2016 Race Reports

Sunday 25th September 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Hever Castle Triathlon, Standard Distance
Personal Account Written by Trevor Bisdee

I entered the standard distance at Hever quite a while ago, before I joined TW Tri, hence I didn’t show up on the results as a member. But the point of entering was whether I wanted to get back into triathlons, having not raced one for quite a few years. Realising I wasn’t doing much about my training, I joined TW Tri to get some momentum. I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere surrounding the events, and Saturday, supporting my wife, brought it all back.

My turn yesterday.

Getting changed with people I knew, and making new friends was a nice change. Although I managed to bang my big toe on something, not sure what, but it was sore.

The swim; stated at the back, as usual. Found the water a bit chillier than expected, so impressed with the guy swimming without a wet suit, thought he would be a bit fish like. Being at the back, you come across various styles, mine being a slow crawl in a relatively straight line. There are some that put in a lot of effort, head down, zig-zagging all over the place. Some who go all out crawling, then catch their breath with a bit of breast stroke, then crawl again. So you catch them up when it’s breast stroke, get kicked as you pass them, then they shoot off ahead, slow down, get kicked again and so on, meanwhile the zig-zagger is cutting me up, forcing me stop. We all emerge together, turns out they were friends, had similar pony tails, and were laughing as they’d finished the swim at the same time; nice to see people having fun. Meanwhile, no wet suit person was behind me, he must have been cold.

Transition was the usual fight with the wet suit, but got there in the end.

Emerged out of the estate as another cyclist was starting his second lap. There was a car alongside him, that had its left indicator on as we approached the first right hand bend, and it turned left. How the guy in front of me didn’t crash into the car? Lots of shouting, even a bit of ‘oh my God’ from the crowd, but all were unscathed, although not sure about the inside of his trisuit. The rest of the cycle was fairly uneventful, had the opportunity to admire other bikes as they all zoomed past me. Was a bit concerned when I saw Su stood at the side of the road, but Jim was there and I think a medic.

Transition 2 was uneventful, except I forgot to put the support on my dodgy knee.

I’m usually confident on the run, as I was this time, but I struggled. Just kept telling myself to keep ‘running’. Coming up across that dry, ploughed field, a young lady came alongside me, who was walking! ‘This is a bit embarrassing’ I said. She laughed, telling me she was recovering from injury, and was run-walking. I managed to pull ahead of her, only to watch her whizz past 10 seconds later in to her run. The last couple of K’s were a struggle, thought my right leg might be getting detached at one stage, but eventually crossed the finish line, with a PW and a medal.

Met up with Helen and Henry and set off to the bbq. What a lovely post race party. Chatting to people I’ve met before, meeting new friends. Everyone was very welcoming to me and Helen, meanwhile Henry was spoiling the big kids football match, and wearing himself out around the garden and on the bouncy castle. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to introduce myself and say thanks to Jude. So if you’ve got this far, thank you Jude. And thanks to Carol for organising it and sourcing the vege food. Helen passes on her thanks too. When we got home, Henry had his dinner, bath and crashed after his milk. So that was a result.

So did I achieve my aim? Absolutely, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the whole weekend, but being a member of TW Tri is the icing on the cake, so thank you all for being a great bunch.

How do I feel today? Alright tbh, except a cracking bruise on my toe, need to work that into an excuse.

Saturday 24th September 2016 – Hever Castle Triathlon Age 8-10
Future Triathlon Star!
Personal Account Written by William, 49th out of 578 in AG14470615_10154840589558455_1691924115965819692_n
On the 24th September I did the Hever triathlon age 8-10. Swim 100m in freezing cold water. The cycle went in a flash. The first hill was easy but the last one was really steep. The run was tough but I completed it with a sprint. 49th out of 578 in my age group. It was my first triathlon and it was amazing!

Sunday 18th September 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Sussex Triathlon, Sprint Distance
Personal Account Written by Michael King, 10th Overall

I decided rather last minute to do one more Triathlon this year. Hever unfortunately clashes with the Tunbridge Wells 10K and a friend was doing Sussex as his first Triathlon so thought I owed it to him to sign up and hopefully beat him!

At the pre event briefing the organiser said forget ambitions of good times, this is not a PB course. He also said the run was over 5km, but who wants a PB anyway.

The swim included a ~400m run to transition and the bike course was the hardest I have done in a triathlon. It started with a steep narrow climb off the estate then it was uphill for the first half with a narrow steep technical descent in the second; barely anyone was on Tri bars or TT bikes which probably tells you something about its difficulty. The Run was more like a trail run with 1 long very steep muddy hill and several other short steep sections so again not a quick time here.

So to the results, well most importantly I beat my friend and he seems to have caught the bug so I will talk him into joining the club. I also managed to get 10th place overall which I was very happy with (especially given lack of recent swimming and cycling) and I also managed to win my age group (although I feel this was not quite deserved as 5 people were ahead of me who were older than me!).

Credit must also go to Michael Thompson though who did the half and finished 12th overall. Very impressive time given how hard the course is. Nick Austen also took part but apologies I did not see you there, seems I passed you on the run, sorry.

Results: Sprint
1:24:53 Mike King 10th (0:15:00.05 0:01:14.55 0:45:50.40 0:00:47.50 0:22:00.75)

1:27:16 Nick Austen 14th (0:14:06.60 0:00:50.10 0:44:43.75 0:00:47.65 0:26:48.45)

5:05:46 Michael Thomson 12th (0:38:26.20 0:01:55.50 2:38:45.95 0:01:22.60 1:45:16.15)

Sunday 28th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Worthing Triathlon, Standard Distance
Personal Account Written by Eric Perrier, 20th in AG

Being already familiar with the race location was a good feeling and the air b&b place is decent. Clean and fairly close to race HQ.

Average weather but meant to worsen wind wise for the race, although no rain is announced until Sunday afternoon.

I recommend the Sea Lane café if you are ever down there on the Goring seafront.

Race morning: very windy, rain is now announced earlier and the sea is rough as.

Oh well, we love it, don’t we!?

Although the earlier waves might have missed the worst of the wind and rain on the bike course, in the overall conditions these younger competitors manage absolutely amazing times.

It includes our own Peter Gibson who finished 6th in his AG in 2h07’55.

It’s swim time and I am well intent on not letting the inclement chop get to me!

Had not done any sea swim training nor done much OW but had thought about it in the pool during my lunch sessions. By the first buoy I am feeling ok. I feel I can avoid getting distanced too badly by the fast swimmers in my wave and I am keen to “keep in the moment” contrary to Liverpool two weeks ago. In a way one has to when the elements are not too amicable apart from the current when going our way. It’s a fight but I find it fun to try and gauge the rhythm of the waves and be efficient when I can. Timing is crucial.

No stopping like last year due to my stomach getting too close to my throat, nor colliding with an oncoming swimmer. I know my swim time is ok as I think I only got overtaken by three swimmers from the wave 5 mins behind.

Decent T1 although faffing a bit with the upwards unzipping of my suit whilst running and the biking out from the opposite end of the transition area.

Onto the road straight into the wind, feeling ok though, drinking straight away!

It is now raining and quite heavily too. Not liking the combo but same for everyone on the bike course at that time. Negotiating the first two short hills and the long one pretty well. The rain has stopped and we are now onto the flats of the A24 between Findon and Ashington where we turn around via Washington. More showers.

Uneventful and fairly efficient so far although I had no real idea as my watch is now completely kaput and had to DNS it. I am feeling quite good and up for it.

I can’t help but think: is it going to be the day where I post three good segment times?

It is not.

On the second roundabout of the turnaround the wind, rain and slippery bit of surface at that point have the better of me and I go flying. Although probably only going at approximately 20kmh it’s a long piece of tarmac surfing and unfortunately the result is not an instant get up, dust yourself and go. Once up I launch into a native Indian war dance followed by a Sajjadh posture. The bike is damaged but ok to ride, bar the chain being off, so I am chuffed I can get back on.

Adrenaline is helping but not as much as I would have wanted. I have lost my oomph and I am gutted. My hip is throbbing and I try to concentrate but the conditions have not changed and I am tense. My dismount and T2 are a chore.

Now the run. Well, the first few hundred metres have nothing to do with running but there is no way I am quitting this. I see a few familiar faces and it re-energises me a little bit.

Jude is closing in on Berenice, a strong indicator of a good finish. Peter is looking really strong. The headwind on half of the course is a killer but no more rain. Spectators a gogo. Good ones, bad ones. Not long to go for as good a finish as I can muster.

It could have been but it is not a great day at the office. Who cares, that’s triathlon for you: I love it!

2h27’35 (20th in my AG) [ 26’10 (1’17) 1h15’37 (1’07) 43’02 ]

Sunday 28th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Worthing Triathlon, Standard Distance

Personal Account Written by Jude Haggar, 5th in AG


Jude Haggar and Eric Perrier

Email from the organisers this morning “we were greeted with the roughest sea conditions in our 15-year history; officially it was Force 5/6 on the Beaufort scale or 22mph gusts”. Yeap! I’ve not swum in a sea like that before, well at least not during a race. Having done Worthing Tri last year and clocking a terrible swim of 31mins I remember the sea having big swells but this was a mix of swell and foam. Swim technique was a mix of a lot of sighting, arms scooping over the swell, more kicking than usual and a matter of breathing on whichever side I wouldn’t drink the sea which at times felt impossible. It was reassuring to see more kayaks and a few motor boats than usual or was this in fact more worrying!! We swam 200m out to the first buoy then 650m along the shore and 650m back. Coming back we were fighting big time against the current and I had a few negative thoughts of being dragged under which I quickly put out of my mind. On exiting the water I shouted out “thank god I’m alive!” Rather surprised to clock 25.01 on the swim as this was my exact time for Liverpool two weeks ago:-) Think the current must have pushed us along on the out section!

Bike was windy and we had various unexpected showers along the way making the roads slippy. An undulating course mainly along an A road I was able to get some good speed up in an aero position but because of the wind I had to focus more than I would have liked on keeping the bike upright and slowing down more than usual on roundabouts which unfortunately cost Eric who had a fall where various riders also came off their bikes.

The run was a 2 loop out and back course along the promenade so flat and potentially fast. Lots of holidaymakers to run past and a local seaside market which we ran through which at times was a little dodgy with people moving into our chosen path. But it was the headwind for 5km of the course which I just couldn’t deal with energy wise and my pace dropping from 4.30/45mins per km to 5mins per km. I tried to tuck behind a runner at some point to discover he was shorter than me and so slight that it wasn’t really helping at all. Was delighted to see Eric who came past me on my first loop which spurred me on to the finish.

Swim 25.01, Bike 1.17, Run 48, Overall time of 2:34:28, an improvement of 4mins on last years result. Very happy with 5th in AG and awaiting BTF results to see if I’ve qualified for the Europeans in Kitzbuhel next year.

Sunday 14th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Tri Liverpool, Standard Distance

Personal Account Written by Eric Perrier, 30th in AG

First time in Liverpool and well impressed by the part of town we managed to see i.e the centre and the Albert dock area. A mix of traditional architecture and arty modern buildings. Admittedly a pretty good set up for a tri race with circa 3000 participants in total.

Old dockyard cobbles and flat tarmac for the run, dockland water inlets for the swim and long sweeping mildly undulated road stretches , a couple of short steep bits and two sharp u-turns for the bike segment.

Racked up on Saturday with only minor logistical issues like the distance from the car park(s) and the late and unclear bits of info regarding bag drop: none in the competitors notes but then introduced.

Weather wise it is a bit cloudy and windy but the darkest cloud is Jude’s stiff neck. I know she is otherwise physically ready to have a good race so this is a serious party dampener. I am sort of ok but well off what I see as my race weight and I have felt it in my less than ideal preparation.

Here come the excuses :o) hardly found time for open water training and struggling in the pool due to the excess luggage compared to a few months ago. Not much run training either but some decent varied bike rides in the last few months.

8.55 start, very sociable! 25 minutes after transition shuts, enough time to walk to swim start and do a dry warm

4th swim in my new £99 entry level wetsuit and nothing to do with the small price tag nor the entry level adage I am just not too fond of it. Had got used to a mid-range (the Zone 3 Aspire) but the front shoulder got ripped while practising at Staffs.

I am telling myself it won’t make much difference anyway as it will only be damage limitations. And so it is, a decent fast start to get away from the hustle and bustle with a view to settling into my pace works fine but my pace is much slower than what I know I am able to achieve. So I stick to being as technical as I can on the day thinking I should be able to make it up on the bike. The cute jellyfish don’t seem to care one iota and it is just as well!

Out of the swim some “tri makers” are there waiting for us with plastic bags: we are meant to take the wetsuit off there and then and carry it into transition. The transition is a bit of a faff and not designed fairly for all competitors which is quite unusual but at least one finds oneself with one’s own age group.

Like most big city triathlons it is a very long T1 and T2 and it costs me 6 minutes all added up (compared to 4’30 for the overall fast guys).

First half of the first loop I am sluggish, I find the road surface too grippy in parts. Think it is anyway. I take my first sip too late. The GPS on my watch is on strike, no average speed.

By the end of the first loop I start feeling more game and ready to give it my best shot. I get on ok with the short steep bits and the overall conditions for the last three loops. At least my watch lets me see the time spent and it is looking evenly paced over the 4 loops. Damage partly limited, more required. Bet the jellyfish still don’t give a damn. In for the long T2.

Despite a good few minutes with a very stiff left hamstring I am now running ok and think I am on 19’53 at the halfway mark which is not bad but on the day I am unable to reproduce it for the 2nd loop, let alone negative split it, I shuffle home in 2h22’14 [ 28’56 (3’12) 1h06’04 (2’44) 41’18 ]

30th in AG

Sunday 14th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Tri Liverpool, Standard Distance
Personal Account Written by Eric Perrier, 30th in AG

First time in Liverpool and well impressed by the part of town we managed to see i.e the centre and the Albert dock area. A mix of traditional architecture and arty modern buildings. Admittedly a pretty good set up for a tri race with circa 3000 participants in total.

Old dockyard cobbles and flat tarmac for the run, dockland water inlets for the swim and long sweeping mildly undulated road stretches , a couple of short steep bits and two sharp u-turns for the bike segment.

Racked up on Saturday with only minor logistical issues like the distance from the car park(s) and the late and unclear bits of info regarding bag drop: none in the competitors notes but then introduced.

Weather wise it is a bit cloudy and windy but the darkest cloud is Jude’s stiff neck. I know she is otherwise physically ready to have a good race so this is a serious party dampener. I am sort of ok but well off what I see as my race weight and I have felt it in my less than ideal preparation.

Here come the excuses :o) hardly found time for open water training and struggling in the pool due to the excess luggage compared to a few months ago. Not much run training either but some decent varied bike rides in the last few months.

8.55 start, very sociable! 25 minutes after transition shuts, enough time to walk to swim start and do a dry warm

4th swim in my new £99 entry level wetsuit and nothing to do with the small price tag nor the entry level adage I am just not too fond of it. Had got used to a mid-range (the Zone 3 Aspire) but the front shoulder got ripped while practising at Staffs.

I am telling myself it won’t make much difference anyway as it will only be damage limitations. And so it is, a decent fast start to get away from the hustle and bustle with a view to settling into my pace works fine but my pace is much slower than what I know I am able to achieve. So I stick to being as technical as I can on the day thinking I should be able to make it up on the bike. The cute jellyfish don’t seem to care one iota and it is just as well!

Out of the swim some “tri makers” are there waiting for us with plastic bags: we are meant to take the wetsuit off there and then and carry it into transition. The transition is a bit of a faff and not designed fairly for all competitors which is quite unusual but at least one finds oneself with one’s own age group.

Like most big city triathlons it is a very long T1 and T2 and it costs me 6 minutes all added up (compared to 4’30 for the overall fast guys).

First half of the first loop I am sluggish, I find the road surface too grippy in parts. Think it is anyway. I take my first sip too late. The GPS on my watch is on strike, no average speed.

By the end of the first loop I start feeling more game and ready to give it my best shot. I get on ok with the short steep bits and the overall conditions for the last three loops. At least my watch lets me see the time spent and it is looking evenly paced over the 4 loops. Damage partly limited, more required. Bet the jellyfish still don’t give a damn. In for the long T2.

Despite a good few minutes with a very stiff left hamstring I am now running ok and think I am on 19’53 at the halfway mark which is not bad but on the day I am unable to reproduce it for the 2nd loop, let alone negative split it, I shuffle home in 2h22’14 [ 28’56 (3’12) 1h06’04 (2’44) 41’18 ]

30th in AG

Sunday 14th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Tri Liverpool, Standard Distance
Personal Account Written by Jude Haggar, 14th in AG

Jude Haggar and Eric Perrier

7 hours later we arrive in Liverpool for the British National champs and one of the three European qualifiers for 2017. Going to be super competitive and having already checked the start list and noted that all the top girls were racing with around 50 registered to race in my AG, my main aim was to execute my plans well mainly in my running form which I’ve been working on for the past few months.

A long way to go for a race but that’s one thing I love about triathlon, being able to travel to places I’ve not been to in the UK. The course was swimming through the docks, riding on a closed major city road which looked flat and the run would take us through various city sights again running alongside the docks.

Annoyingly I woke on Saturday with an old reoccurring neck issue, something which I had noticed the week before and had thought I’d sorted out with a visit to my Physio. The stiffness was very bad and I found it uncomfortable even turning my head from side to side. Eric kindly called various physios that morning in Liverpool but to no avail, it was Saturday after all. We registered and checked out the course and I tried to put aside the hideous pain I was feeling in my neck but was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to race. Decision time would be Sun morning but I was determined to race. Sat eve was fun spent with a few friends in a Spanish tapas restaurant.

Sunday morning arrived after a restless night. I was determined to race and the adrenaline put aside the neck soreness which was better but I think mainly better due to the excitement of the race. A civilised 9.30 start for my AG so plenty of time to digest and warm up pre start. Racking had been the day before in the Echo arena so just a few items to put in transition.

Lining up with my age group and two other AG’s it was going to be a busy start. We had 5mins to warm up in the water which was a comfortable 19.7 degrees, warm enough for there to be jellyfish swimming with us. In fact the first thing that brushed my foot wasn’t another triathlete but was a jellyfish! Non stinging ones so I didn’t mind. We lined up alongside the pontoon and the gun went. Here we go! A confident start I joined the front group but after about 400m dropped back into a less hectic pace and focused on keeping my head low and streamlined particularly as my neck was hurting every time I sighted for the buoys. Frustratingly I got pummelled a few times but having been used to this from previous races I just relaxed and found my own space. I swam with a pack for about half the distance before I found myself suddenly swimming on my own between two big packs of swimmers amongst lots of little jellyfish crikey! I didn’t feel especially fast but was really happy to later discover that I pb’d in OW and had done a 25.01 swim.

T1 was crazily long. Over 4mins!! A big arena and had to remove wetsuits outside the arena and place into bags before we ran into a huge transition to our bikes.

The bike was exciting, a 4 lap course and very busy so had to focus hard on riders moves and had seen a couple of bikes down and intertwined roadside so was feeling a little cautious. Very windy on certain sections of the course but my choice of deep rims was fine. My sore neck was bothering me, as was in an aero position which it didn’t like, but just focused on keeping it low. Happy with my bike time of 1:11:43.

No dramas in T2 but a long one of over 2mins due to the big arena. Running out the arena I settled into my pace and concentrated on running with good form which I’ve been focusing on this year. Soon I found myself running alongside a triathlete for half the race as we had the same pace but when I slowed to have a quick drink with just 2km to go she upped her pace and I let her go. On retrospect she was probably in my AG so I should have noted this but overall was happy with my run time of 45:54.

Placed 14th in my AG with a finish time of 2:29:34 will need to wait to see if I’ve qualified for one of the twenty slots for the European champs in Kitzbuhel next year. Girls placed above me some have already qualified, some haven’t registered to qualify and I still have one of the other qualifiers to race at Worthing in a few weeks so I have another chance to place.

Sunday 7th August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Bewl Reservoir Triathlon, Standard Distance
Personal Account Written by Sean Fishpool, 37th Male

Bewl was my first standard distance, and very nice it was too. There were about 200 each in the sprint and standard races, and it was run by the same company that does Ashburnham.

The swim was two 750m laps in the reservoir, the cycle twice round a lightly undulating loop across to Wadhurst, down to Ticehurst and back over to the A21, and the run four laps on trail by the reservoir wall.

From TWTC, Mike King, Steve Baker and I did the standard and Peter Gibson and Stephen Dunkerley did the sprint. I had a great first eighth of the swim, first half of the cycle and second half of the run.

I was feeling pretty calm in the drizzle before the start. The water had dropped below 22 degrees, so there was no wetsuit ban, which was a massive relief. And the swim started well, smooth and nice breathing. I’d finally cracked 1500m at Pinewood and Weir Wood over the last month, so the practice and all the club’s helpful coaching was paying off. But maybe it was the effort of constantly sighting the buoys above the sea of heads, or being more unsettled than I thought by the shadowy feet around me in the water, but after 200m the breathing had gone to pot and I was doing breast stroke every couple of minutes under the excuse of sighting the buoys and demisting my goggles.

Anyway, let’s just say that it eventually came to an end.

Now that half the swimmers had headed off on their bikes, there was plenty of space on the bike racks for me to hold on to, so on the bright side, the wetsuit came off quickly, the drizzle had stopped too, and we were off. I’d just had a bike fit which made my new bike feel slightly more like a hybrid than the low, mean racing machine I’d been hoping for, but allegedly it meant that my mechanics were all at top efficiency – and it was superbly comfortable. The first lap went well, the second fairly well.

Bolted a bottle of energy drink in transition and tottered off to the run with a stomach cramp. Doing four laps was strangely comforting rather than numbingly boring, even if two substantial climbs on each lap weren’t entirely welcome. By the third lap I was loosening up and by the fourth I might even have had both feet off the ground at some points.

All in all, 2:38 – just under 32 minutes for the swim, 1:13 for the bike and 46 minutes for the run, 37/141 gender position. Pretty happy considering I could barely swim four lengths of crawl nonstop at the start of the year. Lessons to practice before Hever: getting back into a swim rhythm after losing it, and bike-run brick sessions.

Tuesday 2nd August 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Gravesend Cyclopark Midweek Duathlon Series, Race 4
Personal Account Written by Simon Howden 8th Overall

Two run laps of of 2.5k Cyclopark. Off to a great start, sub 20 min.
Bike transition a bit slow but at least I’ve got socks on for this event – luxury!

Eight laps on the bike:

Lap 1 – That was hard, perhaps I ran too fast.
Lap 2 – I can see Carol just ahead. Should catch her by the end of this lap.
Lap 3 – That’s odd. Carol still seems to be the same distance ahead.
Lap 4 – Need to put in a lot more effort but my legs are burning. Finally caught up with Carol. Time to push on.
Lap 5 – Can’t seem the shake Carol just behind me.
Lap 6 – Crap, is Carol gaining.
Lap 7 – Not sure I’m going to be able to hold on. Carol still behind me!
Lap 8 – Thank goodness I managed to hold Carol off. Phew!!

3 Short run laps to finish. Around the last bend realised I was not going to catch that guy with the pony tail. Oh no, it was the first lady. Chicked!

Sunday 31st July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – The Owler 70.3 Aquabike 
Personal Account Written by John Fuller 1st in Age Group, 6th Overall

I arrived early so not to be rushed and was one of the first to arrive. I collected my goody bag and race number cap and large T shirt (was hoping to be medium by now). Returning to get my bike and kit I put on the stickers as instructed. I then nearly forgot to pump up my tyres but just remembered before leaving the car park.
I entered the stadium down the stand steps (it is a nice setting for a tri). I then entered transition collection my chip on the way. My fellow competitors were all very nice and I spoke to most of them helping with my experience of the venue. All seemed to have issues with running so I was in good company.
I had time to wonder down to the lake once all my kit was ready between my normal toilet visits and at the lake tried to work out the route without success. This was still the case after entering the water (nearly forgetting to do my wet suit up, thank you to the man who let me know about this) for the race to begin and still the case until I could see the second buoy after turning the first. We had been told the lake had been cut of weeds over the last three days and if you kept on the course you would have no issue. Well I don’t think I was on the course very much and had started at the back to avoid last year’s problems and I was following most of the field (Full tri and Aquabike competitors) so they were having the same issues. This cost me a few minutes and left the water very tired after 41 minutes. The transition is a good minute away so had time to get the suit half off. In the 3 to 4 minutes in transition I saw most of my competitors and spoke to most of them again wish each other good luck.
Out on the bike course I started overtaking bikes with very few coming past me but one was a aquabiker (a very nice man called Jon). On the course there was a few point that signs could be bigger or further from the junctions to help. I did notice one of my fellow aquabikers was fixing a puncture road side. This put me in the top four, I soon moved to third but was now worried about the noise my front wheel was making. It was a new bike brought part accessible but I had had an issue with the spokes not being tight and the nibbles coming off into the wheel. I thought I had sorted this but I was later to find this was the issue. This was at 20km and by 51km at the feeding station it was bad and in the next 10km the wobble of the front tyre was alarming and was slowing me as it must of being rubbing the brake. The last 20Km was very hard, the flat parts were like going uphill and with tired legs that did need stretching twice in the race I finished outside my four-hour target and way off the 30km average speed I thought I could do based on my either speed. In the last 20 km I was passed by three Aquabikers although one was Jon who had gone the wrong way.
At the finish I discussed the race with a few of the others and had overall enjoyed it but knew the bike had cost me a lot of time. On leaving transition I found the front wheel would hardly turn and that 5 spoke nibbles were inside the wheel with another 3 loose. The bike was un-rideable god knows how I did the last 20km.
I know has a target for next year to beat. Sub 4 hour and hopfully a lot more.

Sunday 17th July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Thorpe Park Standard Distance Triathlon
13726763_10154411487900719_8091081903638410985_nPersonal Account Written by Suzannah Kinsella
 3rd in Age Group, 293rd Overall
This is a fun race! Obviously, as it’s set in a theme park!

6.00am walking through the legs of the rollercoasters, your calves are just waking up as the cars on the rollercoasters are waking up doing their empty turns on the tracks above you.

Women swim in the last wave out at 7.50 so it’s fun to be passing quite a few guys on the bike and run.13781802_10154411487855719_3981416448230070660_n

Swim is a 1500m round and back in one of the park’s large lakes (earlier swimmers had cleared out most of the reeds, thanks very much!)

Short and easy transition to the bikes (minus my chip, oops) then off on a mostly flat and easy bike route on open but quiet roads. Only passed a couple of puncture victims which is a good sign.

Back to the park, chip back on, for a three lap trip round the roller coasters etc with nice cheering from the first through the doors visitors. Humidity high so I poured as much water on my head as down my throat!

Time: 7 mins faster than last year: 2.47.06

Best of all was Sam Begg winning overall by smashing through the 2hours with 1.58 something. Time to go pro Sam?!

Sunday 17th July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Hedgehog Tough Crow Sprint Triathlon, Crowborough13728916_10157242540825232_1567328060900829561_n
A beautiful sunny day saw a motley crew from TWTC take part in the Tough Crow Sprint Triathlon! The 7am start began with a 400m swim in the pool at the Crowborough Leisure Centre followed by a challenging 20km ride through Ashdown Forest and a run that took in the side of Crowborough Hill plus, the running track at the Goldsmith Recreation ground.

Sunday 10th July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Hever Castle Series Long Weekend

Chapeau to all the participants at the Hever Castle Series endurance weekend in very tough conditions yesterday!

13607028_10154398519769301_3522931317517009367_nOur heroes were Jim in 15h39’48 at the Iron distance Bastion, James at the same distance who sadly couldn’t finish but did himself and us proud in coming very close, Judith in the aquabike (3.8k swim, 120k ride) who, despite a puncture towards the end of the ride, had an amazing day 1h13 swim + bike time tbc as the timings went awfully wrong for that event.

Special Chapeau to Matt for his second place at the Gauntlet in 5h04’57 getting very close to Chris Wolton’s club record of 5h01’57

…and chapeau to the Blackhill Velo House feed station extraordinaires: Carol, Tilly, Jamie

The Bastion Long Course Triathlon Personal Account Written by Jim Bonner 4th in AG 50th Overall

Firstly TWTC is the BEST club ever!! The support James and I received from our friends/club mates was nothing short of extraordinary! Thank you all!

Don’t worry I won’t let this become an Oscar’s speech…you know who you are though!

Edward, the only person I know who has done the Bastion, made it clear that it was a hard race….and he is well hard!! So it was with excitement and a little trepidation that James and I woke at 3am (actually we both woke up at 2am with excitement but the plan was get up at 3am). Shower, kit check, stretch and off we go! Even our key supporters for the day, Su and Karen, were cheerful at “stupid o’clock” in the morning and they were both amazing all day, and some of the night as it turned out….it took me a very long time.13592610_10154398530654301_8458954685725456615_n

We were about to jump in the lake, 19 degrees by the way 🙂 YEESSS! (I hate cold water) and suddenly Edward was bounding towards us, a big grin and full of enthusiasm. Just the start we needed, thanks Ed.The swim was lovely, the first time I could say that about a Hever swim, I usually struggle even though the swim is my best discipline. 9th out of the water and feeling good.
Transition was a bit of a leisurely affair, but as Su will tell you not as bad as my first one when I sat down and had a scone with jam and cream while other racers ran past with their bikes giving me a slightly odd look!
The bike started fine but as I headed towards Ashdown it was clear I had put the wrong lenses in my glasses, the mist came down, the wind got up and I felt like I was cycling through the set of the Lost World….at night! Then the rain hit, which I don’t mind, it just added another level of fun and these sort of things are always great when you look back at them afterwards. Poor Jamie, Tilly and Carol were stationed at the top of Ashdown getting soaked but they were amazing cheering us on, so good to see them. Ed was out there too in the darkest part of the course at Fordcombe hill descent, I could barely recognise him with my sunnies on, it was so dark. He had the loudest cheer and even filmed me cycling down the hill screaming back at him, ha ha.
13631416_10154398519869301_2779654983707338536_nSo Bike done, legs shot….best get on with it. The “Run”. I think I might be had up on the trades description act about that but as a good friend had said to me (Ken thank you) “just keep moving forward”. Ken and I had raced the Gauntlet together so now I had his voice in my head and I could remember running the same route with him so I was set. The first hill loomed and my hamstrings don’t let me pick my feet up so after trying as I dragged the useless limbs through the gravel I decided to walk up hills and run the rest if I could. Near the end of the second lap this bloke starts shouting something, does a little dance I think and starts taking photos? It took me a while to shake my stupor and realise it was Ken. He ran with me for a while, my pace lifted, we chatted and I even ran up some inclines without realising it…So it was just a weak mind holding me back, I had just been making excuses for myself! This was great, I could do this now crack on. I finished that lap on a high with a huge grin and waiting for me as I set out were Su, Karen, Ed, Eric and Judith….I couldn’t believe it, just fabulous guys! I got half way round lap three and the wheels fell off. I couldn’t take any food so coke it was, all the negative thoughts flooded in. Why am I doing this? Another 17km at this pace will take forever!! My feet hurt…etc, you get the sorry for myself picture. It never got really bad and I let the “little voice” in my head have it’s say but I knew I would finish…eventually. Cue the longest marathon ever!
Suddenly I can see Su waving her arms. There is still 2km to go but she had come out to see me in in the dark…what a girl!! She told me Jamie and Tilly had climbed a tower to try and spot me from a distance and that Carol was still there waiting for me despite being soaked earlier and having gone home to shower and then come back to see me! (you guys are nuts!) All of them had been there since about 4:30am….unbelievable! I rounded the last corner to see James and Karen as well 🙂. Karen ran ahead for pictures and Su and James and I ran across the line together…..Just perfect!
How lucky am I to share these mad events with my son and one of my very best friends, James.
The Bastion. Try it, it’s fun 🙂

Saturday 9th July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Seaford Sprint Triathlon
13627102_10210222413220926_5141508593607020464_nPersonal Account Written by Mark Poulton 1st in Age Group, 20th Overall
Seaford sprint triathlon was fun! They were going to cancel the swim because the sea was so rough but, they decided to reduce it from 750m to 400m. That sounded good to me 🙂 After the course briefing they let us into the sea for a warm up. It was then that the perils became apparent…! When the waves broke they threw you into the pebbles and when you tried to swim into the wind and current you didn’t move! Then when you tried to get out of the sea you were either knocked off your feet or pulled back in. It was obviously going to be fun!! To cut a long story short, loads of people either didn’t start, couldn’t start or gave up (apparently). I had a good rush of adrenaline and excitement when the race-start countdown finished… I reckon my swim going out (westward) was about 15-minutes and swim coming back (eastward) was about 4-minutes, such was the current and wind! The rest of the race was a non-event by comparison but I would use my TT next time; there is plenty of space for overtaking on the six laps.
Overall I was 20th out of 141 (1:26:14) and 1st in over 55’s. So I was happy with that. About 60 people DNS/DNF because the sea was so rough!
Got to do it again next year so will be touting for more TWTC entries…

Tuesday 5th July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Gravesend Cyclopark Duathlon League Race 3 (5k/20k/3.3k)13626435_10153731718922283_8032391778764655419_n
Great results for two of our club members at the third race in the Gravesend Cyclopark Duathlon League, Dave Bagge was 2nd Male in 1.07.49 and Carol Tsang was 1st Female in 1.27.38. After 2 races of the 5 in the league, TWTC’s Dave Bagge was in 4th place and Neil Couchman was in 5th.

Sunday 3rd July 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Outlaw 70.3 Holkham Hall, Norfolk13592687_10154402952009444_2974924583979017503_n
Personal Account Written by Stephen Dunkerley
Finished my first 70.3 at Holkham Hall Outlaw. Beautiful Swim and Bike ride ….really tough run a 2 mile hill from the start repeated three times. Big thanks to Ed for the nutrition advice couldn’t have got through it without it ……don’t want to see an energy drink for some time though.
Thoroughly recommend the Outlaw Series really well organised.

Saturday 2nd July 2016 – The Bantham Swoosh, 6km Swim
13599930_10154367023815719_6117570770118220111_nA 6km swim in a sandy bottomed estuary in Devon, culminating in a “swoosh” as the ebbing tide is funnelled through a narrow section of river, speeding you along over the riverbed at up to four times your usual swimming speed.
Personal Account Written by Suzannah Kinsella
Bantham Swoosh 6k swim! A 1hr 30 wrestle with strong headwinds. Not so much a swoosh as a gentle, calm eddy at the end. Welcome after an hour of choppy-ness. Highly recommend this swim in a spectacularly beautiful part of Devon.

Sunday 26th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Ironman 70.3 Exmoor

Ken MacSporran

Well done Ken MacSporran at IM 70.3 Exmoor “Wimbleball” today covered in 6h09, 70th in AG. We knew you weren’t feeling your best and weren’t able to train at all in June, yet you turned up and gave it your best on the day. You did us proud at one of the hardest 70.3s in the world!!
Personal Account Written by Ken MacSporran  70th in Age Group
I was the only TWTC member at this race – which should have acted as a suitable warning for me…

It’s billed as a tough one, the race organiser/commentator kept reminding us ‘its our toughest 70.3 in Europe all day Saturday and before the race on Sunday, thanks for that! i used to live down this way and know Exmoor well, and when i first joined TWTC 5 years ago Eric Perrier and Jonathan Lott were chatting about it as an epic iconic race, so its been on the tri bucket list for me for a while.

it was a great race indeed. amazing setting. great atmosphere. amazing standard of athletes and a stellar collection of bikes racked up. Ironman isnt cheap but its totally athlete focused and a really chilled out well organised event. great swim, a really nice reservoir, we were allowed a 10 minute swim warm up which was great to settle down and get the blood flowing a bit, a rolling swim start which meant being constantly surrounded (but no panic attacks which was a success in itself for me), only elbowed twice and finished in a PB of 37 minutes

it was a challenge to structure bike/run training for it – its a super hilly course and a hilly trail run too. so lots of half marathon training this spring. i didnt do enough really hard brick sessions in training (but then doesnt every triathlete say that after a race?) and whilst i knew it was hilly i didnt factor in the steep gradients – four 10-20% short sharp hills cycled twice each, a bit like motts mill x 8 repeats, which wrecked the legs for the run. the hills are all concentrated in a 6 mile stretch on the bike route, which you do twice, so little respite between them, a really different course to the gauntlett. also very technical, twisty descents, potholes, nasty corners, constant hills, so lots of fun, never bored and switching off. a super bike route, over 5000 feet of climbing. 3 hours 27… 45 minutes slower than my marshman bike leg in May, showing the impact the hills had on my legs and overall time

the run was trail and farm roads up and around the reservoir, which would have been lovely if i had the energy to lift up my head. really tough. adopted the marathon shuffle that many of you will be aware of… struggled home in 1 hour 53 – 14 minutes slower than my marshman run 5 weeks previously, shows how tough it was, over 1000 feet of climbing, more elevation than the TW half marathon!

overall an amazing experience (not just a race) i cant recommend highly enough as a real challenge especially if you like hills!

i have had a pretty shit month with no training so i was delighted just to get to the start line and nicely surprised to finish in 6:09 and come in 70th / 200 in AG and 361/1400 considering the strength of the field

thanks to various people in the club for support, encouragement and advice especially in the last 2-3 weeks. and Eric Perrier without whom i simply wouldnt have thought this was possible. merci mon ami.

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th June 2016 – Leeds Castle Triathlon Weekend

Well done all who took part in the Leeds Castle triathlon (Mark Poulton, 3rd in AG in 1h36’31, Thomson 9th in AG in 1h25’49, Andy Exall 11th in AG in 1h40’59 in the Sprint and Sam Begg 2nd overall (!) in the Standard Distance in 2h08’37, but special congratulations to Peter Gibson who finished 16th overall and 2nd in AG and is therefore Sprint national vice-champion!!!

Sunday 19th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Dartford Bridge Standard Triathlon

Personal Account Written by Mike King  5th in Age Group, 15th Overall

On Sunday I was the only TWTC member taking part in the Dartford Triathlon, which was also my first event under TWTC. The event is held in and around the Bridge development with its main selling point being closed roads for the bike route and also the £55 price tag. Event is almost a standard distance, but the bike was 42km (not sure why they couldn’t move the switch back cone to make it 40km!).

The swim was a little cold but water was lovely and clear, I only had 2 practice open water swims this year so was happy with my time of 27:21, which was about a minute quicker than last year. The bike was pretty windy (downside of being beside the Thames), but the closed roads are good fun as you can go flat out through the roundabouts. I did struggle to hold an aero position though (only conclusion must be a new aero bike!), but a few mins quicker than last year. Run was a little warm but a nice 3 lap traffic free route around the development and again a few mins quicker.

Main aim was to get a PB but perhaps more importantly to beat my mate. I was therefore delighted to get a PB of over 5 mins (set on same event last year) in a time of 2:25:16 (15th place) and I beat my mate by 1 second!

Splits: Swim 00:27:21, T1 00:01:31, Bike 01:17:06, T2 00:00:49 Run 00:38:27

Anyway highly recommend the event, you even get a free t shirt.

Sunday 12th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Mid Sussex Sprint Triathlon

Personal Account Written by Stephen Dunkerley 23rd in Age Group, 150th Overall.
13479358_10154366987479444_1667278877_nHaving just joined TWTC I was officially down as a member for my first race of the season. Mid Sussex sounded great it was June so the sun would be shining and with a 7.10 start I’d be home for breakfast, at least that what my minds eye had told me when Eric mentioned it. So come the day, up at 5 and out by 5.30 coffee and toast with a banana, except where was the summer sun , the mild cooling breeze??? I was met by drizzle and what can only be described as winter like conditions. Arriving in the car park and trundling over to T1 I was then informed my rather large Box was no longer allowed in transition but I could put it by the fence some 50m away, not a problem except now all my gear was getting wet….lesson learn’t I’ve since purchased a rather fetching Zoggs Transition bag. So decisions decisions cover my gear with my towel, cover my Garmin with my towel or do neither………in my early morning confusion I covered my bike!!! But back to the race the Mid Sussex Triathlon Club could not have been friendlier they really made the day especially the marshals who encouraged and cheered all the way round. The pool swim came and I soon realised I was in the wrong time section. It was a snake swim but with the slowest first. I normally do the pool on a sprint in around 6 mins but as breaststroker after breaststroker set off I knew I’d need to be patient and try and pass at the end of each length. Actually as it turned out the swim was not as congested as I thought and a 7.47 time seemed okay under the circumstance. Then on to T1, due to my previous towel short comings, putting on a rather damp pair of socks and bike shirt had its problems, after hopping around with my socks and pulling on a shirt like a break dancer from the early eighties (for those of us old enough to remember) I was away. 13492818_10154366988094444_595243555_nThe bike ride was a very picturesque ride around Ansty and the Burgess Hill countryside , the roads were wet and greasy and we were forewarned about the pot holes which the club had kindly taken the time to mark as best they could. As usual with the bike I thought I’d gone at a reasonable pace only to find out I’m still as slow as I thought 51.57 for the 25km . Then into the 5km run which was a lovely run up and around the leisure Centre and down country lanes again with the marshal’s giving as much support as is possible. I found I was strong after the winter run training for various longer distances and even ran past a few people…..this isn’t normal!!! However the space time continuum was re-established as people began to shoot past me towards the mid point of the race. Finished with what I like to term a sprint to a wet 28 mins, so the winter distance training appears to have taken away any semblance of speed I may or may not have had. On the plus side it felt easy. Anyway hats off to the MSTC for a lovely well organised friendly event (and top goody bag), next up of me the Holkham Half in two weeks, I am as excited as I am worried about this as I’ve trained all the distance but not necessarily on the same day!!!!! Oh well look out for me in the swim pens I’ll be the one that looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights. My main aim is to finish before the broom wagon.

Sunday 12th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire

Personal Account Written by Claire Howard, 24th in Age Group, 1074th Overall13394200_10157094968310232_2891078091787802275_n

After four months of training priority race weekend is here and I have to say excitement definitely trumps nerves!!!!

How did I get to this point? The point being me deciding that taking part in IRONMAN 70.3 Staffs would be a good idea! Pretty much a year ago to the day I was completing my first ever triathlon…… low key, sprint distance with a shorter swim of 300m and that was it…… I was hooked and have never looked back since. 2016 was always going to be a year of endurance events for me, Paris marathon and the 3 peaks challenge were already in the diary so when the guaranteed entry into the middle distance event came up through my triathlon club I thought why not?

And here I am…… settled into a beautiful old farmhouse B&B on the bike course with seven other Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club team mates (all new to this distance) ready to race in 36 hours time.

Jump ahead to race day and it’s an early start with the alarm set for 4.30am. Surprisingly I slept really well and was awake before the alarm anyway. Race day nutrition plan kicked in (huge thanks to Ed Moffatt who was so generous with his time and expertise when fueling correctly for this distance) with my usual breakfast of a peanut butter and banana sandwich on white bread washed down by water. Thoughts of “Right let’s do this!” filled my head and the minutes quickly passed as my 7.15am start time arrived. Waiting in the swim pen I felt like I was part of something pretty special. IRONMAN officials describe race day being like Christmas morning…..didn’t believe it in the briefing but stood there at the start I had well and truly bought into that feeling now! I couldn’t wait to get started!

Water was a warm 20 degrees and as I completed my first ever rolling start I found it pretty easy to settle in quickly to my usual steady open water swim style……. I actually felt at ease and dare I say enjoying it! Clear water and enough space around me to keep doing my ‘thing’. Chuffed to bits I beat my estimated swim time by 1 minute, so far so good.

T1 was a lengthy 8 minutes….toilet break was required…..couldn’t face 56 miles on the bike without one.

The bike course was pretty ropey for the first 10km. Torrential downpours over the past couple of days had washed a huge amount of debris across the narrow lanes. 13406919_10157094967845232_1180427732796749325_nForesight meant that my sister in law Anna and I had driven that section of the course so knew to take it steady and I passed around 10 athletes already dealing with punctures. I was initially concerned about being surrounded by other bikes, there were 2500 competitors taking part but we quickly spread out and soon after the first section the road was in better condition and I could get my head down and crack on. Elevation was around 2750ft over the distance which is nothing compared to what I’m used to back home and dealt with any hills without trouble. I was ticking along nicely when with 20 miles still to go the heavens opened and it was torrential…..taking care around sharp corners (unfortunately not everyone took this action) I finished the bike section with an average of 17mph. Hoped completion time 3.5 hours, actual time 3 hours 19 minutes. Get in! Come on legs……don’t fail me now!

T2, 5 minutes….. really have to work on those. Another toilet stop, definitely required after around 2 litres of electrolytes. Bumped into another club member Sam, was a real boost to see him and we had a quick natter as we dried off and changed into socks and trainers. Farewell and “see you out there” I was off.

The long bricks in training had gone really well and my plan was to keep it steady in the first half then build my speed. Due to niggles and illness I hadn’t managed to complete any 21km runs during training so was unsure what i was capable of at this stage. The support was immense around the 3 lap course and mix of terrain kept thing interesting. I was loving the run and actually confirmed this by saying it out loud to myself and anyone else who was close at the time! Lap 1 felt comfortable and fully expected to take a dip in lap 2 but my legs just kept going and I was feeling strong…..couldn’t believe it! Massive boost as I started lap 3 and I sped up giving myself a mental pat on the back for not slowing to a walk on the 1km long hill I had to climb 3 times. Last time up it and then I was flying down, through the trail section on the Shugborough Estate and then the finishing line was in sight! Somehow still finding extra speed in my legs I went for it to the line and that was quite simply the best feeling I have ever experienced in an event! Utter euphoria! With my family and spectators cheering me across the line. Estimated run time 2 – 2.5 hours, actual time 1:56.01….. you are kidding me…..how did I managed a half marathon PB??????!

I revisit my initial question…..How did I get to this point? This is how; a hugely supportive husband and wonderful children, an amazing club who have welcomed me so warmly and encouraged me right from the start of my triathlon journey, super friends who have simply asked how I’m feeling or joined me on training sessions, a huge amount of time dedicated to focused training and of course thetrilife for coaching me so expertly that there was no way that I wasn’t going to be prepared for this challenge.

I really don’t know how long it will take me to come down from this high…….

Sunday 12th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire

Personal Account Written by Jude Haggar, 11th in Age Group, 494th Overall13432281_10154313694170719_159689718035586248_n

Having only raced at Lisbon two weeks ago I felt strangely relaxed the week leading up to the race. Being my first 70.3 I simply wished to enjoy every minute but did have some idea as to what I’d hope to achieve overall.

Wednesday morning before race wknd I woke up with head spins, a reoccurrence of the dreaded “bppv” vertigo. I’d had this before on a few occasions and knew that dizziness may be an issue even by the weekend. Determined to do anything so that I could race I had the gp clear up any concern over it being an ear infection, then I saw a cranial osteopath and she helped me do the epley manoeuvre which can clear it and then also tried some acupuncture which I have to say cleared the head! Phew!!

Race weekend arrived and I felt super excited. Logistics of having split transitions meant a little more sorting out of kit and driving around on the Saturday but it all seemed to come together. Saturday evening fast approached and we all settled down in our b&b with early suppers and lights out when it was still light outside. A surprisingly restful night having not slept much the night before was cut short by the alarm at 4.45. Breakfast involved what I actually felt like eating, something I’ve changed recently with my eating before a race. Eating what my body felt like which that morning was a bowl of my favourite oaty granola, a banana, yoghurt and orange juice. Can’t stomach porridge before a race anymore!

All fine in transition feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety re dizziness coming back and the fact that I’d done little run training for a half marathon distance due to an ankle injury which had been pestering me since last year, I sorted my last minute bits and then queued for far too long at the inevitable last minute loo trip.

I had just seen Eric and was feeling very saddened for him as he’d had a few negative things that had happened the day before and now it didn’t look like he could race as a screw had shorn off his seat post in transition which was the most unbelievable bad luck to occur on race morning and there were no bike mechanics to help. I hoped someone may have been able to help as I made my way to the swim start.

I liked the relaxed feel of the rolling swim start, walking off a jetty into the lake having placed ourselves in our predicted times. There was no shocker re water temperature as we’d done the swim recce the day before and the lake was a very comfortable 19/20 degrees. I relaxed into the swim and found a few swimmers to draft along next to until I got to about 400m from the end where we caught up with the wave in front and suddenly there were a lot more swimmers aiming for the finish. Upped my pace in the excitement of finishing and out the water and felt totally elated that I’d not had a dizzy spell and now was itching to get on my bike.

A rather slippy start out of the lake site with speed bumps, an uneven surface and gravel it was a relief to get out onto the main road. Time to settle into my endurance pace and it felt comfortable. We’d been given some advice re the first 10km re a few surprise ups and downs and where to be cautious so I kept a careful look out for these. I wouldn’t call the course flat but it had plenty of fast sections to get aero and relax into a steady pace. I got to 40km and clocked that I’d ridden this in the same time as I’d done two weeks prior in Lisbon which made me think yikes how could I keep up this pace. Before I knew it the heavens opened and I found myself being more cautious on downhills and of course corners so my avg speed dropped somewhat. But as I neared the last 15km I decided to go for it as we’d hit the main roads and there was plenty of opportunity to pick up the pace.

My nutrition had gone mostly to plan. I’d had my two homemade rice cakes, a small bready cake I’d made and I’d drunk about 1250ml of my “Skratch” carb/electrolyte drink. Not as much liquid as I’d planned but I drank to what felt right in the conditions. Enter t2 and I spotted Anna which was great to have a quick chat as we got ourselves sorted. Off she went and I followed a few minutes later.13445378_10154308385462174_7735530265126252522_n

I quickly settled into my steady run pace. I wasn’t expecting any amazing run times here as I’d done such little half marathon training (ah two 15km runs!) so I focused instead on my new running form and posture with light feet which I’d been working on for a few months. I really liked the mixed terrain, a bit of everything really. The crowd support was incredible and I found myself grinning like a Cheshire Cat most of the way round the three loops. One village that we ran through which was mostly downhill were superb with their cheering, music, kids reaching out to high five in a row and great encouragement. No “you can do it” comments which was a relief! At one point Chariots of Fire music was playing and I made some ridiculous slow action moves along with a few other competitors alongside me! I found myself chatting to various competitors along the way. Perhaps not working hard enough but I was having too much fun. I hit 15/16km and my body started telling me to stop but as I’d stuck to having 5 skratch fruit drops every 25minutes with a cup of water I felt able to tell myself that I could do this.

The last few km’s I felt euphoric which Claire also described as feeling. Sprinting down the finish I can truly say I had never felt so happy as I did during a race hence some rather silly arm movements at the end! The atmosphere had been amazing and the race dare I say didn’t feel anywhere near as hard as I’d thought it would be. I am 100% hooked now and already signed up to my next 70.3 distance. Perhaps a full distance is in the cards after all but not quite yet!!

Sunday 12th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire

Personal Account Written by Sam Gibbs, 94th in Age Group, 681st Overall27631344195_96f74a4967_z

Staffs has been my single focus for the past 6 months so it was like Christmas morning waking up on Friday to head up with Sam to Staffordshire for the weekend.

The enormity of what we had entered only really hit home when we arrived at registration, not helped by the fact that it decided to dump down what felt like a metre of rain in half an hour, washing most of Staffordshire’s gravel onto the road! Race weekend was here, although unlike reports from last year, registration and racking were as smooth as you could wish for, despite the twin transition zones and logistics of traveling between to the two.

Fast forward to race day, standing by the lake, emotions and nerves decides to say hello. Memories of Jude saying ‘it’s just a hobby’ and watching the earlier waves set off gave me some confidence and I was soon rolling of the jetty to begin my swim.

Target time 45 minutes, I found clear water from the start and kept a steady pace, I was actually enjoying it! The occasional idiot swimming over me and what smelt and tasted like diesel only interrupting me for a brief moment. More worrying was the agonising cramp I got at the last buoy, resulting in a short pause/panic and a gentle finish to T2. A quick check of my watch… 45 minutes. I was on track.27021350084_54a7686066_z

Despite losing a glove in transition and my HRM failing to work (and a quick wave to Jodie and Sarah), I was soon on the bike picking people off like flies. I was racing in an IRONMAN and overtaking people. This was all the encouragement I needed to keep an average pace of over 33km/h.

Food stations were perfectly placed and it soon became second nature to discard a bottle and refuel whilst travelling at speed. Race nutrition something that Claire had ensured was top of our minds!

But then…

The lashing rain arrived and I was unfortunate enough to see a couple of fellow competitors on the floor having crashed out on the wet corners. It was worth losing a few seconds on the descents to ensure a safe ride.

I managed to catch Sam on the bike, both of us sharing encouragement for a brief moment, then a quick hello to Claire and before I knew it I was racking my bike in T2 with 2 hours 53 on the clock. Target time was 3 hours.

27353666070_221e1da82c_zAt this point I was happy I’d packed a second pair of socks and set off for the run. My longest run EVER had been 15km and I’d done that once, so this was do or die time. A pace of 6:00/km would see me hit my goal but with agonising cramp in the first 2k this felt like a long way off!

A few strategic ‘quad slaps’ later I found my running legs and I was soon running closer to 5:15/km and felt good. I added a 15 second walk every 2.5km and ensured I walked through each food station too (water over the head, a drink of electrolytes and a gel, repeat), enabling me to keep the pace until the 17km mark. NEW TERRITORY!!! I was hurting and hurting bad but then a surprise hello from Claire as she ran past me encouraged me to push on.

Now for the best bit of the day, I could hear (and possibly smell) the finish line. All pain disappeared for 30 seconds as I ran down the magic carpet, hi-five’d the race director and crossed the finish line.

I’d done it. Completed an IRONMAN 70.3. In 5 hours 49 minutes.

Images courtesy of Sarah Lowe.

Sunday 12th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire

Personal Account Written by Lloyd Collier, 39th in Age Group, 195th Overall

13434803_10154313124560719_8202580128482613864_nHaving entered this in a frenzy of triathlon-induced bonhomie last year I’d been dreading it all the way through the winter, wondering why I’d spent £300 (X), blown my track athletics season (X) to do an endurance (X) event where I’m at best an average cyclist (X) and a very poor swimmer (X) – see those black marks lining up..

Having also entered Sevenoaks I figured I’d best book some others and get some swim coaching. The underwater video swim session was most revealing – the poor lady simply didn’t know where to start with my stroke!

Anyway, roll forward 4 months, 4 triathlons, lots of swimming, £700 carbon aero wheels and a reasonable amount of decent (short) running and racing I was ready.

The objective of the swim was to get round comfortably, aiming for my usual 2:00 / 100m pace, blast out of transition on the bike, then run approx 1:00 / mile slower than my Paddock Wood Half Marathon pace. If I hit my 38:00 swim target, got round the cycle in about 2:40 [21mph] I figured 8 mins in transition leaving about 1:34 for the half to get under 5 hours.13432305_10154313695125719_1376138989928811743_n

Unfortunately having blasted the bike my legs were absolute jelly on the run. Now I’d expected 2-3 miles of jelly and then kicking on (I couldn’t feel my feet for the 2 first miles) but the combination of the soggy course – more like a trail race for 1.5m of each 4m lap – and the horrible hill for the other half meant that I started slow and then got progressively slower.

I’ve always laughingly said that Triathletes are very poor runners. I must now be a proper Triathlete given my shuffling stride and total absence of leg drive for a massive PW over the distance.

I did cheer up at the end when chatting to the race director who pointed out that my time equated to a sub-5 almost anywhere else with a flat bike, a ‘normal length’ swim (ie not accurately measured) and without the p’ssing rain and mud and switchbacks on the run.

 Swim 39.35; Bike 2.44.34; Run 1.39.49; Total 5.11.17

Although I immediately said never again the lure of <5 and a “Proper” IronMan are already tempting me for next spring!

ps I discovered it is possible to pee and cycle at the same time. I double-checked a couple of hours later to keep the equilibrium and be sure…

Sunday 5th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Duathlon World Championships, Aviles, Spain13336052_1284450131566854_2412634873622941842_n

Personal Account Written by Dave Bagge, 4th in Age Group

We did TWTC proud. I came 4th in time on 2:11:59 just missing bronze by an agonising 30 secs. With a bit of luck on another day the bloody spaniard who came 3rd and drafted me for 5 mins would have been spotted and given a 2 min pen but hey ho that’s life. Neil Couchman came 24th / 55 with a time of 2:12:25. He had a storming bike split but suffered on 2nd run probably due to lack of run training when he had the broken toe. We enjoyed ourselves afterwards!

Sunday 5th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Avenger Middle Distance, Warwickshire

Personal Account Written by Kieran Fitzpatrick, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club, 13th Overall

13403813_201031743624107_7423619647710785362_oIt was my turn to travel half of the length of the country as one of my mates had chosen this “half-iron” at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, for our next event. Run by a not-for-profit organisation, the pre-race briefing promised the race would offer us something different. It was not going to be a PB course with a 2k swim, a rolling bike route, with twisting corners and sweeping bends, concluding with a testing multi-terrain run around the grounds. It was a course designed to be enjoyed.

With time to kill before squeezing into my wetsuit, I took the opportunity to watch the first wave set off. Completely in awe of this large guy who somehow exited the water fifth despite his slow, laboured freestyle. Literally half the stroke rate of those around him… Must have hands like dish pans, huge power propelling him forward.

I was determined to overcome my mini freak out at the Marshman and started treading water towards the back of the pack. I made no attempt to breathe bilaterally and just focused on throwing my reach as far forward as possible. Strains of anxiety hit again at the first buoy, but I moderated my effort and settled into my rhythm. I even found some feet to follow on the second lap until I realised they were snaking badly. I’m happiest with free water ahead of me so just persevered on my own. A comfortable swim and only a minute down on one of my mates.

James was easy pickings as soon as we were out of the grounds and we exchanged best wishes for the ride ahead. It’s prudent to be cautious on unknown roads and I resolved to cap my effort on the bike leg. There were some enjoyable stretches that invited me to go into full time-trial mode as I steadily ticked off the miles. It’s a shame the route was marred by the busy A44, traffic at a standstill, preventing a clean run in on the second lap. The marshals advised I was second back in my wave… I was having a good day!13344579_200778320316116_807411420204239037_n

I made a bee line for the porta-carbins in t1… I still can’t get my head around how some riders can sufficiently relax to “let themselves go” on the bike. Pretty revolting… Even if every second does count. I’d opted for trail shoes, transferring an old pair of elastic laces… Fingers crossed they wouldn’t come undone.

Our 8.30am start meant we were now running during the hottest part of the day. A glorious afternoon for spectators… A tough day at the office for triathletes! I can deal with repetition as the bite-size chunks of a four lap course makes it easier to get your head around. The route comprised of two challenging climbs, the first through woodland, tree cover providing welcome shade, the second up a loose gravel path that sapped your energy like running through sand. Baby steps and just keep my arms pumping. If I succumbed to a walk, I might never get started again! We were led through parts of the estate not usually open to the public then across vast, grassy fields, exposed in the baking heat. I walked the two drinks stations on each lap, gulping one cup and wearing another. I finished strongly, bounding through the finish with 5hrs on the clock. Another confidence boosting performance, 13th overall.

The Avenger is great alternative “half-iron” distance race and the trail run definitely bolsters it’s appeal.

Sunday 5th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Cranbrook Sprint Triathlon, Kent


Carol Tsang – 1st in Age Group

A great friendly, rural sprint triathlon with a pool swim. Race format: 300m Pool Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run.

A special mention should go to Carol Tsang who came 1st in her Age Group, 13th Female and to John Kendall who took part in his very first triathlon achieving a respectable 18th in Age Group, 110th Male. Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club also posted some other great results on that sunny Sunday:-13339525_10153667765537283_7157209820793680470_n

Simon Howden 6th in AG, 30th Male; Mark Poulton 2nd in AG, 38th Male; Steve Austin 7th in AG, 71st Male; Gemma Richardson 7th in AG, 28th Female and Peter and Stella who entered as a team, 6th in the team competition.




13394124_10154300585419301_2062757269292229160_nSunday 5th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon, Oxfordshire
Personal Account Written by Su Bonner, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club, 12th in Age Group (Jim Bonner 21st in Age Group).

We had an added bonus to a beautiful day at the Blenheim Triathlon today in that we got to watch the elites, including Ali Brownlee race! I caught sight of a distinctive run in transition and it was Alistair warming up! Anyway back to reality and our races…! Jim finished in 1:25:31, doing well in his AG 21st out of 289 and I knocked 6 minutes off my previous time with 1:35:51, 12th in AG. (Sprint 750/19.8/5.4)


Saturday 4th June 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon, Oxfordshire13346705_10154293129985719_749564805510676419_n

Personal Account Written by Suzannah Kinsella, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club, 9th in Age Group.

Fourth and finest Blenheim Triathlon! No doubt aided by my sterling support team of Lloyd Rafe and Rhoda. 7 mins quicker than last year. Eric I took your advice and made an effort to push hard on my swim stroke. 5th person out of the swim, a decent bike and a little trot on the run. Total time 1.32.08. Best of luck to Jim and Su tomorrow!





Sunday 29th May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – European Triathlon Championships, Lisbon, Standard Distance

Personal Account Written by Eric Perrier, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club, 51st in Age Group

Lisbon report (Part 2):

The standard distance race was more commonly early morning on Sunday. So had less time to squeeze the logistics in but we are all more used to that in the UK.
Jude is in great shape. I know she is going to do well as she had felt great at her swim recce.
Grant meets us for breakfast, he is looking good too but I look at him differently ;o)
I don’t get to see Stuart until they line up for their start.

Had Quaker porridge sachets brought from the UK, coffee, fruit and a bit of pastry.

Two days after the sprint, it was always going to be a bit of a gamble. I know a few people who have done these sorts of double trouble challenges and some in far tougher race conditions and/or bigger volume than this ( some even do it as family in the club! :o) ) so I just had to get on with it I guess.

On Saturday we had done a fair bit of walking around to watch the elite races then we racked, again.
There is no denying that Sunday morning I was a bit tired, had DOMS and my left hamstring wasn’t all that since injuring it two weeks prior restarting a bit of S & C but, apart from that, I was up for it really.

I knew the bike course well and the weather conditions appeared better. I knew the basin we were swimming in and I knew the run course despite the loop being slightly different. Still running through big arena with spectators: what a buzz!

In all honesty my game plan was to survive by warming into the swim and trying to keep in touch.

So here I was lining up with my European age group brothers [45-49]. A bit of banter going on, a bit of nerve, a bit of last minute pre-swim warmup but most of us staring in the horizon at what we had for starters: a 1500m zigzaggy open water swim.
Didn’t find it daunting at Grapham three weeks before.

Heard a bit of music and it was Mr Probz’ waves:


which made me think of my daughter. Lovely but not the most positive thought to have there and then.

Would have preferred the one heard in Geneva:


Anyway, off we were. I started in third row and things didn’t go well. It got very congested and I wasn’t enjoying it. Couldn’t find rhythm. When I did, it was quite late, too late. Unlike in the sprint I wasn’t in touch with the middle bunch, I was one of the drifters. I already knew it was not going to be a great race for me.

As for cycling, tough not to have other competitors to latch on or to swim with or to get a bit of draft from. So the only thing is to concentrate on technique.

Found out afterwards I managed 27’49. It had felt even worse. At least a minute slower than what I thought I could get.

Decentish T1 and off for the ride. I had managed to get my watch to work again so I had a little help. Funny enough it can also be a bit depressing when not on a good day to look at numbers that aren’t pleasing. Oh well, at least it was a lot less windy this time and at the end of the first lap which turned out to be 21km I was averaging 35km/h so I thought I could improve on that now that I was well warmed up.
The trouble is I didn’t. It felt the road was too grippy. Didn’t have any omph I know I can have and had at the Nationals in Grapham only a few weeks before or in training before that.

Anyway finished the 42km in 1h14. Realistically at least 4 minutes slower than what I think I could have achieved but I had to take it and again hope for my legs to be there on the run.

Had thought there was no reason I couldn’t get close to a 41 min 10k but my left hamstring was painful. I sometimes force myself to pedal wiping my feet and use my hamstrings a bit to relieve my quads and it makes the pedalling a bit smoother and relaxing too. On this occasion I had not managed any foot wiping. My fellow racers were wiping theirs with me.

Average T2 as a bike to my left had been wrongly racked and it impeded my own racking. Had to push theirs delicately with one hand “making sure it wasn’t going to fall” and then squeeze mine in thus adding a third bike racked from the saddle :o(
Not to worry. Worse can happen in transition, can’t it?!

Off onto the 400m leading to the arena and the start of the 4 loops. My left hamstring is killing me and I hobble-run for a few meters trying to keep positive.
All I can think of doing now is to pretend it’s not there and think of my technique, and who knows once warm it might be alright.

It works a treat! I know it’s there, feeling thicker, but I am on a mission to make up some time.
I pick quite a few people up but hard to tell sometimes whether they are in my age group or not and get overtaken by faster guys. “They must be youngsters”!

We are handed small bottles of water which is a bit wasteful when only used for a sip or two but fine when it is shower time.

Halfway through I am ok. Watch problems due to the arena but other people have them too so I focus on the lap time.
Closing on the end of the 3rd lap I am actualy a bit angry I have not managed to swim and bike well. Starting the third lap I know I am on course for a sub 40 mins and even if I completely collapse it should be near enough it.

I run my guts out to the sound of encouragements from unknown French people and some GBs. I sprint finish to the line and almost catch up with a Portuguese woman and I feel good about the fact I am not going to overtake her in front of her home crowd and clock just under 39 minutes.

2h24 finish time, I know I can do much better than that and it is rather frustrating but that’s racing and that’s life.
Most other triathletes have their own problems and restrictions, and I need to go back to my own drawing board.
I need to be realistic as to what I can achieve when injury and illness prone due the time I have available and how I use it, my health background and my fitness levels, my training “routine”.
Again I think a weekly gym session (or two) should help!
51 out of 76, not proud but not ashamed of myself :o)

Personal Account Written by Grant Aitken, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club – 21st in Age Group13315541_10153415203471741_7999308330959774727_n

The “Older” Race Report
Like all finely tuned athletes anticipating the opportunities and challenges of competition; whilst balancing the demands of work, family and the pub; the preparation was in line with what I had expected.

Having booked my flights late – good planning on my side; I managed to pay Easyjet more than if I had booked when originally planned, plus I had a drive (at 4am) to Luton. However, coffee, porridge and some grapes – plus a late shop at Boots to buy some forgotten (left at home) items I was on the way.

On arrival I discovered the wonders of cheap, quality coffee and the advantage of having Judith staying at the team hotel so I could leave my bike box and anything else I didn’t fancy carrying around. I then joined Judith and Stu to watch Eric (in a funny coloured tri suit) do his warm up race. It was good to be part of the atmosphere. Then time for coffee. Stu and I found (and adopted) a great restaurant overlooking the swim area.13315364_10153415203466741_2313077940385142489_n

On Saturday Judith, Eric and I watched the elite races which were amazing. I still do not know how people can swim and run that fast! But maybe if I was a tad younger…

Between the races more coffee and food. You can never underestimate the importance of pre-loading before a race, especially when its less than £2!
Jumping forward to race day. 4am wake up and a 6km walk – I didn’t pick a local place to stay – another learning point! However, I did manage to wave down a taxi so was at the team hotel early enough for Judith to let me watch her eat breakfast. I did manage to sneak in a coffee. Thanks Judith.
My race started at 8am but before that there was the need to relax. Another learning point – take loo paper!
The swim was good and Stu and manged respectable times – though he was ahead of me so we had a little chat at T1. He then decided to ride ahead of me so we didn’t chat till the end – very mean of him! The bike ride was out and back; then out and back.

Another learning point. If you are every racing with Judith and see tells you there are no hills (and she has done the recce)….IGNORE her!

I picked the wrong wheels (my excuse for trailing Stu) and was hit a few times with cross wind. Although on the aeros the ride was a bit “hairy” in places. T2 (no Stu wanting a chat) then off for a 4 lap run. I was very happy with the run – though Stu could have slowed down a bit! Then it was all over…21st in the age group. 13319851_10153415205726741_2152274454404302973_n
Time for another coffee and wait for the flight back home!
Finally; the adopted restaurant didn’t open till 7pm so Judith and Eric went ahead and ordered (and ate) my pizza whilst I was at the airport!

Sunday 29th May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – European Triathlon Championships, Lisbon, Standard Distance

Personal Account Written by Jude Haggar, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club – 9th in Age Group13336039_10154270717192174_5515166436916259390_n

I arrived here in Lisbon four days prior to the standard race to give myself plenty of time to recce the course and embrace the build up atmosphere. Got myself registered right away and settled myself into the team hotel. More expensive than other options but when I qualified last year I was at the time coming on my own and thought it would be more fun to be with others in the team and logistically easier to be near to the race site.

On Thursday the race organisers managed to organise a one lap bike recce of the course which was police escorted on closed roads. Wow! I’ve never seen or been together with so many riders in one giant group. It was fun. The majority of the course was along a motorway very exposed in sections to the wind so decided then that I would use my smaller front rim wheel which I had brought as a spare. In fact the night before when I was prepping my bike for this recce I managed to pull out the valve extension of my larger rimmed front wheel and the only way it could be put back on was Eric taking off the wheel as its a tubular and then fixing it back on. Having punctured the day before AND during my race at the Euros in Geneva last year and then also the day before my race at the Worlds in Chicago I was feeling rather sensitive about having any wheel issues. I opted for my other wheel and put my mind to rest!13340203_10154270717202174_4607511521620092492_o

The opening ceremony wasn’t that great but it was good to meet a few new people and catch up with some friends in the team. Swim recce on Friday after the sprint races was a perfect opportunity to think about the line I would take at the start, the landmarks to sight behind the buoys and the various turns. The swim was within a ‘basin’ off the sea so wouldn’t be rough but possibly a little choppy if the winds picked up off the sea. On Friday I also did some light strength work and some stretching. My body was beginning to feel lazy, heavy legs and I couldn’t stop eating! The usual signs that I was tapering. The nerves started to set in too with my mind starting to focus on my race eeekkkk!

The night before the race we racked our bikes and I walked through transition and the various entry and exit points. Now my stomach was on fire! Had a relaxed early supper with my team mates and we tried to not talk too much about the race but I could sense we were all going through the same anxious thoughts.

Race morning arrived after what felt like a non stop night of tossing and turning. I kept thinking for goodness sake this is a hobby and I’ve done this before. Alarm rudely went off at 5am. Bag prepped the night before, Eric singing “why oh why Delilah!!” to calm our nerves which would later pop into my head at various points during the race, breakfast done, the third loo trip and then down to transition. No time for nerves now. The sun rising, hundreds of triathletes already in transition all pumping tyres, laying out kit, I started to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. I warmed up away from the crowds down by the water and for the first time warmed up enough to actually break into a sweat, something I’ve not been generally good at doing at races. Back to the drop off bags, yet another loo trip for goodness sake and then down to swim start.

Time to race. Penned in with my age group and the women in the age group above I chatted amongst a few friends then lay down and closed my eyes whilst we waited for a few groups to start in front. Weirdly I felt calm. Perhaps it was the Coldplay song blasting out of the speakers?

Into the water with just a one minute warning I got myself into position and the horn went. Time to dance. That’s what I like to think of when I swim. To be graceful and composed. The inevitable start however with flaying arms, hands grabbing feet in front and avoiding the kicks. Whack! A hand punched my right eye and the goggles sucked themselves tighter on that side with the left side now feeling slightly looser. Momentarily I thought oh gawd I don’t want to lose a contact lens. Panic over when I realised that my goggles weren’t going anywhere. Drafted a few but then found my own line amongst what looked like the second pack. I relaxed and focused on my form and it felt good. Third turn and about 500m to go I felt able to quicken my pace and found myself swimming alongside another triathlete for nearly the last 400m before I broke away and felt super excited at the thought of getting on my bike. Exited up a narrow ramp and into T1.12871498_10154270717277174_8150658566310158658_n

Wetsuit off doing some funny moves across the aisle, kit on from top to bottom and off I went to the mount line about 200m away. Cobbles here and a little slippy so no risky moves here and I was off. Along more cobbles, speed bumps and then round yet another cobbled bend yikes up a small rise onto the course. Now time to get serious. Head down and upped my gears to where I felt my legs were working hard and at a pace that I was used to from my threshold sessions. Along a main road, sadly not many supporters as we were heading out of town onto a motorway. Here I worked myself hard where I could feel the lactic acid building but not to the extent that I wouldn’t be able to maintain the ache. I loved the course which was in the majority along a motorway 10km out and 10 back to be done twice, but was surprised by the hill which I hadn’t thought was a hill during the recce. Yikes had to do this twice. But a hard’ish hill meant a fast down was coming. Yipee! Stayed for the first time on my drops and hit a speed where I couldn’t pedal. Focused on the road as there were a few lumps and bumps in places. Hit a few of these at some point and thoughts of my puncture in Geneva came back to me. Composed my thoughts and carried on. I passed girls in my AG along the course and I felt strong. But some also passed me and I spent the final 10km aiming to keep up with one of the girls in my AG who was potentially up for a medal as she had just come 2nd at the recent Nationals at Grafman. I lost her in the final 5km.13319924_10154270717287174_3489325900951774110_n

Into T2 no probs here and now I would have to work really hard. I tried to keep the creeping negative thoughts out as I started my run as I’ve not had a great running winter season. Having had plantar in my right foot last winter which had started just before Chicago last September, I finally sorted this out, but then developed a problem in my left one! According to various experts this was an overuse injury most likely to have occurred due to having had plantar in the other. Physio, corticosteroid a few months earlier (which simply masked the issue for six weeks), I had also started a comprehensive strength programme which included mobility and rehab work. So I’d not had a positive winter running season. I would have to dig deep as they say!

A flat run but four laps which meant running into the arena five times where our race would finish. Not counting the first time into the arena as the first lap as this was just 400m into the beginning of the race, the crowds were loud and very encouraging and the music booming. I kept an eye on my pace which looked okay but dropped on all the various turns and it felt hard to get my pace going again. But I had my eyes on one of the girls in my AG who on every race we’ve been on I’ve been faster on the bike but she would overtake me early on in the run normally around the 3/4km mark. She seemed further behind than usual and I kept her at the same distance away for most of the race. For some reason I started my fourth lap and looking at my watch noticed the distance didn’t appear to be reading right. Panic! Did I have another lap to do and had I miscounted?!? But how was that possible as the mental calculations didn’t add up. I stupidly shouted to the girl who I had my eyes on is this the last lap and she thumbed up! But I still doubted myself. Just 400m to go and rather than speeding up I’d slowed down! My friend whipped past me and I shouted ‘are you sure!’ She thumbed up again and so I sprinted in 4 seconds behind to the finish feeling elated but slightly cross with myself for doubting and slowing down in the last lap!13315519_10154270717327174_852014382133915918_n

It turned out that our gps didn’t pick up the distance in the arena and as we had run into the arena five times the distance reading on our watches wasn’t 10km but just under 9km. Various age groupers in the GB team as a result ran one too many laps!

Apart from my slip up at the end and no race is ever perfect, I was chuffed with my result. A pb swim of 25:21, T1 1.31, Bike 1.16.46 (expected faster but distance was 42.5km and hillier than thought), T2 1.03, Run 44.41 (very happy as official distance was 10km) Total 2.29.24. I was hoping for a top 10 position and achieved 9th so was chuffed.

I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to race again at the Europeans but I’m particularly proud to be part of such an encouraging positive fun club that TWTC is as my weekly club swims, Sunday rides and club friends are a major part of what drives me on especially Eric for his constant support and humour and to Liz at Trilife who motivates me and keeps me driven. Roll on next race!

Friday 27th May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – European Triathlon Championships, Lisbon, Sprint Distance

Personal Account Written by Eric Perrier, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club Founder, 33rd Place13321885_10154261207832174_2848635701330081724_n

Hello guys,
Race report from yesterday’s Sprint at the Euro tri champs in Lisbon:

Well, had decided to take part in the Sprint as well as the Standard as the French tri federation selected me on results as I had managed the Canterbury pool sprint in 1h07 winning my AG in the process not that long ago.

So I went for it.
Admittedly, when that happened, many months ago, I had hoped to be more prepared for this two race combo but hey, not to worry, it’s all fun!

Transition: Quick check of the other competitors: they all mean business. Fair enough! Many look a lot sharper than me.
Food for thought for the rest of the season!? Jim & Su’s session!
Ok, back in the “now” Eric!

Pretty straight forward transition procedure in what is a pretty well organised event. The opening ceremony was a bit of a damp squid though but the event site is well suited for a big tri event.

We are not exactly in Lisbon which we’ll visit after Sunday’s race but in Parque das Nações area in the North East of town next to the Tagus estuary where we swim in.

Loads of good examples of post modernist architecture on display. Some of the stuff I would imagine finding in Brazil too, yet this has a very European feel. For your info or your next pub quiz, it was the site of the World Expo 1998.

So here I am all racked up (the day before) and bringing the rest of the toys in.
My fully charged Garmin all of a sudden decides not to wake up so I DNS it as I feel it would unlikely agree to start again while riding. Plus I don’t need the extra faff.

I try to keep positive: “it will be cool to do it all by feel”. I usually don’t use it on the swim but admittedly I find it useful for the rest.
Oh well, I can’t do anything about it now. Focus on warming up.
I’ve got a little bit of time for dynamic stretching and short bursts of running, then wetsuit on and all upper body stuff trying to recruit lats, rhomboids, shoulders, rotator cuffs.

Time to line up for battle with the other 108.
Decent fast start and then I settle into my endurance pace which, with hindsight, I should have tried to up a bit for sprint distance.
Looking up I am well distanced by the fast guys but in touch with the middle pack, ish.
13′ not too shoddy but not great for a race like this.

My supporters deluxe, Jude, Stuart, Grant and a few other people we know are quite vociferous, it feels great!

So, bike cap on now after a decent transition, accurately step footing my wetsuit off and packing it carefully-ish to avoid a penalty. I am about to run off with my bike but I spot a wetsuit arm out of the box, so I re-rack, arm in, and off.

Run out and Bike out meet and one needs to be super careful.
Mount line well marked, wide exit, non problematic. Bump every 10 m on a cobbled path, not great but same for everyone.

Time to give it a good shot. I settle into a gear ratio that enables me a quick warm-up yet not too time wasting. I pick people up and feel good.
10k turnaround and it all changes. The poor weather is now picking up. No rain (yet) but the mother of all headwinds which I simply don’t negotiate well. Not much training for two full weeks and not very much in 4 previous ones either is now telling: I simply haven’t got the energy to power through this killer wind.
I am fighting though but I am under the cosh thinking to myself that the only way is to keep ultra low, hardly looking ahead but easier thought than done. No idea what pace I am going at but I know it’s slow.
I recognise the beautiful Vasco de Gama bridge and I know I don’t have long to go.

Into transition after a pretty poor 40 min bike segment and I know I need to find legs on the run I have not had for many months.
Moreover, it has got to be done by feel as I am watchfree.

To my surprise, they are there. I feel like telling people “I have got legs” but they would have referred me to more serious practioners than the first aiders.
19’11 for the 5.4k, race damage limited: 1h14’49. 33/49.

As chuffed to have raced for my native country as for my adoptive one. I will get to do it again tomorrow in the Standard race with the other TWTC guys and a whole bunch of toughies but we are not scared: we will “do well, doubt not”!

Sunday 22nd May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – The Marshman Half Results

Personal account written by Kieran Fitzpatrick, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club (8th Overall, 2nd in Age Group)

“Nina and I were on “baby sitting” duty this weekend and, with three of her nephews in tow, there is no question TWTC had the best support crew in town at this morning’s Marshman. I’d carb loaded like a king with an enormous Dominos… Not one from the manual!

The pre-race briefing was informal and inaudible in equal measures and we soon entered the water for our 7.45am start. With just 83 on the start sheet, I found myself treading water somewhere in the middle and then, at the starting hooter, we were off. A melee of thrashing arms and feet ensued and I was determined to find a faster swimmer to draft off for as long as I could hold on. Turns out, not that long. I set off far too quickly and was suddenly hit by a sense of overwhelming panic as the oxygen drained from my lungs. I sat up and breast stroked, gasping for air, desperate to regain composure. My brain eventually accepted that I wasn’t going to drown and I settled into a more steady rhythm for the remainder of the 1900m M-shaped swim.

I exited the water in a fraction over 40mins… Relieved to have made up what time I might have lost during my mini freakout. Ken exited T1 shortly before me so I knew I had a target to chase down as soon as I got on the bike.

I’d recce’d the course with João just a couple of weeks earlier and this gave me the confidence that I knew exactly what to expect. I threw caution to the wind and, one by one, I reeled in the fish that had exited the water before me. We benefited from a relatively calm day which spurred me on to ride harder than planned. I came into T2 after 2hr24, a split flattered by this year’s sightly shortened route.


As soon as I set out on the run, I realised I may have let my ego get the better of me on the bike. A desperate comfort break was an enforced opportunity to get my heart rate under control and attempt to get my head around the long slog ahead of me. I’ve been here before. I broke the half marathon into four 3.5 mile segments and rationed one gel every 5k… Doesn’t feel so bad that way. I was starting to cook as the sun broke through the cloud cover and showered myself with a bottle of water to cool down. The run is always mind over matter and I was resolved to hold sub 7.30 pace all the way to the finish.13076689_192539941139954_3566267112283283903_n

I was so relieved to glimpse the finish banner over the hedgerow and I accelerated round the corner to finish with a massive smile on my face. 1hr34 for the run, crossing the line with 4hr42 on the clock. Delighted to record my best result to date, 8th overall and 2nd in AG!

Sam Begg was crowned champion with another stellar performance. First out the water and recovering from an 8min puncture to secure victory on the run. One day, I hope to grow up just like him!

I’m sure Ken and Adam will share their own stories… But the Marshman is a great, low key event that invites you to have a go! Just because its flat, doesn’t make it easy!”

Personal Account by Ken MacSporran, Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club (22nd Overall, 5th in Age Group)

Marshman 2016. Kieran Fitzpatrick has written a great race report which just leaves me to say – great event, really good low key early season half iron. great race for a first stab at the distance. here’s some pretty obvious lessons i learnt at the race…
1. don’t leave food open in transition ready for swift getaway… my kit was infested with ants
2. be ok at everything, not great at one discipline. I excelled in nothing and still managed a fairly respectable 22/76 and 5/13 AG.
3. do not be intimidated by expensive bikes (some of their owners are crap at running, I took 17 of the TT boys on the run… yep i memorised what they looked like as they whizzed past on the bike and took great joy in jogging past them on the run and giving them a nod/smile)
4. you can do as many sunday bike rides as you like but you need to be able to run a decent half marathon on tired legs. you can get away with it at OD but not at half iron. i need to do more bricks!
5. put your running shoes inside a plastic bag. i hung my wetsuit on the rail above my trainers (drip drip….) luckily trainers were in a sainsburys bag so i had dry trainers for the run.
6. like kieran i also had a bit of a panic in the water – after only 2 minutes into a 5 hour race. all is not lost. it happens to lots of us. just needed to calm down breathing and pick some clean space to swim in.
7. sighting. we had pylons to aim for. just as well as my goggles were pretty foggy. pick a landmark to aim for not the buoy.
8. it’s a lot of fun. and i feel a 100 times better for doing it. next one in 5 weeks.

Saturday 21st May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – The Marshman, Lydd

The weekend of 21st and 22nd May saw Velocity Events hosting 3 races in Lydd, Kent as part of their ‘Marshman’ weekend. Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club was represented in two of these races with some excellent results. On Saturday, the Marshman Standard started at 7:30am with a 1500m open water swim followed by a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. Tunbridge Wells had a team of 4 triathletes competing who were lead home by Dave Mahon. Dave had an outstanding swim and finished in 11th place overall (6th AG 45-49) in a time of 2:17:59 , Anna Costain finished in 24th place in 2:29:17 and took the age group winner’s trophy for the 35-39 female category, Sam Ricketts finished in 30th place (4th AG 30-34) in 2:34:29 followed by Claire Howard who finished 38th (3rd in AG 35-39) in 2:39:31. 13267863_1599036907053480_3396555244608620914_n

The Tunbridge Wells team were delighted to finish in 3rd place in the team competition taking away £100 in prize money for their efforts.

The next day Kieran Fitzpatrick and Ken MacSporran took on the challenge of the half- ironman distance in which 80 competitors braved the 1900m swim, 92km bike and 21km (half-marathon) run. Kieran completed the bike course in an impressively swift 2hrs24, followed by a half marathon time of 1hr34 which gave him a personal best overall finish time of 4hrs42, 2nd in Age Group and 8th overall. Ken MacSporran finished 22nd overall in a time of 5hrs11 which placed him 5th out of 13 in his Age Group. The race was won by Sevenoaks triathlete Sam Begg in a time of 4hrs 18mins.

Sunday 8th May 2016 – Tunbridge Wells Triathletes place top 10 at 2016 Triathlon England National Championships

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club had a great weekend in the sunshine at St. Neots Standard Distance Triathlon which was also the venue for the 2016 Triathlon England National Standard Distance Triathlon Championships. The event took place at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire and saw over 500 triathletes from across England compete in a 1500m swim in Grafham Water Reservoir followed by a fast flat 40km bike ride and a 10km run. Tunbridge Wells had 6 athletes competing, 4 of whom placed in the top 10 within their age groups. Final results were:

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club - St Neots

Grant Aitken, 9th in AG 50-54 in 2:10:43, (96th male overall)
Stuart Williams, 10th in AG 50-54 in 2:11:08 (102nd male overall)
Eric Perrier, 16th in AG 45-49 in 2:14:13 (133rd male overall)

Judith Hagger, 8th in AG 40-44 in 2:29:05 (51st female overall)
Anna Costain, 9th in AG 35-39 in 2:30:58 (56th female overall)
Claire Howard 16th in AG 35-39 in 2:46:14 (102nd female overall)

Photo from left to right; Eric Perrier, Judith Hagger, Stuart Williams, Grant Aitken, Claire Howard, Anna Costain.

Monday 2nd May 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Bank Holiday weekend results

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club was well represented at Tonbridge Triathlon on Bank Holiday Monday. The event, which was celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year took place at the Tonbridge School sports complex and staged both a standard and sprint distance competition.

Tunbridge Wells Club members Lloyd Collier and Anna Costain took part in the Standard event which saw the pair compete in an 800 metre pool swim, 50km hilly bike ride and a 10km run through the Tonbridge School grounds. Anna Costain was the 2nd placed female (42nd overall) in a time of 3.01.56 with Lloyd Collier finishing 23rd overall, 9th in age group (v40) in a time of 2.51.00.

The sprint event followed later in the morning with seven further TWTC competitors taking part in the 400m swim, 25k bike ride and 5km run.  Joao Branquinho led the group finishing 16th in a time of 1.22.49 closely followed by team mates Simon Howden, 31st in a time of 01:29:04 and Mark Poulton, 37th in a time of 01:29:51. Claire Howard was 9th female finishing in 01:35:14, Carol Tsang 21st female (1:42:03), Suzannah Kinsella 29th f (01:43:32) and Claire Lawrence 68th f (01:58:14).

Elsewhere over the weekend, Tunbridge Wells triathlete Andy Exall took part in Velocity Event’s Maidstone sprint triathlon which started with a 300m swim at the Sutton Valence School followed by an 18km bike and 4.5km run. Andy finished 23rd in 1:01:50, 1st in his 55-59 age group.

24th April 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Members compete at Uckfield TriathlonClaire Lawrence_Claire Howard


Claire Howard and Claire Lawrence of Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club both competed in near freezing conditions at the Uckfield Sprint Triathlon at the weekend. The event, which took place on Sunday 24th April, included a 400m swim in the Uckfield Leisure Centre followed by a 16.5k bike ride finishing with a 3.5k run.   Claire Howard won her age group (35-39) in 01:02:24 finishing 6th female overall. Claire Lawrence finished in 01:12:17 and was 3rd in her AG, 15th female overall.

17th April 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Sevenoaks Triathlon Results

misc prize

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club turned out in force at 7oaks Triathlon at the weekend, fielding a team of 22 athletes. 7oaks Triathlon is one of the first triathlons of the season and attracted over 300 participants who competed in the 400m pool swim, 25km bike ride and 8km run through Knole Park.

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club chose 7oaks Triathlon as their club championships with Jude Hagger and Stuart Williams claiming the titles having posted the fastest times from club on the day. Jude won the trophy for first female in her age group (40-49, Vet) and was 4th female overall and Stuart was 10th overall and finished 2nd in his age group (50-59, Super Vet). Both Jude and Stuart are representing Great Britain at the European Triathlon Union Standard Distance European Championships in May.


Tunbridge Wells also placed overall 2nd in the female team category (Jude Hagger, Anna Costain and Claire Howard) and 3rd in the male team category (Stuart William, Lloyd Collier, Eric Perrier and Grant Aitken).


Age Category
Cat Pos
Gen Pos
10 Stuart WILLIAMS 1:30:20.9 50-59 2 Super Vet 10
22 Lloyd COLLIER 1:34:09.2 40-49 11 Vet 22
24 Eric PERRIER 1:34:24.0 40-49 12 Vet 24
26 Grant AITKEN 1:34:33.6 50-59 3 Super Vet 26
37 Ken MACSPORRAN 1:36:57.8 40-49 17 Vet 35
46 Dave MAHON 1:39:08.1 40-49 23 Vet 44
71 Jude HAGGER 1:43:19.8 40-49 1 Vet 4
75 Sam GIBBS 1:43:43.1 30-39 18 Sen 71
80 Mark POULTON 1:44:08.1 50-59 14 Super Vet 73
86 James BONNER 1:45:26.2 50-59 16 Super Vet 79
116 Anna COSTAIN 1:47:47.0 30-39 3 Sen 14
138 Neil WITZ 1:50:51.0 40-49 57 Vet 119
139 Andy EXALL 1:51:06.6 50-59 25 Super Vet 120
151 Claire HOWARD 1:52:33.0 30-39 8 Sen 23
156 Suzannah KINSELLA 1:54:52.6 40-49 7 Vet 25
179 Sam RICKETTS 1:59:00.5 30-39 31 Sen 149
185 Andrew ADAMS 1:59:51.1 50-59 37 Super Vet 155
224 John FULLER 2:04:24.5 40-49 86 Vet 185
243 James GIBBS 2:08:25.3 20-29 11 Adult 195
257 Carol TSANG 2:11:25.4 40-49 17 Vet 49
264 Peter TAYLOR 2:13:05.9 50-59 54 Super Vet 212
289 Jodie COCKER 2:25:43.5 30-39 19 Sen 58

16th & 17th April 2016 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – David Bagge takes bronze at the ETU Duathlon Championships in Germany

David Bagge Podium 2

The ETU (European Triathlon Union) Duathlon Championships took place in Kalkar, Germany on 16 and 17th April 2016. David Bagge of Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club took part in the sprint event which consisted of a 5k run, 20k bike and a final run of 2.5k. David competes in the 50-54 age group in which there were 28 competitors from all over Europe. During a tough race David finished in Bronze medal position.

Total time: 1:01:15, 1st leg 5.1k in 18:10, bike leg 20k in 31:13, final run 2.5k in 9:57.

David is now looking forward to competing in the World Duathlon Championships which take place in June.

Fellow Tunbridge Wells duathletes, Lexi Couchman and Neil Couchman also competed in Germany in the Standard distance event (10k run, 40k bike, 5k run). Lexi came 11th in her AG (30-34), getting a PB in a time of 02:36:40. Neil came 12th in his AG(35-39).

British Triathlon news report:


Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club duathletes; David Bagge, Lexi Couchman and Neil Couchman, recently represented Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club at two ITU (International Triathlon Union) Duathlon World Championship qualifying events.

The Dambuster Duathlon in Rutland Water, Leicestershire took place on 5th March 2016 and was the qualifying event for the ITU Standard Distance World Championships.

33rd) Neil Couchman in 2h09’49 [12th in Age Group]

55th) David Bagge in 2h13’52 [3rd in AG]

326th) Lexi Couchman in 2h58’07 [10th in AG]

The following weekend saw the three compete again, this time at the Bedford Duathlon on 13/03/16 which was the qualifying event for the ITU Sprint Distance World Championships 2016.

41st Male) Neil Couchman in 0h58’27 [8th in AG]

47th Male) David Bagge in 0h58’45 [2nd in AG]

53rd Female) Lexi Couchman in 1h16’28 [8th in AG]

Dave Bagge did exceptionally well to qualify for the ITU Duathlon World Championships in both the standard and sprint distances and will be travelling to Aviles, Spain in June to represent Great Britain in his age group.