Thursday, 27 December 2012

New Year in Majorca with The Triathlon Shop

Christmas over, and The Triathlon Shop staff, race team and friends set off to Majorca for some sunshine, sea and training over the New Year 2013. The ten athletes set off from Bristol on the 27th December leaving behind driving rain, fog and crowded roads for warm temperatures, empty roads and mountains.

Heading out of Port de Pollenca, Majorca for a long ride.

We arrived at the gorgeous six bedroom private villa in the evening and headed onto the sea front for a steady 10km run, before coming back to reassemble bicycles and eat. The first day we headed out for 95km of riding up into the mountains, a sea swim which was a 50m walk from the villa. I've never been to Majorca before but the cycling is fantastic, clear and quiet roads and no lack of hills (sadly?). We passed the Team Sky hotel (sadly they weren't there), where they spend there winter training in the Spanish mountains around us. My cycle legs were tested cycling with the big boys this week - considerably longer and hillier rides than usual but I think I kept up pretty well, giving them extra rest while they waited for me on the summits. 
Plenty of photo opportunities for the boys while they waited for me at the top.
Base camp for the next week! 10 bikes fill the villas entrance.
The swimming was very warm - wetsuits required of course but warm enough to stay in for 90 minutes before wrinkly fingers and numb toes coaxed us out. We weren't alone, the odd jellyfish (or two) would join most of our swims, getting me twice on the nose and feet. Unsure why, but out of the ten of us I was the only one? Whether this reflects a great or poor swim technique I'm yet to find out... Either way, by the end of the week my neck was sore from looking for jellyfish while swimming. We travelled from the villa to some different bays a couple of days to swim elsewhere, which was fantastic. The water is so clear and calm, and despite strange looks from locals who clearly thought we were utterly barmy or recently released from mental institution's, we had a great time.
Raring to go!
warm up dances pre swim in the bay near the 70.3 course

Aside from a 25 hour training week we were also out there for New Year which was spent eating in chinese restaurants, ice creams in Burger King (low fat options - obviously) and watching fireworks in the Port. Quite a memorable way to see the New Year in. What more could you ask for? Sun, sea, sand, great friends, great training and er, ahem, awesome food?

Landed back in the UK with a bump, through the fog and rain we could just about make out the terminal building where we collected our bikes and luggage and said our farewells. Training has been going well since - after a few days active recovery (active recovery...what is that?!) its back into the 20-22 hour weeks alongside my final year at Bath University and a few shifts every now and again at The Triathlon Shop.

Happy New Year from THE TRIATHLON SHOP in Majorca 2013!

Check THE TRIATHLON SHOP website for an online shopping area or visit there store in Bristol, Temple Quay.

Monday, 26 November 2012

BUCS Duathlon

First race since London! Adrenalin and race legs were rusty, it was windy, flooded and cold! Get me to Lanza' !!! London two months ago, and after that was two weeks recovery (slobbin' out!) so since then its been 6 weeks or so of hard winter training, of at the moment, between 17-21 hours a week.

The UNIVERSITY OF BATH Triathlon Club at BUCS Duathlon 2012
BUCS duathlon is based at Castle Coombe race track and run by DB MAX Event company. The University of Bath 30 strong team headed up in the morning, through flooded villages, and arrived at the track, chilly and wet! Luckily the rain cleared for the BUCS waves which was fortunate! Everyone would complete the same distance, 2mile run - 10mile bike - 2mile run. Athletes register, bikes were racked, warm ups done and start up lined.

Onto the bike leg

The pace of the first run saw no one hanging around, I posted 10.59, sat within four other GBR elites at the front which I was happy with. Out of T1 (error 1: forgot how fast it is!!!) Onto the bike and straight into a headwind, five laps of the track required concentration and careful counting! Didn't feel on form on the bike, I struggled with the headwind and hadn't taken the time to readjust the bike set up with tri bars after it having been fitted for drafting races over the summer with no bars, so wasn't hugely comfortable and was fidgeting around alot...lesson learnt! BE PREPARED. The last run was painful, legs seize up, coldness hits you and the finish line seems like a long way away! Posted a disappointing run time, but again, good to take away the bits to work on over the next 5 months or so before the 2013 season begins!

There were some big names for me to compete against, some of whom I'd been competing against during the superseries this summer. I was aiming for top ten, though top eight was my secret aim! I came 9th overall, middle ground I guess I can be happy with! It was a great day out, team events always are! The club did brilliantly, with the best turnout ever for the club at a race. Well Done Bath!

On a separate note, swimming training has been coming on really well the last 4-6 weeks, I spend 7-9 hours in the pool a week, and even a month in, we are starting to see some big improvements, its going in the right direction at last. Next race I plan to do is a little Aquathlon local to the uni in a couple of weeks time, hope everyone's training is going well....stay warm!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Virgin Active London Elite Triathlon

So, The Virgin London Triathlon, biggest Triathlon in the UK… (world?!) and my last race of the 2012 season!

race done, 2012 done! Phew!
If you ask anyone who was around me in the weeks building up to this race, family, housemates, boyfriend and colleagues, I was a mental mess! Head was all over the place, confidence – nowhere to be found, or maybe simply did not exist. I’ll even go as far to say that I phoned up my coach a week before and asked if I could just watch…I was so nervous and felt very out of my depth! The start list was crazy, I couldn’t believe I had been selected to race on the same start line as some of these girls. Olympians, ITU athletes, professionals and girls who have been doing this a whole lot longer than me! So it that sense, I felt privileged to be stood (or floating) on the start line alongside them.

GO! Swimming in the London Docks! Water was minging.

Not to make excuses, but 5 days prior to the race I crashed my bike, going down the hill from university to town after a swim one morning, and straight back into the back of a car that stopped for a girl who walked into the road. I fell onto the car then rolled off onto the road. Skin off my knee and hands and a few days later a pain kicked in down the right hand side of my body. This restricted my final swim sessions in the lead up to the race, and on race day, I felt it very sharply during the 1500m swim, which I have no doubt prevented me swimming to my full ability. But the swim over, I tried to gain as much ground as possible during the long T1.

The cycle was lethal, from the results list, it seemed about 16 elite athletes (male and female) crashed due to the conditions on the bike course. It was torrential rain, lots of corners and roundabouts which saw ambulances all over the course, white flags being waved to slow us down through the tunnels and even an air lift. I bombed out of T1, hoping to shake off a group of girls that were close behind, and catch up with a chase pack in front. Seems the chase pack were a little too far to be caught, maybe arm permitting I would have been there, who knows. I held off the group of 3 behind for about 15km which I was pleased with, they then caught me (3v1 it was guaranteed when drafting!) and we worked together as a pack until the end (40km). I posted a 1.06 bike split which I was delighted with as a third I was cycling by myself and the other two thirds I felt I was heading up the bike group as one of the stronger cyclists there, sitting on the back very little.

Injecting some pace into my bike pack! C'mon girls!
T2 (10th fastest out of all elite men and women! My little claim to fame!)  went very well, and off we set for the 4 lap 10km run around the docks of London and Excel Centre. The first two laps of my run went well, but tiredness, lack of 10km racing and general “not quite there yet!” kicked in over the second half.

11th Elite Female overall…delighted! I was delighted with my bike leg, slightly disappointed with the swim and run, but again, I learnt so much and stacks to work on for 2013! Two weeks off/very easy now before winter training begins. A week will be spent chilling on the Gower in Wales (and supporting the Port Eynon triathlon on the 29th!)  and a week getting back into uni life, lectures (what are they?!) and coaching the university triathlon club again.

10km run alongside strong runner Emma Pearson

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through the 2012 season, I will enjoy my break and am looking forward to beginning the winter training already. Next race is BUCS duathlon (Castle Coomble Chilly Duathlon – open to the public too) on the 25th of November so I will update you all then! J In the meantime, follow me on twitter at @KatieJSynge for updates on my training and goings on!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Stratchlyde Elite Triathlon

Today was my second elite start, at Strathclyde Park in Scotland. Before I go any further, I have to say I’m really gutted with my performance, positives and negatives to take away and as always plenty to work on, but the overall outcome was disappointing. The swim had been cancelled due to water quality, and the event became a duathlon. 1300m run, 21km bike and a 5km run. The start list was high quality, ITU athletes from Canada, SA, Australia, elite duathletes (including the current world duathlon champ) also decided to have a go once they heard the swim was cancelled.

We (Dad and I) flew to Scotland on Friday evening, staying in a nearby hotel until race day on Sunday at 12.30pm. Saturday gave me time to suss out the course, do a session on the bike and run route and look around. The bike course was not flat, a couple of hills and a rocky road surface. The second run was pan flat, a two lap out and back along the loch. After a morning of briefing, registration, transition set up, the 25 or so elite women lined the start line at 12.20, and waited for our start.

The first run was ferociously fast! An all out 1300m sprint spitting those who couldn’t quite hang on out the back. A lead group containing the Canadian and ‘proper’ duathletes quickly formed, and I sat in a chase pack of about 8 not far behind. As we came into T1 you had to be quick, precise, there was no room for error. Shoes off, helmet on, grab bike – run to the mount line.

The pace at which the athletes set off from here was incredible, and lack of experience at this level along with slight hesitation saw me struggle to keep my spot in the pack. An ongoing hip injury didn’t help me, as we set off up the first hill, the pain was triggered and I lacked power to remain with them. This here, essentially, was the end of my race panning out how I would have liked. The athletes I had targeted were in this chase pack, and with only myself and one other cyclist behind working together, we had no chance of catching the 8 strong chase pack any time soon. The gap on each lap increased, and we waved goodbye any chance of getting them, instead targeting athetes who had been left from the chase group, who had struggled to keep up with their pace.

Although I am yet to see times, the 5km run felt good, working to catch up the chasers, it was frustrating knowing that’s where you should have been. A mental battle to keep going, but I got there. Overall finishing position is unknown, hopefully we will see some results in the next 48hrs and I will update this.

Like Blenheim, my frustrating race came down to T1. This time in a different way, but essentially lacking the speed and precision that these more experienced athletes have in forming bike packs quicly.  I have three weeks now until London (elite start) on the 23rd of September, which is my last race of the season, so I hope to bring it all together, and not have the same problems as today.

However, despite coming away pretty gutted, disheartened and kicking myself, I guess I have to look back at my first year in this sport and be proud of what I have achieved. The competition in elite racing is high, a million miles different from age group, todays case, it was world-class, and it was a privilege to be racing against some of those athletes, as you can learn a lot from it. At the start of this year with my empty race CV I didn’t expect to get into any elite races, I swam over 6 minutes a year ago for 400m and last month swam 5.15, I couldn’t bike 20km in under 40minutes and now I’m racing with some of the best elites in Great Britain.  My times are still coming down, my motivation is high, and I’m not running out of areas to improve on! So 2013…watch this space!

@KatieJSynge - Twitter

Monday, 20 August 2012

England Standard Distance Championships

I am now the 20-24 English Standard Distance Champion! :D Approached this race hoping to have a podium finish, so I was delighted to be stood on the top at the end of a hot race in the middle of a tiring weekend! Matt and I got the train to Milton Keynes on Saturday, where we stayed overnight ready for a very early start (4am for Matt's 7am and my 7.30am start). We cycled from the hotel to the race venue at 5am on Sunday morning, 15km to the venue, a good warm up and one puncture later we arrived. 

The swim was a bendy 1500m, when we arrived, it was wetsuit optional, bordering on 21 degrees celcius, however 30minutes before race start, they announced it was wetsuit compulsory. The swim was weedy, getting caught round our legs and in our goggles.  I exited the water in 4th place. T1 went well, helmet on, switched the garmin on ready for the run, grabbed the bike and left. The bike course was great, rolling and undulating, enough rolls to keep those on the TT bikes working and gaps to be decreased! I was back on Billie, my Cannondale CAAD8, we put in a good effort against the snazzy TT bikes and aero helmets that kept whizzing past, always a given, but I guess you have to grin and bear it, and realise that a solid bike on a road bike will benefit more in elite draft legal racing. The sun was coming out, expected to reach 29 degrees celcius by midday. Better get a move on!

The run was a three lap course around the lake we swum in, 6 water stations each of them much appreciated by every athlete. Into the finishing straight, burnt from the sun, wet from the drinks and hearing the beep as the chip on your ankle flies over the line. A finishing medal, banana and drink, time to cool off and sit down. We sat in the sun for an hour or two, soaking up the atmosphere and supporting the athletes still coming in. Presentation started midday, prizes for each age category and overall men and women.

Congratulatoins to Chantal Cummings who came 2nd, &  Emma Stevens in 3rd.
 I recieved a large medal for winning the age cat, and a silver plate, wine and various energy gels and bars for overall 5th woman. Matt led the swim, and exited T1 first, however a broken valve on his back wheel meant he rode the 40km on 40PSI (instead of 140PSI to give you an idea!! - meaning that any power put in was not being returned by the bike resulting in a loss of 10-15minutes over a course of that length), essentially putting an end to his hopes of the podium. We have both however been accepted to race in London Elites, so the focus of training has now turned to that. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Trowbridge Triathlon

4 days after the last race (see Mid-Week Duathlon) and back for more! Another small local triathlon, at Trowbridge leisure centre, a sprint distance triathlon with some variations....400m pool swim, 26.5km bike followed by a cross country 5km run!

Feet out the shoes! Coming into T2...

Matt, Dad and I had all entered, though Dad had been living life up at the Olympics the night before, witnessing three British golds in the athletics stadium! So while he was a bit tired he decided to withdraw (no symapthy I would have withdrawn for those Olympic tickets! Matt had a good race, 3rd fastest swim, fastest run split but after a few hundred km racked up on the bike that week, had a slightly tiring bike ride that day. As Matt races elite too, in the local races the most important bits are to be putting in the fast swim and run splits, as elite racing with be draft legal on the bike.

The Scott and I exiting T1...

I had a good swim, 5.15 which is 10seconds off from a couple of months ago which is always good! Strong bike ride with once again the gorgeous Scott loaned from The Triathlon Shop, but a poor run, 20.10 for 5km, pushed hard on the bike though, and paid for it when I got off...! It was all good enough to grab first place though, first in the 20-24 age catergory, and first female overall by just over a 2.30min margin!

Trowbridge is a great race, really low key and friendly, the longer bike course obviously suits it slightly more to the cyclists, but its also a great race for the novices. One for those who are happy on bikes other than road, there were many mountain, upright and other bikes round the course. The race was organised by DB Max, who are well known for their chip timing and prompt organisation and running of races on the day. Check out their website to see their upcoming events, results and more info about the company.

My cool trophies! 

Here is a link to some more photos taken by a photographer on the day...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mid-Week Duathlon

The Bath Amphibians Triathlon Club have been putting on a series of 5 duathlons this summer held at Castle Coombe car racing track. Tonight was the fourth race of the series, consisting of a 2-10-2mile run-bike-run. Castle Coombe is a very popular venue for runners, cyclists and triathletes in the South West, known for it's flat circuit, large transition area but also it's open setting which makes the wind very noticeable and at times very blustery!

After a long day at work, myself and another Triathlon Shop Felt team member John Wood, headed down to the venue with our bikes and kit to see what we could do. The race started at 7, so after registration, transition set up and a warm up we set off. It was quite windy, black ominous clouds were fast approaching motivating every athlete to run fast and pedal faster.

On the bike! 

Had a good race, fairly pleased with my results ( for a training race it was good, very enjoyable and a friendly atmosphere catching up with lots of people :) Next training race for me is Trowbridge sprint triathlon, a small local race which will give me some more experiences across the disciplines and make sure that race spark is still there! See you on Sunday!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bristol Harbourside Triathlon

Today was a race on the doorstep, just a few miles down the road with a very late start! Made a nice change from travelling and getting up at some ungodly hour to register and race. 2012 is the second year the Bristol Harbourside has run. This year the race doubled up as an age group World Championship qualifier (standard distance) for Auckland 2012, so the size and level of competition was automatically higher, with athletes travelling from much further afar.

Around the final buoy to leave the water in 2nd closely followed by 3rd!  
The race offered sprint and standard distance. I was trying to defend my sprint title from 2011. It was only a training race for me, after a hards week training with approximately six hours in the pool alone. Straight into it post race too! With an 18 hour training week plan by coach. Dad was doing his(first standard distance race, Mum was doing the sprint, and Matt had come along to try and grab a win in the standard distance race. The swim took place in the harbourside, before a flat and fast bike course along the Portway, then moving onto a rather muddy out and back run along the Towpath, the other side of the river, under the suspension bridge.

Rather timidly taking a corner descent rather cautiously...these wheels were insane!  

I'm happy to say I managed to defend my title, winning the women's sprint overall as well as taking first place in my age category (20-24). I exited the water in second, caught the lady in front at the end of the first lap (two lap bike course) on the bike and maintained my lead for the rest of the bike and through the run, coming in in 1.10.30. I was particularly happy to clock in the fastest bike split in my age group, which was a nice surprise! This may have been partially (largely!) due to the fantastic bike I was loaned by the fantastic team once again at The Triathlon Shop, Bristol. I rode a Scott CR1 with some rather fancy deep sectioned FFWD wheels.

Final 1km of the run leg

Dad had a great race, his target was a sub 3 hour, and he came in in 2.56.23. Matt clocked in a time of 2.03.59 which gave in the win in his age category (20-24) and 2nd place overall in the race. Sadly it wasn't mums day, she pulled out during the swim but was quite happy watching the rest of the races and cheering everyone on. The four of us (younger sister is living life up for six weeks in Sydney atm!) were happy to visit Cosmo's (all you can eat oriental buffet restaurant) for a late lunch, before wearily heading home. Though that be said, Matt and I headed to the local pool that evening to complete a 3km recovery swim. No rest for the wicked! #lifeonanathlete
Another fantastic team effort by Team Bath! Brian, Matt, myself and Jansen  
Bristol Harbourside is a great race, great location and an even better atmosphere. Put on my members of BADTRI Triathlon Club (Bristol and District Triathletes), it is hugely popular across Bristol especially, but also to other clubs and individuals from further afar. The race will again take place in 2013, keep an eye on the event website (Click here to visit website) for entry openings and more information and contact details about this growing race.

Next race for me is another local one though slightly smaller! Trowbridge Triathlon! This will be my 3rd time at this race, this Tri is also the first Tri I EVER did! Will let you know how it goes....! Please follow me on twitter @KatieJSynge to keep up to date with my news, training and hints of triathlon advice!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Congratulations GE Canary Wharf Dream Team!

Just a short and sweet blog to congratulate the GE Canary Wharf Dream Team. Canary Wharf is the third race of the GE British Superseries held in London. The Winning team consisted of two members of the Triathlon Shop. Chris Newman and John Wood, both whom race on the shops Felt Racing Team. John was representing the team in the 400m swim, then Chris took over for the 10km bike through the closed roads of London. They went on after the run to take team gold!

The Triathlon Shop caters for all three disciplines from the novice to elite. Situated in Temple Quay, Bristol (just behind Temple Meads Train Station), the small but keen work team consists of keen triathletes from all abilities and backgrounds to help customers find exactly what they need. Follow them on twitter @TheTriShop, click here to be directed to their website, or click here to visit the facebook page, to keep up to date with stock, racing, competitions, advice, general info about the shop and team, or just to explore more and make contact.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Blenheim Elite Triathlon

Today was Blenheim Triathlon, a huge event in the UK, open to elite waves, juniors, the mass public and many age group athletes. For me personally, Blenheim was my first elite start ever! The 2012 season for me is my first full season in triathlon, the primary focus of which would be to gain race experience and work out training focus's for the winter season of 2012/13 ready for 2013. Therefore to be granted entry to any elite race was a surprise and a bonus for the season.

The Brownlee brothers were in the elite men's wave, which started 20minutes after the elite women, and no big surprise took joint 1st place. For Ali Brownlee it was his first race since an Achilles injury, but that didn't seem to stop him! Helen Jenkins (2011 world champ and favourite for London 2012) was not racing but started our race (didn't notice at the time was far to worried about the swim!), so was definitely a key race in the race calender for many.

Setting up in Transition pre race
A lovely shot by Dad of Transition situated in front of the Palace

The swim was a chilly one, water not much above 13 degrees. The 750m swim was followed by a 400m uphill run to transition which was situated outside Blenheim Palace. I had a terrible T1, which in hindsight ruined my race, first time in a new wetsuit, I stumbled with the zip and fastening which slowed me considerably up the hill to T1, which I had hoped would work to my advantage being a runner. The bike course was undulating, hard to make a break and kept you on your toes to stay in the pack up the hills, descents and round the corners. Race favourite Jodie Stimpson (Olympic 2012 hopeful) led off the bike in a pack of 4, I was in a pack of 6 athletes, 2 groups behind the lead bunch.

118, 118!

The 5km run was an undulating 2 laps around the palace grounds. Lovely views, though during the race there wasn't much time to take it all in! Down the finishing straight with TV Cameras, crowds and cameras, a very new experience!

Racing in this elite race was such a surprise and bonus for my season, despite a break through in the swim being less than 30 seconds behind the race leader, the rest of the race didn't go as planed with a slow T1 which resulted being in a slower bike group than would have liked, and sadly, was just not a good running day for me. But I learnt SO much, and am ready to take everything to my next race, which is the AG British Championships in two weeks time...see you then!

Leading my bike group!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

British AG Championships

Today was the British Age Group Championships in Shropshire, standard distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run). Last year I was the U20 British Champ in Sprint Distance, though today I travelled to see how I would fair an age category up (20-24), in standard distance.

The swim part of Triathlon has proved a struggle over the last year I have been doing Tri. It was the weakest discipline for me in Modern Pentathlon, but has slowly been progzessing and coming together. Blenheim was a breakthrough, swimming 9 36 for 750m, so today my aim was a sub 21 for 1500m. The water was cold, 14 degrees, all the women were wishing for a quick start before we lost all feeling in our hands and toes. I exited the water in 3rd position, with a split of 20.14 which I was delighted with. T1 led us out onto a rolling 40km one lap bike course. As an age group race, it was non drafting, so the work is all individual (and much harder!). 40km seemed to go on forever! After competing in only sprint distance all year it did drag!!!

The weather was dry and mild, then about 10km into the bike it poured. Heavy rain for short but aggressive stages, requiring increased concentration around the traffic, descents and cornering. A few women overtook me on lavish TT bikes, which is always a given, but me and bike Billie kept pumping away, determined to enter T2 with a good time, and not far off the leaders. When we entered T2, the ground was churned and muddy, as we slipped our muddy wet feet into our run shoes sock-less (every second counts!), the gruelling hilly 10km run began.

On the podium, wearing kit kindly provided by

All in all it was a well organised race, though the courses were not very spectator friendly, most of it being in the rural countryside, without spectator support, good practice I suppose though felt like a bl**dy hard training session rather than a race!!!

Couple of weeks off now, before Bristol Harbourside triathlon on July the 15th where I will be attempting to defend last year's title! However the race this year(is a World Championship qualifier for age group athletes, so the competition will be significantly tougher!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

BUCS Olympic Triathlon

Today was BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) standard distance triathlon in Nottingham. The Bath Uni team of 10 athletes and 1 supporter headed up to a hotel in Loughborough the night before where we stayed the night and had a club meal out.

Andy, Alex, Jansen, Boydy, Toby, Matt, Matt, Rob, Michela & me after a hard & hot day of racing 

Race day was swelteringly hot. Probably well over 27degrees Celsius, the course was based around the county's purpose built rowing lake where there was no shade. The elite women were off at 9am, supersprint athletes at 12 and elite men at 2pm. In hindsight I was quite lucky setting off earlier in the morning, though I still finished with some superb triathlon suit tan (burn) lines.

Elite women entering the water to start the 1500m swim

The wetsuit swim was two laps of a 750m course, with a short run in between before we jumped in to start our second lap. I exited the water in 8th place and then transition led us out onto an 8lap 40km bike course. In total there were 28 elite women racing, so the course (each lap is 5km) was not too crowded. The bike leg for me was even more exciting, as The Triathlon Shop had very kindly lent me a carbon fibre Scott bike to race for the day, which was a great opportunity and a great support. As a consequence, I biked a non-draft 1hr12 for the 40km bike leg, which considering this was a training race and I had clocked up 300km of bike training that week, I was delighted with!

A hot 40km bike ride
(here is the lovely SCOTT bike loaned from THE TRIATHLON SHOP)

I wasn't the only one who suffered on the bike with hydration. Many athletes only had one bottle cage on their bike and there were no water stops allowed on the bike leg, nor were athletes allowed friends/spectators to pass them water as this would qualify as "outside assistance" which would result in DQ. This rule is understandable under many circumstances, but in these conditions, with the heat and athletes dropping out, it may have been a rule worth tweaking or reconsidering for an amateur race.

The run was no less warm, a 10km run which was two 5km laps of the lake, following the path of the bike course. 2 water stations on each lap, which was a godsend! I came of the bike in 6th place and ran down 3minutes to finish the race in 3rd place :) Strict orders from coach to take the run easy-ish, as Blenheim elite triathlon in two weeks in the main focus, and running hard would only delay recovery and training for that race. Therefore the run was taken as a tempo rather than at race pace, I was delighted therefore to put in the  fastest run split of the race.

The Bath team put in a sterling effort, many top ten finishers, pb's broken and new race distances covered. It was a really hot day for everyone, unusual conditions for Britain with only the day before the news revealing it was hotter than Lanzarote or certain areas of France! Well done Bath!

1st Loughborough, 2nd Birmingham, 3rd Bath

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bristol 10km

This Sunday was the Bristol 10km, where almost 15,000 runners gathered by @Bristol for the start at 9.30am. Perfect race conditions, dry with a cool wind. The course snaked out of the city centre along the Portway and back into the centre to finish by the Harbourside.

Bristol 10km for our family has always been a bit of a family affair, with Dad and I having run the race together (competitively!) in 2009, 10, 11 and 2012!  Below are a couple of photos for 2009 and 2010, a lack of photos for the last two years! Dad has been concentrating on his marathons for the last few years, having done 16 now in total and aims to do 20 (his next one is in Berlin!) before he settles into the shorter distances, 10km is considerably shorter for him! He clocked in 42.30 for the 10km, Matt who ran too, all be it slightly under the weather ran a great 37.27 and I finished in 38.07 (Garmin). Mum supported very well, rushing around the course to see as many of the three of us as she could in the space of 40minutes!

Dad and I Bristol 10km 2010

Dad and I at Bristol 10km 2009

Sunday, 6 May 2012

BUCS Sprint Championships or 'Cake Day'

Sunday 6th May, off to Calne in Wiltshire (all be it just down the road for the team of 20 Bath Triathletes!) for the annual BUCS Sprint race. Huge entry list this year of over 400 athletes from Universities up and down the country. Great atmosphere and the sunshine peaked out from the 2 weeks of rain especially for us.

St Mary's school hosts the event, the 25m indoor pool for a 30 length swim to make 750m, a one lap bike course of undulating 25km and a out and back 5km to finish. All in all a great little venue with everything on hand.

My own performance wasn't quite as good as had hoped (or planned!) but a cold hit me a few days before the event which as much as I tryed to ignore, annoying affected my performance like it would any other athlete. Though had a great swim swimming a new personal best for 750m, 10minutes30seconds, and finished 4th female in the run which I was delighted with. The bike course was hard, much power and strength required, and just wasn't really my day to shine. 
Nice fields of cows and horses to pass the time though ;) 

I came in to the finish line after a tough but what felt like a smashing run, to the whole team who had finished their heats earlier in the day, and some lovely birthday (29th April for those who forgot ;) ) cupcakes, make by the team.

More importantly the Bath Team put in a fantastic effort, with our top spot of the day going to Doug Hall who finished 3rd in the mens race. Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed the day, with PBs being smashed, fast bike splits and every last ounce of energy used on the run. Great work team!

Maybe the highlight of the day (look away coach) was the evening social meal, in the infamous 'Jimmy Spices', an all you can eat restaurant, notorious amongst hungry students, triathletes in particular. It was also a week after my birthday and I had a few surprises yet to come! After over 6 courses (the plates are small), I was sung 'Happy Birthday' and presented with a rather large, chocolate fudge cake. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012


First race of 2012 let's gooooo!!!
6 months of adrenalin, training and excitement stored up, this was going to be a good one whatever the end result!

The Bath Uni Tri Squad of 16 athletes travelled to Dorney Lake (Olympic 2012 rowing venue) the night before the race. We were put up for the night by a travel lodge, and did Pizza Hut great business the night before.

There had been emails going back and forth all week between organisers and athletes as to whether the race would be a triathlon (which was what it was meant to be) or a duathlon, due to the water temperature of the lake being so cold. For a BTF race to go ahead the water has to be a minimum of 11degrees Celsius. The day before the race the water had dropped below this, which forced the organisers to question the triathlon going ahead. However we hit lucky (some may call it mad), and the water temperature was 11 degrees on race morning. This was to the delight of the swimmers (and proper triathletes may I add!) of the club, while the duathletes looked most disgruntled.

Into the wetsuits for the 400m swim and off we went, well, we tried. It was crazy, your breathing went, your head spun, body went numb and vision became blurred. The effect the icy water had on the body and mind was quite frightening. I realised the extent of the effect it had had when I a) tried to exit the water and fell over and b) couldn't for the life of me remember where I had racked by bike then c) fell over putting on my left shoe in T1.

Not my most poised and graceful moment to date. 

But onwards and upwards eh?! At least I had a long list of 'areas of improvement' for Coach. 
The 20km bike was great, nice and flat just how we like it though a little more wind than ideal, then out onto an out and back 5km run. 

Sweets and more sweets at the end for all competitors (first sign of an excellently organised race) while the team stood and cheered on the rest of the athletes. Everyone looked slightly disorientated from the swim still, most of us with numb toes and pins and needles throughout our bodies. But at least we all knew it could only get better and warmer through 2012!

Here's a lovely team snap :)
Great venue! Can see why its a popular one for beginners and pro's alike! Recommended! Despite spending alot of time on the floor, I managed to grab a victory which was a great start to the season. Boyfriend Matt Everest also won the men's race, while fellow team mate Rob Abraham got pipped by just 30seconds and took 2nd. Good Job Team!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


May 2011, and a secured spot for the 2012 European Championships in Israel. Through the winter I struggled with a shoulder injury, which required steroid injections, physio and reduced training in the pool, it wasn't the best race prep for a European Championships.

After applying for funding from Bath University, I was granted with a very generous contribution to flights and accommodation. But the doubts were with the injury, and whether making the 7 hour flight to Israel, would be worth it to have a race where I wasn't at my best. The decision was to withdraw. Today the rest of the team flies out, to compete this weekend in the race. 

Its one of the 'not so great' things that accompanies being an athlete, very frustrating and upsetting especially when a big race in the pipeline has to be missed. But hopefully taking the time to properly recover and fix my shoulder will pay off later in the season.

Instead, this weekend I will be travelling to Windsor, Dorney Lake with the Bath Uni Tri Squad for the first Triathlon of the season, it won't be 34 degree Israel, but hopefully it will be a great race and start the 2012 season on the right foot.


A refreshing week in the Lake District with family and boyfriend, bikes, wetsuit and trainers.

We stayed in a rural cottage, the Coniston Coppermines. Gorgeous setting with the most amazing views over the mountains and down to the village and Coniston Lake. The cottage was set back from the village, a mile up a gravel track which didn't fair so well for the road bikes, but so lovely to be in such a peaceful location.

Day one, 7am and a brisk fell run to explore the mountains behind the house. Dodging parts of the old coppermine, sheep, and their newly born lambs, then run took us up above the house and over the first peak to give us a clear morning view of Coniston Lake.

The cycling in the Lakes was second to none (apart from the driveway to the house). The roads were smooth and clear, the drivers were patient and considerate - very different to the hustling cities of Bristol and Bath where the majority of cycle training takes place throughout the year. 

For me the Lake District is a second home, from the age of 10 or so, my parents owned a lovely country cottage in Great Langdale, home of the notorious Langdale Pikes. We had the house there for just over six years and holidayed there most weekends and school breaks, the rest of the time it was privately let. The Lakes is just a huge playground there to be explored. And doing so by bike, was fantastic.

We cycled through all the local parts, Ambleside, Coniston, Windermere, Grasmere, Kendal, Hawshead, and it brought back many memories to see all the old sights and areas in which my sister and I had grown up in.

The westuits had been gathering dust in the suitcases for the first part of the holiday, so on a chilly Tuesday morning we decided to give swimming in Lake Coniston a go. 6 degrees and three swimming hats. The water was not welcoming, the worst part was  not cold hands or feet, but a cold face. Putting your face in the water was surreal, and rising to the surface after you would feel most disorientated and dizzy. The water was cloudy and of a pale green colour, just clear enough to see my hands as I pulled the water back with each stroke and to see the bubbles of my fellow swimmer.

The rest of the day that we braved Lake Coniston, it snowed. 8hours of blizzard and wind. We couldn't have picked a better day for it ;)

The time we weren't training or submerged in icey cold lakes, we engaged in as many activities as timely possible in the local area. Mountain biking in Grizedale Forest (a must for anyone!), munching on fudge and sipping Victorian Lemonade in Lakeside café's, eating the world wide famous Grasmere gingerbread, climbing peaks, or sitting in front of the log fire in the cottage, baking marshmallows and chocolate.

For anyone who is looking for a week away from city life, with a bit of training thrown in, the Lake District is perfect. The cycling was second to none, the running fantastic, and the swimming - refreshing?