Toshiba Windsor Triathlon

Toshiba Windsor Triathlon 2011

Whilst those of you brave souls who took on Burnham Sprint Tri on Sunday woke up to a windy and wet morning, six of your club mates were greeted by glorious sunshine in Windsor ahead of the Olympic challenge.  Mind you in order to witness the sunshine and mist laying across the River Thames we had alarms going off at around 5am!  Getting up at the crack of dawn was however a savior in many ways as the majority of us age group triathletes, some 2,500 in number, managed at least the swim and bike legs in reasonable conditions.  The same could not be said for the elite guys as conditions got steadily worse as the morning went on – but hey, they get paid to do it!!

Representing the club, all bright eyed and wet suited up when most normal folk would still be in bed were Caroline Lance, Rebecca Dunn, Sarah Werner, Belinda Llewelyn-Jones, Julian Hodge and myself.  Now I understand that the girls place the blame on Julian for suggesting that they do the Olympic distance rather than the Sprint.  His argument being based purely on financial reasons, i.e. being that it was only £8 more expensive for double the race which somehow made sense in October 2010!  I can only assume it’s similar to that logic of ‘cost per wear’ when your other half blows a shed load of cash on a new pair of shoes (that can be either gender, high heels or Shimano TR31s!) Julian also assured the girls that you could stand up if you had any problems in the swim and that the cycle was pretty flat which helped the them in thier decision to enter the full distance.

Windsor Triathlon

Despite that, looking at the Thames on Saturday, 1,500m seemed maybe more than a little daunting although there was still a positive attitude to succeed.  At least in the Thames you can see the bottom unlike our training venue the Huntspill!  For Julian, he had been there and got the T shirt last year and for me it was a return to an event I had not done since Spencer Smith last won it (still got the faded T shirt as well).

Windsor Triathlon 2011

So with bikes pre racked on Saturday along with a few others, some of which were worth more than your average family car, we were all set to start in waves kicking off with the sprint distance at 6am (see you got a lie in too girls!).  The low levels of recent rainfall meant that the current was pretty tame but we all duly headed to the north bank to keep current influence to a minimum, the swans had the same idea – they look quite big at water level! Turning at the buoy placed at 900m, dash back in the middle of the river to then exit at the temporary platform some of which found difficult to negotiate and I know at least one chap who on his 3rd attempt got a shove from behind to help him on his way.

Jog into T1 and even at that time plenty of cheers and support as you wrestle to get the wet suit off.  Julian managed to run past the Tri UK stand without stopping to look again at the Cannondale that he was so close to purchasing on Saturday!  Transition as shown in the photo is BIG, so ensuring you had your landmarks and bike position logged is critical as one bike in 2,500 is hard to spot!  Quick change and out on the bike.  The bike course is pretty fast, a few undulations and plenty of bikes on the course which of course you can’t draft.  I encountered a tractor and trailer (silage I reckon!) about half way round which was interesting to overtake as it went past other cyclists and there was oncoming traffic.  There was also the usual litter of water bottles, bike bags and other cycling accessories so if you are short of kit then a ride round the course would pay dividends.  On water bottles – why do some triathletes carry 3 litres of fluids for a 42km ride – thirsty/hungover?!  Drift Road is the best part of the course as the road is closed and there is a dead turn at the end to test your bike handling. There were however groups of riders which if you caught behind were then tricky to get past with other groups riders coming the other way – combined of course with the usual kamikaze bike handling of some. The route concludes through the park after a brief climb and that’s full bore and made even better when you whip past someone on a P3 with disc wheel.

As I entered Windsor for T2 there was the unmistakable clatter of carbon hitting the deck but hopefully they were ok – not one of our gang fortunately. Having located racking point, doned the trainers (not Tims but he was there) and having to grab a gel bar off the bike as my other one had gone walk about, it was onto the run and 3 laps including the drag up to the castle (HRH was out trooping the colour but sent her regards) and then 2 legs up datchet road and eton high street before the turn point close to the finish line.  It was during the run that rain started but that did not damped the spirits as the girls were still smiling and waving as we saw each other on various parts of the run.  Eton high street did seem to get longer and the drag to the castle steeper so I will certainly be appearing at Martins run sessions from now on. I did smile at the chap who clearly was worried about run safety having elected to keep his cycling helmet on – guess he won’t be buying those photos!  Good support from the crowds which helped you round and after the third lap it was a dash for the finishing line and job done.

Windsor Triathlon

Windsor Triathlon 2011

So after some worried expressions on Saturday, the finish line was a much happier place as all the WCT contingents conquered the race with some great personnel performances.  Results are in the table below and all had a good day at the office and no doubt be ready for 2012 along with a few others from the club……..?  On a personnel note, I had felt twinges of blisters towards the end of the run only to discover that my missing gel was actually in my right trainer and had sliced my toes.  With cold feet off the bike I hadn’t noticed the obstruction and on Sunday evening was left with a throbbing big toe but that didn’t damped a great race and even a free ride on the Windsor Eye post event.

Firstname Lastname Category Category Finish Swim Bike Run
Position Time 1,500m 42km 10km
Mark Astbury 40-44 50 02:26:59 00:25:58 01:09:52 00:47:49
Julian Hodge 30-34 147 02:46:39 00:31:26 01:14:35 00:57:27
Caroline Lance 45-49 22 02:59:41 00:33:46 01:24:49 00:55:41
Rebecca Dunn 40-44 36 03:03:04 00:35:21 01:30:19 00:51:00
Sarah Werner 35-39 49 03:08:38 00:34:54 01:33:56 00:54:18
Belinda Llewelyn-Jones 40-44 44 03:09:03 00:35:21 01:30:19 00:56:59

In the elite race Lois Rosindale won the womens race in 02:06:37 and Tom Bishop the mens in 01:52:33.  Something to work towards for next year…….!?!

Mark Astbury