Tri-Tri Again. London Triathlon Review (8th August)

When Lisa at Cure Rett first proposed representing the charity at the London Triathlon I immediately got myself signed up.

Although the thought of how I was going to get my bike and luggage through London to the Excel Centre never once crossed my mind.

For those looking to do it in the future there is a lot of walking, stairs and avoiding ignorant people involved during transit.

And stairs…did I mention stairs? Oh I did…well it’s worth mentioning again. There are a lot of stairs involved.

Steve doesn’t do stairs.

On arrival at Euston we went to the underground as the trip involved going to Tower Hill for our connection to the DLR.

DENIED.

The station staff told us we were not allowed to travel to Tower Hill from Euston but instead we had to go to Euston Square.  So back up the stairs we traipsed and headed over to Euston Square.

There are a lot of ignorant people kicking around and, while we were apologetic about having bikes and trying to get around people, we found that they were intentionally getting in our way and making it hard for us to get about. It was even worse on the tube mind.

Nevertheless we soon arrived at Tower Hill where we then had to go up and down more stairs, followed by a short walk and then up and down more stairs to catch the connection to the DLR.

On arrival at Royal Victoria/Docklands we worked out that we would need to carry the bikes up and down another flight of steps before we reached the hotel. I was done for…it was time to grab a lift. I was completely sick of stairs at this point.

Arrival at the hotel was a blessing. After a long haul down on the train and then an hour traipsing the bikes through London, the underground and the DLR it was time to put my feet up for at least half an hour.

After dinner and a couple of hours doing nothing myself and Kathryn headed over to the O2 to reconvene with Kev. We’d booked ourselves into PizzaExpress at the O2 except we got lost after getting off at the wrong stop. After wandering around for ten minutes trying to get our bearings we worked out we were at least three miles away from the venue. Time to grab a taxi.

I’ve started getting lost…a lot. Maybe it’s an age thing.

Never mind, we found the restaurant and got our carbs on.

Saturday morning soon arrived and Kev headed off to Beckton parkrun to finish first and make a boy cry in the process because he beat him to the much coveted number one finishers token.

Meanwhile I was having breakfast and then getting registered and sorting my transition out (entry to the Excel Centre meant yet more stairs to be climbed with a bike) before heading back to the hotel and having a little rest.

My start time was 10:50 which was ideal as it meant that I’d be finishing right about dinner time. I headed over to the Cure Rett charity tent before my start and had a chat with some of the other competitors while I was there. It was nice to meet some of the other Cure Rett competitors and to have a chat with them throughout the weekend. There were some truly inspirational people fundraising…not just for Cure Rett as well for all the charities involved. I watched many people throughout the weekend breeze through the events whereas as some people were in no end of pain. The contrasts were all there to see but everyone was doing this for their own personal reason and everyone appeared to be giving it their all to finish.

Usually I like to head over to the start area with about 15 minutes before I’m meant to be there. This time around I had to get a rush on as I only just tipped up to the swimming area with a minute before the brief. A quick chat of the event, a calming of the nerves an Oggy, Oggy, Oggy and a mass hug of men in rubber…these triathlons are certainly a different beast to your common and garden running events.
My event was a super-sprint. When I’d signed up I had yet to complete a triathlon so wasn’t sure of my capabilities. I feel now though that I would have been better off signing up for the sprint distance. I feel capable now to step up to the next distance so that’s my aim for next year.

I'm in here somewhere...near the start line...#idiot.
I’m in here somewhere…near the start line…#idiot.

The event starts with a 400m swim. I was aiming to start at the back but, during the five minutes treading water, my mind zoned out and I ended up drifting to the front. Buggeration.

When the swim started everyone soon found their natural order. Mine was the middle of the pack and I was trying to keep to the line that I’d decided on for myself.  Unfortunately though some of the guys in my wave were big units and it wasn’t long before I found myself stuck behind two of these behemoths.  I tried to make my way around them and, as I passed on the left, one of them gave me a wicked hook to the cheek. I’m sure it was accidental but then maybe not. I’ve probably got a face made for punching to be honest so I let him off. It did make me swim a little faster to get out of their way mind. As I passed the turning buoy for the last 200m a guy whipped in front of me getting right in my way the process. I had no issue with this of course as it is a race but in doing so he made it difficult for me to put the brakes on and change direction and I ended up with one of his feet in my face. This was a battle.

With the end in sight I found fresh impetus to swim hard and pulled myself out of water for the first transition. I was handed a bag and told that I needed to take my swimsuit off immediately and bag it before heading back into the transition area. Once bagged I jogged to my bike and got myself sorted for the bike leg. It was a pretty quick transition all in all. Happier on the bike than in the water it wasn’t long before I picked up some speed on the course and started aiming for the guys who were in my wave. The first wave of the day were still out on the course and it didn’t take much working out who was in my wave due to the differences in the race numbers. Charlie Brown made a re-appearance in my head and became somewhat of an anthem for the weekend. Before I knew it the bike leg was over. I knew I’d done ok on the bike and it was time to head out on the 2.5k run and just leave it all out there.

As with the swim to bike the transition to the run was very quick. Bike racked, helmet off and I was good to go.

The run was a loop out past the charity tents and it was literally minutes before you’d turned around and headed back towards the charity tents again towards the finish. I tried to give the Cure Rett team a nod and a wave as I passed but I was totally focussed on the finish at this point and catching up with a couple of guys ahead in the process.

A quick lap around the centre for the finish and a jump over the finish line and I was done. My third triathlon was over.

london-tri-me

THE GEEKY STATS BIT

17:27 swim

23:39 bike

13:21 run

7:44 total transition

1:02:08 in total.

I was aiming for around an hour so I was pretty pleased with this. I still had a lot more to give and this is one of the main reasons I want to step up to the standard tri distance.

My debut triathlon season was over. I’d certainly given it a good go and despite not being able to swim at the start of the year and having a fear of water I’d given it a pretty good bash I reckon. The aim for next year is to build on this year and step up to the next distance. My eyes are firmly on Ironman distance in 2017. There’s a lot of work to do next year but Coach Heather is on it. I think she’s worked out by now that I need a kick up the arse and not an arm around the shoulder. What can I say I guess it’s the sadomasochistic side of me coming out…

Myself and Anthoney. Anthoney not only did the sprint distance on the Saturday but he rocked up again to do the Olympic on the Sunday. #Machine
Myself and Anthoney. Anthoney not only did the sprint distance on the Saturday but he rocked up again to do the Olympic on the Sunday. #Machine

With mine done for the day and it was time to get some grub and then watch Kathryn ‘s  standard attempt. I caught Kathryn start and finish the swim but wasn’t sure where to go for the bike so ended up heading over to the Cure Rett tent to cheer her on the run…as well as all the Cure Rett competitors who were competing that afternoon.

Kathryn had a really good run out and achieved a PB in the process.

london-tri-kathryn

A trip back to the O2 saw us wait for a table at TGI Friday’s which was supposed to be ready in ten minutes. 45 minutes later we were still waiting and ended up sacking TGI Friday off for a Nando’s. To be fair Nando’s was a much better shout anyway.

Kev was up on the Sunday for the Olympic Distance. I headed out for a run in the morning while he got himself sorted and then wandered over to the transition area with him. Myself and Kathryn then watched Kev start and finish the swim before heading over to catch him on the bike and then the run. Confusion reigned over how many laps of the run he was meant to do. We decided on four but, on his third lap, he never reappeared for a fourth. It turned out he’d finished…and we’d missed it.

He’d had a good event though and another PB to boot.

london-tri-kev

The dreaded trip back to Euston wasn’t too bad in the end. I was too tired to complain about stairs at this point anyway.

An upgrade to first class on the way back was very much appreciated.

Legs stretched out…head back…free food and drink…this is the life.

london-tri-home

I’d like to take a moment to thank Kev and Kathryn for accompanying and supporting me during the event. I’d also like to thank Lisa and Kori and all the Cure Rett supporters and Competitors throughout the weekend. Everyone smashed it and it was nice meeting you all.

Next up for me is the Fleetwood Half Marathon on 23rd August.

I’m still fundraising for Cure Rett  via JustGiving here

You can find me on Facebook here

I’m on Twitter @SteveNaive1980

DREAM, BELIEVE, TRAIN, ACHIEVE.

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