Set in the well-loved Cotswold Waterpark Lake 32, the Cotswold 113 is a middle distance/half ironman triathlon that is described as flat, fast and beautiful. To be honest, this description does the race justice.
Setting the alarm for 2:55am is never fun, but pre-race nerves soon shook me from my slumber in a tent. The long anticipated heavy rain hadn’t yet materialised, and the Met Office forecast was looking significantly better than at any point in the week.
The pre-race briefing set the tone for what was a well-marshalled event, with good levels of support. The swim was a busy affair, with George Hughes setting a very fast time. A pack of Cheltenham Triathletes left T1 near simultaneously, with Marc Roberts having had the swim of a lifetime!
The bike course itself is extremely flat, with one short hill at the half way point on each of the laps. It was pleasing to put some seriously expensive TT bikes in their place on this short climb! The roads are very quiet and the bottle drop and pick up (one the move) was a new experience for me. One section of the road was narrow single track, although with a very good road surface. This led to some hair raising moments as competitors travelling in both directions began over taking. Such narrow roads necessitated some groups riding for a few km, although, disappointingly, this seemed to continue for far longer than necessary. George enjoyed the course so much he completed an additional loop of the circular section – an extra eight miles… Towards the end of the bike leg, which in total was 86km long, I began to feel my legs cramping a bit – I hoped this wouldn’t be a bad omen for the run.
T2 was pleasingly empty on my return, and with socks and racing flats donned (13 miles would certainly be a new experience in these), the run began. The course winds around lakes and villages
and really is exceptionally flat, yet with enough beautiful scenery to keep the mind occupied. It was congested in parts, but the marshals were very good at shouting instructions to keep left. Slightly sporadic mile markers meant I was shocked to clock a 5:40 mile at one point – sadly I doubt this to have been a true reflection of my pace! The finish gantry is a professional looking affair with great support. To say I was relieved to reach it would be an understatement.
If you are looking at racing over this distance, I really recommend the 113 – it is a beautiful and fast course, and is about a third of the price of the big name races. Well done to all the Cheltenham Tri Club athletes.
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