WRC Members Get The Triathlon Season Underway in Cool Conditions In Spain and At Home

6 May 2019 - By James Montgomery

Several WRC members were in Triathlon-related action over bank holiday weekend. Two events were adversely effected by cold weather conditions, interestingly considering Andy Notley was in Cambridgeshire and Rachel Pearsons in Spain, albeit in the north-west with conditions dictated by the Atlantic.

Pontevedra, Spain, Saturday 4th May

Rachel Pearsons was competing for Great Britain at the World Multisports Championships in the Aquabike event, the distances were a 3kms swim and 113kms bike. Rachel had qualified for this event in the Cotswold 113 triathlon event last year which she failed to finish due to sustaining an ankle injury, but had completed the swim and bike legs within a set time limit.

On the day, cold conditions dictated things. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) have a set of rules regarding open water swimming and cold water and air temperatures and it was deemed unsafe for athletes to be in the water too long so the swim was cut to 1500 meters.

The swim was held in a river with a tidal current, which meant the first part was tough against the tide but the flip side being an easier return leg. Conditions were such that some athletes didn’t make the end of the swim and were pulled out clearly suffering from the cold.

After a long run to Transition, it was out onto the bike. This comprised 3 laps totalling 70 miles, on a fun course with 2000ft of climbing and ensuing technical decsents on each lap, although with day heating up Rach began to feel the effort of the earlier cold swim and repeated climbing on the bike, but at least there was no run to “look forward to” and it was on to the finish line where Rach finished 18th in her age group.

Swim:                00:41:01
Bike:                  04:12:38
Finish Time:      04:59:58

Grafham Water, Sunday 5th May

A niggling calf injury, a dose of swimmers ear and a delightful Thursday session in ‘Carina & Sashas’ squash court of hell’ were perhaps not ideal pre-race prep yet early Sunday morning Andy found himself scraping the ice off his windscreen on route to Grafham Water for a season opening Olympic distance triathlon.

The swim was shortened to 1000m due to the 11.5 degree water temperature which proved to be very cold on the extremities, and meant slightly longer in Transition 1 putting on extra layers for the bike!

The 37kms bike route was fast with a handful of short, sharp hills to get you out of the saddle, and before he knew it he was back at Grafham Water, T2 and time to get the trainers on.

The 10k run route first headed onto the dam before turning back past transition & into a nice wooded area to a 2nd turnaround point to head for home.

The race was a qualifier for the 2020 ITU Standard Distance World age group Champs, meaning the standard was high. With championship places potentially awarded to finishers within 115% of the winners time, Andy used this race to see how he might fair in such a competition; he left with things to work on but was by no means disappointed with my morning’s work.

Swim:              00:16:00
Bike:                01:05:37
Run:                00:44:43
Finish Time:    02:10:05

Essex, Sunday 5th May

Continuing her prep for Ironman Vichy 70.3 later this Summer, Sandy Karl took to two wheels in aid of Havens Hospice but as with the other events over the weeknd, had to contend with strong winds and cold temperatures. That was not the only adversity as a sign was missing near Ongar, but this only added on another 4 miles and it was all for a good cause. Sandy finished the 50 miles (+ 4 1/2) in 3hrs 27mins 13secs.

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