2017 Race Reports

Sunday 1st October 2017 Race Reports

Ten Tunbridge Wells Triathletes braved challenging conditions for the End of Season Sprint race in Lydd. The prospect of autumnal rain and brutal headwinds didn’t dampen spirits at this low key event, that had been selected as the Club Championships. The race started with a 530m open water swim before the 20km bike leg out to Camber Sands and back. The wind made bike handling unnerving for some and progress was slow as athletes battled the elements. The race concluded with a 5.3km run loop around the lakes.

The race was won by Thomas White in 1hr03. The Weald Triathlete led from start to finish, capitalising on the fastest swim split of the day. Kieran Fitzpatrick was first home for the club, claiming second place overall in 1hr04. A strong bike leg saw him move up from 17th place after the swim before maintaining his position on the run. Dave Mahon claimed first vet and third place overall in a time of 1hr07. Consistent splits across all disciplines kept him away from the rapidly chasing Lloyd Collier who recorded the second fastest run leg of the day to finish third for the club and fourth overall in 1hr08.

The ladies also enjoyed podium success with Pippa Whitby claiming second place in 1hr19. Suzanna Kinsella followed shortly after in 1hr25 to take third place overall. Clare Roche continued her good form to finish first F60.

Sunday 17th September 2017 Race Reports

Clare Roche represented Team GB Age Group at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam. Competing over Sprint Distance, Roche impressed with a 17min swim (750m), 42min bike (20km) and 27min run to finish 11th in the F60 category. The Tunbridge Wells Triathlete executed her race to perfection, setting a personal best of 1hr36 at this prestigious event.

Jude Hagger and Eric Perrier travelled to the Dorset coast to race Ironman Weymouth 70.3. Athletes were faced with challenging conditions, buffeted by large swell for the 1.2mile sea swim. The 56mile bike course looped through picturesque rolling countryside before returning to the seafront for a half marathon along Weymouth’s iconic esplanade. Jude Hagger excelled with a time of 5hr45, finishing 7th F40.

Claire Howard and Helen Waite recorded an astonishing distance of 352 miles at the Revolve24 cycle challenge at Brands Hatch. They competed as a relay team of four, along with local cyclists Jill Webster and Clare Norris. The event pushed endurance levels to the limit, with participants recording as many laps of the famous racing circuit in 24hrs.

Sunday 17th September 2017 – ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam, Sprint Distance

Personal Account by Clare Roche
With a mixture of excitement and anxiety we rolled into Rotterdam having endured the terrible Belgian motorways which made even the M25 seem not so bad. I’d thought Rotterdam would not be that interesting but like London it has rejuvenated its old docks and they now sport cafes, hotels and museums aplenty, making it a very pleasant location.

Having never been to an international event before I had elected to stay in the team hotel which turned out to be a good choice. It was a chance to meet other competitors both from Britain and elsewhere, be at the centre of information and have access to the team managers should I need them, which as it turned out I did.

The day before my race we had the chance to watch the final world series race of 2017 and cheer Jess Learmonth into second place behind the phenomenal Flora Duffy. It was pouring with rain but that didn’t seem to limit the speed with which they took sharp corners over wet cobbles. I prayed it would dry up before we too would have to negotiate a similarly tight course. Happily the weather gods smiled and despite the forecast of rain we had near perfect conditions.

The swim was in an old dock not dissimilar to that used for the London tri, but was some distance from the run which meant there was a split transition. My wave included all women over the age of 55 making it the largest wave in the whole championship… by a country mile; 145 in contrast to an average of around 70 in other waves. Appeals to the referee fell on deaf ears – we just had to get on with it. It was a crush to get everyone onto the pontoon & I’d anticipated the swim would be a dog fight. Happily it turned out better than expected. I prefer to breath to the left so positioned myself on the far right of the field which after some initial jostling was relatively peaceful… until we came to rounding the first buoy where there was elbowing and thrashing about that continued on and off until approaching the exit steps. I was pleased with my pace which at 1.56/100yds was the fastest I had ever done – I just need to swim a lot straighter! A long run of about 500 metres led into T1 but unfortunately the lovely blue carpet ran out after 350m; cobbles in bare feet aren’t great!

I was thankful to get on the bike, head back past the swim venue and over numerous bridges and ninety degree bends to the far side of the river Maas. For the first 4-5 km it was impossible to benefit from drafting; there were too many 180 degree corners and shifts from bike lanes to pavements to roads and back again. After that things settled down a bit and there were chances to draft. Initially, however, I found myself alone or with people I could easily overtake. Eventually an American and I worked together for a few kilometres which was fortunate as there now developed a slight headwind. The course continued to weave around, going through building sites, a narrow tunnel and over makeshift bridges before a couple of ninety degree bends brought us to the dismount line, whereupon my American ‘friend’ overtook me and overshot receiving a 10 second penalty for her efforts. Another lengthy run of about 350 metres led into T2 and without too much fumbling I got shoes on and headed into Hett park for the run. Here I managed to pull away from a fellow British competitor who had caught up with me just as I finished cycling but, in turn, I was overtaken by an Australian whom I had previously caught on the bike. I had set my Garmin for a certain pace and it showed I was slowly slipping behind. I tried to steadily increase my cadence and concentrate on using my arms as I attempted to slowly raise the pace. The sight of an Elvis Presley impersonator in the closing 1500 metres was clearly so scary that I managed the last mile rather faster than the first two! With enormous relief I spied the finishing chute and thoroughly enjoyed the last few metres run up the blue carpet to the finish.

I crossed the line on my own with almost no one else in sight. This is important because when the official results were put up 2-3 hours later I was horrified to see I was disqualified for ‘ unsportsmanlike behaviour’ along with another British athlete, Paula Fisher. I was shocked, stunned and angry in turns and initially tried to think if I had done anything untoward; I hadn’t. It turns out that the identical times given to both myself and Paula were interpreted by the system as a contrived tie & generate an automatic disqualification. Paula, however, did not compete but was in bed, ill in her hotel! It is an amazing cock up & even more so for it to happen at this level.This is where having easy access to the team manager became important. He reassured me it would all be sorted out but will take time.
Although this inevitably took some of the shine off my first, possibly only, time in a GB shirt nevertheless it was still an enjoyable, if intriguing, experience. Representing the country was a great honour, the race itself was fun and many of my fellow competitors, such as the 83 yr old who’d been to Kona six times, the last time when he was 76, were truly inspirational.

Sunday 10th September 2017 – River Dart 10km Swim

Personal Account by Suzannah Kinsella
Dart 10k finished! Thanks everyone for the good luck messages and sponsorship for the Level Water charity, helping disabled children to swim. Lloyd and I raised over £800.

A smooth start followed by ever choppier water as the promised high winds whipped up the river. Brief jelly baby pit stops at the 4k and 7k refreshment rafts then round the corner to the finish.
Pleased with my 2hr 31 (2.54 in 2014).
(and a tiny bit chuffed to welcome Lloyd in at 2.55..😉 ).

Sunday 27th August 2017 – Chateau de Chantilly Triathlon, Standard Distance

Personal Account by Dave Mahon
Chantilly race report: Olympic (1.5k,45k,10k) Aug 27 2017

Chantilly is part of the Castle Triathlon series and the format was very like Hever. The location is amazing and the grounds are used to full affect. Due to various commitments, my training was in a bit of a lull over the summer and to make it worse, my plantar facia hurt a bit so I decided to take two months off running. I tried to get back into it on holiday but the European heat wave got in the way. I could just about manage 10k so it looked a bit touch and go.

With the whole family in tow, we left the house at 7:10. The kids thought it was too early but I wasn’t sure. We got there in 20 mins to find the car park was full! 15 mins later we engineered a space out of something. The stress levels went down as we got the stuff out. But then it started to rain….
We passed registration. The rain was more continuous but at least I was moving – more than could be said for the many hundreds queuing up for registration. My Saturday recce + early registration felt like time well spent!

Racking was stressful. Heavy rain by this point so I was drenched, the transition footwear arranged in plastic bags. The briefing was in 10 minutes so it was time to put my wetsuit on. Using a plastic bag, I got my legs done really quickly. Nice! Then I noticed I still had my shorts on. Doh! With a pounding heart I rectified the error and raced to the start.
Due to massive congestion at registration, my wave was thankfully delayed by 30 mins. This gave me the chance to watch the competition wave and adjust the wetsuit – I like to pull it over my shoulder blades at the back to increase mobility. However, I had put on 3kg over the holidays and the front was feeling a bit tight.

3, 2, 1 ….. The water felt warm but it was murky and the sky was dark so I was glad I didn’t wear my mirrors. I led the way for a little but my chest felt very tight and it was hard to breath. The water quality was the worst I have ever encountered and although I wasn’t panicking, it wasn’t exactly going to plan either. I dropped my cadence and my pull was rubbish – it took me a good 600m to start swimming properly. Jocelyn told me I was 12th out of the water in 27 mins – my slowest ever swim.

After a 300m run + T1, I was pleased to get on the bike. However, before the smooth roads, I had to navigate a rutted and potholed muddy track. It was so bumpy, my water bottle fell off and I stopped as a kind spectator retrieved it. The course was 45km ie one lap of the Gauntlet (half-iron). It wasn’t going too badly on the long stretches but I was slow going through the villages on the wet roads. Even though the motorbikes were out, drafting was rife. I was determined to do it clean so stayed out of it.

Coming out of T2 was very confusing. At a critical point, a van had just blocked the run out. I kept on running to the left but then spotted the route through the trees. Apparently, others were less fortunate and ran down the bike out!
Once on the route it was a joy. The first third was in trees – easy XC on soft ground. The legs felt good and I was motoring past everyone, quite the opposite to normal. Great views of the castle were followed by the racecourse, including the iconic Musee du Cheval. The sun was out and it was starting to get hot. Suddenly I saw Sam Gibbs – a sight for sore eyes! This really gave me a boost, thanks Sam! With 1km to go, my right foot really started to hurt. My shoes didn’t have any talc in them due to the rain and I had picked up my first blister in decades. I just about kept it going and just had enough left in the tank for a little sprint.

Swim/T1/bike/T2/run/total: – 27:15/3:46/1:28:03/2:35/45:37/2:47:17

So not the best time ever but I enjoyed the run and it’s nice finishing without damaging something. Would I do it again? Perhaps not considering the swim + travel logistics, although it was a novelty racing abroad and the marshals + police did a good job on the road. Looking at the photos of the Gauntlet crew, it looked far more sociable. But that extra run lap in the hot sun….

Sunday 20th August 2017 – Ringmer Triathlon Standard Distance

Personal Account by Pippa Whitby
Finally took the plunge and stepped up to standard distance today and I surprised myself!
Managed the 800m pool swim in 15.10 (quickest lady so pleased with that), on to the bike: 40km 1.30hr which for me was pretty quick so still smiling and then the 9km run which felt pretty awful (wondered if I’d overcooked the bike) but managed in 45mins so again happy face. The smile grew when I picked up a trophy for 3rd female in an albeit small category but I’ll take that on my first time at this distance. Now for a rest before moving house tomorrow 

Saturday 19th August 2017 – IronMan Kalmar Sweden
Personal Account by Chris Nieuwoudt

Race day started at 4:00 getting into the familiar routine. I arrived at transition at 05:15, weary of the delays 2500 racers would cause! After final checks and sorting out water bottles we had a relaxed walk to the the swim start and I was all ready to go by 06:30.

There was a rolling start for the swim with self seeding which went smoothly though I wasn’t quite prepared for the shock of diving into the water and going for it! With so many racers it remained congested and I had to fight to get some clear water, thus taking a long time to really settle into my rhythm.

The bike course is flat and almost immediately crosses over the 6km Öland Bridge onto Öland Island for 110km. Being an island there is always the chance of this part of the ride being windy, and it certainly was, alternating between endless headwind and tough crosswind, interspersed with some fantastic blasts of tailwind. I was surprised how tight my hamstrings felt after the swim and I decided to manage this by increasing my gearing and slowing my cadence for the first 30km. They duly released and up went the cadence. Favouring a fast flat course I was also aware to not push too hard and decided to limit my speed to heart rate, maintaining this in the 130’s. This tactic worked well as I came off the bike with legs that felt relatively good (My back was another story being in the same position for so long).

Off to the run which felt fab for the first 2km, then my right ITB started to get grumpy, at 4 km my left calf started too and I decided it was time for a bit of a run walk strategy. The water points were spaced every 2 km, so I decided to walk the length of each and then run to the next. So it was that I ticked off the 42km in 2km junks. The run consisted of 3 x 14km loops with crowds practically the whole way round with many street, boat and house parties along the way, but it was the 4 km in the town that was simply fantastic.

So, would I do it again? As Lloyd and I discussed at the finish, no way. However, time is a funny healer and I am certainly looking to do Kalmar again. Fast, fun and full of atmosphere I now want to go back and beat my time.

Thanks to Susannah for all the cheering and Lloyd for the camaraderie!

Sunday 13th August 2017 Race Reports

Natalie Adams, (Andrew Adams), Su Bonner at Edenbridge Sprint Triathlon

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club enjoyed podium success at the VO2 Edenbridge Sprint Triathlon. Competitors completed a 400m pool swim before embarking on the undulating 20km bike course around the Kent / Surrey border, with a fast two lap run to finish. Natalie Adams (F45) was first female in 1hr30, with Su Bonner not far behind as first F50. Adams capitalised on a strong swim and consistent bike leg before extending her lead on the run. Beula Clarkson (F30), Andrew Adams (M50) and Stephen Dunkerly (M50) were all well positioned within their Age Groups. Individual split times were still to be published at time of going to press.

John Fuller (M40) completed the Iron-distance Aqua Bike at the Midnightman Triathlon in Dartford. Setting off at 6pm, competitors raced through the night to complete the epic endurance challenge under the cover of darkness. Fuller completed the 3.8km swim in 1hr37 before setting off on the 180km bike leg. The 20 lap course featured multiple “dead turns”, causing riders to lose momentum before an energy sapping acceleration to pull away again. Fuller produced a strong ride to finish in 8hr14, placing 3rd overall in this discipline.

Saturday 12th August 2017 – Midnight Man Aquabike, Long Course

Personal Account by John Fuller
It was a lovely day and good weather for the evening and night ahead. This meant I was warm enough in just my tri suit during the whole race. I got there early for a 6pm start. Set up in transition and asked about the gels on offer to check them were the ones I normally used. Then tried to relax.
We were counted into the lake and had time to chat to one of my competitors in the Aquabike. As we finished the chat the race started. I settled in to my steady speed towards the back and kept my position for a long period (so had chosen well in my starting position). The field thinned out but as with the last race seemed to have a couple of people around me to pace me and get in my way. With all the races starting together I was not sure who was doing 1, 2 or 4 laps like me. As I got to half way it dawn on me that I would be lapped by the quicker swimmer, which I was half a lap or so later. With the swim done in 1Hr 37 I felt ok my. As I entered transition with my bladder bursting (sorry unable to wee in my suit) I decide a toilet break was need before I got on the bike. So I came out of transition with cycling shorts, gels, energy bars and gloves in my hand and went to the loo. Then dressed myself and mounted my bike. The bike course was 20 laps of 9km (it was a 6km course for the June races). I had a target of an average speed of 30 km. This was ok for 4 laps but my 18 minute laps slowed to 20 minute laps over the ride. With so many lap I was lapped a number of times by the speed machines but equally over took some riders 4 or 5times myself. The laps seemed to go quickly to start with but as the sun went down the laps started to drag and I started to understand how much more training I should have and need to of done. The course was only partly lit so lights were needed. My fuel was a mixer of High 5 gels and isogels with a few eat natural bars, all I had eating on long rides before. I had one every 2 laps plus a couple of extra ones, I stopped twice for energy drinks. I had to stop as the ladies only held out one bottle so had no idea if it was water or energy. By the end of the ride I was glad I did not need to take on any gels as I don’t think my body would have coped. The last few laps dragged and with my second target of 8 hours gone it was hard to keep my pace up but I did my best. It also did not help that the people supporting and the marshalls all seem to go very quiet for the last 2 hours of my ride so the odd clap and cheers when it did come was very welcome. The finish could not have come soon enough. Once in transition 2 I just slipped on my shoes for the few yards to the finish. It was suggested that I now had 9 hours to do a marathon but I politely declined the offer.
It was a well run race beside the feed station not holding out two bottles but really not a problem unless you are trying to win it. Time 8hrs 14 mins Overall 3rd and 1st in age group (it was a small field as I am sure you have worked out)
I now have a bit more of an idea of what it would take to do the iron man distance and I once again tip my hat to all those who have completed one. You guys are hard core.

Sunday 6th August 2017 Race Reports

Clare Roche 1st F60 Bewl Triathlon Sprint

John Kendal, Claire Roche, Su Bonner, Matt Usher

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club were well represented at the Bewl Water Triathlon, securing a number of Age Group prizes. Claire Roche continued this season’s fine form to finish first F60 in the Sprint event. Roche, who recently qualified to represent team GB Age Group at Rotterdam 2018, performed consistently across the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run to cross the line after 1hr40.

Su Bonner also celebrated on the podium, finishing first F50 after 1hr30. Bonner consolidated on an impressive swim and was delighted with her performance on this challenging course. Mike King (M35) was first home for the club in the sprint race in 1hr19 with John Kendal (M50) not far behind, in 1hr31.

Chris Dickinson (M55) completed the standard distance event in 3hr11, his first race for the club. He completed the 1500m swim in 44min, 40km bike in 1hr30 and 10km run 54mins later. Chris Nieuwoudt (M40) raced the 3.8km distance in the solo swim event. He exited the water in 1hr18, excellent preparation for Ironman Kalmar in two weeks’ time. Andy Muir completed the 1.9km swim in 54mins, finishing first M65.

Jude Hagger (F40) and Eric Perrier (M45) raced in the Olympic distance GB Age Group qualifier at the Anglian Water Triathlon, Cambridgeshire. Both delivered impressive performances in a race that attracted athletes to compete at the highest level. Perrier maintained his form throughout the race to finish in 2hr13. Hagger was well positioned from the start, before being overtaken in the final meters of a sprint finish. Her time of 2hr20 secured 7th in Age Group and she remains optimistic of qualification for Tartu, Estonia 2018.

Sunday 6th August 2017 – Anglian Water Standard Triathlon
Personal Account by Eric Perrier

Second time up there, set up around Grafham reservoir.

Getting some race fitness on a quality course dished out by a good race organiser in the lead-up to another Half in September was the main objective.

As Jude was on different logistical arrangement (with her GB team mates) I opted for the camping site. Used by Grant and Stu last year, what could go wrong!? 😮)

Not much really! Dogs were crying, kids were barking…or vice-versa.
Just kidding really: only three jarry wake-up calls in the middle of the night by the lovely young twins in the tent next to me whose family were there to support their triathlete friends.

Despite only a light cold breakfast I felt absolutely fine from the chicken and pasta dinner and lovely sticky toffee pudding with ice cream of the night before with Jude’s GB friends. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know! ;o)

Light bike ride, dead rabbit on the tarmac which I reported straight away. Racking trying not to get too psyched out by the quality around. Light run to get my HR and temperature up a bit.

Now it’s time. The under 40 men wave set off 5 minutes before and now it’s our turn. A lot warmer than last year. Apart from a group of very fast swimmers I can spot ahead I seem to keep up with the second bulk. I am swimming well and it is confirmed as I only get overtaken by two under 40 ladies who started 5 minutes behind towards the end of what is very likely a short 1,500m.

Decent run up to T2 and bike pick-up. I am on the bike course and settling into an ok pace when all of a sudden I notice my visor is coming loose, but too late it drops off. Bummer! Stop, run back, helmet off, put the visor back on (fiddly fixations and this is not one the Met Drone’s assets).

So a bit of a waste of time but it is more that it is taking me ages to get back into the groove after that and Madonna is no help.

Anyway, slower than last year including too many moments of mind errance. I am normally better at keeping them at bay. Not good: these are an endurance athlete’s enemy. Hard to tell how long they last sometimes but quasi-sure they amount to coasting.

Decent-ish T2, onto the run course.

Difficult not to like the first part along the reservoir. I feel I am running well and I am not cramping up. Bonus!
I see Jude and we side-five heartily.

The second part of the run course is technical, traily and hilly. No choice I have to give it what I’ve got left.

I recognise a few age grouper friends who have already switched back. Hard to take but concentrating on bridging the gap by the finish line.

2k to go and I side-five Jude again. She is running super well.

I am sort of loving the last few hills as I am running past quite a few people, unfortunately it turns out only one of my own AG.
Now the final downhill and the home stretch. Solo sprint but it’s too late. I look up and a quick substraction of 5 minutes (from the first wave) and I know I have beaten my time from last year by a minute so I take it and sort of enjoy my Erdinger

2h13’14 (23’31 – 1h04’23 – 43’07) 27th in AG

Sunday 6th August 2017 – Anglian Water Standard Triathlon
Personal Account by Jude Haggar

Having decided that I’m planning to focus on middle distance and my first long distance race next year I still couldn’t resist entering the second of the three qualifying races for the European Standard distance championships 2018, next year which is going to be in Tartu, Estonia. Thought I might as well keep my options open! One of the main appeals for me in qualifying for the Age group team is the opportunity to be able to travel to new places, meet other triathletes from around the UK and at the same time race in superbly organised triathlon events with exciting atmospheres.

Last year I raced at this race, Anglian water, based at Grafham water near Cambridge. The race was in early May and I suffered badly in the lake which was 12 degrees! I remember shivering even when on the run and post race became ill the week after! So this year the race being in August I thought I had to return to improve on my performance.

Setting up in transition was a very sociable affair! Catching up with friends and reassuring a lady in my AG who was racked next to me who was full of nervous energy. The lake I was relieved to find was around 18. Choppy and busy as there were only 4 waves in total I decided to swim in a line which would make me swim inside of all the swimmers so that when I reached the buoys it would mean that I potentially could get battered into the buoys. Each buoy I kicked extra hard around and despite coming into contact with a few arms no harm was done. I felt relaxed and enjoyed the excitement of the beginning of the race. On exiting and reaching transition I looked around and was excited to see I’d had a good swim as only 5 or so bikes had already gone in my racking area. But as I don’t record my swims during races I didn’t have any idea on what my timing actually was.

Onto the undulating bike course which I particularly enjoyed last year and again did so this time. Definitely a TT course I stayed aero most of the 38km, we were forced to put a foot down at one junction, traffic was minimal and there were no hiccups bar one incident where a bottle went flying in front of me and I had to make a quick manoeuvre onto the other side of the road to avoid being taken out. One gel during the first 10km and I drank all my 500ml bottle I felt ready to start the run.

Not an easy run course being technical, a few hills to keep one on ones toes and mixed terrain including some huge gravel paths. The first 5km I felt a little sluggish but on seeing other ladies who I knew in my AG and where they were on the run my confidence took a boost. I downed a gel and then felt good enough to pick up my pace for the second part of the run which post race I realised was the harder part of the course. I saw Eric twice on the run which was a lovely bonus:-) Three ladies who had overtaken me in the first 5km I then ran past in the second 5km which took me onto a sprint finish with a lady in my AG who just topped me by 5secs!!

I was delighted to do a PB and finish in a time of 2:20:04 (swim 22:29, yes definitely short of 1500m as organisers reckon the buoys shifted due to the chop, bike 1:07:21, run 47:42). Placing me 7th in AG which may get me a roll down for a place next year, depending on the third qualifying race which is in Wales in Sep which I may just have to do:-)

Sunday 23rd July 2017 Race Reports

Grant Aitken (M50) and Kieran Fitzpatrick (M35) raced in the Owler Triathlon, competing in the National Middle Distance Championships (1900m swim, 87km bike, 21km run). The Tunbridge Wells Triathletes impressed with Aitken finishing 5hr09, 4th M50 age group and Fitzpatrick in 4hr53, 5th M35. The swim had been relocated to Lydd in response to water quality concerns and a split transition to the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford posed logistical challenges. Several of the elite competitors missed a crucial turn on the run leading to frustration in the chase for the podium places.

Julian Himmerich (M25) and Helen Waite (F40) raced in the Owler Standard Distance Triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run). Both were well placed, with Himmerich finishing 3hr26, 5th AG and Waite in 3hr37, 6th AG. John Fuller (M45) completed the Owler Middle Distance Aquabike in 4hr11, 4th AG.

Bertie Horne set a PB over Olympic Distance at the AJ Bell Triathlon in London. Billed as the world’s largest Triathlon, thousands competed in mass waves, swimming 1500m in Victoria Dock before setting off on a 40km closed road bike route through Westminster. The race concluded with a 10km run at the Excel Centre, Canary Wharf. Horne crossed the line after 2hr32, 22ndM20 Age Group. In the Sprint Race, Clare Roche finished 1st F60 in 1hr35 and John Kendal 13th M50 in 1hr28.

Pippa Whitby raced in the Redhill Sprint Triathlon at Thorpe Park (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run). Well positioned after the swim, she worked hard on the bike before consolidating her position with a strong run. She finished in 1hr27, 15 female over all in a very competitive field.

Sunday 23rd July 2017 – The Owler Half Iron Aquabike
Personal Account by John Fuller
Owler done. But the curse of Ashford hit again for the third year running. All started well got to Lydd, Yes Lydd (lake at Ashford not usable so split transition) well over 2 hours before my 9.30 start time for the Aquabike. Kieran with Nina, Sam Begg and Grant were there for an earlier start. Always nice to see friendly faces. Normal pre race stuff done with the chance to see Sam Begg, and Kieran go off a bit late at 840. Spotted Helen also she was off after me. But still a rush to the start as wanted to see Kieran complete the swim. This did involve seeing the him and the others running over a sand bank in the middle of the course. Grant was out the water as I went in from a later wave. Swim was interesting the first time I have had people around me for the full distance plus I am sure someone very slow drafting off me for the whole race. Swim done in a personal worst. Bike was good to start with but as the hill came average speed came down. At 50km my legs had gone so last 38km was hard and got harder with the realisation that I had a slow puncture with 10km to go. This must be what slowed me down 😉. So two gas cans later top up the air instead of changing I finished with a semi and out side my 4hr target. All in all not great but I finished. But sound like a lot of others had a worst day due to bad marshalling and sign posts. Gutted for Sam. Not great for a National championship.

Sunday 23rd July 2017 – The London Triathlon, Olympic Distance
Personal Account by Bertie Horne

After a stressful start to the morning I ended up arriving to the Excel 90 mins before our wave start time (engineering works and tube opening hours not as advertised – ended up driving).

The Swim – I’m not really a massive fan of open water swimming at the best of times but this was horrible. The distance between the buoys and the wall was fairly tight which meant being beaten up by other competitors and having to constantly look up and move for space. Not the best swims I have ever had – at this point i was cursing the event!

I managed to find my bike quickly in T1 and was off still in a fairly bad mood from the swim! That changed very quickly, as the bike course was fantastic. Lots of technician bits to start with (tight turns and corners) and then some great straights where I was able to get use to theTri bars and pick up some speed. Cycling past the landmarks on closed roads was a great experience and there was lots of support (I can imagine this is how the pros feel!)

T2 was ok although it took me a little while to find my place and get back onto the run. The run was very enjoyable and I completed 3 laps via the excel main entrance each time. The support was fantastic they had a DJ on the course and plenty of gels and water. Unusually I felt pretty fresh off the bike which was good!

Overall I would highly recommend the triathlon it was a great experience and very well organised, it seemed a bit like the London Marathon all over again. It’s probably not one you would do every year due to the cost and be warned the Swim is physical! It’s definitely a PB Course – I managed 2:32:20 at my second time doing any Olympic distance which I am very pleased with.

Sunday 23rd July 2017 – The London Triathlon, Sprint Distance
Personal Account by Clare Roche

I too did the London tri , in the wave before John. There were a lot of 1st timers in my wave which meant I had the unusual experience of being in the first third of women out of the water. – swimming is definitely not my finest discipline. I was very glad to escape, as it was very rough in there all the way round the course; I now have a hatred of breaststroke swimmers; too many flailing elbows and knees! I staggered into transition – (always find it hard to stand up getting out of the water !) and then promptly forgot to restart the Garmin once on the bike, making transition 3.5 miles long! The bike was great fun and I zipped along altho as John mentioned the headwind on part of it was a bit of a shock; time to practice being uber streamlined…. well I tried. The hardest part of the bike was the cycle back up a ramp into the excel building!! The run seemed to go quickly, largely because there were constant changes of scenery, even going back into the excel building as part of the lap. I was pleased with how it went. I won my age group but that doesn’t mean much as there weren’t many in it. I was more pleased … at my age.. of coming 198 out of 806 women. In the top 25%?? I will settle for that.

Sunday 23rd July 2017 – The London Triathlon, Sprint Distance
Personal Account by John Kendall

London Triathlon Sprint. I entered this yonks ago as I thought it would be cool to swim the the docks and run/ride round closed roads in London. The journey there was pretty stressful due to closed roads, poor signage and incorrect directions from a Marshall. In the event I arrived very early which gave me ample time to faff in transition and then stand around getting nervous. Thankfully Clare was setting up just near me so we had a good chat which calmed nerves. I was somewhat over eager to get to the swim start line and consequently found myself treading water at the front of the packed throng. I tried peddling backwards, but those behind didn’t seem too keen on taking my place, so I stayed put. We were kept waiting for a long time in the water, and got quite cold – one guy had to ask for a rescue canoe even before we had started. Once the klaxon went it was a nightmare. We were so packed in that it was impossible to swim, so I tried just breastroking to find space and avoid flailing legs and arms. It eventually cleared near the first turn point, but I didn’t really get a good rhythm going the whole swim and 16mins was slightly below my expectations for the 750m. My T1 was v sloow, I really need to practice these and shave off a couple of minutes. The ride was great, relatively flat and straight, I really got some good speed up on the long straight, but then discovered why when I turned around to come back – into the wind! It wasn’t too bad overall and I exercised my new technique for faster times: pedal as hard as you can, all the time! It does seem to work 🙂 however my calves did start to cramp up at the end and I had to free my feet and and stretch. my av speed was 29.99kmh (target 30) so ok overall. The run was where I was worried due to my ankle injuries, but the biggest issue was the cramp which returned and I had to stop to stretch before just deciding to run through it and it eventually subsided. The circuit was 2 laps, the end of each lap was through the excel centre itself, up and down, rather like a post office queueing system which I found rather irritating. But overall it was a flat and easy run. A good event in all, definitely an experience as it was so large and the atmosphere was great.

Sunday 23rd July 2018 – Redhill Sprint
Personal Account by Pippa Whitby
After cursing the 4.45am alarm for an early start of 7am I made it to the venue right on time.
The swim was in a pleasantly surprisingly tepid and crystal clear lake with well positioned buoys. Although it initially felt like it was a big wave the swim was straight forward and completed in just over what I hoped for at 15.54. The exit from lake and up to transition was an uncomfortable scrabble over gravel and through puddles but not too long. After leaving my timing chip in my wetsuit (super idea!) I cycled swiftly past plenty of competitors onto the cycle course. Then I discovered why they were conserving their energy as I came across 3 people off their bikes being sick on the side of the enormous hill that we all plodded up! Those I passed then caught me up 🙂 the course was ‘lumpy’ according to the organisers and I would certainly agree. The massive benefit of the early alarm was that it was like being on a closed roads course. I was pleased with my speed, something I’ve finally managed to improve on after more time in the saddle this year, 46 mins (20km).
Back to transition where I put my chip back on for the run having found it in my wetsuit. The route was 2 off road laps of the lake which I loved, feeling better than normal I managed to gain some places and pushed round for 22.26 mins (5km) giving me an overall time of 1.27, which was 7th age group and 15th female.
Overall a fun race, well organised with plenty of competition and I was super pleased with my times.

Sunday 16th July 2017 Race Reports

Tunbridge Wells triathlete Steve Dunkerley returned to his home town of Bolton to race Ironman UK. 1876 lined up on the banks of Pennington Flash to take on this iconic endurance challenge.

Dunkerley impressed in the swim, completing the 2.4 miles in 1hr18. He tackled the infamous Sheep House Lane twice as part of a hilly 112 mile bike course, finishing the second discipline in 7hr12. He completed the marathon within his target time to cross the finish line in a 14hr51.

David Bagge claimed second place overall in the Ashdown Forest sprint triathlon. He completed the 400m swim in 8min49, acknowledging his least favoured discipline. His strength on the 20km bike and 5km run shone through to finish the race in 1hr05, just two seconds off first place! Alan Jones also raced to finish in a respectable 1hr27.

Sunday 16th July 2017 – Ironman UK Bolton
Personal Account by Steve Dunkerley

3am the alarm went off and i was soon trying to digest porridge and energy drink, Im pretty sure the last time I’d eaten anything at this time in the morning it was a rather greasy kebab which still seemed more preferable on this particular morning!!!
So off to Pennington Flash Helen and Chris kindly acting as support crew, nerve settlers and general good eggs .

Did the usual T1 prep, half an hour wait for the portaloo and obligatory toilet banter and so to the swim pen, surprised to find myself walking through the vast majority of very nervous looking athletes to a place pretty close to the front, then AC/DC Thunderstruck kicks in and we are off. The swim was amazing , hats off to IM the rolling start takes all the stress out and the swim was like a paddle in Weirwood with a few more people I absolutely loved it and could/should have gone a bit faster . So big big smile and out to the Bike through T1 again , noticed I was the only bloke with a Motorhead towel (whats wrong with these guys!!!) chatted to a few people, then chatted to a few more well I was getting my moneys worth .

The first loop of the bike was very wet with the rain still falling you couldn’t make out the top of the hills but so many people who were pushing to hard went down on the corners I made a decision to take it easy and stay upright.
I was also thankful again for Edward sorting me and all my nutritional needs for the race the man is a genius , my bottle of sticky gloop and the torpedo worked perfectly .Fair to say the bike course is hilly but again lovely and the loop dried out by the time I got to it again and I could increase the pace and settle down for a bit. Bolton and the surrounding villages is my home town and to be honest in the Sun it was a beautiful place to ride, particularly the moors.

Into T2 time for a chat me thinks….the poor fella next to me got the benefit of my perceived wisdom for some time until he politely asked if I minded if he went for a run. So out I went praying my calf would hold, and wondering whether I could actually run….100m in and I was on cloud nine I was running freely (this is Steve pace I’m talking about) and no pain in the calf so a cheeky 5 to 6 hours of running awaited . The course is set up so you run about half of it into town and then loop 4 plus mile loops three times , I enjoyed this as well, not something I thought I’d say, but the banter, the pubs the drink stations just so many opportunities for me to talk to people whether they liked it or not. The last loop came and I thought “Well you only do your first one once” and I set off to enjoy the last lap running walking chatting , singing at a pub . The great thing with a arm band system is you spend the first two loops with band envy feverishly checking peoples arms this then quickly turns into band superiority as you get your third

The finish with my family and that Red Carpet will live with me for ever BRILLIANT.

The support in Bolton and on the Hills and villages is something I will never forget they made each and everyone of us feel so special that the day passed surprisingly quickly.

If anyone is thinking about an IM then do it , possible/probably the best sporting day I have ever had.

Sunday 9th July 2017 – Race Reports Ironman Frankfurt / Roth / Hever

Guy Whitby completed Ironman Frankfurt in scorching heat, widely regarded as one of the toughest one day endurance challenges. He swam 2.4 miles in 1hr19, cycled 112 miles in 5hr30 before completing a full marathon (26.2 miles) 5 hours later. He crossed the finish line in 12 hours, having put everything into this race… an effort Jonny Brownlee would be proud of. He received urgent medical attention in the finishers tent, requiring oxygen, an IV drip and an ECG before being able to celebrate with wife Pippa Whitby.

Adam Dennis also travelled to Germany to complete Challenge Roth, a prestigious Iron distance race, celebrated for 250,000 strong crowds and a “Tour de France” atmosphere up the iconic Solarberg Hill. He completed the swim in 1hr13, bike in 5hr33 and marathon in 4hr32. He finished in 11hr29, well placed in field of 5,500 athletes.

Neil Witz

Closer to home, Ed Moffatt completed the Iron distance Bastion race at the Hever Castle festival of triathlon.

Ed Moffatt









He finished in 12hr24 (5th Age Group) completing the swim in 1hr11, bike 6hr33 and marathon in 4hr31. Lloyd Collier completed the long-distance aqua-bike, finishing in 6hrs (1st AG). Chris Nieuwoudt completed the Half-Iron distance Gauntlet triathlon in 5hr43 (7th AG), swim 35min, bike 3hr04, run 1hr57. Simon Howden (3hr01, 5th AG) and Bertie Horne (3hr11, 7th AG) both raced the half-distance aqua-bike. Neil Witz finished the half marathon in 1hr53 (3rd AG).

Sunday 9th July 2017 – Ironman Frankfurt
Personal Account by Guy Whitby

5 black toe nails
4 delirious run laps
3 litres of saline
2 unnecessary blisters
1 lost nutrition plan

Thought I would write a report about Ironman Frankfurt, in case anyone ever considers signing up. There is a short part about the event and then a rambling monologue from a very amateur triathlete’s race day…

Ironman Frankfurt.
The criteria that my ‘get back into triathlon triathlon’ had to meet were: not too hot and not too hilly. Apart from The Hell (cobbled climb) and The Beast (an average Kentish hill) Ironman Frankfurt looked like a good choice, surely the heat wouldn’t be a major issue compared to an event in southern France or Spain?

Swim – The swim is located in a sand quarry located about 10km from the town centre. The water is clean and clear, the course was a simple out and back, Australian exit then triangle and the rolling start ensured a pretty calm swim.

Bike – Consists of a flat ride back towards Frankfurt then 2 laps around the local countryside and villages. They advertised about 1000m of climbing but most Strava’s seem to record about 1300m, the hills didn’t seem hard and were separated by long flat stretches. The ride was really enjoyable, the crowds in the villages really helped and the contrast between riding through an empty city centre and sparse countryside made it interesting.

Run – Frankfurt is a major city and the run course is centrally located, this combined with it being the IM European championships ensures large crowds which really helps. The aid stations were amazing throughout; each station on the run had ice and cold sponges, which probably saved a DNF for me.

I don’t have many IM events to compare it to, the only other one I have completed is Kalmar, which I think was a better race in terms of layout and enthusiasm from the local community (good luck if it’s windy though Lloyd).

Would I recommend? – Yes
Would I do again? – No, but only because there are so many others.

My race
Walking over 17km the day before the race probably wasn’t’ the best preparation in the world but I thought it was best to go to T2 to drop my run bag off then walk back to the hotel to drive to the lake and T1 to drop my bike off. Doing these two things seemed to eat up the entire day, I suppose with hindsight getting to the lake with the other 3000 competitors was always going to take a while. As mentioned earlier the swim is held at a sand quarry complete with nudist beach, the main issue I found with a sand quarry was that surprisingly there was loads of sand. Enough in fact to get in your shoe and cause raw blisters on your feet they can then go septic over night, something to look forward to during the marathon the next day.

Race day began at 4am with a tasty breakfast and an orienteering exercise back to the lake avoiding all of the closed roads. I made it to the start line via the half hour long toilet queue and even managed to get a 30 second warm up swim in too! The start felt really exciting with race helipcopters overhead and classics from the Venga Boys being pumped out from the DJ.

The swim itself was really enjoyable, nerves prevented me from pushing hard but I still managed to get back to the shore in a reasonable time. There are always a few plonkers who try to swim over the top of you but in general most people were considerate.

The bike leg was fun, I was within my heart rate zones, holding good speed and always felt that I had more to give. The only negative was The Hell, a short steep cobbled climb in a pretty village where Mercedes had offered prizes for the fastest competitors. I’m not sure what part of my brain thought I had any chance of walking away with a fancy Mercedes prize especially when there were another 2999 triathletes competing most of which would have considerably more talent than my average ability. None the less I hit the slope like Peter Sagan in my big chain ring smashing past all the others on the climb which was great fun until I realised that my entire bike nutrition bottle was now missing – something else to look forward to later on during the marathon. Still, according to Strava I was the 59th fastest person this year which wasn’t too shabby, no Mercedes though. Once I had wiped the tears away I needed to think of a new nutrition plan quickly. The last one had only taken 4 months and super Ed Moffat to perfect, so I’m sure 5 minutes with me and my idiot race brain would conjure up a Baldrick esque cunning plan. The main issue I had was that Power Bar was my only option, which tastes like umpa lumpas put through a nutri bullet – overly sweet and pretty disgusting.
The scientific plan I settled for consisted of grabbing anything I could find at any aid station and throwing it down my throat which actually seemed to work and I finished the bike feeling pretty fresh although the temperature was still rising!
I have tried to erase the run form my memory, I remember that it hurt a lot, I ran incredibly slowly, I was dizzy and my vision was wobbly. Nothing would cool me down, I tipped countless ice cubes down my trisuit but my skin was cold to the touch and they didn’t really melt, I remember stroking my arm and thinking it felt like spiky lizard skin. Something was obviously wrong but somehow I managed to get to the end, in a state of delirium I even managed a sprint finish. I beat an actual giant over the line, the finish pics prove this did actually happen.
After this point my memory all goes a bit hazy, a kind lady took me to the recovery tent but they took me out of there on a stretcher pretty sharpish and into the intensive care tent. My next memory was waking up with a German Dr shouting at me so he could shine a light in my eyes, I also now had two IVs attached an oxygen mask on my face and wires attached to my chest. All a bit confusing but I was quite proud of being able to take 3 litres of saline into my blood without needing the toilet – small victories. Once I had pleaded with the paramedics to cancel the inbound ambulance, assuring them that I would raise my blood pressure very soon I was finally released from the finish area and back to my family – long day!

Lessons learned:

Triathlons including all the training and preparation are so much more fun when you are a member of a great club and have an amazing support team – Thanks Pip.
Always have a plan B,C and D for nutrition
Plan, plan and plan again – taking the stress out of the day before race day is super important.
Control the controllables, – there are a million things you can control when training and planning for a big race but there is no point in stressing over the uncontrollable aspects.

Sunday 9th July 2017 – Hever Festival of Endurance, Long Distance Aquabike

Personal Account by Lloyd Collier

The Hever Festival of Endurance is an annual event run by the Castle Triathlon series – running “high quality events in beautiful locations”.

Hever Castle was of course Anne Boleyn’s home and is indeed a stunning location. It was then bought and renovated by the Waldorf Astors early last century and the walled garden and lake were installed.

The Castle series Iron distance tri [The Bastion] is only run at their flagship venue in Hever although they offer a middle distance event [Gauntlet] at all their different locations.
This was the fourth year of the festival and they’d added various options for swim, run, aquathlon and aquabike as well as tri.

I opted for the L/D Aquabike, wanting to test myself and to use as a good training and fuelling/ race pace effort.
– esp after the disaster at CTS.

My swim was the Bastion’s two 1,900m laps – starting alongside other 1 lap aquabikers.

As I started the second lap a canoeist was nearby so I took the opportunity to look up, demist my googles and check where the other 2nd lappers were. The canoeist assured me that I wasn’t coming last but I think they were just being kind..

Given the dehydration and exhaustion on Chase The Sun I went super conservative, eating porridge at home, a bacon bap before the start, and then a bowl of granola and Greek yoghurt in T1, to make me the last one from my race/wave out onto the bike course and with a stunning T1 of almost 10 minutes!

So, onto the bike with 2 Bastion laps to do. I tried to keep the pace realistic, coasted down all the hills (my new Scott cuts the air so well that I don’t lose any time this way), and kept guzzling drinks and eating my bars. I stopped both laps for the fantastic support at the TWTC feed station on the course.

Off the bike for the end of the official timing result for the Aquabike.

However, there was an optional run, just to feel like one had completed a triathlon and to go through the finishing lane and arch so I ran one lap of the hilly 10.5k trail course.

Good news, total time out on the course was almost 7:00 and I felt fine afterwards.

Bad news, Ironman is another 90k longer and is only 5 weeks away!

L/D Aquabike
Lloyd Collier 6th. 1st in Age Category. 6:00:05
Swim 1.28.05
T1 9.44
Bike 4.22.17

Sunday 9th July 2017 – Challenge Roth, Germany
Personal Account by Adam Dennis

I can’t quite remember when I first learnt about Roth but it was after I started my triathlon journey. After seeing the photos from past years I couldn’t quite believe the number of spectators, especially on one of the hills, the famous solar berg. It had been about 3 years since I had last competed in a triathlon and I needed a goal and enough motivation to get me out of the house, this would be it for sure. As it turned out, enough motivation to join the wheelers, re-join the harriers and of course TWTC.

As we tend to do I sold the idea of a triathlon as a “holiday” to my better half, which was accepted with the proviso that I include some recovery time, i.e. time by a pool. To me that means camp by a mountain so I can get my bike out again.

Roth is much more than just race day, the build up starts on Thursday when the expo and registration opens. Highlights on Friday include swim training in the canal followed by a run with the 2008 Olympic triathlon gold medallist, world champion and world record holder Jan Frodeno. Although travelling with a 3 year old meant my highlight was a trip to playmobil land! In the evening there was the pasta party followed by the welcome party in the market square in roth.

Saturday included another chance to train in the canal, I took this opportunity to psyche out my fellow competitors by shedding the wetsuit and donning the smallest pair of speedos I could find. I’m not sure even Tom Daley would have dared be seen in these. As I dipped a toe into the canal, I realised I may have made a mistake with the omission of a wetsuit, oh well no turning back now, on went the goggles. Snap. Rather than the ping of my Achilles, this time it was somewhat less serious, the goggle strap. Still not ideal but better now than in the race. I hadn’t packed a second pair of goggles that morning but as with everything about Challenge Roth, there is always someone selling their wares. I purchased a second pair from the Blueseventy stall and this time didn’t dawdle on the waters edge, straight in like an excited seal, with a similar noise. The water was a pleasant 23 point something but slightly murky. For a second I even considered not wearing a wetsuit for the swim, until I looked up and sighted the first turn point, 1,400 meters away! I completed a small loop, enough to get a sighting of where I thought the final turn points would be and where the sun would be for the start of the race. Upon exiting the water and walking back to the area that had been setup to change in, I had a reminder that Germans are a little more liberal than us Brits as I was confronted with various bratwursts, if you know what I mean. Clearly the water hadn’t felt that cold to them.

Later on Saturday was bike check in and race briefing followed by yet another party in a different market square in Roth, one that went on till midnight. I decided that it may not be wise to attend this one!

I found that there are a lot of things lost in German translation, not just the jokes in the race briefing. For example, our neighbour in the campsite was in the wave after me, I was in wave 16 starting at 7:45am, he at 7:50am. It seems I worried him when I mentioned we had to be at the swim start at 4:50am. The English translation in the race pack was “Urgently required to attend at 4:50am”, which is not the same as “Recommended”. Once we figured that out between us, it meant sleep came a little more easily, not waking up every 5 minutes wondering if I had slept through my alarm. I actually slept really well, not something that normally happens before a race due to nervous energy but this was more excitement.

The swim start was like nothing I had experienced before, about 100,000 spectators lined both sides of the canal and the bridge overlooking the start, music blaring with introductions to the pros who were racing. The overwhelming feeling was one of excitement and anticipation rather than nervousness. BANG. The starting cannon fired and the first wave was off. The same routine happened on every wave, spaced 5 minutes apart, 4 minutes for the athletes to get into the water, 1 minute of rousing music and then BANG, the f’ing cannon going off again scaring everyone witless with both fear and trepidation.

As we entered the swim start pen to some Bruno Mars number and filtered through a tunnel of dancing volunteers some of my fellow competitors started busting out some moves, I quickly veered to the other side worried they were exhibiting an attempt at freestyle. Down the steps and a swift dive into the water. Then I felt a hand round my ankle, what the hell was that, sh*t, my race chip had come loose. I quickly reached down and grabbed it before it fully came off my ankle and then swam back INTO the wave of competitors entering the water in a vain attempt to find solid footing to reattach the strap. Other than that the swim was incident free. Probably the easiest I have found a swim, although the canal curves slightly sighting was easy and I actually made attempts to get on faster swimmers feet, something that I don’t usually bother with as I eventually get a mouthful of feet. 2 hours after the pros started the banks of the canal we still lined with thousands of spectators, and you could feel the energy and hear the cowbells, even with earplugs.

Out of the water in 1hr 13min, about 2 minutes quicker that I was expecting and pick up the bike bag, into the T1 tent, wetsuit off, swig of coke to kill any nasties I may have swallowed, on with the socks and shoes, then on with the heart rate monitor. Faf around for 2 minutes trying to get it around my back with a wet trisuit on, remove said trisuit top, monitor on, faf around for another minute trying to put back on a wet trisuit. Not my finest transition, more like a bad escapology audition on Britain’s Got Talent.

Now got to pee, swimming does that to me, lucky the toilets are near my bike, quick growl at the volunteer manning the porta-loos as I jump in-front of a relay competitor who hasn’t even unpacked their wetsuit. Then onto the bike for what would be the next 5 and a half hours.

The bike course at Roth is not pan flat, about 1300 meters of climbing over the course, however the smoothness of the roads easily makes up for it and it feels a lot less. It was winder than expected and I was glad I didn’t go with my deep section carbon front wheel that in a recent 220 review was slated ad being more unstable in a mild breeze than the Greek economy. I had a power plan that should get me to T2 in 5hr 46min at 74% effort. The plan worked almost too well in that the downhill sections were faster than expected due to the exceptional surface so I was always below power expectations. Support on the bike course was great, through small villages parents and children had setup roadside tables and chairs to cheer on the race. At all of the junctions people gathered and shouted encouragement. At one particular junction one spectator had the largest wooden clackers I had ever seen, he had to swing them with both hands, I heard them before I saw them and thought something catastrophic had gone wrong with my bike. Support between competitors was also top notch, especially with the Brits with reciprocal words of encouragement as we passed each other on the bike. I had one lapse of concentration along a 10km straight when I managed to put both wheels off the road and nearly came off when trying to correct my mistake at 45kph. Any of the larger towns the race went through, i.e. any with shops, had setup what are referred to as hotspots. These are hosted by some local personality, maybe a local radio DJ or Mrs Muller from the Backerei, whoever was comfortable with microphone in hand and announcing the competitors as they passed through the vicinity, along with music so Germanic you would speed up just to get out of earshot. Both sides of the street would be lined with spectators who would urge you on. There are 2 climbs of note on the Roth course, the first, the hill of nations is the steepest and longest, although nothing worse than Quarry Hill. Spectators stand on both sides of the road, moving in closer as you go further up the hill, the support really makes the climb enjoyable. After this you know that solar berg is coming and the anticipation starts to build. There is a short climb maybe 3km before Solar berg, filled with hundreds of students drinking and supporting the race, I couldn’t work out if it was an official hotspot as the music seemed far less eurovision and maybe too Radio One for my tastes, the atmosphere was great but there wasn’t enough room to pass. A motorbike approached from behind and we started moving to our right, then one of the German pros (who would finish 10th overall) came up on our left, I took a quick look over my shoulder and moved in behind him in an attempt to hijack TV coverage from the following motobike. I stayed with him on the climb and when we got to the top he showed that being okay at climbing was really not all that useful as he sped off at a rate of watts I could only dream of. Next up was Solar Berg. As you come down into the town you see the barriers that have been setup, maybe 4-5 deep with spectators watching and cheering, then a sharp right and you don’t see anything but spectators. The bikes start lining up for the procession up the hill and the noise of the crowd grows louder as they draw you into their funnel. Soon you are surrounded with calls of encouragement from people invading your personal space, but in this instance it is welcome. It is just something that has to experienced. I’ve spoken to a few people who were watching at Solar Berg and they all said it was the best atmosphere they had ever experienced during a race. After Solar Berg there are is about 20km to the end of the lap where it all starts again. Unbelievably the support didn’t really change, people started making their way to the run course but the great thing was they were doing this on bikes, on the other side of the closed roads we were on and they were cheering us on as one big moving mob. My second bike lap was within 5 seconds of my first so I had my pacing right and I felt I had taken on enough nutrition for the run. I finished the bike in 5hr 32min, 14 minutes ahead of schedule. Now to see what would happen specifically with my leg on the run.

Into T2 and you are assigned an individual volunteer to help with anything you might need. Obviously this helped as I didn’t balls up this transition too much, just a fresh pair of socks and running shoes and an mp3 player in my pocket should it get really bad. This was a new running course for Roth, the previous one, although flat and fast had been criticized for not being very spectator friendly other than the final 4km loop through the town. This new one as it turned out was the opposite, very spectator friendly and anything but flat and fast. Joe Skipper who again finished in 2nd place described the run course as brutal. I wouldn’t go quite that far as being from Tunbridge Wells, we know a few things about hills. My aim was to complete the first half of the marathon at 70-75% of max HR, hoping that would put me on target for a 4 hr run. As it turned out I started much better than this, opening with a 4:54 first km, but that was downhill. As soon as I hit the bottom of the hill and started up the other side I immediate had to lower my expectations as I could feel some twinging in my Achilles/calf. New race plan needed as I didn`t want to walk 20 or so miles. I would walk the hills and run everything else. I was struggling to keep my HR down and really had to back off the pace, whilst still running. There we lots of changes of direction and surface under foot, tarmac, forest path, canal path and cobbles which although mixed things up and kept things interesting, certainly didn’t help with pacing. The support throughout the run was amazing and really kept you running where ever possible. Through the town sections you had supporters everywhere, music playing and announcers wishing you luck as you passed through each hotspot. The aid stations were well stocked with water, ISO, coke, gels, bananas, cake, energy bars, sweets and my favourite, crackers. As well as the ice and sponges, which were always replaced and stuffed into the neck of my trisuit. The pace was working for me, although it felt slow and I could still feel the tightness in my leg and was able to carry on running from aid station to aid station and felt fairly confident that I wouldn’t have to hobble if I kept it conservative. I as approached the final 5km or so, you realise you have less than a park run to go so I picked up the pace slightly and actually started passing some of the people I had gone into T2 with, which made me feel a bit better.

The final couple of km went really quickly as crowds lined the run into the stadium. Then into the 10,000 capacity stadium for a run along the carpet and a flurry of high fives before raising arms aloft and releasing that you had finished one epic challenge. 4hr 32min was all I could manage today, sub 4 next time.

Overall a marathon PB by 7 minutes and over 1hr off my last iron distance race time.

After the race in the recovery tent, food and drink were served, massages were given, beer was consumed and showers were communal. Not necessarily in that order. Everybody stayed packed into the stadium till the last competitor finished at the 15hr cut off who quite possibly received the loudest roar of the day. The atmosphere is electric. Sparklers are handed out and the stadium is aglow in orange as the fireworks go off overhead. What a magical finish to a great event.

Sunday 2nd July 2017 – Holkham Half Ironman 
Personal Account by Eric Perrier

I thought long about whether to write a report as I am never really proud of myself. Initially this was no exception but it changed a little bit, and as Kieran reminded us to keep reports coming I thought I would go for it.

The bottom line is: no matter how you feel you fared, what level you think you have, beginner, improver, seasoned, etc it does not matter one bit! Do write a few or many lines, we all love reading about our team mates’ tri efforts!!

Arrived on Friday to acclimatise. All going to plan despite momentarily dropping our stuff in the wrong Air B&B “with no-one noticing”!

The race site and the area itself have a particularly good feel about them.

Race day: I could have done better on the race day logistics, entirely my fault, but anyway got to the start before the whistle. From what was said at the briefing we knew it would be weedy, Hever style perhaps…it was worse. Properly fighting the Triffids and poor goggle clarity (greasy) not helping my sighting and all making for a disappointing swim, based on the pacing I had been able to achieve lately.

Anyway a fairly decent transition, one of the races’ big assets in my books and on for the bike.

From info gathered at the briefing and other sources we could expect some roughish road surface with added flinty gravels in parts and fast stuff in others.

Feeling good climbing on the TT when required, although I now think it was more due to fitness gained off the bike than on it.

So, more saddle time required with the TT but also realised by looking into my Strava’s past training weeks [who would have thought Strava would be useful for anything!?] that I have only trained 3h32 per week on average since restarting training post clavicle fracture which I am now really proud of purely thinking of my training time to achieve a decent finish.

Hydration, nutrition going as planned and to further prevent cramping I have decided to follow Jude’s advice and rein myself back a notch throughout.

However, cramping did come on in the last 10k, similar intensity and muscles as at the Marshman only much later. Lack of training the likely culprit.

So, on for the run anyway. The first kilometre is agony. I don’t mind a bit of cramping but this is different: my legs are simply not functioning right, I can’t control them and it feels horrible seeing all these people pass me.

I stop at the top of the first hill and I remain there on a grassy bit, tetanised. 3 minutes have passed already and there is no sign of improvement. Not that keen to pull out but what else?

Another 30 seconds or so and suddenly the cramping is much better. So much so that I am back in the race and restarting where I left off, kind of running too, hardly believing my luck. I have read about gluconeogenesis and I can only think this is an example of it.

My running is far from fluid but I am hanging in there and I will finish [in not too shoddy a time, 5h19, 28th in my AG which is top 15%] which, let’s face it, was my aim.

Credit to Stephen for an intentional 2/3 event and to Kieron and Jude who fared amazingly well.


Race assets: great organisation (OSB/Outlaw), cool bike course (lumpy in parts but fast) very well marshalled and signaged, great run course, varied, lovely transition area (grassy, clear, spacious), amazing food at the finish!

Down points: weedy lake, too small for the wave size due to the increase in participants

Personal positive points: 1) always a great buzz to be racing with club mates 2) my confidence has received a little boost 3) I am looking forward to structuring my training better and to training more

Would I do it again: yes and/or possibly the one they are due to organise near London(?)

Would I recommend it: most definitely – if you guys want to do a Half next year, this is a good one!

3rd/4th June 2017
This was a busy weekend of racing, with plenty of podium finishes to celebrate for Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club.
Peter Gibson raced in the National Sprint Championships at the Thorpe Park Triathlon (750m / 21km / 5km). Electric pace across all three disciplines secured third place in M25 Age Group, finishing 6th overall from 474 competitors in a time of 1hr03.
Clare Roche secured 1st F60 (1hr44) in the Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon (750m / 19.8km / 5.4km), with Suzannah Kinsella also racing over the same distance (1hr33, F45). Lloyd Collier took things to another level by completing six sprint races in the Weekend Warrior. This unorthodox racing format saw competitors transition continuously from one race to the next with Lloyd only stopping when the zip on his wetsuit gave up. Averaging 1hr30 per race, this was the perfect test of endurance for this Ironman in training.

Claire Howard and Helen Waite travelled to South Lincolnshire for the Tallington Lakes Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500m / 42k / 10k). Following a scrappy swim, a windy but thankfully flat bike, Claire pushed on over the four lap run and was rewarded with 1st Vet (2hr55), finishing 4th Female overall. Helen conquered her first open water swim to finish in a respectable 3hr17.

Sunday 21st May 2017 – Swashbuckler Middle Distance Triathlon
Adam Dennis raced the Swashbuckler Middle Distance in the New Forest (5hr16, 69th).
Personal Account by Adam Dennis

Race report – Sunday 21st May, Swashbuckler Middle Distance Triathlon.

The promise of 12 degree water didn’t materialise, instead we got 16 degrees, and as a consequence a swarm of a thousand or so jellyfish! To be fair we were warned about this at the friendly race briefing on Saturday. These weren’t the stingy, pee on each other jellyfish, they were rather more benign and wouldn’t do any harm, unless you happen to choke on one.

The race HQ is located at Bucklers Hard, on the banks of the Beaulieu river, in the heart of the New Forest, an old ship building village where ships for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar were built. The village contained a pub so the race atmosphere was enthusiastic, especially as everybody remained outside enjoying the sun.

The swim was set off in three waves, first the standard distance who would complete two laps, then two waves, each of about 140 eager swimmers for the middle distance who completed one extra lap. The jellyfish didn’t cause much of an issue apart from when you touched the feet of the swimmer in front, looked up and saw there was nobody there. It really was like swimming through jelly. The swim was slightly tidal in that it took 2 minutes longer on the way out than back in. My target time for the swim was about 35 minutes, which I hit, almost to the second. Transition was a 100m drag up hill through the village with good support from the spectators.

Out onto the bike for what should be a fast rolling course. It was a one and a half lap affair looping back on itself with a bit bolted on at the start. Well marshalled (some with pom-poms) and signed. For this race I had set up a power plan, had my Garmin set up accordingly with the power I need for each segment to get me back to T2 in a time of 2hr 46min. However, I obviously hadn’t setup my Garmin correctly and whenever I was slightly above or below the target power a notification would pop up on the screen – covering the whole damn thing, and thus I couldn’t see what power I should have been riding at. After 5 infuriating minutes of trying to fiddle with the settings whilst riding, I gave up and settled upon another screen which gave me a traffic light coloured power bar and a target power but nothing else. I put all of my faith in this and settled into what turned out to be a pretty comfortable ride.
There wasn’t much traffic, the condition of the roads is much better than we are used to riding on and there was good support on the bike course, due to the many car parks throughout the New Forest where friends and family were supporting their respective competitors. The scenery was picturesque and the wildlife fairly nonchalant as we whizzed passed, inches from them feeding at the side of the road. Something to remember if you ever do this race, whilst the mummy and daddy horses have seen it all and really couldn’t case less about you illegally drafting the guy with the loud disc wheel in front, the little baby foals haven’t a clue what a triathlete looks like. Both have skinny legs and that is where the comparisons end. They are very easily spooked, so give them a wide berth.
I finished the bike in 2hr 43min which included helping out another competitor with a mechanical, and slowing briefly for a stubborn paddling of ducks.

The run was two laps of a mainly road course, 7 miles each lap which included the dreaded hill to transition on each rotation. The run course could again be described as rolling with long gradual up-hils followed by short downhill sections. Runners could be seen weaving across the road in an attempt to find tree cover as the temperature peaked at 28C.
I was initially hoping to complete the run in about 1hr 35min (before I knew the course was a mile longer) but after pulling/straining/doing something to my calf the Monday prior, and not having run on it since, had no idea what would be doable.
It felt good going through 6km and was quietly confident that I could get fairly close to my target when the calf decided to remind me it was there. I eased back which worked for a while but by about 18km it had turned to what felt like stone and I was hobbling to the finish line.
Eventually finished the run in a time of 1hr 52min. Total time of 5hr 16min, 69th overall.
The race didn’t end the way I would have liked – with a bag of peas strapped to my leg, but it turned out to be my fastest middle distance and somehow I managed to get my best half marathon time.

There were large groups of competitors from tri clubs in the south/southwest and many people stayed around for the prize giving which was organised around the finish chute so that everybody could cheer on the remaining athletes as they struggled up the hill one last time.
A really enjoyable and friendly race and a cool medal to boot.
Male winner – Andy Greenleaf – Team Freespeed – 4hr 13min
Female winner – Katy Webb – Tri20 – 5hr 10min

Sunday 21st May 2107 – Grafman Middle Distance Triathlon
Grant Aitken was first M50 at the Grafman Middle Distance in Cambridgeshire (4hr31, 51st).
Personal Account Written by Grant Aitken
Grafman Middle Distance…match report! The Saturday weather didn’t look good for a fun race on Sunday…however, early up, porridge and the sun came out😊. Sadly they shortened the swim as they felt it was too cold (13 ish degrees) I blame it on all those atheltes who train overseas throughout the winter…it wasn’t (that) bad! Anyway, 500 odd people hitting the water at the same time made for a good fist fight heading out to the first buoy. T1 was good and the roads were lovely with a few ups and downs (700 odd metres climb over 91km). Flat for Kent! An impatient caravan nearly took me out so mental note to cancel my caravan club memberships😡. T2 fast and first 14 km running was fine….then!!!! Anyway, won AG and 51st overall. 4hrs 31 min 15 sec (plus add 15/16 min on for shortened swim, so quite happyish).

Sunday 21st May 2017 – Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon
Clare Roche made a bid to qualify for the ITU World Championships in the Eton Dorney Sprint Race (1hr31, 11th F60).
Personal Account Written by Clare Roche
Needed a pint. Some PBs in my foray at Eton today. 11th/16th & v pleased with that. Some super fast ‘over 60’s’!! Will have to wait a few weeks to see if I scrape qualification to the World Champs – but more important it was good fun …..now where’s that other pint!

Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May 2017 – The Marshman Triathlons

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club were out in force at the Marshman weekend in Lydd, securing the overall team prize with impressive performances across all distances. This low key festival of racing appeals to all levels and experience, boasting a friendly atmosphere and the promise of a fast course. Conditions were perfect, with the water temperature recorded at 18 degrees and the notorious coastal headwind as calm as can be expected for a course in the shadow of the Camber Sands wind farm!

Peter Gibson gave a dominant display in the Sprint race (700m / 24km / 6km), claiming the title 5mins clear of 2nd place (1hr06). Jodie Cocker was first female on her return to racing after recovering from injury (1hr25, 10th). Success was shared throughout the team with Jamie White (1hr21, 8th) and Nathalie Bere (1hr27, 15th) both topping their Age Groups. Strong performances by Neil Witz (1hr27, 12th), Andrew Adams (1hr27, 14th), and Allan Jones (1hr03), who completed the Aquabike.

Dave Mahon was first home for the club in the Standard race (1500m / 40km / 10km), improving on last year’s performance with a 10th place finish (2hr18) in a very strong field. Sam Rickets (2hr41, 31st), Emma Houghton (2hr45, 36th, 2nd AG) and Antony Burdon (2hr51, 41st) also raced over, what is commonly known as, Olympic distance. Carlo Nebuloni (unattached) won the race in a time of 2hr9.

Katherine De Rome was first out of the water with a scintillating swim (26mins) in the Marshman “Half Iron” distance race (1900m / 90km / 21km) on Sunday. The GB Age Group athlete continued with fast bike and run splits to finish first female and 6th place overall (4hr44). Fellow GB Age Grouper, Judith Hagger, also topped her Age Group and finished second female (5hr14, 27th). Solid performances from Kieran Fitzpatrick (4hr49, 8th), Edward Moffatt (4hr53, 12th), Simon Harris (5hr28, 38th), Steve Baker (5hr30, 42nd), Steve Dunkerley (6hr15, 70th) capped a successful weekend for the club.

Sunday 14th May 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Crystal Palace Sprint Triathlon
Personal Account Written by Suzannah Kinsella
Sole TWTC representative! Time: 1.29.56: 8th in age group.
750m swim in the Olympic pool; x9 round the park on the bike and x2 round for the run with a finish on the track.
No idea who that strangely attired guy next to me is…answers on a postcard…

Sunday 7th May 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Sevenoaks Triathlon

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club were out in force for this hotly contested, early season event. Over 300 completed the 400m pool swim, 25k bike and 8k run, with TWTC finishing 1st Female Team and 2nd Male Team overall. Adam Dennis was first home for the club, finishing an impressive 9th overall and 3rd in Age Group. His consistency across all three disciplines marked a fantastic debut in Tunbridge Wells colours. Pru Clements and Judith Hagger excelled in the female division, with top 10 finishes, placing 1st and 2nd in the F40 Age Group. Thomas Wade (Optima Race Team) retained his title, finishing 6 minutes clear of 2nd place in a time of 1hr20. Renate Blacker was first female, in a time of 1hr40.

The short and intense swim was followed by a challenging bike course, navigating quiet country lanes and the energy sapping climb up Ightham Road to Ivy Hatch. Cold conditions may be keeping the bluebells in their prime but many athletes chose to wrap up before heading out on the bike and the high speed descent down River Hill. There was no respite on the run, with a tough undulating route through Knowle Park. The final climb back up to the leisure centre was described as brutal, reducing exhausted athletes to little more than a walk. That pain instantly became a distant memory with big smiles for the finish line.

Results: Adam Dennis (1hr29, 9th), Kieran Fitzpatrick (1hr30, 14th), Michael Thomson (1hr31, 18th), Sean Fishpool (1hr34, 24th), Simon Howden (1hr37, 36th), Eric Perrier (1hr39, 45th), Mark Poulton (1hr43, 70th), Jim Bonner (1hr44, 74th), Pru Clements (1hr44, 4th), Neil Clark (1hr44, 76th), Bertie Horne (1hr44, 77th), Judith Hagger (1hr46, 6th), Nathalie Bere-Adams (1hr52, 15th), Andrew Adams (1hr52, 133rd), Stephen Dunkerly (1hr58, 178th), Susan Bonner (2hr00, 30th), Helen Waite (2hr02, 37th), Carol Tsang (2hr03, 38th)

Tuesday 2nd May 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – The Bridge Events Midweek Duathlon Series, Race 1

Three members of Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club took part in the first race of The Bridge Events Midweek Duathlon, 5k/20k/3.3k with great results:-
Dave Bagge was 6th overall, Simon Howden 10th overall and Carol Tsang was 3rd female!

Monday 1st May 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Tonbridge Lions May Day Triathlon
Tunbridge Wells Tri Club were well represented at the Tonbridge Lions May Day Triathlon. Athletes competed over Sprint (400m Swim / 25k Bike / 5k Run) and Standard (800m Swim / 50k Bike / 10k Run) distance and had to contend with mixed weather conditions on the challenging bike route.
For seasoned triathletes, this marks the start of the Triathlon Season… but for others, this was literally dipping that first toe in the water! The smile on Amy Pay’s face tells its own story as she approached the finish line on Tonbridge Track, having successfully completed her first race.

Results: Sprint
Lloyd Collier (1:25:30)
Mark Poulton (1:29:54)
Neil Witz (1:33:25)
Julian Himmerich (1:37:02)
Suzannah Kinsella (1:43:14)
Francis Leary (1:43:44)
David Pay (2:01:24)
Amy Pay (2:03:13)

Results: Standard
Martin Bussey (2:51:37)
Oliver Wildman (3:11:42)

Thursday 9th March 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHLON CLUB – Green Park Triathlon
Two Tunbridge Wells Triathletes competed in the Green Park Triathlon on Thursday 9th March. This fund raising event for Red Nose Day attracted over 100 entrants to complete a 400m pool swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run. From experienced GB age group athletes, to first timers, everyone enjoyed the fun atmosphere, with many choosing to race in fancy dress. Mark Poulton impressed by finishing 5th in a time of 1hr47secs. Martin Bussey was hot on his heels, crossing the line less than 2mins later in 11th.

Sunday 5th February 2017 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRIATHON CLUB – 6th Winter Duathlon
1st Race Report of 2017 – Personal Account Written by Carol Tsang
David Bagge and I (plus Doug and Martin from the Wheelers) ventured the half hours drive to Gravesend for the Winter duathlon at the cyclopark.. 6k, 20k, 3.5k.. it was fab! Lovely, friendly, well organised, really feel good, traffic free race.
The next one is on Sunday 5th March!! Save the date! (I’ll be skiing so can’t make it- but I’d highly recommend it!)
Well done to Dave for coming first Super Vet.