Ever done a triathlon? Me neither! I run and I cycle but I am not overly keen on the swim element of triathlon and so have kept myself to single discipline events although I have tried a duathlon (which was a very odd sensation on the legs). However, I am part of a tri club (Havering Tri) and I will never say never, so when my friend Amy was looking at putting together a relay team for a middle distance triathlon at Outlaw Nottingham 70.3 I thought why not and said I would do the bike leg and another friend Lisa would do the run. We were team Menage a Tri (see what we did there).
A middle distance triathlon includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.
We signed up for this months ago and when you have an event that is a long way off it doesn’t seem as daunting and ordinarily the thought of a 56 mile bike ride wouldn’t particularly phase me either. However, as the date grew closer knowing I was part of a team I started to put unnecessary pressure on myself and was really quite nervous. Both Amy and Lisa are like me and we wanted to enjoy it and were not looking at being the quickest, instead just looking forward to completing this event together.
So why was I so nervous? What if I had a mechanical – that would be game over for me! What if I had a puncture – I always have people with me to help with this and although I can do it I was sure it would take me forever and be stressful! What if I was super slow? What would poor Lisa think standing at the transition area waiting for me to get back so she could go out and do the run leg? They say overthinking is the art of creating problems that are not even there and this was absolutely the case. At the end of the day I was doing what I do most weeks and I was just riding my bike.
I had actually cycled the course last year when my husband took part in the event and as he was getting ready with everyone else the day before I took the opportunity to go for a ride myself and so used the route of the event for this. So no fear of the unknown either. I knew there was one sharp hill and that the rest was undulating. Everyone who knows me knows I hate hills and undulating is not my favourite but I knew if I worked the downhills and flats I could use this to my advantage.
The event starts and finishes at Pierrepoint, the swim is in the regatta lake, the bike is mainly on country roads in Nottinghamshire and the run is within the grounds of the country park.
Thankfully I did not need to worry about anything and I loved it!
Amy was first up in our relay taking on the swim leg and I was excited to see her and be able to get out on the bike. Although a lot of the roads are pretty shoddy with poor road surface, gravel, potholes and uneven surfaces the event organisers had been out in advance and spray painted areas to avoid in orange paint (I’d be interested to know how much paint was used!). These were some of the better bits – the worst was the final 2 miles, which event organisers apologised for in the briefing – speed humps, gravel, pot holes, large stones and rocks – you get to ride past the lovely Holme Pierrepoint Hall but for that section a mountain bike would be better.
My husband had amended the display on my garmin so I could only see speed, cadence, heart rate and gears. My mental game is not that strong and this was such a benefit not having the mileage or time display as I’m sure depending what way it went that would have changed the way I rode, either trying to speed up or slow down. He also set an alarm on my garmin so every 20 minutes it went off to remind me to eat something and drink – a little tip I got from when I was interviewing Lucy Charles and worked brilliantly for me although I did come back with a lot of food and drink so still work to be done in that front.
When I came back into transition I was reminded of that off the bike run feeling with jelly legs but headed to Lisa to rack my bike and pass over the timing chip. She told me I had done sub three hours and I was so shocked I exclaimed ‘f*ck off!’ then promptly apologised to those around me who were just laughing. Off Lisa went with a smile on her face.
Lisa was one of many running in the sun and a large part of this run has no shade so many were suffering as a consequence. Lisa had a smile on her face every time we saw her though and it was so nice to see her at the finish funnel where Amy and I joined her to cross the finish line.
The feeling of running down that finish funnel with two awesome ladies who are friends was amazing and such a great experience!
There were a number of us from the tri club taking part in this event, which meant there was great support on the day too. It was brilliant being there with them all and getting to experience my first taste of triathlon (albeit as part of a relay) with them as their encouragement and support really helped.
It was also amazing to see both Lucy Charles and Reece Barclay who took 1st and 2nd respectively. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting of these guys and seeing them both race and they are super impressive! The sprint finish for 2nd/3rd place involving Reece was exciting and he really dug deep and got the 2nd place place win.
We were admiring Lucy’s awesome new bike in the morning before the event started so we managed to see her, have a quick chat and wish her luck. Lucy is the most laid back person, always smiling and just lovely to everyone and I’m so pleased for her win!
Usually it is me supporting my husband at these events but yesterday our roles were reversed and he was part of the support crew and took most of these pics. Massive thanks to him for everything as always!
Has it made me want to do a triathlon? As I said never say never….