The First Tri Lydney by Trimax Events

John Hookway and Chris Young competed at the Tri-Max First Tri event at Lydney triathlon on Sunday. The sprint event includes a 440m pool swim, a challenging 22k bike ride, finished off with a 5.5K run. Young improved his overall time from last year by 4 mins with 01:29:37. It was Hookway’s first triathlon and he completed it in a very respectable time of 1:42:00, and is excited enough to be booking his pace in the end of Summer event. John's extensive race report follows

This was a great event, really well organized and (if I had paid for entry) is value for money. Pool was clean and in good condition. Transition area was well laid out. Both cycle and run routes were clearly signed and challenging. For my first triathlon I felt at home straight away as there were people from all ends of the spectrum and everything in between which is reassuring and spending I'll cover in the critique. I've done a Trimax running event before and will do more. Thanks to Chris Young for competing with me. Line Nash-Whitlock and Emma Richards for coming out to support. We all did the #DRC_Tri Team very proud indeed and helped get ourselves even further established on the local map. 

My race critique:
After I learnt a shed load of things at the Newbury Duathlon I wanted to try and make those lessons things of the past which I did to a high degree:

1. Registration this was easy enough and I arrived before I could officially collect my number but this is what I normally do and was actually well worth doing on this first Tri event to get my nerves under control because I got to see the first swim wave cow out into transition after I was all prepared and set for my swim.

2. Watching earlier waves than yours is an eye opener ... seeing the different ways people process their transitions is both dangerous and unnerving however you need to stick to your race plan! I watched as the first wave came out and donned all manner of items whilst I was set to go out on the bike in just my tri suit, sunglasses and helmet! There were quick transitions, not so quick ones and those that seemed to last forever. We as a club are in such an amazing position as we have all learnt so much from each other and the coaches meaning our confidence and knowledge breads success. One woman in my swim had left all her gear for transitions in the changing rooms as she had no idea what to expect! My transitions were so much better than previously I'd done my homework, practiced and remained calm.

3. Going into the swim my nerves that had been raging all week (mainly due to the lack of any form of training) flared up again. During the registration I forgot to ask where I got my swim cap and timing chip but this was answered when I went pool side. The brief was interesting and covered the whole race which I plead you all to listen to intently

4. The swim ... I thought I was going slowly but my Garmin time (8m 53s!!!) was a lot slower than the actual recorded time but that's because the chip timing works on the mats you have to run over. In the swim I was caught by the woman behind me on the 3rd length (the 4 of use started at 5 second intervals with me off first) and she tapped my foot as instructed half way down the length so I had to stop at the end and wait ... she took about 15 seconds to get to the end and going again meaning I lost so much rhythm. Come the 5th length I was apparently caught by the other 2 but neither of them had tapped my foot as I told the rude marshal who informed me I was holding them up. I got riled by the arrogant way he informed me and it did affect me ... this won't happen again. I swam following within about a foot of them for the next 11 lengths without being able to stretch fully so clearly I was holding them up! 

5. T1 ... I made the decision to take a few seconds to dry my feet before putting my talc filled socks on. Too much talc used! Must remember a light dab is better than a slab. Need to make sure I sit down on the floor as again tried to do it more upright and lost valuable seconds. Shoes although still my ratchet strap ones were smoothly placed on as I was more methodical and less panicked than before. 

6. The cycle ... thank god I knew the route (thanks Phil and Debbie for showing me around last week) as this allowed me to be prepared for everything including the horse box pulling out from a farm on the steepest longest descent of the course unlike the stroppy first swimmer who delayed me in the pool who got stuck behind it when she overtook me in a stupid maneuver .... got my own back later on the flat though! ;) this was such a testing course and I paced myself well although due to all the up hills i didn't really get the chance to out my hydration plan into full effect as I was busy trying not to fall over sideways from the slow spinning pace I was setting on the climbs. Flushed my legs out in last mile and really felt the benefit when I got off the bike before T2 more so than at the Duathlon and definitely less jelly like. 

7. T2 ... went as smoothly as could ever be expected. Really saw the benefits of previous teachings as the guy I came in off bike with (a friend from another club) was racked next to me with his kitchen sink! and he started to run off towards the bike exit opposed to the run exit as he hadn't sussed it out when initially racking at the start of day and/or listened in the swim brief. 

8. The run ... this is such a weird thing to understand as I left T2 I was running the fastest mile I've run in months but it felt like I was just struggling to move. It's so difficult to settle into your pace and is a worrying aspect as again you need to stick your race plan and only push a higher tempo if you feel you can maintain it throughout the run opposed to sprinting off then going above your target pace later on. 

9. The finish ... I welled up seeing that inflatable line but do you know what ... a 20 stone bloke smashing his target time by 17 mins will do that to you. I called all myself a Triathlete and this is all thanks to hard work, dedication is training, support and teaching from those in the club and a belief that I could finish. Mind over matter and all that.

In summary ...

Nerves are a good thing as they remind you that you're human and don't allow you to become complacent. The swim was so much quicker and easier than I could ever have imagined as I hit went smooth instead of panicking. Even when I got riled I remembered my teachings and drills and pulled myself together. The cycle ride I cannot stress how important it into pace yourself and not get caught up in racing others as its you versus the chip timer not the person who has just come past you etc. If practical try the course before hand it's an invaluable experience! We are fortunate that we have opportunity to ride Westonbirt on a regular basis. Know where you can push and where to settle in for the climb etc. Running is such a personal and weird experience again it's about pacing and getting yourself comfortable for the whole distance not the bit where the crowds are willing you out of transition at a rate of knots. Finally transitions remain calm and only take in what you need personally. Don't worry about what you see others taking in, wearing or eating etc it's your race plan and you are only in control of your little bit of racking space. If you have one of the tri suits they dry immensely quickly so just grin and bear the little bit of discomfort for a few miles and benefit later. 

Thanks to Tara Lou and Tony Freer for all the help, support and coaching since we undertook this venture and to all of you in the club for making me feel at home and building an amazing atmosphere and environment for us all to become stronger triathletes together

Hope you have all read to the end ... I know Charlotte Palmer will have because I have her to thank for so much and making my day as stress free as it could be. She's my training partner and best buddy. THANK YOU! 

See you all in transition at Westonbirt!