Studio Cycling - Artist
Event Experiences
 
We would like to hear about your experiences when taking part in some of the events that the Bridgnorth Triathlon Club are involved in. Please email me your experiences and I will publish them on this section of the website.
 
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On Saturday the 19/05/2012, Amanda Willepotte of the Bridgnorth Triathlon Club was involved in the Luxemburg Marathon. This was a team event, each team consisting of 4 members. Below is an account of the event given by Amanda. Enjoy.
 
'Luxemburg Marathon' May 2012
 
It was an exciting weekend, cheap Ryan air flights took us over to Luxemburg where I had entered the team relay in the Luxemburg Marathon with some of my European colleagues.  My family was there to cheer me on too so I was in great spirits. 
Our company had three teams in the event, so there had been an air of competition and plenty of e-mail banter building up to the day. Although fun, this had built up the pressure. I was only running 9km but I still felt quite nervous. I didn’t want to let my team mates down, especially as I was running first and my boss was straight after me.  I have only recently got back into running after several years break and really just want to get fit (and thin to be honest !) so this was quite a big deal for me.  Most of my running has been relaxed, meandering around the lanes of Ditton Priors with my cocker spaniel, so the thrill of a big marathon made a massive change.  I absolutely loved it ! 
The Luxemburg marathon is unusual because it is an evening event, starting at 7pm with the full marathon event going on into the night. The atmosphere was amazing, crowds of people lined the route and there was all sorts of entertainment along the way; steel bands, jugglers, dancers … This all made the run really enjoyable and quite easy, as the cheers and general buzz helped to carry me along. I was lucky to be running first, as the anticipation at the start was electric, as it counted down to 7pm, the tension built, hundreds of balloons floated up into the sky and then we were off, or at least a few thousand runners in front of me were off, it took quite a while before I went past the start line. At first, I was carried along with the flow in a sea of runners and it was difficult to find an even pace, but the field soon began to thin out and I could get into my stride. I thought I was doing quite well until a man on stilts doing the full marathon overtook me! Oh well, even so, I was the first of our companies runners to the handover point, running my leg in 50minutes, of which I was quite proud. As I handed over to my boss, he had a smile on his face, so I can’t have done too badly! Our final time for the complete marathon was 3hrs 54mins, but despite my head start, our team was the the last of the three teams, with just a minute between us.    
 
Amanda Willepotte
 
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On Sunday the 20/05/2012, Myself, Darren Whitehouse and Debbie Smith took part in our first Triathlon of the 2012 season, in fact it was Darrens and Debbies first ever go at Triathlon. The gruelling Snowdownia Slateman Triathlon. Below is my first attempt at writing up my entire experience of the event. Hope you enjoy. But first here is Debbies account of her experience.
 
'Snowdownia Sprint Slateman Triathlon' May 2012
 
Sunday 20 May 2012, a day I had been dreading for months was here.  
 
Just a 400m swim, 20km bike ride and 6km run to contend with.  ‘The Slateman’. Straight away the name should have made me stay clear. Not only was it my first triathlon but it was a tough one.  What was I thinking? !
 
We arrived on the Saturday. Checked into the hotel, registered for the event and took a stroll to the water. Panic set in. As you may be aware, the swimming part is my weakness. This only became apparent to me a few weeks ago. I have always been good in water. Scuba Diving, surfing, snorkelling etc. What I hadn’t realised is that I couldn’t swim very well at any speed or distance. So the past few weeks I had been practicing and practicing in the swimming pool and the open water sessions at Top Barn. I was determined to conquer it….
So after a curry at the local Indian and what seemed to be the longest game of football ever shown on TV, it was time for bed. Not that I was expecting to get much sleep.
 
The morning had arrived. It was breakfast time. For some reason my normal two Weetabix didn’t look very appealing. I got all my kit together and walked down to the starting area.
There were hundreds and hundreds of people around all busily getting their kit together looking very athletic and more importantly looking like they knew what they were doing. Now was the time to panic.  After the safety briefing, I got into my wetsuit and waited for all the people doing the long distance tri to start their swim. Now it was my turn…..
 
400 meters, that was all I needed to complete. I got it to the water which instantly took my breath away. The horn went and away we went. I started off well, the first 50meters had gone…. Suddenly I realised I could no longer breathe, panic had set in and I stopped, a canoe came over to help me. I held on. ‘Catch your breath’ the girl said ‘are you ready to go again?’ ‘No’, I replied. ‘It’s too cold, I can’t do this’.  ‘Come on’ she said ‘I will paddle beside you, you can do this’ ‘I want to get out’ yes, a very childish tantrum was about to be thrown. The girl tried to persuade me but I was having none of it. I no longer wanted to be in the water so she called for the boat to come and get me out. Yes, I failed at the first hurdle. Luckily I was allowed to carry on with the cycle and the run. Though, I wasn’t allowed out off the boat until everyone else had got out of the water. I guess that was only fair.
 
The bike ride went well, though it as very tough. Long up hills followed by fast down hills. I caught up and over took other contestants determined not to come last. The views were fantastic. As I approached the finish, there was a big crowd of people clapping and cheering, it was very encouraging.  As I got to the finish line, I realised that I hadn’t taken my feet out of the pedal clips. I wobbled, the crowd gasped just as I thought I was going to fall, I managed to get my feet out of the clips in time to save myself… phew!!!  That could have been an easy £250 on’ You’ve been framed’.
 
Time for the run…. My strongest section!
A quick change from the cycle shoes to the running shoes and I am away. This was where I could catch up on time lost so I thought? Until I realised very quickly that my legs had lost the ability to run. I had heard about it but had never experienced the unusual sensation of trying to run after cycling. It was if my legs weren’t my own. Ouch. Barely catching my breath the first steep incline came, my legs are now burning, after the first steep incline another steep incline came and another. This quick 6km run was soon feeling a lot longer. Obviously what goes up must come down which I remember thinking, at least downhill would be easier. How I was wrong. Steep declines on slate were not easy. Suddenly I was wishing for another uphill. I kept going and finally made it to the finish. What an amazing experience!
 
The funny thing is if I had kept the swimming part quiet no one would have found out that I didn’t complete it all. I still have a finishing time and even a picture of me exiting the water like everyone else. Hehehe.
 
I am still very proud of myself for completing the other bits and it has made me even more determined to conquer the swimming part.
 
I will also like to congratulate Eddie for doing the long distance. I thought the sprint was hard, I couldn’t imagine completing one twice the distance.
 
 I will also thank him for making me sign up for ‘The Slateman Triathlon’. It was a great experience.
 
Also thank you to Nicola, Matthew and Adam for being the support team and managing to take some fantastic photos. 
 
And finally Thank you to Darren for staying by me all the way through and his encouraging words of Come on and Hurry up!
 
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'Snowdownia  Slateman Triathlon' May 2012
 
So Friday night had arrived, the Spin class was over and it was time to head home and get ready for the weekend. Nicola had been on the Spin bike at the front of the class all week as I was not going to risk aggrevating an injury I had, known has Piriformis Syndrome. A muscle in the backside that presses against the Sciatic nerve basically. So all was ready for the first Triathlon of the season and off to bed I went. Nicola, my 2 boys Matthew and Adam were all heading off to Llanberis on  Saturday morning as we had booked an hotel for the Saturday night so that we did not have to travel early on the Sunday morning as we had to be at Transition for 08:45 hrs. Everything packed on the Saturday morning, bike on the bike rack, off we went. 4 miles down the ride I shout "STOP", I had forgotten my helmet which would have been a disaster, so back we went. Now with helmet and cycling gloves safely packed, off we went again. Anything forgotten now would have to be left behind. It was around 09:15 am. Stopped at the Little Chef in Shrewsbury on the way for a big full English breakfast, and so my terrible preparation for these events begins!
 
A steady ride to Llanberis, we arrived at the Legacy Royal Victoria Hotel at about 1pm. The hotel was perfectly situated, over looking the lake and transition area so it was just a small walk to the start. We were not due to book into the hotel until 2 pm so we went down to the start where I registered for the Triathlon on the next day to avoid the rush on the day. Collected my numbers, T Shirt and goodie bag. Also had the numbers written on my arm as you do. Then went to get a free check on my bike that was being offered the day before the event. All was well with the bike so back to the hotel to check in and get everything put away. We were told by the staff that there was a bike room that the bikes were being stored in. I was having non of that as my bike is my pride and joy! after all it is a 'TREK Madone 4.7 Compact' and did not come cheap, so I snuck it into our room where I knew it would be safe. Got into the room just in time, as the Triathlon World Series was just starting on BBC 1, so watched that for an hour or so. We then decided to go and have an hour or so at the seaside so took the boys to a secluded beach down on the coast and still have no idea where it was! By the time we got back to Llanberis, Darren and Debbie had arrived and were just registering for the event and getting their bikes checked out. So we met up and when all was done, we took a walk to the start of the swim at the lake. There was one or two there that had just got out of the water after a bit of last minute training. They were commenting on just how cold the water was and to be honest it looked cold. I had been to Top Barn for some open water training a couple of weeks earlier and I was unable to get in above my knees due to the water being so cold and that was with the wetsuit on, and I just knew that this water was colder. I had purchased some wetsuit socks and gloves to assist with the cold, but still this was the one thing that was scaring me about the following day.
 
After this and now a little nervous we headed back to the hotel where we had a drink and discussed the plans for the evening meal as it was getting on and we wanted to be back at the hotel for the Champions League Final. As a lifelong Chelsea fan, you can imagine that this was a massive thing for me, and as luck would have it, I would normally be a bag of nerves about such a thing but the Triathlon the next day had taken my mind off it enough and now it was getting closer, the opposite was happening and the football was starting to take my mind off the Triathlon which was a good thing.
 
So off we all went back into Llanberis and continue with my excellent preparations by going into the nearest Indian Restaurant and giving it a right bending! Although to be fair I did substitute the usual Chicken Madras for a steady Chicken Balti. The thought of a certain need arising while I was stuck in the middle of a lake wearing a wetsuit got the better of me! So food consumed it was back to the hotel, just in time with about 5 minutes to go before kick off. I was sat there in my Chelsea shirt, it was quite busy, and as the game went on and we were holding on for dear life, it became apparant that there were a few in there that were cheering on Bayern Munich and it didn't take me long to work out that they were a group of Liverpool fans, typical. The game went on and into the second half, the nerves were taking over and a few text messages to my Brother Chris, also a Chelsea fan, then the un-thinkable happened and Bayern scored, to great cheers from the Liverpool fans. At last Di-Matteo then decides to make the substitution that I had been shouting for since half time, takes Kalou off (should never have started) and brought Torres on. The lead was short lived and with our first corner of the game compared to something like 16 at the time for Bayern. Didier Drogba scored a fantastic header. Me being the very professional individual that I am, lost the plot, was jumping up and down screaming my head off, looking across at the Liverpool fans that were all sat there with their heads down! We were back. Game over and into extra time. It did not take too long to work out that this was going to penalties which was a disaster as Chelsea are poor at penalties, can't remember the last time Cech had saved one and we were up against the Germans. It did not bode well and to penalties it went.
 
And as expected Chelsea missed, Bayern scored giving them the advantage, much to the delight of the Liverpool fans and to be honest I had all but given up. Wait a minute, what's this, Bayern have missed a couple due to 2 fantastic saves from Cech and we just needed to score the last penalty to win. But we had been in this position before and John Terry failed big time but he was suspended for this game so he could not do it again and up stepped Drogba with a chance to sign his name has a Chelsea Legend before he leaves, and has cool as you like he burries it right in the bottom corner. Not quite sure what happened after that as I had gone screaming, running around the hotel! To be fair, when I got back, the Liverpool fans all came aross and we shook hands to some daft comments about how many more times we needed to win it yet! So off to the room we went for a good nights sleep. Yeah Right. I had put the news on to watch Chelsea win it a few times more before watching the highlights to see if we could win it again! A fantastic night.
 
So I woke up on Sunday morning and for the first time since yesterday afternoon, I remembered why I was there. It was a beautifull morning and we went off for breakfast in the dining area that was overlooking the lake. We also met up again with Darren and Debbie. I could only stomach toast as the nervous energy had started and I just wanted to get it going. I was really looking forward to it now. Darren looked calm and also seemed to be looking forward to it. Debbie however seemed very nervous and just kept laughing!
 
So bag packed, got me bike, off we went to the transition area ready to start. Was milling around having got the bike racked and bag ready then it was time for the safety briefing at 08:45 am. It was announced during this briefing that due to the exceptionally cold temperature of the water. The full Slateman swim had been reduced from 1000 mtrs down to 750 mtrs to reduce the time the competitors were exposed to the cold. I was slightly relieved by this as the swimming was always my weak point quickly followed by the running! But it also made me very nervous about just how cold the water was. My start time was 09:40 hrs so it was time to get the wetsuit on and get ready. I did this including socks and gloves and lay everything out ready for transition then off to the swim start. I was in the second group off. The first group were away at 09:30 hrs. I arrived at a very busy start at 09:25 hrs and with the first group all getting ready at the start I decided to get in try and get used to the water, well the cold anyway. It was very shallow at the edge so I kept walking in, the socks and gloves were a master stroke as they were stopping me from getting really cold. Then as I was walking, there was a drop off and I felt like I had walked off the edge of a cliff as I just fell into deep water and my face was exposed to it for the first time and yes, it was really cold. I started to swim to get used to it but could only do it in short bursts as it was too cold on the face, in fact it was that cold it felt like my face was burning. I watched the first group go and slowly made my way between the start buoys ready for the off. Still trying to get my head under the water as much as possible but it was still really cold. When I arrived I looked around to realise I was in the wrong place, I was right at the front in the middle, not where I wanted to be but I tried to move. A chorus of "Oggy Oggy Oggy" started and the 5 second count down was away. Nothing I could do about it now so head down we were off. It did not take me long before I realised I had got into my rhythm straight away and was comfortable, apart from being kicked and punched as I was right in the thick of it. I managed to find a little clear water and tucked in behind someone I was actually really enjoying the swim for the first time. Got to the first turn buoy and everything got close and tight again as everyone was trying to make the turn, so a couple of kicks and punches later we were round and away again. I was now used to it and was wishing that they had left it at 1000 mtrs. Before I knew it I was out of the water and stopping my watch at 18 minutes which I was really pleased with but it was quite a walk to the timing point so I knew my swim time would be a little longer. Everyone was running for the transition but I was only jogging steady as I wanted to see how the Piriformis felt. I heard someone cheer me on and turned to see Darren and Debbie stood there in their wetsuits and yellow caps waiting to get into the water. I remember thinking to myself that I really hope they do ok and enjoy it. So I had made it into transition. 
 
Last time I aggrevated my Piriformis, was trying to get my wetsuit off, so I was just going to take my time here. Socks, Gloves and wetsuit, slowly off. Cycling shirt on, I had been wearing my bibbed cycling shorts under my wetsuit so I was good there. I normally get blisters on my little toes when running so I had a couple of plasters to protect my little toes with, but after towel drying my feet, they were still a little too wet for plasters so I just put my socks on, then cycling shoes, helmet and finally gloves. Grabbed my bike and off I went.
 
Again poor preparation had led me to have 2 drinks bottles on my bike, each containing water that I had added 4 sachets each of sugar out of the hotel. Not the best. I could see cyclists with energy gels on their running belts, banana's etc and I thought, I really should start concentrating on that side of things more. Anyway I was off and already passing one or two on the bike before hitting the infamous Pen-Y-Pass climb. To give you some idea of what this is like, it is the same gradient as the Hermatige Bank in Bridgnorth but this one is approx 4 miles long! I started it reasonably well but by the half way point I was starting to struggle. I enjoy climbing but this was a big one. I was alternating between standing and seated, kept reminding myself, slight bend in the elbow, relax the upper body and I kept telling myself  "Dont Get Off" as easy as it would have been to walk, I was not about to let this climb beat me, and before I knew it I could see the top and the people there cheering us over the top. I was really pleased to have made it and it was a relief to have a slight downhill section. I reminded myself to settle down now as there was still another 25 miles to go. My head must have gone a little and I must have been in a bit of a world of my own, because on this downhill to flat section and at 24 miles an hour, I managed to put my bike in the small ditch at the side of the road, I thought this is it, I am going down, but I managed to get it on the grass verge, then a little jump back over the ditch and onto the road just in time to hear the bloke behind me come past, laughing and commenting on the impressive stunt riding! This certainly woke me up and got the concentration back. The field had spread out again now and although I was passing one or two from time to time, I spent most of the bike ride on my own. With about 10 miles to go and on another large climb although short, I was changing down to the inside gear on the front when the chain went too far and came off on the inside. I then had to get off and free the chain as it was wedged then try and get it back on. This cost me a few minutes and the places I had gained on the bike had gone as they had all come past me again. After this the only problem I had was with the build up of lactic acid around both knees. By the time I had made it back to transition, my knees were quite sore. Out on the ride, I had passed a few repairing punctures, there were a few back in transition with cuts and bruises as they had obviously come off at some point. But I was back and my bike had once again got me back safe and sound, just!
 
Back in transition I was going to once again take my time. This time I had to take my socks back off, put the plasters on my little toes, cover my feet in talcum powder, on with the running shoes and we were away. One thing I had forgotten about was what is known as 'Brick Running'. This is the effect Triathletes get when going from cycling to running. It is caused by all the cycling muscles in the legs are still very active due to just getting off the bike and the running muscles, which are totally different, are non active. It causes the legs to feel quite painful and wierd when you start running, almost as if they belong to someone else!
 
So off I went, looking up the mountain as to where I needed to go. I could see Nicola, Matthew and Adam just outside transition area watching me just starting out on the run. With the brick running effect and the lactic acid causing pain in my knees, I felt quite bad as they may get worried about me because I must have looked awful trying to get my legs to run and they could also see where I still had to go. But I smiled, waved and set out on the 7 mile run. The start of the run was flat and went around and past the entrance to the Electric Mountain Power Station. I was feeling really bad with the brick running, which normally takes a mile or so to ease until the running muscles take over, and to be honest, I did not think for one minute I was going to make it to the end. I managed to keep going though until we hit the climb, I managed to run as far as I could before it got too steep and just started walking which to be fair, everyone was doing as it was just too steep to run up. Any shallow parts and not so steep, I would start running again and I could feel the brick running easing off. By the time I made it to the top of the slate quarry, the brick running had gone and I was feeling quite comfortable and for the first time, I thought I could finish this. It was flat for a mile or 2 across the top and this included a drinks station, so it was nice to stop and get a drink of water before heading off again. There were a couple more up hill sections before heading into the woods of the Padarn Country park, which was lovely, before heading back down hill. Every now and again you would come out of the trees to some fantastic views over Llanberis and Snowdon. The further down I went I could start to hear the announcer at the finish line and I knew I was getting closer. I finally made it down onto the flat and back out into the open. I could see the finish line in the distance and just kept my head down. Loads of people cheering us on to the finish. As I approached the line I could see, Darren, Debbie, Nicola, Matthew and Adam, all there to cheer me over the line. It was over, the first one of the season was out of the way and it was really hard work.
 
We went back to the transition area. Collected my things and bike then off to the car. Got everything packed and the bike back on the bike rack. Everyone got back into the car ready to leave. I can remember looking out of the side window as we started to pull away and thinking to myself  "Yeah, now that was a great weekend". All the way round I had been thinking, never again, never again. When registration time comes around again, I will probably be one of the first names down to do it!
 
My split times and total times for the Snowdownia Slateman Triathlon are as follows: -
 
Swim = 20 minutes 10 seconds.
Transition 1 = 7 minutes 8 seconds.
Bike = 2 hours 3 minutes 16 seconds.
Transition 2 = 4 minutes 1 second.
Run = 1 hour 20 minutes 49 seconds for the run.
 
Total time = 3 hours 55 minutes 22 seconds.
 
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On the 22/04/2012 Jon Rogers took part in the 'Wombourne Sprint Triathlon'. The first Triathlon of the season. Below is a great account written by Jon about his experience at this event. Unlike his last event, this write up shows what can be achieved when everything goes well. 58 minutes 40 seconds for a Sprint Triathlon really is some going. Enjoy.
 
'Wombourne Sprint Triathlon' April 2012
 
Hello again, it's that time already, race day, we are now approaching the race season and they are coming thick and fast now, my latest race was the BCT Wombourne Sprint Triathlon, over at Ounsdale Leisure Centre.
This race is a fantasticly run event, it's run through the Black Country Triathletes club, they do two sprints every year, one in April & one at the start of September, I have raced this for the last 4 years, my first time I finished in 01:13, back in 46th place, I was still very happy with that though as I didn't have many expectations.
 
The race format is 400m pool swim, you get set off at 45 second intervals, very rairly is there more than 2 in each lane. After the swim and T1 you are out on the bike course, just shy of 12 miles, it's undulating but nothing to steep. Once back from that and T2 you are out on the flatest run course ever, out and back again over 5k.
 
I started at 09:33, I arrived at around half 8, went and registered and then back to my car to sort out my numbers and last minute checks on the bike, I went and racked my bike and then could chill out for 20 minutes with a banana, watching all the other athletes doing there thing in the pool.
 
At around 09:15 I went down to the pool side and got my timing chip, numbers on my arm and leg and sat down waiting to be called, went through my warm up and it was go time, I was aiming for around a 6.30 minute swim, I had one other chap in my lane but he was only in there for 4 lengths so I was on my own, perfect, the swim went very well, I felt good and had clocked 6:41, out of the water and a short run to T1, after last weeks catastrophe with my bike shoes I decided to put them on in transition before going out on the bike, this worked fine, the bike is my favourite part of the triathlon and my best, so I put my foot down a little bit, aiming for a 32 minute bike split. I overtook between 5-10 people which is a bonus, but more importantly I felt really strong.
 
The bike is a single loop, the first half is pretty flat to downhill, then you get to an island, take a left, the next couple of miles is gradually up hill and then it undualtes back to T2. I made sure I took on board all of my energy drink whilst out, I had a gel taped to my bike as well but decided I didn't need it. Wow I thought to myself, this is so much better than last sunday!!
 
Back in Transition, nice and quick, helmet off, shoes off, run shoes on (now equipped with some new elastic laces!!), go, the run route is really really flat, out of T2, around the playing fields and then onto a footpath that runs along side an old railway line, you run 2.5k to a turn around point, and then re-trace your steps back to the finish line, again I took a few places, was feeling really good, didn't get any cramp twinges which is very un-usual for me, after the rain showers we have had, the run was quite muddy in places, my new running shoes were caked in mud!!
 
The last 200 meters was tough, I really pushed hard and suffered at the end. I happily snatched the water off a marshal and necked it, just as I had finished the heavens opened up, good timing!!
 
By my calculations with my watch, I thought great just under the hour which was my aim all along, I have never broke the hour on this course before and new that I needed to as the next step in being competitive. Unfortunatley one of the timing chip mats didn't work so we had to wait until later on in the day to find out the Confirmed results. So back to the car with my kit and Mum had brought me a bacon sandwhich, awesome!!
 
I checked later on in the day and the results were as follows: -

Swim - 06:41 (30th) T1 01:01
Bike - 32:14 (11th) T2 00:51
Run - 18:15 (7th)
Overall 58:40 (7th out of 225)
 
I was so made up with these splits, it's nice to see hard training pay off, and I have trained harder this last 6 months than before, but these races aren't my main aim, so I will keep training hard to get faster, ready for Ellesmere & Liverpool, my next race isn't until June 10th now at Blenhiem Palace, so bye for now.
 
Thanks for reading
 
~Jono~
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On the 15/04/2012 Jon Rogers took part in the 'Hereford Duathlon'. Below is another great account written by Jon about his experience at this event. This write up shows how the smallest things can escalate into bad luck. However, dare I say it, I found this so well written that it was really quite amusing and I really enjoyed reading it, I hope you do to. 
 
'Hereford Duathlon' April 2012
 
Hello again, so my 2nd race of the year is upon us, the Hereford Duathlon, there were 2 different distances to choose from, a beginners duathlon which was 2.5 mile run - 17 mile bike - 2.5 mile run, or the regular one that I raced, which is a 5 mile run - 17 mile bike - 2.5 mile run.
 
I was using the race as a good bit of training for my bigger races in the summer, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have an eye on the top 5.
 
So I did my usual pre race checks on the Saturday before the race, had to adjust one of my pedals as my shoe still keeps slipping out, also got a sweet new pair of running trainers to test out, can't wait, unfortunately due to me being an idiot I lost my elastic laces for my trainers meaning that in T2 I would have to stop and tie my trainers up, losing valuable seconds.
 
Early morning start after a big bowl of porridge and a quick double check of my equipment, we set off at 06.55 and arrived at the race venue at 8am giving me a nice hour until the start.
 
Firstly I went and registered, there were 50 people doing the short distance and 110 doing the longer one with me, some seriously fit looking people knocking around, all the gear.
 
After registering and racking my bike I had a warm up, took on board some water and a banana and made my way to the start line, it was a mass participant start, one lap of the playing field and then out onto the road, it was a completely flat course. I was running well in 8th place about 100 yards back from the front runners, we took a couple of right hand turns off the main road onto a country lane, a little hill and then onto the off road section across a couple of fields and back to the leisure centre, still sat in 8th and feeling pretty comfortable, up front there was now two groups of 3 and then me and another chap.
We re-traced the same route for our second lap to make up the 5 miles, people doing the shorter course stopped after the first lap and got on the bikes for the start of their bike section, after the 2nd lap of my run, positions had stayed the same. I had pulled away from the chap that was with me, so I was running on my own.
 
As I entered T1, I put my helmet and glasses on and un-racked my bike, ran out of T1 about 90 seconds down on the leader, perfect position I thought, then disaster struck, I had clipped my shoes onto my pedals again but had forgot the elastic bands to stop my shoes dragging across the floor as I run out of T1, my right shoe got itself caught between the pavement and the pedal and somehow knocked my chain off the chain rings, as this happened the chain then got wedged between the bike frame & chain ring. I didn't notice until I mounted my bike and tried to pedal, the pedals wouldn't turn because of how the chain was jammed.
So I got off my bike and started cursing big time, I tried to un-jam the chain but it just wouldn't come back, it was well and truly stuck, with this I thought race over, took my helmet off and threw it to one side, same with my sun glasses & neck scarf , cursed a bit more, tried again but nothing. As you can imagine I was so peed off, anyway this happened next to my mom and I don't think that she has ever heard me swear so bad before!! She suggested turning my bike up side down, so now I had to take my water bottle mounted on my handle bars off, put it on the floor and the cap came off and my energy drink went everywhere. I thought that this is going to be one of those days. Anyway, once the bike was up side down I did manage to unjam the chain, at last I thought, right, drink bottle back on, helmet, sun glasses lets go.
 
For the first 10 minutes of the bike I was riding on pure anger, but after those first few miles I settled into a bit more of a rhythm, once into my rhythm I was soon powering past people which made me a bit happier. I didn't have much energy drink left so I tried rationing it over the 17 miles, it was up hill a lot for the first half but after the turn around point it was down hill and flat pretty much all the way back, this was fine as I started hitting some fast speeds but it was pretty chilly at the same time, in my temper back in T1 I had thrown my neck scarf off and I am now regretting that decision!
 
On the bike I over take a lot of people, I also didn't get passed by anyone so I thought to my self if I can rescue this race a little bit by getting in the top 20 then I would be fairly happy with that, on the ride into T2 I slipped my feet out of my bike shoes and carried on pedalling with my feet on top right up to the dismount line. I jumped off and rolled my bike back to the racking, helmet off, trainers on. Because I had lost my elastic laces this meant I now had to tie my shoe laces, losing valuable seconds in T2, my fingers were really cold as well so it took even longer.
 
On the run I found my legs pretty quickly, passed another couple of people and felt good considering I didn't have much energy on board, with the finish line in sight I took one more place back and crossed the finish line in 1 hour 41 minutes 31 seconds, I was 15 out of 110 so was really chuffed considering all of the bad luck I had. The winner did 1:31:41, if I hadn't had my issue then I could have been around the top 5, but that's one of those things.
 
Overall I was happy with the end result. I have another race Sunday 22nd April at Wombourne in the BCT sprint triathlon so I'm looking forward to that and will hopefully have learned some lessons from this race, my splits were as follows: 
Run 1 - 30:43 (8th)
Bike - 55:07 (30th)
Run 2 - 15:41 (10th)
 
As I said my next race is next Sunday so I will up date you with that one.
 
Bye for now - Jono 
 
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On the 11/03/2012 Jon Rogers took part in an event known as the 'Dambuster Duathlon'. Below is a fantastic account written by Jon about his experience at this event. This gives a great account of what taking part in one of these big events is actually like. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. 
 
'Dambuster Duathlon' March 2012
 

Hiya, My name is Jon Rogers and I'm a new member to the Bridgnorth Triathlon Club.
 
On March 10th I raced in the Dambusters Duathlon, this was a 10k run, 42k hilly bike and 5k run, it was also the British Age Group Championships and ITU world Duathlon Championships qualifier for Nancy in September.
 
I didn't really have massive expectations for qualifying for the Worlds but I put forward my interest on the off chance, to qualify I would have to finish in the top 4 in my Age Group, 25-29.
 
I had raced the Dambusters Triathlon 2 years ago so new what the bike had instore for me, it's a slightly long 42k bike, undulating with the now in-famous 'Rutland Ripple' mid way in, this is a succession of hills that really sap the strength from your legs.
 
So me & my partner, Sarah, travelled up on the Friday, arrived at around 20.00 and had some dinner, un-packed the car, and took the bike up to the room. I had some stuff to sort out, taped my gels to my top tube, ran over in my head all the kit I would need etc, hit the hay at around 22.00, alarm was set for 05.00.
 
Slept very well, got up and we both showered, I shaved my legs and face to slip through the air faster!! We headed down for some breakfast at 06.00 and I had a couple of bowls of Alpen and some toast, went back to the room and packed the bike and my stuff, set off for Rutland Water at 06.30.
 
When we got there it was just turned 07.00, so firstly I went to register, get my number and stickers for the bike and helmet, queing up there was a lot of bike envy going on!!
 
Back at the car I got my numbers sorted, bike sorted, filled my drinks bottle up with 500ml of SIS energy drink, elastic banded my bike shoes to my bike for faster transition and off we went to the start line. I racked my bike, again went over in my head everything for the race. There were around 800 people there racing so the atmophere was electric!!
 
We had a race briefing at 08.10 and then straight to the start line, I was about 3 or 4 rows from the front, not ideal but manageable, once the horn went we were off, it's a largly flat run with just a couple of slight increases in elevation, nothing very hard though.
 
We all bunched together for the first bit of the run, by the turnaround point I had calculated that I was 2 minutes down on the lead pack, at about 7k I took my first gel in, that helped a lot, I could tell in my legs that they thanked me for that. I hit T1 just under 4 minutes back, T1 went really well, trainers off, helmet on, run out over the mount line, jump on the bike and go, once I'm moving I slip my feet into my shoes and tighten up, perfection.
 
The first few minutes on the bike weren't good, the legs were hating me for now choosing to cycle after the 10k run and really annoyingly my bike computer didn't want to play, thankfully the cadence monitor did and I had my Heart rate monitor on as well so I could gauge how hard I was going with those.
 
I had decided to stay between 80-100rpm on the bike, after a couple of bumpy bits of road the speed suddenly started working so now I was rocking & rolling. The first half of the bike was pretty gruelling, up hill & head wind, I had a pack of about 6-8 cyclistis with me & although it's non-drafting we stayed the correct distance from each other but took turns in the lead to push the pace, this really helps keep you working hard.
 
The Rutland Ripple was next and I'm lucky because I actually love hills, I make up most of my places on them so I relished the test, just as I thought I made some progress on them and once over the last of them could settle down into a nice rythm, easily hitting 27-30mph on the flats.
 
With about 5 miles to go I had pretty much taken on all of my energy drink, so I had my energy + caffiene gel, this was a bad move because as soon as I sat up to have it my hamstrings cramped up forcing me to stop pedalling and to stand up and try to stretch them, after 30 seconds the worst had passed and I was down on my bars again but every now and then I would get a twinge.
 
We were soon rolling back into T2 now, feet came out of the shoes and put my feet on top of the shoes, carried on cycling to the dismount line and off I jumped to run into T2, unfortunatly my left shoe got caught between the floor and the pedal, it twisted itself off the pedal and fell to the floor, I stopped to go and pick it up but a very nice marshal told me to carry on and get it later.
 
T2 went just as well as T1, racked the bike, helmet off, trainers back on and out, I was feeling good for the first 200 meters but then my legs totally left me, I had enough energy on board but I hadn't left enough in my legs for this 5K, I really had to dig deep, but I did, got to the turn around point, took a bit of water on board and felt slightly better.
 
The finishing chute always manages to give you an extra gear and it did me as well, I burst over the finishing line and doubled over gasping, the finishers area had plenty of drinks available so I took 4 cups of water in before I could even think of finding Sarah, she was there, very happy for me I think, or I hope anyway. She had also brought my recovery shake as well so downed that.
 
All in all I was happy with everything, pre race I had said to myself 2 hours 10 minutes and I came in 2:12, my heart rate monitor told me I had burned 2269 calories as well.
 
Once I got home the positions were up and are as follows:
 
02:12:25, 37:20 (10k run), 01:13 (42k bike), 19:30 (5K run) with T1 at 47 seconds, T2 49 seconds, 127th out of 601 finishers, 17th in Age Group.
 
On reflection I'm happy with the 10k run time, by the start of my tri season that should be around 35 minutes, I'm happy with that bike time over such a difficult course, my aim is to go under the hour for 40K, my 5K I was dissapointed with and know I can run that a lot faster, put as I said I hadn't left anything in my legs so paid the price at the end. Nutritionally I think I was spot on except for forgetting my pre race banana, that's what I'm putting the muscle cramps down to, lack of potassium, my T1 & T2 were really good and smooth.
 
Next race is hopefully the Wombourne Sprint Triathlon April 22nd and or Halesowen Sprint Tri on April 1st.
 
My 'A' races this year are the Shropshire Tri at Ellesmere on June 24th to have a crack at qualifying for the GB age group team & the Liverpool triathlon which i did last year, this is a qualifier for the 5150 race series with the grand final in Des Moines, Iowa, I raced out there last year as well so want to go back this year.
 
~Thanks for your time~
 
See you soon.
 
Jono.