2011 Race Reports
It was a lovely day for a Triathlon and what better way to start than with a precarious climb into mud followed by a swim along the River Severn? The Upton triathlon is always a well-run event and this year was no exception. Starting at lunchtime rather than a groggy early morning - what to eat is a major concern for some - too late for just porridge and too early for lunch. As usual there was a good representative of Cheltenham Triathlon Club members with 4 doing the sprint distance and 22 the standard/Olympic distance.
With good weather conditions, some fast times were achieved, Simon Clarke came out second fastest in the swim and 10th overall in the MSEN category but he was still almost two minutes behind CTC member Richard Walklate who finished seventh in the MSEN category in an impressive 2hr 16min. Douglas Waymark sixth overall on the bike and 18th also in the MSEN category.
Sally Freeman was the first female home and seventh overall in 2hrs 32min with Sue Bathgate being the fastest CTC lady in the FV40 category being sixth in a time of 2hrs 43min.
In the sprint event Jeff Knap was fourth overall in 1hr 12 min while in the ladies event Ann Simmons was sixth in FV40 category in 1hr 38min.
The whole event even inspired Josh to commit the experience to verse:
Last Saturday's tri at Upton was a fun affair,
With the usual mixture of blood, sweat and tight lycra-wear.
An Olympic-distance debut Elizabeth Haigh did make,
Justifiably enjoying that evening some much needed cake.
In the fast but murky River Severn waters there were super-fast times from Blackbird and Clarke,
Joining Alfie at the finish line was Bri with his dogs that had so much bark.
The weather was kind without the relenting sun of last year,
The dodgy flowings of the Severn have left my guts with much to fear.
Walklate was the quickest with a fast bike and speedy run,
But all who competed had a great deal of fun.
Terribly sorry for this awful rhyme,
Now school has abroken I've got to fill my time.
La Marmotte is a 174km cycle sportive with 5000m of climbing over 4 of the classic climbs used in the Tour de France - the Glandon, Telegraph, Galibier and Alpe D'Huez. This year, on 22 July, stage 19 will go over the last three if you want to get an idea what they are like. Alternatively ask Sue, Ellie or Phil who have all ridden the race.
Last year I rode the race for the first time with the aim of just getting round having never attempted such a challenge. This year I started training on the 2nd January with the aim of achieving the gold standard time for my age group building on all I had learnt last year. For those of you who are not regulars on the formal club bike training rides such as the Double Whiteway and Stanway sessions these or similar rides formed a key part of my weekly schedule. The Whiteway sessions building to my target race effort level and the hills to 10 reps which is roughly the distance of each of the climbs.
On top of those sessions were Collin's Sunday rides early on but building to well over a 100 miles by the end. I topped off my training with a couple of weeks climbing practice in the Alps followed by a taper week.
The final result was that I had a near perfect race in which I felt strong all the way round and, with the exception of the Galibier descent back to the foot of Alpe D'Huez where a fierce head wind cost me about 3 to 4 minutes, I pulled out time against my planned schedule all the rest of the way round ending up 18 minutes inside the gold standard time. Apart from that head wind the weather was perfect. Clear blue sky but with a top temperature of only 24 degrees. I started out with a short sleeved jersey and arm warmers which I rolled down on the climbs and with the direct heat from the sun they were enough to cope with the descents without the need for a jacket. It was a far cry from the 43 degrees we had last year up the final climb of Alpe D'Huez.
Even if you do not feel like tackling La Marmotte I can thoroughly recommend a cycling holiday in a place like Bourg D'Oisans as not only can you tackle the famous Tour de France climbs but there are lots of others that are equally challenging and more spectacular from a scenic point of view.
Nine members of the Cheltenham Tri Club were among the 750 who took part in the 2011 British Triathlon Middle Distance (half ironman distance) Championships, racing to win the coveted Age Group British Championships at the Cowman Triathlon in Emberton Park, Milton Keynes. A half iron man consists of 1900m swim, 92km bike and 21km run.
It was the first half ironman for many of the club members, but they all finished, some of them with very credible times. Mary Welsh was the star of the day winning her age group (65-69) in 7 hours 31 minutes, so Mary is National Middle Distance Champion 2011. There were good positions for Karen Hilton (11th in the 40-45 age group), Shaun Hennessy (11th in the 25-29 age group) and Colin Watkins (14th, 55-59).
Doug Waymark, Rich Walklate, Dave Hodgetts, Ted Allen and Shaun Hennessy were off in the 6.30am wave, followed by Karen Hilton, Colin Watkins, Mary Welsh and Graham Beddis in the second wave at 7am. It was a bumpy swim with approx 375 in each group especially around the first 2 buoys but things settled down after that.
The bike was full of incident, with crashes, hospitalization of two competitors and a plenty of punctures (including Richard Walklate), and the run was undulating and hot. Despite this CTC all managed to finish, with Doug Waymark being the fastest in just under 5 hours.
Cheltenham Ladies dominate. Cheltenham Triathlon club turned out in force on Sunday to race the double sprint triathlon and sprint triathlon in Worcester. Sally Freeman was most impressive with an overall position of 2nd in the women's race, with Emma Godstone hot on her heels in 3rd. In the men's race Ollie Hilton was 4th overall and Simon Clarke 5th.
On the hottest day so far this year the Double triathlon consisted of a 1500 metre swim followed by a 54K bike and finishing with 11k run off road. The swim provided early relief from the heat and the gruelling bike course was raced before the real heat set in. Not so for the run by which time the sun was beating down, so lots of water poured over heads was the order of the day.
The swim was two laps of the top barn lake with buoys in a W- shape to avoid the weeds round the side of the lake. The bike course was a 2 lap course which was a very undulating, challenging, but ultimately beautiful course. The run was 2 laps, mainly off road, hilly, and crossing varied farm land. After the bike course the run felt hard but it probably was a combination of the heat and tired legs from the other two disciplines.
The Cheltenham Ladies once again did CTC proud with 3 prize winners. Sally Freeman was 2nd lady overall in a time of 3 hours 8mins, Emma Godstone was 3rd Lady overall in a time of 3hrs 22mins and Sue Bathgate was 6th Lady overall and 1st Ultra vet lady in a time of 3 hours 25 mins. Katie Blackbird also raced in 3hours 39 mins and Torie Clarke in 4 hours 6 mins.
First Male home from Cheltenham Tri Club and in 4th overall position was Ollie Hilton in a time of 2 hours 48 mins, closely followed in 5th position was Simon Clarke in 2 hours 49 mins. Jez Preston Jones was 4th V40 in a time of 2 hours 50mins. Gareth Blackbird was next Cheltenham Tri man in with 3hrs 02 mins, followed by Neil Hudson 3hrs 12 mins and Steve Yarnold 3hrs 30 mins.
In the sprint distance race David Symes was 24th in 1:30:59, Lloyd Giles came 64th in 1:41:02, Tom Cantle close behind in 1:41:54 and Audrey Healey in 2:04:57.