Bideford Triathlon review by Caroline Lance

Bideford Triathlon 2010

8th August saw the inaugural Bideford Sprint Triathlon with 15 West Country Triathletes making the trip west.  The event was part of the Bideford Water Festival and a fundraiser for the local Rotary Club organised together with North Devon Triathletes.

I was one of the first to enter as the two friends, Karen and Nicky who come and stay with me each year to take part in the Burnham Triathlon come from Bideford and it was felt that it would be rude not to take part.

A few of us went down with our families, including Kevin, Ollie and Pongo the dogs for the weekend and met up at Westward Ho on Saturday for a stroll along the beach followed by a meal.  By Saturday evening, we had received messages about checking out the bike course as it wasn’t quite the Somerset Levels!  Well it had a bit of everything; hills, straights, hairpin bends, busy main roads and quiet skinny lanes, gravel, poo and 3 right turns – eeek!.  By the time we had driven it, I had completely forgotten to worry about the 400m river swim against the tidal flow and was beyond panic.

The Bideford transition area was like home from home with our very own Mike on the PA system.  WCT hogged the rail next to Mike’s commentary area and set ourselves up for the afternoon’s racing.  The weather was pleasantly warm and the roads dry – perfect conditions for racing.  Due to the river tides, the start time was a leisurely 4pm!

After the race briefing, it was a 5 minute walk down to the start of the swim via a very busy waterfront to a set of steps where we were to be started in groups of 15 at 1 minute intervals with unusally, the fastest swimmers going first.   I think the organisers will think twice next year in choosing yellow bouys and yellow swim hats for everyone as this made sighting a little challenging.  After 400m it was up a slipway with a 200m run back to the transition area along a carpeted strip.

A quick T1, thanks to Claire’s wetsuit that I was able to get out off in less than 15 minutes and finding my rather bright new bike straight away.  It was difficult not to draft for the first mile or so, but once we reached the A39, everyone spaced out (or more likely left me behind).  It wasn’t great to realise that you had to pedal on the downhill sections and then pedal even harder uphill, then after a few miles, we turned off and downhill via a country lane.  It was at this point that I used my brakes for the first of many times and frightened the life out of myself at the loud noise I heard until I realised it was just the wind catching my race number.  A fast section along another main road, then it was a hairpin bend onto a steep hill.  It was at this point I felt as if the world was in slow motion as we all pedalled steadily uphill and eventually across the A39 with a fast decent into yet another village.  During this downhill, I was passed by a chap on a mountain bike with treaded tyres and bermuda shorts – not a great feeling!  Back upto the A39 again, up to the roundabout then it was another hill down through the houses and back in transition 25km later.

After my initial panic at the bike course, the many marshalls around it were fanastic and all credit to them that everyone arrived back safe and sound.  The support through the villages was fantastic, with so many people cheering us on as we cycled through.

The run course took us out towards the town of Bideford and along the riverside and over the old bridge.  There were so many people walking along this area that you had to keep your wits about you to avoid people, prams and lamp posts.  Over the bridge, we ran parallel alongside the river then onto the Camel Trail to a turning point, then back the same way.  This gave us the opportunity to see friendly faces and give/receive loads of encouragement..

This was by far, the hardest event I have ever completed and hearing Mike call out my name and seeing a reception committee of WCT members at the finish line was nothing short of amazing.

At the start line, I felt that this tri was going to be a one off event but by the time I got to the finish and very much to my surprise, I had enjoyed the race so much I would love to be back next year.

Prizegiving saw Ceeli and Martin pick up well deserved prizes.  Many congratulations to you both and hoping that this was a good warm up for the World Duathlon Champs in a few weeks time.

The offer of fish and chips at the house Jo and Dave were staying in appealed to many of us who didn’t need to rush home and we cleared off to Westward Ho once again for a well earnt supper.in the sunshine.

WCT Results:

FirstName LastName Category Swim+T1 Bike Run+T2 Finish Overall Cat Pos
Martin Rogers MV 10:18 39:12 18:29 1:07:58 8 3
jason emmett MV 10:20 41:02 20:24 1:11:45 15 6
Celia Miall FS 10:08 42:30 21:12 1:13:49 22 1
Darren Newman MV 11:53 46:36 24:10 1:22:38 68 24
Christopher Griffin MS 14:44 46:04 25:48 1:26:35 93 45
Chris Rouse MS 12:09 49:26 25:06 1:26:39 94 46
gordon clark MV 12:11 47:07 27:53 1:27:11 96 30
david kemp MV 11:59 51:49 24:21 1:28:08 101 33
joanna wagstaff FS 12:10 53:04 24:35 1:29:47 108 6
Julian Hodge MS 13:16 49:56 27:37 1:30:49 112 52
Caroline Lance FV 13:30 54:05 27:52 1:35:26 148 11
Rebecca Dunn FV 15:08 55:30 25:10 1:35:47 150 12
Bev Crockett FV 14:34 52:25 29:20 1:36:18 160 15
Mark Burgess MV 12:29 58:09 28:28 1:39:05 177 47
Robert Mcainsh MV 21:27 56:41 36:07 1:54:14 203 53

Lessons learnt:

  1. To put down the correct swim time.  RM
  2. Now I can get out of a wetsuit and find my bike, not loose my shoes in T2.  CL
  3. Not to put your transition box in doggy do do.  CL
  4. Forget sports drinks – alcohol hits the spot.  JH
  5. Don’t forget half your kit.  JE.
  6. To check that there isn’t a height restriction pole on the exit from the car park before you drive home with your car on the roof.  Unknown but witnessed my CL and BC.