A weekend where Triathlon very much took centre stage with two Sprint triathlons and one Standard where Tuffs raced well, but also a seriously impressive Sportive :-
The setting of Windsor Castle, the largest & oldest occupied castle in the world, served as a great backdrop for the Windsor Triathlon. All six Tuffs present had entered the standard distance which involved a 1,500m swim in the Thames, with the first waves jumping in at 6am !. The event has been named event of the year for seven consecutive years in the past, and whilst it was billed as having 3,500 entries, a lot of empty racking suggested otherwise. The cycle then took riders around the Berkshire countryside including up Drift Road which is affectionately known as ‘Draft Road’ as it is difficult not to! Back through the Great Park to complete the 40k. The 10k run climbs up to the top of the High Street (3 times) to the Castle gates and along the long walk; 350ft ascent. Well done (in alphabetical order) Clive Harvey, Trevor Harvey, Pete Littleboy, Tiff Orton, Jon Roper & Phil Scales. We have two reports; firstly from Trev Harvey & then Phil Scales:-
“Great weather to leap into the Thames last Sunday for the 30th running of the Windsor Triathlon. Six Tuff’s had entered the Olympic distance, first timers Pete Littleboy & Phil Scales, numerous attendees Jon Roper & Tiff Orton, and myself and Clive for our 24th consecutive year!!!”
“As mentioned, great weather and the first 1,000 or so metres of the swim was staring straight into the sun, but a pleasant water temperature which didn’t take your breath away”.
“A great 25 mile cycle and then the run up castle hill and along the Long Walk – which needed to be completed 3 times”.
“Good performances all round from the Tuff 6 – Jon had the fastest Tuff swim; Pete the fastest bike & Phil the fastest run, with all fairly tightly bunched time wise. There are some long transitions…& my T1 time not being helped by struggling to get my wetsuit off!!”
“There was a delay publishing the results, but when they were, we found Clive and I were second and third respectively in our age group – not bad for two old gits!!”
“Whilst a sold out event there were many no shows, no doubt as the majority of entries had been deferred from 2020!!”
“Having won free entry for life in a raffle in 2015, I’ve already entered for 2023!!!!”
“Enjoyed this event. It was my 1st Olympic distance and I found the swim challenging as it is my most challenging discipline. Enjoyed the bike course. Had a personal dilemma when I went past Legoland – continue triathlon or make a slight detour. Think I made the right choice and continued the race”.
“The atmosphere on the run was fantastic. I ran a bit extra as went towards the finish line on my 1st loop of 3. Think going into the race and not putting any pressure on myself seem to do the trick. Overall it was a well organised event which i recommend and would happily return next year.”
A busy weekend for Triathlon across the country and whilst the TV Cameras were tuned to the AJ Bell Tri at Leeds there was a quality field on the coast at Eastbourne as this represented a GB age group European qualification as well as being a points scoring race for BT South East Region senior series. Starting with a sea swim off the lifeguards beach, it was into the South Downs National Park for the bike out past Beachy Head to BIrling Gap and back before a promenade run finishing on the Western Lawns. Our Tuff men comprised Mark Walford who had a cracking race finishing in 1hr 10 minutes for 37th overall and as this article is published confirmation is awaited that it could be a qualifying time for the Europeans for him. Andy Crawford was next home, not far behind Mark on the bike and then Dave March with all three having very strong run splits. As three scoring Tuff men for South East Senior Series, we look forward to the latest league table in due course.
Tuff ladies were not to be out done though with two great performances. Maisie Johnston had another cracking result as first in her age group with Maisie submitting the following report before jetting off to Montreal for the Worlds. Also one of our newer members Carey Woods is clearly a great addition to our club as she raced achieving a strong result ninth in her age group – well done to both Maisie & Carey.
“Bit of a risky strategy this year not registering on the Saturday, but I figured an early start is an early start! So up at 4:30am and on the road by 5:30am. Quick dash to register then on into transition for racking, setting up and checking all the swim, bike, run ins and outs. Beautiful weather, calm sea, sunny blue sky and a 8:10am rolling start from the beach under the timing arch. Bit of a painful stoney run-hobble into the sea but then well under way”.
“Gorgeous swim but slightly blinded by the sun in one direction. Bike was a stunning coastal closed road route, up Beachy Head turnaround at Birling Gap. A lot of ups and a lot of downs. After a smooth transition, off on the snaky run course, so 4 out and backs. (And I did a bit of overtaking too lol!) Finish line was a welcome sight as the weather was heating up. Over the line first lady in my age group, and 18th overall lady. So pleased with the result and a totally brilliant triathlon course. Would definitely recommend this race but only if you like hills and fast descents on the bike! “
HARDEST HUNDRED SPORTIVE
The Hardest Hundred is a series of 12 events around the UK, billed as epic, and that would be about right as this one started at the bottom of Leith Hill and would go to Brighton and back to Leith Hill. Gavin Sewell was riding this and respect to Andy Ward who also entered completing a hilly 65 miles Thanks to Gavin who has reported in with his thoughts on the day.
“I signed up for this sportive as preparation for Ironman Wales in September. With over 7500ft of climbing in 114 miles it is statistically very similar to Wales”.
“There were 3 key climbs plus lots of Surrey hills to contend with.
Sheephouse Lane – 3.2km, 3.8% average gradient
Ditchling Beacon – 1.5km, 9.4%
Barhatch Lane – 2.5km, 6.0%
Also Devils Dyke.
It was lovely weather for a day on the bike, maybe a little hot. I had never ridden Ditchling Beacon before and I know why now. A very hard climb but with a great payoff at the end with stunning views. This was the first major climb and then it descended into Brighton. The first 50 miles were ok, but had to negotiate Horsham centre and then Brighton and it was incredibly busy. Maybe running this sportive on a Sunday would have made that easier. But that was my only criticism of the event.
The route then headed up through Brighton and started to climb Devils Dyke which is a lovely climb and not to steep. After that its was rolling hills all the way until the 100 mile mark and the last aid station. The aid stations were fantastic and fully loaded with everything you would need. At aid station 3 (75 miles in) they even have cheese and pickle rolls and crisps for lunch, don’t think I’ll be getting that in Tenby. The signage was excellent to, and you would have struggled to get lost.
The last 14 miles were hard, and I barely got out of the small ring. And right near the end there is Barhatch lane and that was the hardest climb of the day, with most people zig zagging across the road just trying to stay moving. Felt good when crossing the finishing line, and I had more in the tank which is encouraging.
All in all, a great ride and really well organised would recommend using UK Hardest Hundred for other cycling events. But the clue is in the name, don’t expect an easy day in the saddle”
MID SUSSEX TRIATHLON
This was the 20th anniversary of Mid Sussex Triathlon, a popular event where this year we had four competing as individuals with a further two as part of the relay. The event is a sprint comprising a 400m zig zag pool swim before embarking on a 26km cycle and 5km run. Particular praise goes to Barry Davids who has previously been key in organising the swim section. This year he was back training up a new team before quickly taking off his swim director top revealing his Tuff trisuit to enter the Aquabike race. Barry was set for a great result as we know with his powerful swim, but unfortunately on the bike his chain slipped getting jammed. Crossing the line Barry attained third Aquabiker overall, a great result but with the gap just 1 minute 46 seconds to first overall he was left pondering what might have been if it hadn’t been for his chain coming off.
The Triathlon comprised Les Pearce, Kate Cooper & Vicky Cooper. Chris Evans and Alistair Evans were two thirds of a relay team with a third of the four brothers Dave Evans. Kate has kindly submitted her report of her Sunday up at Burgess Hill.
“The Mid-Sussex sprint triathlon is organised by the Mid-Sussex triathlon club (funnily enough) and calls itself ‘the friendliest tri in the south’. When I read that the club has a ‘long tradition of encouraging novices’, I decided it was the perfect race for my 2nd triathlon. Tuffs were not out in force but I met up with Les Pearce and Vicky Cooper before the race, and spotted Chris & Alistar Evans, who was entering the relay and Barry who was on poolside.”
“The swim is a zigzag up and down the 8 lanes of the pool. It took a long time to start and there was a lot of enthusiastic encouragement of the novice swimmers, so if you don’t mind waiting, cheering and chatting, then it is a fun way to start. The marshals are all very encouraging: so much so that I stopped swimming at one point, as I thought I was being told to let someone pass, but actually I was being urged on!”
“My bike leg got off to an inauspicious start, as I jumped on my bike only to be tipped off again by my saddle flipping backwards! Lesson 1 of the day: always actually ride your bike after adjustments rather than just sit on it! After a few minutes, I was rescued by my husband and his Allen keys (thank you to Alistair who went to search for him) and belatedly set off. It was a lovely, undulating ride (I don’t think that there were any flat sections) around the mid-Sussex countryside. There were marshals aplenty and it was impossible to get lost. The events team had done a good job of spray painting the potholes, which saved a few emergency manoeuvres!
“Les and I arrived in transition at about the same time and Les shot off. I meanwhile was trying to tie up my laces with frozen fingers (another couple of lessons learnt). This was unfortunate for both me and Les – more of that in a moment! The run route was out and back and hills again made an appearance. The early stretches were through fairly uninspiring residential streets, but it was then more attractive. I was most perplexed on the return leg to find that Les was behind me! It turned out that he had gone the wrong way near the start of the run and had done an extra mini loop! At least my error involved some extra recovery!”
“At the finish we were presented with a wooden medal and some beer, which were both most welcome! Les was 3rd in his age category in a time of 1.31.55: robbed of 1st by his detour! I finished in 1.44.49, narrowly beating Vicky who finished in 1.45.42. Chris’s relay team finished in a time of 2.04.24. and Barry after marshalling raced home in 57:30.
A great result at Littlehampton parkrun as Marc Flinders crossed the line 5th overall in only his second park run finishing with a time of 20:04. Another strong run from Steve Fryer saw him cross as 9th overall in 20:54. Rich Budd was next across the line. Alistair Evans on his 87th run was just ahead of Jenny Oliver having completed her 30th parkrun.
At Worthing parkrun, Ed Lay was first club member across the line in 23:11 on his 92nd parkrun appearance. Simon Willard was next in 23:49. Phil Turner was the next Tuff home on his 79th PR. Next crossing just 1 second apart was Sheila Bailey & then Kate Evans . Elaine Rousseau completed the six Tuffs running although ahead of his Triathlon the next day, Les Pearce was on the organising team.