Lloyd Collier

12936665_10154125797226804_3439364038488871740_nI am relatively new member (I joined late 2014) and new triathlete, breaking my duck at Sevenoaks in April 2015.

I’ve always been a reasonable runner and am a member of several different running clubs depending on the day of the week, the county, the surface underfoot and so on but had always had thought along the lines of Steve Ovett’s famous line to Daley Thompson about the Decathlon as being “9 Mickey Mouse events followed by a slow 1,500”. And so, for me Triathlon was two mickey mouse events followed by a slow run.

However a new year, a change of circumstance and a new attitude came along in 2014 so I joined the club, signed up for PiTB without even having met any of the members (other than those who cross-pollinate to TW Harriers) and came to my first swimming session (lesson!) in about 30 years.

Although I’d always been an okay swimmer and could blast across the pool and back in the summer I did recognise that doing 10 / 15 / 30 minutes of front crawl was going to need a different skill set. What made a massive difference was when a very kind lady –our resident optometrist – kitted out me out with some prescription goggles (I am as blind as a bat!).

I bought a basic road bike on the tax free Ride to Work scheme in early 2015 so in the pics from last year’s Sevenoaks the bike is so new it’s still sparkling.

I did 3 Tris in 2015 including my first open water –Hyde Park Olympic. Add another £120 to the tri budget on a proper wetsuit as everyone told me that my Cornwall Surfing one would not work for swimming.

Hyde Park was absolutely terrifying. I got in the water with the other 200 odd from my wave and freaked out as the hooter blew. The urge to get my head out of the water, see where I was and do breaststroke was overwhelming. I had to give myself a really stern talking to and “get on with swimming your race and at your pace”, having dropped back out of the melee. The 1,500m took me over 32 mins.

Over the winter I commute on my bike approx 9m each way to work (I live in Crystal Palace and work in Canary Wharf). Sometimes I struggle for a fun name for all my rides on Strava.. if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen, right.

This year, having signed up for Staffordshire 70.3 I have tried to go further in my rides and have swum a bit longer although I haven’t done much endurance running, just my normal fitting training around my commute and at lunchtimes. What does work well is taking the coach in to Canary Wharf from Suzannah’s house in Rusthall (with my bike in the hold) and then getting a good 35m ride in home. It’s a nice route through Greenwich/Blackheath, Chislehurst, Chelsfield, down Polhill, Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, Tonbridge and home. For me I can summarise Staffs as a pleasing swim, decent transitions, a cracking ride and a rubbish run.

So, what’s next. I definitely want to go full Iron. As a wise lady pointed out, you don’t race a full Iron, (unless you’re Chrissie Wellington you can’t really). Which means the pressure’s off and you can savour every moment at a more relaxed effort.

When I’m not training (I manage about 8 hours a week including my commute) I have two great kids at Claremont School, I work in the Wharf from an American Bank, and I am either working on my flat, listening to music or enjoying a glass of wine/beer/gin on my sofa while watching rubbish films from my DVD collection that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.12991029_10154169829985719_6821501413759743550_n

Triathlon has given me a whole new lease of life. I love having friends who think nothing of a race that 99% of the population wouldn’t dream of doing; the fact that we do an IronMan and the only debate is not whether we can finish but whether we’ll hit our target time; that we can go and do a week’s hard cycling in the mountains with no prior preparation (and still get drunk on Hierbas every night). I love the technical aspects of the multi-discipline race and the rush through transition, I love the challenge of running on empty legs –and occasionally blasting past the disk-wheel TT bikers on the run.

And of course, and perhaps best of all, I love the fact that it was Triathlon [specifically the club dinner in 2014] that brought me together with the delightful Suzannah who fills my heart every single day.

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