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Cotswold Classic Triathlon 70.3

Set in the heart, and the heat, of the Cotswolds at Ashton Keynes Water Park, this Middle distance tri involved one lap of ‘Lake 32’ for the 1,900m swim. From there the 56m bike took in the Cotswold countryside before the half marathon. Four Tuffs were in attendance; Richard Hobbs, Jason Rae, Andy Ward & Matt Whittaker. The course was stated to be fast and flat, however Hobbsie pointed out the road surfaces were very poor and the run course was tight with runners not moving over. Jason had a tough time with sad news about a friend just before the event and as a consequence decided to up the ante and swim without a wetsuit.  Despite this four great times from the quartet.

For his reflections on the day’s work, a race report follows from Andy Ward:

Matt Whittaker, Andy Ward, Richard Hobbs, Jason Rae

Compared to the Swashbuckler in May, conditions couldn’t have been any different.

At Swashbuckler I was considering wearing a neoprene hood and was pleasantly surprised when the water wasn’t as cold as expected. At Cotswold we weren’t sure until an hour before the first swim if the race would be non-wetsuit due to the temperature being very close to the BTF ruling of 24 degrees.

Leading up to the race things had been going well and I was looking forward to what on paper was looking like a fast, flat course.. however, those who know me will know that the weeks leading up to the race took a dramatic change and I seriously contemplated not going.

But onto the race….

Well…it was hot and due to me not updating my email address with 113 Events I wasn’t able to change my swim wave and subsequently was in Wave 8 of 8 with a luxurious 07:40 start…. well you would think that wouldn’t you?? Unfortunately, this meant arriving just after 05:00hrs due to the transition closing at 06:30hrs and listening to the race briefing 7 times!!!!!

The water was a lovely temperature and if I was a stronger swimmer I would have chosen to swim without a wetsuit but I’m not………so I didn’t.

A single lap swim with a very small wave made it easy to find some clear water so a very uneventful swim……leading on to what I guess is my favourite discipline….the bike.

The profile showed a flat course with one significant hill at the end of a 2 lap out and back course so I was keen to ride well but still save something for the run which due to my start time was going to be at the height of the heat for the day!

The course took us out into some lovely Cotswold countryside if you had your head up but most of my time was spent avoiding probably the worst road surface I have ever ridden on.

One area had been “resurfaced” with that lovely loose grey chipping and this was one area where you really had to be on your guard. Never the less a good ride taking in plenty of Isotonic, Clif Bloks and water. The test was going to be whether I could run after that… and in the heat. The last time I “ran” in heat like this was Challenge Roth……  and I walked!!

The run was a 3 lap course….flat….with a mix of trail and roads and it was….. if you hadn’t already realised…..HOT!!

But I made a promise (and not just to myself) that whatever happened I was going to run all of it….. apart from the feed zones where I would walk making sure to take on as much water as I could. Each lap I took a Double Espresso Gu gel and that was it.

Considering the weather, I kept my promise and all in all I was very happy to cross the line, grab my medal and go straight back into the water!!

Room for improvement? Absolutely.

Did I enjoy it? Yes…. eventually.

Would I do it again? Maybe but they’d need to sort the roads out.

Good event? Yes, Graeme and the team at 113 Events put on a great race. His race briefing and pre-race emails are hilarious.

Coach Wardy.