The Outlaws of Sherwood Forest
20 May 2019 - By James Montgomery
On Sunday, 7 WRC triathlon members took part in The Outlaw Half middle distance triathlon in Nottingham. An unprecedented 9 members had entered the event, however, Rachel Pearsons didn’t make to Nottingham due to bad-timed sickness and Lee Pembroke as he was still suffering from on-going ligament injury. That still meant that Andy Notley, Alex Stuckey, first timer at the distance Anita Grainger, Carina Taylor, birthday boy Lee Blake, Liz Stuckey and Mat Pearsons lined up for the start for a long morning of racing.
The Outlaw half event has been going several years now and has become a very popular early season event held at the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham. The 1900 meters swim takes place in an intimidating rowing lake, as you can see right along its 2km length! The water temperature on Friday was around 13 degC and wasn’t much different on Sunday morning (although the organisers said it was 15 in a vain attempt to make it sound palatable) which pretty much meant wetsuits were compulsory. The 90kms bike section is on roads in the surrounding Nottinghamshire countryside passing the stunning Southwell Minster, the 21kms run then takes competitors around the rowing lake and along the trent past the city ground (for any’Forest supporters?).
It was wave starts for the swim based on age group and Andy was first off at 06:12 and was a good way through the swim on his way to the fastest swim split before Alex’s wave at 06:24 and Mat’s at 06:36. Our females were all off in the same wave at 06:48, by which time, Andy having posted the fastest WRC swim time and also having flown through transition in the fastest transition time and was out on his ride into Robin Hood territory. Alex was next out, even though he’d had to take a rest after starting too quickly, followed closely by Carina, having smashed the swim and by all accounts was up for the fight; then Anita, who in contrast had a slow swim by her standards and Liz, who hadn’t had the best of swims having been frozen, started too quickly and had been swum over.
Transition times were all over the place, the cold water making transition tricky with cold hands and the need to put extra layers on for the bike but a relatively quick change allowed Liz to pass Anita and be out on the road and chasing after Carina, who’d stolen a march over both by a super fast swim and the second best transition time of the group. Mat was next out, having had a tough swim which he really didn’t enjoy. Lee was last out, having started at 07:00 and was quickly out on the road and catching Mat amd Anita.
With start time advantage, Andy and Alex were way ahead up the road and realistically unlikely to be caught by the others on the road, if not by overall time, but Alex didn’t help himself by picking up a penalty when he cut a right turning (I think that’s a WRC first penalty). Andy was flying along on the bike, in the quickest that he’d covered the distance and the quickest bike split of the group and was already heading towards T2.
The main battle was now a bit further back; Lee was tanking along with Liz in his sights but Carina was maintaining a good distance ahead. Lee eventually got past Liz, but didn’t put a big distance between them. Meanwhile, Andy was now well into the run along the River Trent with Alex also out on the 1st lap around the rowing lake.
It took Lee 40 miles to catch Carina, at which point Alex was still a ways ahead, Andy was now into the final stages of the run and Mat was picking things up on the bike and meaning business which he demonstrated by chucking his empty water bottles at the poor blokes manning the stations!
Back into Transition and all with just the 13.1 mile push to the finish line. The run route went around the lake, but there was opportunity to high-5 each other on the leg out along the river. The path is a bit rustic in places and Andy later proudly showed off the “extra toe” he developed along the path and several complained of painful feet and some struggled on the run through nutrition choices. Andy, probably not consuming enough on the bike prior to the run and Anita was sick after eating a banana. Being Anita’s first middle distance it’s all a learning process and she won’t make that mistake next time!
Andy was by far the first to finish, not only because he was the first to start, but by putting in a great performance to finish in a little over 5 hours, even though he’d had a tough time on the run. Alex had a strong first lap but found the latter stages tough. Meanwhile, even with Lee posting the fastest T2 time didn’t prevent Liz from re-overtaking Lee early on the 1st lap and quickly set about putting some distance in and increasing that all the way to the finish line in the process of posting the fastest run split. However, with Lee doggedly plugging away, on reaching the finish line he’d managed to stay just one minute ahead on overall time, with both making good gains on their respective Vichy finishing times. Carina was next to finish, having had a super day and smashed her previous time. Anita came home to finish her first middle distance event with Mat pleased as with the others, having bettering his time from Vichy and keeping to the plan.
Well done all, a great days racing.