Cheltenham Triathlon Club
For experienced and aspiring triathletes
Mary Welsh
Every day for the week prior to the duathlon I watched the weather forecast with increasing anxiety. The prediction for the Saturday of the event was for heavy rain and the decision about what to wear on each section of the race became a serious dilemma.

While having an early breakfast at 4.30 am I was heartened when I realised I could not hear the anticipated rain. As it got lighter it became obvious that the day was dull and grey and worryingly cold. The air temperature was 4 degrees but a fresh breeze made it seem considerably colder.

 Registration opened at 6am where competitors collected numbers, timing chips and an event tee shirt.

The area around transition was full of athletes jumping and jogging, skipping and stretching, trying to keep muscles warm without expending too much precious energy for the race. The race commenced in 4 waves with all ladies in the last wave. We were about half a mile into the route when we met the leaders returning from their first 10k run.
Although the weather was cold and grey, the run was pleasant enough through pretty woodlands and there were pleasant views over the vast expanse of Rutland Water. We ran across the dam and out as far as Normanton church where we turned and completed the return leg of the first run section.

I decided to wear my Cheltenham cycle top over two thermal jerseys along with two pairs of gloves and a thermal skullcap on the bike and this was a good choice for my top half. Unfortunately I should have taken time to pull on extra shorts or leggings in transition as I suffered from extreme cramps in my legs and feet.

The course is correctly described as undulating and the efforts on the hills did help to generate some body heat. At about twenty miles a cold drizzle developed and although I was cold and wet I realised I wasn't too far from home and an energy gel gave me a welcome boost of power.

Run 2 felt good-through the wooded area again to the turn point just before the dam-back through the trees and past the farm and I could see the finish gantry across the water on the little peninsula where we had started.

I was first in my category (65-69) and was pleased to be awarded a gold medal and BTF National Championship trophy for the third consecutive year.
     

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