The Ringmer Sprint

Today’s race was a bit of a blast from the past. I have done this event before but a lot has changed since 2008, like where to park, where transition is, the bike route and the run route for starters.

So why a sprint? My wife likes this event and she does the Novice (super sprint) distance every year. I go to support her as she is my biggest supporter and I try to be hers (although one or two events of hers versus the number I do per year including travelling, camping etc for mine, she is a more dedicated supporter than I am! I haven’t yet supported for 6 hours at a time like she does for me.

Anyway, as I was going to support her, and then would have to do my own training session in the afternoon, I thought I would do the sprint distance and kill two birds with one stone.

So, for me, this was solely a C race, a training event. But when you are lining up by the pool (yes a pool swim GULP) it would be untrue to say I didn’t treat it as a training event.

The event is very small and low key. Less than 200 starters in total (covering both races), some marshalling but not many marshals, manual timing so no timing chip and so three times: Swim, Bike and Run and no transition timings.

We got there in plenty of time, but were told the car park was already full so we had to park ‘elsewhere’. Bluntly anywhere we could find that was legal, we were told.

We finally parked, walked back to the car park, registered, racked and set up transition and listened to the pre race briefing. Then over to the pool. I was number 116 and my wife was 210. We did some quick maths and worked out (as the first 16 people started) I was well over an hour away from starting and my wife even longer. A long wait then.

I finally started and had a good swim. Solid, well paced, mainly clear water (after a bit of over taking) a swim time of 9 mins 26 secs. Out the pool and then out the door, then around the car park, thru the tennis courts, across the grass and into T1. Longest route to transition ever! Not sure where the swim end was and whether the long route to transition was part of the swim or part of the bike?

A slow T1 mainly due to me flapping and then out on the bike. A good pace on the bike, I felt strong, I over took a couple of riders and saw the THREE arrows telling me to go left, up a small incline and then to the end of that road and did a left (as signposted), as I did I saw other competitors coming from the right, one of them shouted to me that I had taken a short cut. I finished the first lap wondering what to do. The race was over for me as I had not done the full lap for lap one, but as it’s a training event I might as well do lap two and then do the run and then come clean and disqualify myself. So I ploughed on.

Lap two I went past the sign posted left (which was for a different bike ride event that was happening nearby on the same day) – didn’t mention that at the pre race briefing did they! As I did the second lap I thought ‘hang on, if I go past the left and do the full loop, but then do a left where I came out on lap one and do that loop again, I would have actually done more than the race required 24K. I would still let the race ref know what I did and can show them the Garmin proving I did it all and more, if they needed it. Where I come isn’t an issue – I just didn’t want people to think I had cheated.

I finished the bike and after another flappy transition I hit the run. Two laps of a 3K loop, mainly tarmac (road or pavement) but also involved going over a stile, across a field and back on to the tarmac for each lap.

Mainly an uneventful run. A good pace of circa 12 kmph (my fresh 10K pace) that I tried to sustain for the entire run. I felt myself slowing the second half of the first lap and was glad to finish that lap and run past transition and hear the cheers to get me going for lap 2.

The official run time was 32 mins and 5 secs, but by the Garmin it was 31 mins and 30 secs so I think the run included T2. Lap 2 was 1 min slower at 16.17 than lap 1 was at 15.14.

So overall a finish time of 1 hr 38 mins 17 secs. That placed me (overall) 76th out of 139 finishers. Swim I was 38th, bike 104th and run 68th. That pattern will tell you the bike was a longer course for me than others had done, but a good solid run. (The extra run training is paying off Mark).

Now I know the course error was my fault under the rules and small print ‘it is the participants responsibility to know the course and count laps etc etc’. But why have a pre race briefing if it isn’ to tell you there are two events happening that day in that vicinity. There were two or three marshals on some roundabouts, one could have gone to the far turn and the instruction been (at race briefing) go straight unless there is a marshal there?

Anyway I reported what I had done to the race ref and the time keeper and why, and the race results don’t have me as disqualified. So I guess they believed me.

The wife had a good event too. A fast swim (she is a good swimmer) placing her 29th, an eventful bike coming 49th and a run putting her 50th. This meant she finished in a time of 1hr 16 mins and and she finished 50th overall and she achieved her target ‘finish in one piece and not come last’.

I say eventful bike as she too took the signposted left, following another rider in front of her, who did the same. But the person in front then turned around and so did my wife.

I wonder how many others took the wrong left and didn’t do the full distance ………

The race did achieve two things though. One – it inspired my wife to do another event, she is looking at the Uckfield Tri in early September and it confirmed my thoughts that I am an endurance triathlete and not a Sprint triathlete.

All in all it was fun and made a change to training.

Thanks for reading.

The second and last week in N.C.

The second and final week in North Carolina wasn’t as productive as the first week in terms of training.

Last Sunday was a big day. Rich and I originally intended to go mountain biking on the trials at Lake Crabtree County Park. But due to the heavy rain the day before they were closed. Being Rich’s local area he knew somewhere else we could go that wasn’t trails, but also wasn’t the highway. This was a good ride, some hilly climbs and nice down hills. We rode these ‘trails’ for over an hour (1hr 11 mins to be accurate) and we covered 22K. Rich kindly offered to put the bikes and gear away in the car while I went on a 2.5K out and back run for 15 mins – 7.30 out and 6.30 back.

We also went to Rich’s Country club later in the afternoon and did a 50 mins swim set. As laid out by Mark.

So a big day’s training. This was intentional as I knew Monday would end up as a rest day as we were travelling to Beech Mountain where we were staying for the second week. Beech Mountain was only 3hrs 30 mins away, but include packing and ‘being on holiday’ everything took longer than first thought.

On Tuesday we set off to the mountain bike trails at the top of Beech mountain. But these were hard, very hard. The trails look good, as you can see below, the dot in the distance is Rich who shot off.




My beautiful picture










I have never been good on a mountain bike and these trails and terrain were new to me. The picture below shows more of how the terrain was and goes someway to how why I found it so hard. Rich is an experienced mountain biker and put the trails on a 9 out of 10 for difficulty, so I didn’t feel too bad when I kept dropping behind. I was also quietly pleased when Rich got off and pushed his bike, as I was doing most of the time, on the difficult sections.

My beautiful picture









The above picture was the easy part. The other trails where you were surrounded by trees, with the trails full of tree roots and branches across the trail. We can only assume it had rained so much in the past few days a lot of the mud had been washed away leaving the exposed roots all over the trails.

We ‘rode’ for 90 mins and covered less than 10K – I say ‘rode’ as I think I pushed my bike more than I rode it! I did run back to the condo after the ride, 15 mins to cover 1.6K – not bad but it was all down hill.

Not a very productive day but at least I got some training in. We then spent the afternoon driving the area looking for a 25 metre pool, or a gym or a run track etc . No luck!

We did find a route near the condo of circa 4K. The problem was the condo was half way up Beech Mountain. A 5,500 feet elevation meant it was either an easy down hill and then a severe up hill or the reverse. The loop was the same but not as long.

I run the loop the following day and found out just how hilly it was. I really struggled and on some uphills I had to walk. I wasn’t sure if this was due to the severity of the hills, the training done the previous week catching up with me, or the previous day’s work out was harder than I thought. Pushing a mountain bike around a trail maybe more of a work out then riding it!

With limited training available Thursday was a rest day – Rich, the wife and I walked the 4K loop in the morning to work up an appetite pre breakfast. Then we did some sight seeing which included some more walking and all of it hilly.

We drove home, back to Rayleigh, Thursday evening so Rich and I could tackle the trails at Lake Crabtree County Park again Friday morning. And this was a good call. I don’t usually train the day I fly, but I was keen to try the trails Rich said would be good for a beginner (he rated them as a 4 out of 10).

And he was right, the trails were a lot easier, very shaded, very smooth, some roots etc but mainly perfect for a beginner. We rode for 1 hr and 20 mins covering 18K. So not a massively intense work out, but a fun work out none the less. We meet the wife and aunt Theresa at the country club and while there we did an easy 35 mins swim set in the pool there.

So a good end to the week, before the flight back.

We flew back over night Friday night and landed at 7am yesterday morning. We did some unpacking and at 10am had a few hours sleep. As the afternoon was chores galore I didn’t train. I did unblock the sewers, cut the grass, unpack, weed the garden, cut my hair etc.

Today (Sunday) I got up at 8.30am and have had a fairly restful day. I will do a 75 mins easy turbo session later this afternoon and then it’s over to Mark for sessions for next week. I also have the Ringmer sprint triathlon next Sunday, which should be fun and will be thought of as a training session rather than as an out and out race. I consider it as a ‘C’ race, not even a ‘B’ race, so it shouldn’t interrupt training.

Thanks for reading.

Time to kick butt!

After the rest day it was time to get back to training.

The ocean was a rough as anything so the sea swim was out. I was due to do a 20K time trial on the bike and then a few hours later a 5K run at just under 5K PB pace.

However, as it was so hot during the day I decided on combining these two efforts as one brick session later in the day. Rich was up for the session as well so we hit the ride with T1 set up in the garage (trainers, caps, fluids and spare T Shirts).

I led the way on the bike with Rich tucked in behind on my wheel. The ride out was good, a nice tail wind, legs spinning – we averaged 32 kmph. We turned at just over 20K, 24K to be precise. When we turned we realised very quickly what was in store, with a fairly strong head wind. I again led the way and set the pace averaging 27 kmph on the way back. Total ride time of just under the hour at 56 mins.

Trainers on and on to the run. The run was good, I could certainly feel the ride in the legs, but not enough to effect the pace. I was on just under the 5K pace required but it was over the 10K pace and I carried this on for 2K. I was pulling away from Rich and also I was getting very hot. It was still very warm out and I was conscious of Mark’s words of wisdom to NOT over do it while away. So I eased off and waited for Rich to catch up and then we turned and ran back together. The run back wasn’t that much of a slower pace and the heat was just as bad so I think it was a good call. Total run was 20 mins 48 secs and we covered just over 4K so an average speed of 11 kmph. Happy with that.

Yesterday we had to leave the Beach House and travel back to Rayleigh to stay at Rich and Dee’s for a few days. An early start packing and sorting stuff and having to load the cars and trailer so I decided not to run first thing and run in the evening at Rich and Dee’s house.

After unloading and sorting stuff, having some food and letting it digest etc I got to changed to run at about 7pm. Just as I was about to leave the house there was a big storm, so I had to wait for it to end before running, so I didn’t set off until almost 8pm. But when I did it was an excellent run. The air was fresh from the rain, the roads were glistening from the rain and it was like running on a river! The pace was easy and by default I started running at fresh half marathon pace. Rich had given me an out and back loop that was just over 2.5K. Going out was slightly easier and coming back a bit hillier.

First time out and back I did 7.15 out and 7.31 back, lap two was 7.32 and 7.37, lap three was 7.41 and 7.26 and as all was so nice I did a fourth lap of 7.32 and 7.23. So going out which was slightly easier I did 2 of the 4 in the same time of 7.32, one quicker and one 9 seconds slower. Coming back I was within 6 seconds for the first two laps and then built on the pace for lap 3 and 4. Very happy with that.

This afternoon Rich and I are going mountain biking on some trails around his home and depending on how long we ride for and how hard, I might do another run this evening. Really looking forward to mountain biking on proper trails, which will be a first for me. We are off to the mountains tomorrow for four days and we are taking the mountain bikes with us so I need to work out how to do it quite quickly!

Thanks for reading.

The definition of a rest day

Alarm goes off at 6.15am – turn it off and go back to sleep.

Get up an hour later and have breakfast.

Chillax for an hour or so and then hit the hot tub for an hour.

Go to the Crab Shack for a fish lunch.

Mooch around the shops.

Back to the Beach House for a bit of body surfing.

Then hit the hot tub (again) with a glass of pink champagne.

Burger and sausages for tea and another two glasses of bubbly.

Receive a massage to the shoulders to ease away the aches.

Early night.

That is a rest day!

NC Update

The past few days have been very good. Both training and holidaying. This is a tri blog so let’s cover the training.

I decided it was time to get real, so alarm set for 6.15am meant I could get in a training session pre breakfast and pre the weather getting silly and then do another session early evening as the sun was going down.

So first ‘serious’ day was a 1 hour run with 10K tempo’s included. Very tough but very satisfying. I did this on the cycle and run path next to the main road. All I saw were a few other runners and a few cars. BLISS.

Chillaxing all day (apart from a nice 45 minute walk along the beach) and then an 80 minute bike ride including hill reps. I rode back to the bridge that gets you onto the island, which is double the length it needs to be as it goes up and then down rather than flat. I went back and forth over this about 10 times. Sometimes in an easy gear spinning up the hill, others in the top ring and out of the saddle, just to mix it up a bit.

Next day was another early rise, 30 minute sea swim and then straight into a 30 minute beach run. The swim was good. Very easy one way but harder swimming back as the current was against me. But fun all the same. The current meant it was a 40 min swim not a 30 min but fun nonetheless. Transition took a while longer then it should as I had a dip in the pool between the sea swim and the run to wash the salt off me.

I met up with Rich whilst on my run so he ran with me. Nice and easy pace circa my half ironman run pace. I will post a picture of the beach run as it is too hard to describe so you get the right image. Flat compact sand from where the tide has gone out, the sea crashing to your left (or right on the way back), people running or setting up there rods for a days fishing, or getting their chairs out for a days sun bathing. Joggers and runners saying ‘good morning’ as you run by them, the sun beating down …. ah it was bliss.

Yesterday evening was a easy spin bike ride for 75 mins. Very windy heading out so it was hard work in places, but I had the benefit of a tail wind on the way back and flew back in quick time.

I was feeling achey last night, checking the diary I have clocked up 7 hrs and 30 mins training in three days! I was thinking about when to have a rest day. The legs were aching walking up the stairs to bed so not a good sign.

The weather turned in the night, I was awoken by a huge storm and some serious rain fell. So I turned the alarm off this morning and went bak to sleep. The weather is bad today so I had breakfast and hit the hot tub to warm the muscles.

My beautiful picture








We are off out for some lunch and I might do a little run this evening before getting back to the training proper tomorrow. Tomorrow is also our last full day here as Saturday we head back to Rich and Dee’s for a few days before heading off to the mountains for the rest of the week. We also say goodbye to Brian, Nicki, Lewis, Valerie, Esther and Gavin before we go to the mountains. But the mountain retreat will feature some hilly runs and we will trade in the road bikes for the mountain bikes.

Thanks for reading.