Brutal Triathlon 2017 - 'A Pre-Race Interview'

Set in the heart of Snowdonia the world’s toughest triathlon is about to be taken on by UoN Tri. With athletes covering both Ironman and Double Ironman distances, its set to be a tough and challenging event. I recently caught up with each of the 5 UoN Tri team members heading to the hills, to ask them a few key questions.

 

Rosa – Ironman Distance

1.     Sum up your expectations for the day’s race in 3 words?“Bring it on”

2.     What’s your pre-race song?“The greatest by Sia”

3.     Who will have the quickest T1 time?“I want a cuppa tea after the swim so probs not me”

4.     What’s your favourite shape?“Circle”

 

Chris – Ironman Distance

1.     What’s your race plan in one sentence?“To finish the race not far from Rosa”

2.     How are you feeling towards the welsh terrain? – “Always prepared to stop for sheep”

3.     What’s shape is your pre-race pasta?“The shape of my extra large bowl”

4.     What colour inspires you?“Indigo because it’s between blue and violet two completely random colours”

 

James – Double Ironman Distance…Yes DOUBLE IRONMAN

1.     What preparations have you made for the Welsh weather? – “Probably not enough. I’m definitely wearing gloves on the swim and will just pray the bike isn’t too wet. I’m going to take a spare layer on the bike because the bike laps are fairly long but I’m not stooping to mudguards. Don’t think the weather will be too much of an issue on the ‘run’ since I expect it to be more of a fast hike”

2.     How do you fuel for a double ironman?“Keasey put it best saying, ‘It’s more of a glorified eating competition than a triathlon’ For me I plan to alternate custard creams and energy gels on the bike cos they’re easy to digest; I’m expecting to eat around 100 of each. I’ll probably get a weird craving part way round and will eat anything I can get my hands on.”

3.     Who’s will have the quickest T1 time? – “It’s quite a long run from the lake to transition so I’m not expecting a blazing fast time but that will be the only section I have a chance of being faster than Rosa or Chris so I’ll definitely pay particular attention to that, after all its free time. Also without the T1 aficionados of the club racing for once I might be fastest.”

4.     If you were a cereal what cereal would you be? - “I’m a big fan of mixing cereals so very hard to choose but I’d like to be a crunchy nut”

 

Dervla – Team Cheerleader

1.     What’s your best cheering technique?“Shouting ‘GEHEN SIE SCHNELLER’ at the top of my lungs, dressed in bright orange clothes with a bib of their face badly photoshopped onto a famous athlete’s body. This week I’m thinking Javier Gomez for Chris, Richard Murray for James and flora Duffy for Rosa.”

2.     What’s your top motivational song? – ‘Toss up between, one step closer to heaven - S club (for Snowdon), DJ fresh – Lassitude or Run – Amy Macdonald. Too hard to distinguish between them to be honest”

3.     In a supermarket which aisle are you most likely to be found in? – “In a supermarket I will most likely be found in the cheese aisle deciding between brie and camembert for my weekly cheese.”

 

Matt – Team Cheerleader

1.     What’s your top motivational song? – “Shania Twain, You’re still the one”

2.     What’s your best cheering technique? – “Constant singing but also twisting lyrics to fit the competitors name to give the song a personal feel.”

3.     How does it feel to be driving the squad whip? – “It feels amazing to be driving the squad whip. I feel like a proud parent taking their kids on a weekend to Snowdonia. Get ready for some absolute tunes.”

 

We wish our athletes every success as they take on this epic challenge and UoN tri will be supporting you all the way, go smash it

 

#GreenandGold

 

KH

Silver Medal at World Duathlon Sprint Champs 2017

UoN Tri performance squad athlete Adam Thorpe claimed a silver medal at the recent World Duathlon Age Group Championships in Penticton. Showing his recent efforts in training have been paying off. So in the words of the medallist himself here are his thoughts on the race...

"The race had the format of a 5k run, 20k draft legal cycle, followed by a final 2.5k run and two lengthy transitions. The very early race start of 6.30am meant fuelling was difficult and so in the morning I took a similar approach to that of Bolt, having just a donut after stuffing myself with energy bars the night before. The first 5k was fairly fast, with 15.50 clocking on my watch but I forced myself to keep with the front pack knowing it would be vital on the bike. A good transition left me in position to attack up the testing climb and filter out the weaker riders, and after the crest I forced a break with two other riders, one being my long standing training partner Robbie Lightowler. Unfortunately having helped the other two riders break away I'd left myself vulnerable to a counter attack and had to solo well over half the bike course before being caught by 2nd and 3rd packs simultaneously. This left a group of 6/7 athletes battling for medals on the final run. A spell of cramp straight off the bike forced me to start my final run very slowly but with the pace building throughout I was able to keep in contention and push on in the final kilometre. A fierce battle with two Mexican athletes forced several shifts up in the pace before building to a punishing sprint for the line, which fortunately I was able to come through and win. This meant I finished 2nd in the 20-24 age group to Robbie and 6th fastest out of anybody on the day despite solo'ing most of the bike. A result which massively surprised the pair of us. Can't wait for the rematch now at BUCS this year."

 

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BUCS Standard Triathlon Race Report

BUCS Olympic Race Report – 21/05/17

A triathlon for the committed. Exams were pushed to the back of these students’ minds as they once again became full time athletes for the day. “I’ll do revision on the way back” was a phrase frequently echoed along the way. However, today was not for revision; later exhibited by Kathryn Hewitt making a welcome appearance on the uontri snapchat. 20 of us got our scouse on and made an early start to Southport (definitely not Stockport).

The swim was 1500m, 2 laps around an island but in a fluid that cannot be described as water; the floor of the lake, I struggle to describe at all. Once we had squelched our ways to the start line, the mass start began; men first, ladies 5 minutes later. With arms flailing and legs kicking it came as no surprise as I witnessed Jacob Dukes (2:24:01) take a hit to the face; especially since it was me who threw the accidental blow. However, a good swim still saw him out of the water before me.

As we got out of the swim, the race began to heat up. However, for Adrien Fauvarque, it wasn’t quite hot enough, taking an early exit from the race; in all fairness, it was pretty cold. For the rest, it was onto the bike. 2 very flat laps along the Mersey coast with tight turns at either end. As Notts flew around the course, it was time for Notts’ number one fan to find her voice. One girl, one megaphone and one arm, Emily Walton; she didn’t disappoint. Much cheering occurred on the actual course as well, as the lap consisted of one straight road. Notts were flying into T2.

Adam Thorpe (2:08:06) decided to flex his calves off the coach as the 10km 2 lap run got under way. A tasty 33:52 saw him at 13th place overall in the final discipline. Notably, after having run a 65km race just the week before, any normal person would spend next weekend tucked up in bed, but ex-duathlete Zach Jennings (2:26:48) is anything but normal, finishing with a great run and a nice dip in the sea. Unfortunately, it was not to be for an injury ridden Adam Ford. After claiming the swim, the bike and 6km of the run, he had to pull out. At least a free t-shirt, some goodies and a great big medal (well-deserved) proved the journey was not a wasted one. Great big cheers ended BUCS 16/17 as Charlotte Cooper (3:37:28) ended with a fantastic sprint finish to receive not just the usual goodies, but a bulging bag of cakes and treats that were kindly handed around the coach on the return journey. What else are parents for eh?

There was a top ten finisher for Notts in the form of Niall Rennie (2:05:44), taking 5th place overall in T2; Nialled it; ending up in 33rd place overall. The only 2 ahead for Notts were James “The Hark Attack” Harkin (2:05:14) 31st overall, with a stunning bike leg, and a shoddily shaved Sam Broomhead (2:03:54) 26th overall, with a fantastic swim.

For the ladies, it was no surprise that Rosa “Smashed it” Lavelle-Hill (2:27:30) would come top for Notts, extremely confident for an overall win at 4am in the morning; lack of sleep is a dangerous thing. However, at 21st overall, and 18th on both the bike and the run amongst the ladies, she won’t be disappointed. Kathryn “Wooo” Hewitt (2:29:43) was the next for Notts with an amazing swim time just outside of the ladies’ top 10, ending up in 27th place overall. Making up the podium was Dervla “The Iron Lady” Ireland (2:37:00), an impressive bike time placing her 40th overall. However, she was more excited that the free t-shirts this year were orange.

An incredibly successful trip saw the club earn BUCS points in both the men’s and women’s team races; placing 5th and 8th respectively (on what I can see from the results)!!! Ending the BUCS calendar on a massive high with great performances from everyone made a great day and a welcome revision break! Hope to see you all next year for more! Peter (2:15:56), I will get you one day!

Matt Phillips (2:21:30)

BUCS Sprint Triathlon Race Report

BUCS Sprint – 30/04/17

The middle of the Easter Holidays was an unusual time in the eyes of most triathletes for a BUCS event, however, sadly 4am coach rides to BUCS competitions are now anything but unusual. 36 of our finest made their way down to St Mary’s School in Calne with a few extra welcome spectators. At 9am, the first of the ladies’ waves set off. Immediately, armed with two megaphones and a whole lot of pride, the Notts cheer squad could be heard above the mediocrity of the other students’ chants. As a result, the first over the line would be Lauren Crisp (1:32:14.6), the only Notts competitor in the first wave, who now holds a golden ticket, and gets to visit the DBmax factory whenever she wants! Soon after, there was a sense of shock throughout the Nottingham crowd, as Laura Owler (1:37:13.3) returned from her bike leg to get off and run! The crowd’s bewilderment hung in the air for what seemed like forever, mostly since the transition was a rather lengthy one. As the day went on, Notts kept getting better, with Rosa Lavelle-Hill (1:22:33.2) ending up in 37th place overall! Kate Dugher (1:25:20.5) 53rd place, and Kathryn Hewitt (1:27:53.9) 73rd place made up the top three. Now it was time for the men; my time to shine. A decent swim and onto the bike to pass a “horny” (and noisy) Ross Laycock (1:18:09.4), which in turn, encouraged me to quickly increase the gap between us. However, a sterling run performance saw him finish not too far behind me. Another notable performance was Stewart Somerville (1:19:16.7) who completed his first triathlon, cycling the full distance this time, with a sprint finish Usain Bolt would have been proud of. On the other hand, a disheartened Adam Thorpe (1:13:16.1) again found it difficult to find his way around the course, reportedly making wrong turns both on the bike and the run, similar to his recent GoTri Duathlon performance. His new bike clearly doesn’t have built in GPS. Next, love was in the air, as Sam Broomhead, (1:09:48.7) 50th overall, and Will Bloomer, (1:09:07.1) 41st overall, came out from the swim, and gazing lovingly at one another, nearly touched hands as they took their bikes from transition. Great performances from both. However, only one Nott’s competitor was stronger than these two lovebirds and that man was Oskar De Schynkel, (1:09:01.6) 40th overall, just beating Mr Bloomer to take the Notts top spot. With so many personal bests and a few first timers to both triathlon and BUCS competitions, there was so much to celebrate from the event, except that I lost by only 9 seconds to Pete (1:17:25.6)!!!

Triumphantly,

Matt Phillips (1:17:34.5)

Ten things you DON’T need for a triathlon (promise)

Thinking about giving triathlon a go but not sure if an all-in-one is for you? Fancy a challenge, but your bike has seen better days? Love the idea but worried about the costs of getting all the kit?

With the popular Notts Triathlon back on University Park campus on 2 April 2017, the organisers from University of Nottingham Triathlon set the record straight for triathlon newbies.

Forget the lists of expensive gear – here’s ten things you can manage WITHOUT. 

1. A bike.jpg

1.       A bike

You really don’t need a top spec carbon TT bike (or even know what one is) to ace a triathlon.  Any bike will do, from rugged mountain bikes to the aerodynamic road bikes, the tough commuter bikes to the one-wheeled unicycles (not recommended but to each their own). And if you can’t beg or borrow one, then the Notts Triathlon team even hires bikes for free on the day.

2.       A tri-suit:

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee rock this handy piece of kit, which you wear for the swim, bike and run. If you’re not sure, a normal swimsuit with some shorts and a T shirt to pop on after your swim will do the trick, we promise.

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3.       Bike shoes:

Also known as fancy clip in shoes, favoured by top triathletes. They might save you a couple of seconds when changing, but if you’re not gunning for an Olympic qualification time, a decent pair of trainers and basic pedals will do the job.

4.       Special laces:

Remarkably similar to the laces we had at primary school, triathlon laces are elasticated to help you get your shoes on and off as quick as possible. Assuming you did learn your knots and bows, your standard laces will be fine even if they take a little longer to do up.

5.       A swim hat:

Not the priciest of items admittedly but not always available in your latest 24-hour convenience store either. That’s why the team at Notts Triathlon provide swim hats for all competitors in your race pack, and you can keep them for your next race! Swimming costume, however, definitely don’t forget to pack that. 

6.       A race belt:

Exactly what it says on the tin; a belt used for races. The theory is you pin on your number before the start, so when you get out the pool, you can just clip the belt on the go. Or you can simply pin your number to the t-shirt you will cycle and run in – no fiddling with pins in transition.

7.       Fancy energy products:

Energy gels, electrolyte drinks, and protein shakes; perfect if you are used to using these products, but you don’t need to be a nutrition nut to get through a triathlon. Bananas, flapjack, or anything a little sugary, will work perfectly as race fuel.

8.       Swimming / cycling / running ability:

We’re serious!  We think everyone can give triathlon a go! But if you detest getting your hair wet, and your mate hasn’t ridden a bike for too many years to count, why not share your strengths and enter a relay team? #dreamteam right?

9.       Months of training:

Completing a triathlon is a physical challenge and that’s why it can be so satisfying. However, it doesn’t mean months of 5am starts lapping the pool. A sprint distance, like the Notts Triathlon, with a 400m swim, 15km bike ride and 5k run can be tackled by anyone who’s prepared to give it a go!

10.   Plenty of cash:

Even if we’ve convinced you to ditch the expensive gear, what about the entry fee? Not to worry, as well as being local, the Notts Triathlon costs just £40 for adults, with kids’ entry starting from just £15. Even better, if you commit to raising money for our charity partner Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, we’ll give you 40% discount, just use code LIFECYCLE7 when you sign up (find out more here).

Feeling more confident about giving triathlon a go?

The popular Notts Triathlon is back for its third year on 2 April 2017 on University Park Campus at The University of Nottingham.

Enter now at: www.nottstriathlon.com.

A big welcome back for 2017!

Happy New Year Triathletes!

                                                                                                                Carolling at the UoNTri Christmas Meal

                                                                                                                Carolling at the UoNTri Christmas Meal

2017 promises to be an exciting year for the University of Nottingham Triathlon Club!

Ahead of our acclaimed Notts Triathlon on campus, we are running 2 GoTri events to get you in the mood. These events are low key, and perfect for people who have never raced a multi-sport event before. They are also a great opportunity to practice transition in a stress-free environment! We have an Aquathlon on Monday 13th February 2017 7.30pm on University Park, consisting of a 200m pool swim and 3.4km run around campus. And a duathlon on Sutton Bonington Campus on Saturday the 4th March 2017 11.30am. Both events are open to everyone, and are only £5!

We are also excited to announce that entries to Notts Triathlon (formerly Notts Varsity Tri) and the TriStars Aquathlon are now open! The event, on Sunday 2nd April 2017, is re-vamped for 2017, making it more accessible than ever for people to take part in their first triathlon! The final elite wave is also being extended to include additional university teams, promising plenty of rivalry... so make sure you stick around for that at the end!

 

Very much looking forward to seeing both new and old members when training starts up again on the 16th January. There will be lots fun sessions planned by our coaches to help you through exams!

Best Wishes, 

Rosa

President of UoNTri

 

Ironman Weymouth 2016

   When I was 14, I received a subject award at my school at an end of year awards ceremony. I can't remember the subject for which it was for, but I do remember stating as one of my life aims "to complete an ironman before I was 21". That was really stupid of me as I later found out! To put it in perspective, the others were "go to university" and "travel to India". The latter 2 proved to be significantly easier to achieve...

   6 years later: After a year of training and a lot of money splashed out on the entry fee, I was standing at the start line for Ironman Weymouth with cheesy pop music blaring overhead. Myself and Andy Wilkinson (the former president of the club) had set ourselves the challenge. The conditions were perfect. Flat calm sea, the sun rising over the Jurassic Coast with beautiful hues skimming over the sea surface. In comparison, I was a storm, nerves preventing me from eating breakfast and leaving me empty before starting.

   The start was rolling, meaning there was a continuous stream of people wading into the sea. I started about 5 minutes later, and with a squeaky (and not entirely genuine) "whoop!" I launched myself into the sea. The swim was by far the most enjoyable part of the Ironman. There was an eerie beauty to swimming out towards the sunrise, a sea mist surrounding the buoys. The first lap was surreal but welcoming, as I started to relax into a rhythm and realise just how hungry I was. The swim comprised of 2 laps of 1.9km (in reality turned out to be 2.1km) with an Australian style exit between the laps. In all honesty, I scarcely remember the 2nd lap aside from the finish.

   With a weary step, it was straight out of the water. I managed to get my wetsuit half off before even leaving the water (typical that I manage this in an Ironman where there's plenty of time in transition rather than a sprint...). Transition was a mess, hundreds of bodies trying to hurriedly change into cycling gear, often reluctantly. Those who knew the bike course well were in no rush to begin tackling the contours of the route.

   Ironman Weymouth bike course... 112 miles of 'rolling hills'. Several people whom I passed on hills scoffed this phrase out with disgust as they tackled yet another steep gradient. With over 2000m of elevation, the course is no flat haven. However, perhaps the most difficult part for those competing over the full distance is the realisation that all these hills have to be tackled again in the 2nd and final lap. This is where I struggled the most. My legs had plenty left, my body felt physically comfortable, but a failure to eat or stomach anything substantial left me hanging on a balance, a ticking time bomb in many ways. It would be fair to say I was running on empty for most of this. At the triathlon club they would describe it as a "bonk". My energy levels were feeling low, morale was low, and knowing I had to do it all again before tackling the run was a bitter pill to swallow.

   This was the real low point of the race. People think the physicality, the fitness required must be the hardest part. But at that moment, my biggest barrier to completing was my mind. I've since proclaimed it as the arrival of "Darth Dervla", a side of me I had never previously had the pleasure of meeting. There was moments I considering stopping, a real fear I would keel over at any moment. Fortunately as I summit-ed the last hill of the first lap and forced down a gel, my sugar levels spiked and these thoughts drifted away. It became simple after that, every hill would be my last encounter with it for a long time. Each mile was a psychological boost and before I knew it, I was on my way into transition. I would have liked to have seen (as a medic I can't help but be curious..) what my sugar levels were at that low point. Most likely not healthy, but I managed to keep them topped up thereon after with a variety of gels.

  Entering the 2nd transition was heavenly and passed by in a blur. I was soon on the run and pacing myself with a fellow competitor. I would finish, 5 hours later, within half a minute of her. Running with someone made the miles pass by so much quicker, made the sickness I felt creeping on me that much more bearable. 

   The first 15km seemed to pass by really quickly. We stopped at each feed station to take on fluids and snacks, and then paced our way to the next. I started to feel quite ill, my stomach  had never quite settled from the start line, and my tactic of knocking back food in the hope I'll take something in wasn't proving to be successful. I urged my friend to carry on, whilst I took it a bit slower in the hope that it would pass.

   The run was four and a half laps. You're given a band to put on your wrist after each lap as a way of indicating your progress. Receiving a band was a boost, seeing how many you still had left to obtain wasn't so much... On my second lap I came across my brother, who had a similarly tough day through means of a hangover. As I reached the next feed station, I was truly starting to feel unwell. At this point there was no doubt I would finish it, I had 20km left and 4 hours in which to do it in. I could have walked the rest. My brother asked if I wanted anything, but I'd already grabbed a gel and water from a marshal (and longtime rival/friend). The gel was a mistake, and to my brother's confusion I waved him away and took a few step backwards towards a bin. He had the fortune to witness my so called tactical chunder, as did several of the marshals who looked similarly horrified and sympathetic. 

   It might sound wrong, but the run was so much easier after that moment of glory. The sickness had passed and I was able to ease into a comfortable pace, made all the much easier by the support from friends who had travelled to cheer or locals failing to pronounce the name on my race number. I am truly grateful for their support; as the sun set and bodies seemed to breakdown around me, having friends and family to boost you was heartening and made the miles go much quicker (even if my running pace had slowed to a normal person's walking pace...). 

   As I rounded on my last lap, with less than 5km to go, I came across my running partner at a low point. A few words exchanged and she was back running with me (aside from a slight walk at the far point where Hannah Gibbs appeared out of nowhere to order me back into running...) and we were on the home straight. I can't describe completely honestly how I felt as I went along to the finishing line, but pure relief mixed in with some bittersweet joy, and I was side-kicking across the line. 

  Several people asked me that night whether I would do another one. To each I had said a resounding "no, never again". I was empty, severely dehydrated and tired. But less than 24 hours later after a few questionable meals, I was already considering what else I could do (Outlaw?!). My advice to anyone doing an ironman, nail the nutrition. Your body and mind will be grateful. And if you're considering whether you can do one, I believe anyone can do it with the right mindset and training. I foresee a few more Nottingham triathletes considering it next year... Will they take up the challenge?

 

Disclaimer: My brother's support was needed, and despite his hangover I am very grateful for his continued existence.

Dervla Ireland

   

Club Relay Championships 2016 Race Report

23rd August saw 8 of the University of Nottingham Tri Club’s finest descend upon Holme Pierrepont, the site of the 2016 National Relay Championships. We had 2 teams racing, one in the Mixed Open category (Rosa Lavelle Hill, Alex Johnson, Zoey Garlick and Sam Broomhead) and one in the Male Club category (Stephen Jones, Peter Rought, Sam Evans, Niall Rennie). Both were competing in the ‘Relay x4’ where the first athlete completes the swim, tags the second athlete who completes their swim and tags the next person and so on, until everyone has done swim and then bike and then run. We’d decided in advance of the race it was only fair to let other teams win the national honours so instead we were competing for the title of ‘University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions’.

First into the water were Stephen and Rosa - though Rosa decided to make things slightly more interesting by accidentally giving Stephen a minute head start while she struggled to put her hat on, knee deep in the water, as the starting gun went off.  Both had really good swims but Stephen was out of the water over 30 seconds quicker – work to do for the mixed team! The second swim leg saw Pete build on the lead of the men’s team but by the transition to the bike leg, the combination of Zoey and I managed to claw back a chunk of time, opening up a gap of around 2 minutes.

This gap was built upon, particularly by Alex who lay down the fastest bike split of our athletes, smashing the legs off the rest of us. Great rides were had throughout but as the 4th members of the teams rolled into transition, it was looking almost cosy for the mixed team, who had a 3 minute cushion to play with. I must also give a shout out to Zoey who left some skin behind after testing just how wet and slippy the road was on one of the corners. Kudos to her though as she still finished with a smile on her face.

The run course was a 1 lap route around the outside of the regatta lake. The weather had started to brighten for the final part of the race, making it quite warm. The men’s team began to eat into the time gap from the word go, but it was still very even as the second runners exchanged the baton. Sam Evans had a great run to pull back 2 minutes on Zoey and as I set off on the last leg, I could see Niall right behind me. For the first 2k I felt like I was running for my life, but it wasn’t enough to hold him off. After a cheery hello and a dying grunt in response, Niall pushed on and, try as I might, I couldn’t stay with him. He disappeared into the distance to claim the title of University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions for the men’s team with the mixed team finishing a minute behind.

All in all the day was a big success, all of the team had a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend taking part next year if you’re in Nottingham and looking for something to do.