12 months ago I was part of a relay team that won the team prize in the Clitheroe Triathlon. It was the first time I had put a number on and turned the pedals in anger for 2 years and the beginning of my comeback into competitive sport. Whilst watching the rest of the athletes come into transition to get on and off their bikes and then under the finishing arch a seed was planted.
Everyone knows cycling is my number one sport and the main focus of my winter training this year has been to get my 2nd category licence back, a goal I am well on the way to achieving. I kept running once a week though, using the Park Run to give my speed a boost and have been swimming once or twice a week for the last 3 months.
The bike leg was always going to be my strong point and with a history in running I found that discipline to come back fairly quickly. Swimming though…
I have next to no upper body strength, my kick cuts through the water like a knife and any sport that requires a solid technique has never been one for me. My swim has however improved somewhat, with tips from a number of other swimmers down at the local pool.
Over the past 2 winters I have taken Turbo Training classes every Wednesday and this year saw many of the Ribble Valley Triathlon Club come down to use it as a Brick session. 2 regulars Dan and Dave have been training exceptionally hard in the run up to the triathlon. Dan did the full tri last year and has also competed in a number of other Tri events.
Dave, like me just did the bike last year as part of a relay team but was bitten by the bug, competing again in a number of events and taking on the full Clitheroe Tri this year.
“A lot more preparation goes into a full triathlon. In my case worrying if I had missed something in my prep meant I was more nervous.” – Dave
The sweat and pain during those classes and the other countless training sessions these lads put themselves through have paid off massively in terms of their results and experiences at this years Tri. For the Turbo Classes I teamed up with Nicola who designed a BRICK session with a difference. The running part want just a simple run off the bike but a series of conditioning drills designed for a smooth transition from cycling to running.
“The BRICK sessions have helped me enormously with technique as well as fitness, giving me confidence going into the Tri” – Dan
For me, preparation was mixed. Being a runner before coming to cycling meant the muscles quickly remembered how to run, but running 8km off the bike was playing on my mind. I had a go a swimming a few years ago and I was pathetic then. My first few attempts this time round didn’t fill me with confidence either but with a bit of training I thought I could at least limit my losses.
The forecast on the day was spot on, cold and wet with a healthy wind. Getting out of the pool and onto the bike in these conditions meant many pulled out with near hypothermia whilst out on the course and there were also a number of crashes on the descents throughout the day. Kit selection was essential. A Tri Suit alone gives you little protection form the elements and many opted for windproof jackets in transition. Chasing a good time I couldn’t bring myself to put any extra bulk on but decided on a pair of arm warmers and to use some Velotooze toe covers (from The Green Jersey) to give my sockless feet some protection from the wind. With the bike course setting off over the Bashall climb before taking on the !!STEEP!! Jeffrey Hill and defending through Stonyhurst I opted for the road bike with clip ons as I did last year in the relay.
“Conditions were worse this year on the bike. The roads were a bit rough, so extra care was needed especially on the descents” – Dave
My swim went well in a time of 7.43, 8.11 including the run to transition. In transition the plan to get the arm warmers on proved very tricky with wet arms so after getting the first one half way up my arm and in a twist I stuffed the other in my pocket and worked them up my arms on the bike.
I put on a Transition session on the Wednesday leading up to the Tri which Dave and Dan both attended. I must admit that for myself it got me thinking about what I needed and put a quick and efficient plan in my head for both T1 and T2.
“Another thing that helped me was the Transition practice session as it was a nice refresher before the first Tri of my season.” – Dan
I set of steady partly due to struggling with the arm warmers, and slowly reeled in a decent cyclist on his very nice looking SCOTT TT bike complete with disc wheel on the Bashall climb. He came back past me again on one of the flatter sections but the bike choice paid off when at the bottom of the climb to Jeffers I pulled well clear and that
was the last I saw of him. I came back with the fastest bike leg by just under 2 minutes in 53.49 and my transition from bike to run was actually the fastest transition of the day by a handful of seconds! The first 2 mile of the 5 mile run was hell (wish I’d had done some Brick Training) but I settled in and rescued my time, 30.34, 3rd fastest on the day.
I thought I might have got at top 10, at a push top 5 but prizes were only to the top 3. I was debating going home but though it would be a shame to miss it on the off-chance I had actually won something. I was shocked but extremely happy to hear my name called out for 2nd place, beating many experienced triathletes and only losing out by 1 min 10 seconds to a 19-year-old national level triathlete who took 2 and a half minutes out of me on the swim!
Well done to everyone who braved the conditions.
- Sam Wardle 1:32:58
- Aidan Holgate 1:34:08
- Garth Spencer 1:52:14
- John Spedding 1:55:17
- David Kenyon 2:07:34
- Daniel Hosker 2:09:18 (15 minutes faster than last year!)
- Nicola Dinsdale 2:36:13
Hard day, but Clitheroe Tri and the weather couldn’t beat us!
Thanks to Dan Hosker and David Kenyon for your insights on the day, EPIC Events and all the marshals for organising a great Triathlon and thanks to JD Images and Gary Burt for the photos used in the post.
More photos can be found at www.sportsunday.co.uk