Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon July 2011

This was the first official Bristol Harbourside Triathlon after last year’s successful trial run, with over 450 taking part in the Sprint and Standard distance events.  The event took place in the Hotwells region of Bristol, with the swim in the Cumberland basin, the bike an out and back route along the traffic-free A4 and the run along the towpath on the opposite side of the River Avon.

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon

Having decided to enter the Sprint event, which didn’t start until 3pm, we arrived early to register, enjoy the glorious sunshine and watch those doing the Standard distance head off.  The event was well organised, loads of support, friendly, helpful marshals and a good atmosphere.  The location was great, swimming in the historic lock with the iconic Clifton suspension bridge forming an imposing backdrop.  The only negatives from the event was a lack of showers.

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon

So by 3pm the sun wasn’t quite so fierce and a few welcome clouds had appeared, and it was time to get going.  I headed down the pontoon and was about to jump in the lock when I realised I still had my flip flops on!  A nice marshall took them off me and look after them until after the race.  After a brief warm up in the water and sought out my girlfriend on the sidelines but couldn’t understand the fearful look on her face until I realised I was right at the front and in the middle on the start line.  Never one to be daunted (or maybe just not right in the head) I thought “F@ck it, let’s give it a go, what’s the worst that could happen” so with the Dr. Pepper music going round my head the horn sounded and we were off.  I thought the best strategy would be to go off fast and try and stay away from the majority of the pack, and it sort-of worked, I get a bit bumped and bruised, and gave as good as I got but found I was blowing hard and not concentrating on my stroke, so for the rest of the race I decided to stay wide and out of trouble.  The rest of the swim was uneventful and finished the 750m in 13:35.

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - James Kyffin

Out of the lock and along the (long) harbour wall into transition.  Getting out of my wetsuit was fine thanks to copious amounts of bodyglide but after the tough swim and long run I was shattered by the time I reached my bike.  Out onto the bike and two laps out-and-back along the A4 Portway which was closed to traffic for the event.  It was nice and flat; great for getting down onto the tri bars and going for it.  I finished the 20km in 31:25 and after another seamless transition out on the run.

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - James Kyffin

The run was hard but the scenery helped, along the river towpath, trying to keep count of half-submerged shopping trolleys and traffic cones, the 26 minutes flew by.  The path was narrow with only room for 3 people abreast and with it again being an out-and-back route, it made for some interesting over-taking manoeuvres.  Again loads of support at the finish line, high-fiving the crowd while running down the finishing shute made me feel like a pro.

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - James Kyffin

I finished in a time of 1:14:53, coming 35th out of 198, which I was pleased with.  Pretty obvious where I need to improve, 16th out of the water, only 10 people quicker than me on the bike but a staggering (much like my running) 45 people quicker than me on the run.  So I will definitely see you all at Martin’s track session on Monday night!

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon - James Kyffin