Exe Valley Triathlon 2011

By Caroline Lance

Several WCT members made their way down to Tiverton this morning for the Exe Valley Triathlon organised by Exeter Triathlon Club.  For me, it was the first time I have done this event since it was my very first triathlon four years ago when I did the shorter event which had me breast stroking half of the 8 lengths, using my mountain bike for the cycle section and taking over 22 minutes for the 2.5 km run.  Although I’ve come a long way in the last few years, the fantastic support and unfortunately the nerves before I start remained the same….Toni went off early and showed us how it was done and reassuringly told us that the pool tasted the same as Burnham.  She was there bright and early with hubby and they both stayed and supported us until we were all home and took some fantastic pictures for which we were all very grateful.  Gordon also drove down to support, having taken part in the Cotswold Triathlon earlier that morning – wow!

Exe Valley Triathlon

Having put down a fast time for my swim hoping to hang of the heels of someone a bit faster than me, this was well and truly scuppered with most of us having a lane to ourselves for the swim section.  The nettles and pebbles were an interesting discovery on the run to T1 and after the rain during the previous day or so, the mud endured by the earlier starters in the transition area was unpleasant.  However all was forgotten out on the road.  The bike course is an out and back one following the Exe Valley (funny that given the name of the event) and for those who have time to take in their surroundings, it really is rather pleasant.  The road itself is lovely and smooth, well apart from a section of subtle speed bumps which had me holding onto my tribars rather tightly and thinking that I was back on a horse instead of a bike and is undulating rather than hilly.  The run continues with the undulating theme and has a particularly cruel hill climb just out of transition which certainly challenges the bike-weary legs.
After Toni, Sarah was first out and we spotted her at T2 and running very strongly out.  Michelle led the rest of us and I followed in the next wave.  This fortunately meant that I only had the choice of one bright pink Quintana Roo (my mistakes in transition are legendary) and also that we were able to spot each other on the bike and again when Michelle wanted to high five me on the run whereas I could only offer a fist as I was clutching a handful of fast-disintegrating jelly beans.  Julian followed in the next wave and having spotted him at the turnaround on the bike and thinking it was only a matter of time before I was overtaken. Infact poor Julian was suffering and looked very uncomfortable when we passed each other twice on the run with me offering loud encouragement.  With all these events where you are continually passing people, I always feel it rude to not acknowledge competitors going the other way and try and smile at everyone, so I’m sure at the end there are people wondering who the mad woman in the pink tri-suit is – ah well!
Following us came Mark and Darren who both finished strongly.  Infact in T2 Darren seemed to manage an amazing transformation as the pictures show below.  As I type the results are not available so I’m unable to comment on times.  However everyone was smiling at the finish line and it was a great start to the 2011 sprint distance season.
An unexpected treat came in the form of Sarah admirably looking after my weary legs at the end.  Wow what a difference – thanks a million!

Great race, excellent marshalling and one of the best goodie bags to date which included a spare inner tube!  The coffee, bacon butties and home made cakes were also very well received and its no wonder that the places were quickly snapped up for this event several months ago.  You can view all of the photo’s here

Caroline Lance - Exe Valley Triatlon

Julian Hodge - Exe Valley Triathlon