Bradford Upon Avon Olympic Triathlon 2011

Seven WCT members entered the inaugural Bradford Upon Avon Olympic distance triathlon (1.5/35/10km) on 26th June 2011.  I was very surprised to be able to enter this event less than 2 weeks before the actual day and that there were only 130 competitors.  However having entered on the spur of the moment, riding on the success of completing the Windsor Olympic distance and that this was the only other river swim event I could find, I then realised that the other Club entries were considerably more faster/talented than me and I had more than second thoughts about turning up.

Whereas the weather had been a major feature of the last few race reports for the wrong reasons, the forecast for this particular Sunday was for a very warm summers day.   An early start for the drive to Bradford Upon Avon where we saw Matt who had camped out the night before at the site offered (free of charge) by the race organisers which turned out to be someones (very nice) back garden.

There were three waves 30 minutes apart, with Club members in all three.    During the race briefing we were told that the water temperature was sufficiently warm enough that wetsuits were optional and some people did take this option, but certainly not me.  The water was much clearer than the Huntspill and revealed small fish swimming by our feet when we first got into the water.  Infact the walk to the start was via a smaller stream which was probably the one of the most difficult part of the day as I found it near impossible to walk on the pebbles and ended up, like many others, lying down and pushing myself along with my fingers before we could start swimming.  Two days later, the soles of my feet are still sore….

The swim itself was two 750m laps of a course marked by very large red bouys, upstream and down the tree lined Kennet and Avon canal.  It was slightly more effort swimming back to the start/finish due to the tidal flow and in places was rather weedy which in my case resulted in a ‘chicken-wings’ type drill to remove from my face.

A fairly long run into T1, wetsuit off and I realised that I had forgotten to unstrap my cycle shoes ready to slip my feet into – duh!  I never fail to surprise myself as to what new mistakes I can made in transition.  The first part of the cycle was absolutely stunning and I enjoyed riding past some very nice villages and houses.  Heading back towards Bradford Upon Avon, we turned off again and the roads were noticeably busier.  On the final few km back into T2 there was an extremely steep downhill section where we had been warned that using aerobars would lead to disqualification, followed by several fairly serious uphills.  During this point came the inevitable man pointing a camera with a very long lens towards us and the dilemma of whether to ignore or grin!

Back into T2 and I was flummoxed to find a bike in my rack space and nowhere at all to put my bike.  A marshall was nearby and kindly removed the offending bike whilst I scrabbled around trying to find my shoes and cap which had also been scattered far and wide, then I was able to finally rack, remove my helmet and I was off on the run.   The 10km route was an out and back towards and along the Kennet and Avon Canal which had the advantages of being flat, although the bridge and steps were a bit of a challenge to my tired legs.  The run alongside the narrow boats was lovely, but unfortunately the hot weather had brought out everyone, his dog, pram, child and bike out along the same path, many of which didn’t seem too bothered about moving out of the way despite my huffing and puffing towards them.

And so all six of us made it home, but not without incident.  Marc managed to miss out one of the bouys on the second lap of the swim, Matt took a wrong turning on the run and unfortunately Jeannie was even nipped by a dog on her run!  Congratulations to Martin, Ceeli and Jeannie who picked up prizes.

After my initial worries about doing this event, I was very pleased to be back in time for the prizegiving, frustratingly 11 seconds the wrong side of 3 hrs.  The course was fantastic and I will certainly be back next year determined to come in under the 3 hours and hoping that the weather is just a little cooler.

Garrad and Jeannie who are training for Ironman Bolton, then cycled the 35/40 mile home via the Mendips.  I was glad to jump into my car…..

Name Finish Time Swim Cycle Run Overall Age Group
Martin Rogers 2.11.40 25.27 1.05.23 37.53 4 1
Ceeli Miall 2.21.50 25.02 1.10.15 43.46 17 2
Marc Bostock 2.25.39 23.08 1.12.48 45.33 25 10
Garrad Bailey 2.27.13 26.12 1.10.17 47.48 29 10
Matt Cooke 2.29.26 25.07 1.10.19 50.48 32 14
Jeannie Fry 2.35.56 27.25 1.15.51 49.21 44 1
Caroline Lance 3.00.11 30.25 1.27.30 57.26 97 3

Caroline Lance