maximise my speed. I pushed harder on the way back or felt like I did as I knew with each stroke of the pedal I was closer to the finish line.

I had reached the turn point in 14:xx according to my quick glance at my watch. Sweet if I managed the same back I would be well under my 30 minute target. The way back seemed a lot sorter than the way out. On the way back I got overtaken by two competitors number 49 and 52, number 52 was on a stealth TT machine that I was envious of and flew past me with the familiar "whoofff whooff" of a disc wheel. I love and hate this noise in equal measure. I love it as I appreciate the speed they are travelling at but hate it as I feel like i am hardly moving as they fly past. I reached the level crossing which was approximately one mile from the finish line.

I remembered something the starting assistant had said to me at the start line. "When you get to the level crossing give it everything, you should have nothing left for a sprint finish". This had been mirrored by my colleague who described a TT as a "constant effort which consistently gets harder the closer you get to the finish." Time to put the hammer down so to speak. I put everything into that last mile and could barely muster the energy to shout out my race number as I crossed the finish line. I was well and truly spent. I warmed down by pedalling past the finish line at a relaxed cadence. When I remembered I stopped my watch and the time read 27:22.


I had shocked myself. Three months ago if you'd asked me I said I would never get under 30 but with a quick position change I had gone quicker than I thought was possible. I was a full 2:38 quicker than I wanted.

After I had fully warmed down, I got a better surprise, my official time was 27:17.

I packed my bike up and left the venue and on my way home I was elated. This must be the endorhine high that people talk about. I can't describe how happy I was.

I really wish I had tried TT before as it is such a wonderful experience. Am I hooked? You bet I am. I can't wait for the season to start in 2014 to see what I can do.

I've even convinced myself to buy a new TT specific bike to make me even quicker. Now I just need to save for one.

I also need to experiment with fuelling to work out if it is possible to maintain this pace for the 112 miles of an ironman bike course. The mind boggles. I feel there will be some interesting rides happening in early 2014.

Thanks to Lincsquad for running the TT I had a blast.

The day after the TT the results were released and my time time of 27:17 was confirmed and I was the 34th fastest rider out of a possible 54. I was really pleased with this for my first TT.

Bring on 2014.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Unexpected appearance in a triathlon

Firstly apologies for not blogging sooner. I've been flat out busy with work, training and trying to live my life in this post Outlaw haze.

As you all know I completed the London triathlon and set a new PB in the process. After that I had a bit of a rest planned. I wasn't racing for 5 weeks and it was only a supersprint which should be a doddle all things considered.

However fate conspired to lessen the amount of downtime I had. On Monday 19th August I was contacted (via the medium of Twitter) by a member of GI Tri who are a local triathlon club. They were in need of a triathlete to represent them in the Zoot National Club Relay championships.

The format for the National Club Relay Chamionships took some geting my head round. Each team consists of four members.

Hang on how does this work as triathlon only has three elements? The mind boggled.

Each person completes the swim bike and run.

Aha I thought you do a triathlon and hand over to the next person who does their triathlon and so on. That made sense.

Nope wrong again.

Each person swims and hands over the baton (a rubber band) to the next person who swims who hands over to the next person who swims. So all four swim consecutively.

The fourth swimmers hands over the baton to swimmer 1 who then bikes, who then hands to biker 2 etc....

The fourth biker hands over to biker 1 who completes the run and hands over etc......

Sweet this sounded like organised chaos.

The twitterer knew I was a strong swimmer so put me in the first leg as I could handle the mass start. I was fine with this.

Saturday rolled around and the race was upon me. Here I was about to race with three people who I didn't know for a club I didn't represent. What could be more fun?

I made my way to the National Watersport Centre (the same venue as Outlaw) and met my "clubmates". GI Tri had 8 teams registered and I was in a team, named Dangermouse and friends. I met my teammates (Katie no. 2, Mark no. 3 and Shaun no. 4). It turns out I had met Shaun at the Doncaster 5k race in July.

The distances for the triathlon (well I say triathlon loosely) were 500m swim, 15km bike and 5km run.

Each person was given a different coloured swim hat / race number to depict your position.

The first people aka me were given red hats, the second people were given green hats. After putting my wetsuit on I found Katie to memorise what she looked like having only met her 30 minutes before race start.

Everyone looks so different in neoprene and latex. Ooer that sentence sounds a bit "50 shades".

I made my way down to the swim start along with the rest of the number ones.

I tried to muscle my way to the front of the swim but it was extremely crowded. This was going to be fun especially as I don't swim well with others. I tend to suffer claustrophobia when surrounded by other swimmers and can't help kicking harder when my feet get touched. Think it has something to do with my ticklish feet.

The hooter went and we were off. What can I say about the next 8 minutes and 16 seconds. Well the first 3 minutes was bedlam. I was punched, kicked and could not get free of the melee. After the first turn I took a different line to other swimmers so I had clear water and made progress. Again I took a wide line for the swim back to shore. I scrambled out and ran to the holding pen for the number 2's. Could I spot Katuie in this mass of neoprene and latex. Could I bollocks. Everyone looked the same. After I walked up and down the line twice I spotted her and handed over the baton. Job done for the first leg. There were so many swimmers still out there I was chuffed with my efforts. I ambled back to team camp to find out that I was the second person back and the first team were some of GI Tris best athlete. Woohoo. Barnett swims again.

I dried off and got changed into my cycling gear. I had to borrow some GI Tri gear so I was recognisable. Number 4 had to be able to spot me. I made my way down to the holding pen and bumped into my old coach and said hi. I waited patiently for Shaun. After a while I spotted him. He handed me the baton and I jogged to my bike unracked it and made my way to the mount line.
  • Since London I have been forced to reconsider my cycling position. I looked at the photos from London and finally understood what people meant when they said I cycled bow legged. I look horrific on a bike. I decided to go to the best place for traithlon advice (Twitter) to see if anyone knew why. It turns out after much consideration that my saddle was set too low. I raised my saddle by about 40mm and took my bike for a test ride or two. My average speed increased by about 2mph on my test rides. I was now closer to 20mph than 18mph. Brilliant.
I set off pedalling and immediately knew I was pedalling more efficiently. I was gaining on people on the bike. This doesn't normally happen. I was flying. I kept a fairly regular cadence on the pan flat course and was motoring. At one point during the 15km my average speed was 34.6 km/h. Thats 21.5mph. Previously I had been happy with 18mph as my average speed during the Outlaw training.Wowsers I felt good on the bike at last. I overtook more than was overtaken. People still passed me on thir TT machines but me and the roadie were performing better than ever. After three laps of the rowing lake. My Garmin said I had done 33.4km/h as an average speed, which is 20.8mph. I dismounted and ran to the holding pen to hand over the baton. I was so chuffed with this new found speed. I finally felt like a cyclist.

I even look like a cyclist

The bike ride was compleetd in 25 minutes and 58 seconds. This boaded well for my first TT next Wednesday. A colleague had challenged me to complete my first TT and was convinced I could go under the 30 minute mark for 10 miles. I had my doubts until the day of the National Relay Champs.

I made my way to the team tent and got ready for my run. I took on some water as the temperatures were starting to rise. We were still in second place for GI Tri which I was pleased with. The wait for the run to start seemed to take forever. After Mark got back from his bike I made my way down to the holding pen and seemed to be stuck there for an age. I wondered if Shaun had had an accident on the bike. He hadn't and came barelling into the haybales to hand over the baton.

Yay running my least favourite part of triathlon (apart from transition) especially in the heat. I do not run well in hot weather. Remind me why I have signed up for another Ironman in June?  I made a deal with myself that I would run the run and not walk any of it as long as no other member of GI Tri overtook me. So run I did. Well my version of running which averages about 10.5km/h. I saw two of my old clubmates as they flew past me on the run. I yelled encouragement at both of them.

It got a bit warm on the back straight. I really had relied on that second waterpoint. This last 2km would be difficult. the temperatures had picked up and my mouth was drier than a nun's crutch. But I continued on through the pain as we were still in second place. I would not walk. NOPE NOPE NOPE. I got overtaken a lot but this was to be expected. I ran and ran and was starting to feel something unfamiliar. Oh crap I hadn't fuelled very well for this sort of race. The last nutrition I has had was over 2 hours ago. I was starting to hit the wall on a 5km run. The last 500m dragged. I was so relieved to make it back to the holding pen and hand over the baton. My job was done. The run took 26:24 for 2.9 miles. Not my best but it got the job done, we were still in second place.

Now for refreshment. After I finished I immediately had 4 glasses of water and a protein shake. Hmmmm. definitely not enough water. Note to self drink and eat more next year.

And there will be a next year as I had so much fun at the National Relay Championships and was proud to represent GI Tri. Their kit passed the wearable test.

This was a nice bonus. I raced an extra race and am seriously contemplating joining GI Tri. They are local to me and are genuinely nice people. I might have managed to fill the void that has been in my triathlon life since I left London and RG Active.

Thanks for reading,