Race Reports

Leeds Castle Standard Triathlon - 28th June 2015


We all hope for and are seldom lucky enough to race in summery conditions in the U.K.  Indeed, my definition ofsummeryhas changed a lot since settling in this country but was I lucky enough to enjoy near perfect conditions for Leeds Castle Std triathlon yesterday.

I was surprised to see that only one other Mid Sussex entry on the start list of nearly 300, and chatted to Paul Wills in transition where we'd managed to rack within meters of one another.

The sun was out at 07:30, temperatures rising and the race director announced that at 21 deg water temperature, wetsuits would be optional. I am not the best at getting my wetsuit off so this was a tempting prospect, albeit short-lived, as a quick reconnoitre of the swim start and spotting the duck s**t content thereof meant almost everyone remained suited up. This was confirmed during a brief warm up swim whilst wading through foot deep 1000yr old duck s**t masquerading as mud!

The race

A well conceived self-seeding system helped avoid a beach start mass brawl as I set off in the second 'wave' in a very memorable and novel setting. As it turns out the moat is only 1 metre at its deepest point and I frequently felt the bottom (as it were) during the two laps around and under the castle bridge which was novel! There were many turns and not a lot of straight line swimming which made for an interesting swim, if slow and very big buoys made sighting easy.

Onto the bike leg, I was riskily trying out a (newly acquired) time trial bike which I hadn't ridden more than a few miles on. Inadvisable, in know, but ultimately irresistible.

My devoted cheerleaders added a dose of feel-good on the way out of T1, and I was cleanly away.

The bike course was a simple out and back with no turns, other than the eventual halfway u-turn of course. Described as 'undulating', a typical way of saying 'never flat' it certainly seemed to bemoreup-hills than down-hills but I enjoyed it and was determined to post a good split on my new toy although I knew I was burning matches I would need on the run. It was great to be able to stay in the aero position for 99% of the ride, something I've never managed on my road bike before but it's safe to say I will definitely need a tri-specific saddle ASAP!

Eventually back to T2 having overtaken at least as many as had overtaken me on the bike and with one numb foot (a 50% improvement on every other race I've ever done), a successful bike by my standards and within the first 20 into T2 according to a dismount marshal.

The run was a car free route within the castle grounds, mainly off road and described as 'challenging' in the race description - another colourful term, often used! I had overheard some chat in transition about how awful it was so was slightly apprehensive. This turned out to be wholly understating reality, as my lack of brick and/or hill training came home to roost!

Some parts of the course could easily have had staircases installed, as most competitors were reduced to a walk especially on the second lap as I too succumbed.

Increasing temperatures also paid its part in my decline, as dreams of a fast run split evaporated.

Some more demented cheerleading by my long suffering posse saw me to the finish line however (where were the cowbells though, I find myself wondering?). 


Gunter Eifler

OA      Swim               Bike                Run

16        0:24:12            1:14:59            0:45:06


Paul Wills

OA      Swim               Bike                Run

198      0:36:39            1:24:18            0:59:04


Tri-Edmonton 2014 - The rally in the valley


Barry Davids, Paul Newsome and myself travelled to Edmonton, Canada to race in the World Triathlon Championships, Olympic Distance. The town was awash with flags, and everywhere was the official race slogan...it's going to be epic. Barry travelled via Icelandic Air, he wanted a close up view of some ash clouds. I took out a second mortgage and took advantage of the Team GB official travel package, Paul got his mum to drive most of the way.

We were all together by Saturday, in preparation for our race on Monday 1st September, Labor Day! And it was! The event was the Grand Final of the World Triathlon Series, and the Brownlees, Gomez, Mola, Jorgansen, Stimpson and all, had travelled to Edmonton. Barry met Jorgensen and Groff in our hotel lift...so he says, where's the selfie Barry?  If there is such a thing as a triathlon festival this was it, with races for almost a week. There were various Aquathon Worlds, Sprint Worlds, Junior Worlds, Para Worlds, Olympic Worlds, Relay Worlds, u23 Worlds and Corporate Triathlons.

Barry immersed himself in the whole event, watching most of the races and every time I saw him he had made another lot of friends. We were spoilt, with free transport, free access to pools and gyms and free maple syrup. The logistics were amazing, and sometimes mind bogglingly complex. There were ankle timing chips, bike timing chips, black body numbers, green wetsuit numbers, bag drop numbers, registrations, penalty boxes and briefings to attend to. With bikes having to be in place Sunday, and kept under guard. Paul took his hotel blanket to keep his bike warm. Edmonton had cleaned the swim lake, emptying it, lining it and then chlorinating it! I am not joking.  It was very strange swimming in a lake that smelt like a swimming pool, but it did make drafting easier.

Edmonton2014-legendsWatching the Elite Men on Sunday was awesome. It was like Niagara Falls at the start, with only the occasional arm or leg visible amongst all the froth. It was a brilliant race by Alistair, and amazing to get some close up views and pictures. I can honestly say that the Elites hurt just as much as you when racing. We were relieved when race day arrived, and eager to emulate the dive start off the blue carpet. At least we kept our goggles on Alistair!

The bike route was glorious, fast but with enough hills and fast bends to test our bike handling skills. I loved being in a wave just made up of my age group...just a bit of a shame I watched most of them disappear at the start! Barry's had an unbelievable swim, 25.05, extraordinary with one arm. Paul had a simply brilliant ride, the fastest time I have very seen by a club member in an Olympic, 1.00.09, wow ( he did have a nice warm bike). I had an unbelievable slow swim and run,  managing 49th in my wave of 90. The run was flat, fast but a very long 10km.

Official times were:

Paul, 25.55 swim, 2.42 T1, 1.00.09bike, 2.19 T2, 43.25 run, 2.14.17 total time, 43rd
Martin 27.08 swim, 3.04 T1, 1.02.43bike, 2.56 T2, 47.38 run, 2.23.30 total time, 49th
Barry 25.05swim, 3.07 T1, 1.06.12, bike, 2.52 T2, 46.32 run, 2.23.49 total time, 51st

We all received the coolest medal ever, on the reverse was embossed ...It was epic. It was.

Dambuster Triathlon


The pre race plan was elegantly simple: Arrive early, pitch the tent, register, curry, bed. The military however say that plans never last longer than first contact with the enemy - in this case myself.

8 minutes into the 117 mile drive, I announce to my wife that I have forgotten my wallet. About turn, collect wallet, try again.

12 minutes into the restarted 117 mile drive we hit the first of four traffic jams - at that point I decided the only course of action was to break out the wriggly worms.

For the uninitiated, these are some excellent sweeties made by the natural confectionary company that Helen swears that the gelatin content has improved her nails (race report and beauty tips, how I spoil you...). Two bags and 50miles later and I am feeling a little sick.

Anyway, four hours and forty minutes into the two and a half hour drive, we arrive at Rutland water to be met by a phalanx of MSTC members patronising the on site restaurant. I register, collect my t-shirt, and debate how many free gels it is polite to cram into your envelope before grabbing a large handful.

We pitch the tent in the field next door and walk the 7mins back to the restaurant after realising that neither of us can be bothered to drive into town for a take-out. Fish and chips are ordered, and we settle down to enjoy the company of our fellow MSTC athletes - who all decide it is time to head to their hotels several miles away.

We are forced into idle small talk over dinner until a passing Dalmatian called "Pebbles" decides she fancies my dog and destroys a good proportion of the seating area with her extending lead in her efforts to get to him! We are clearly causing a scene and decide it is time to head back to the tent.

The children of the two families camping next to us put on a delightful display of unruly behaviour until at 9:58pm (and two minutes before my "THAT'S IT" limit) they are ushered off to bed. Peace ensues, and we too head to our queen size inflatable mattress/divan, feather pillows and duck down duvet. Blissful sleep awaits.

Until 3:48am...

At that point the geese decide its time to get up, and see no reason as to why we should not join them. I make a mental note to add "shotgun" to my equipment checklist, and attempt to return to sleep.

5:15 arrives too soon, and I am up flapping like a good-un. Breakfast is consumed en route to the facilities, and pre-race nerves start to show. Back to the tent where I collect the bike and my new Tri-bag, and off to transition I head.

Dambuster Water Exit

Transition is well laid out, with plenty of space for us all. Considering I have the least distance to travel, I am still racked and ready a full 50mins prior to race brief, and 85mins prior to my start time. I wander around for a bit and try to calm myself with some caffeine. Eventually the MSTC posse start showing themselves around the briefing area and we club together like so many lemmings on our way to the cliff.

Race briefing had some memorable moments, with competitors being told to take their hands off their helmets, and a joke about Barrett homes. We wish each other luck, and start congregating in swim hat colour groups.

The race starts with a blast of the horn, and the first wave is off. Another wave heads out 10mins later, and then before my wave can go, the first swimmers are coming back in - 18mins since starting. I tell myself that jealousy is not nice, but my ego continues to chunter unkind thoughts.

It's our turn at last and off we go over the 30ft of sharp stones hidden below the surface. I start swimming as soon as I can, and am amazed by the visibility in the water. We head out to the first buoy, and I start overtaking those who went out too quickly. My sighting practice has stood me in good stead, and I round each buoy right next to it. Competition for this prime line is stiff, and I have a new black eye to prove it.

Out of the water in just over 31mins, and I run to the bike. Now I am very chuffed by this development - normally I shuffle up the slope doing a dog trot at best with my legs not working post swim. So shocked that I am actually running at this point, I forget to unzip my wetsuit until I am almost at my bike!

T1 progresses well and out I head on to the bike course. All goes well on the roads, descents are fast and ascents slowed by the weight of traffic stuck behind slower bikes. I manage a fair bit of overtaking and make it past the 8mile mark where my bike broke last year. Every mile from here is going into the unknown but I am loving it.

I keep the speed average up above 20mph and finally make it back to the main road thinking "not long now". That final 5.5mile stretch seems to last forever, with some great potholes on the descent into the last village almost breaking my wrists with the shock of hitting them. Up the final hill, down the link road, and back to T2.

I look at my watch and it shows 1:53. I have a target of 2:40 in my head so off I go. It's going to be close - but doable.

Dambuster Andrew Lennox

I keep my pacing short with high cadence to get my legs working, and all seems to be going well until the dam. A guy at the feed station shouts "High Five", and I start wondering why the hell I would want to high five him when what I really need is a drink. I grab the two cups offered and pour them over my head. As I grab another to drink someone else shouts "water", and the penny drops.

As the sun beats down across the dam I am now a sticky mess.

I tap hands with passing club mates as we go which is a great encouragement, but by the end of the second mile I feel myself slowing in the heat. From the dam to the turnaround point takes forever, but I make it to the feed station and ensure I douse myself in several cups of water to wash off the high five.

I focus on maintaining cadence and pray for cloud to hide the sun - but it is not to be. I look at my watch and realise that I have little chance of running the final 4km in 16mins as it has taken 30mins to run the first 6. I dig in for a bit, determined to be sub 2:45.

The final rise from the cattle grids up towards the watersports centre drains my legs some more, and I start hearing the tannoy more clearly - almost home.

Through the yacht park I go and I am greeted with my first sight of the finish line accompanied by the sound of cow-bells. The MSTC posse make some noise, and I am lifted enormously as I head to the line. I hear someone coming up behind me and I push on to hold off their attempt to beat me at the last.

I cross the line elated and lean against the railings not knowing whether to collapse or be sick - I know for sure I have left nothing out there on my race. Finish time of 2:43 - but a bit disappointed to not get 2:40. I console myself with a cheeseburger and tell tall tales to my friends.

Overall I had great race, and am proud to have competed at a national championships level for my sport - I am finally beginning to believe that I am a triathlete. Best of all I did not get chicked until 6km into the run - I must be getting better.

Andrew Lennox, 22/06/2014

Dambuster Finishers

Some Dambuster finishers enjoying a well earned beer (alcohol free, of course)

Check out the MSTC flickr group and facebook page for more photos from Dambuster.

Ardingly Middle/Standard distance


After all the recent good weather, it was a bit of a shock when we awoke to pouring rain for the 4th Middle Distance Race. The long course was exactly the same format as in previous years, but this time there was a short distance option, and in the end the majority of competitors took it, no doubt influenced by the weather.

13 people and one relay squad went for the long course, 18 and one relay team for the short course, 6 just did a swim, and 4 others did other distances (a bit of a mixture).

The race got under way at 7.45am, just a few minutes late, to allow time for the EGM to vote for a change in the club constitution. Once done everyone got in the water and there was a short countdown to the start. As the countdown got down to 3 there was a flurry of activity and Steve Mac dived in to just make the start in time.

There were 43 swimmers at the start, so there was plenty of action, but it was Dave Gorley who rapidly pulled away from the field, and completed the 1900m swim in 31.49, nearly 3 minutes ahead of Neil Giles, who is not exactly slow!!

After the swim both Mike John and Steve Mac had to pull out, both were feeling queasy - Mike had a bug and felt too unwell to continue. That was a shame as he has been training well.

Everyone knows how challenging the bike circuit is, whether it is one circuit or two. Unfortunately a few people got confused as to whether they were doing 1 or 2 laps and tried to go round again. Next year we will get some more specific signs for this!!

If the bike course was not hard enough, Loz and Lucy both got affected by punctures. Lucy did the sensible thing and waited to be rescued, but Loz was on a mission - he just kept riding flat out with a flat rear tyre. He got away with it for a few miles but eventually the tyre came off the rim, and he was riding on aluminium. The bike became difficult to handle and he came off at one stage, and was forced to cut the second lap short in the interests of safety. By the time he came in to T2 - it was not the sight of his wrecked wheel but the sound it was making - I have heard quieter tractors!!

Dave Gorley was unaware of Loz's problems and pushed really hard on the run. His winning time of 4h43m35s was excellent but missed out on James Dear's 2012 course record by 14 seconds!!

Both John and Kate MacTear kept going extremely well, and ended up winning the BAR race and are the MSTC Middle Distance Champions. Dean showed his strength in recovering from his recent Ironman to still come out and complete the long course in 7h05m - to huge applause.

After the miserable weather at the start, the sun eventually came out. By the time David Ricketts got the BBQ going, the conditions were perfect for relaxing and enjoying everyone's company.

Leicester Tri Club won the Inter Club competition comfortably - taking back the trophy that we won last year.

Thanks to the people who helped out. It is a 'no-frills' race, but everyone mucked in with the registration and body marking, and Roger and Graeme were around most of the day timekeeping. (There may be some errors or missing times, so if there are any corrections please let me know). Also thanks to Tim and Claire and to the guys at the Activity Centre.

I haven't mentioned many specific times or performances but the results are elow:


39 James Dear 00:20:11 01:36:37 01:16:26 00:29:22 02:05:59 1
15 Paul Newsome 00:17:59 01:38:33 01:20:34 00:29:37 02:08:10 2
7 Bob Norton 00:22:06 01:44:50 01:22:44 00:32:52 02:17:42 3
35 Rob Hoodless 00:19:35 01:45:38 01:26:03 00:32:56 02:18:34 4
12 Mark Jordan/Martin Sanwell Relay 00:18:55 01:35:20 01:16:25 00:44:38 02:19:58 Relay
9 Mike Jaffe 00:21:41 01:53:50 01:32:09 00:31:16 02:25:06 5
8 Rupert Robinson 00:22:32 01:44:44 01:22:12 00:40:38 02:25:22 6
4 David Ricketts 00:21:37 02:15:10 01:53:33 00:37:34 02:52:44 7
36 Mike Hook 00:26:10 02:17:23 01:51:13 00:39:28 02:56:51 8
5 Bee Furber 00:18:19 02:16:53 01:58:34 00:44:44 03:01:37 9
38 Jane Faulkner 00:24:41 02:27:22 02:02:41 00:51:17 03:18:39 10
28 Liam Collins 00:19:21 02:29:32 02:10:11 00:53:00 03:22:32 11
1 Dale Moore 00:29:19 02:43:33 02:14:14 00:48:39 03:32:12 12
20 Neil White 00:19:57 02:27:55 02:07:58 01:09:04 03:36:59 13
23 Ashley Langton 00:20:30 02:17:53 01:57:23 01:24:42 03:42:35 14
18 Les Frost 00:19:57 02:27:43 02:07:46 01:15:07 03:42:50 15
25 Ann Pearce 00:25:44 03:59:38 03:59:38 16
6 Lesley Booth 00:24:28 02:52:27 02:27:59 01:07:33 04:00:00 17
19 Elly Pullen 00:25:44 02:17:53 01:52:09 01:46:17 04:04:10 18
3 Simon Barton 00:19:32 02:03:10 01:43:38 no run
21 Steve Mcmenamin 00:18:02
24 Tiffany Mackness 00:24:35  
34 Kay Mcmenamin 00:24:54
32 Mike John 00:25:54 Dnf
29 Neil Giles 00:34:25 01:53:22 01:18:57 00:29:10 02:22:32
30 Clare Strachan 00:46:09 02:36:25 01:50:16 00:35:06 03:11:31
12 Martin Sanwell 01:45:57 01:45:57 00:26:02 02:11:59
14 Lawrence Wintergold 00:37:20 03:02:24 02:25:04 01:38:28 04:40:52 short bike
26 David Gorley 00:31:49 03:09:07 02:37:18 01:34:28 04:43:35 1
22 Martin Burder 00:38:12 03:20:40 02:42:28 01:30:42 04:51:22 2
31 Emma Tilbury 00:41:48 04:21:40 03:39:52 00:49:48 05:11:28 short run
40 John McTear 00:37:02 03:48:29 03:11:27 01:41:49 05:30:18 3
41 Kate McTear 00:41:53 03:54:52 03:12:59 01:35:26 05:30:18 Fem 1
37 David Beale 00:43:33 03:43:14 02:59:41 01:49:50 05:33:04 4
11 Sadie Murphy 00:38:20 03:51:40 03:13:20 01:44:37 05:36:17 Fem 2
16 Laura Davison 00:37:09 03:49:38 03:12:29 01:52:27 05:42:05 Fem 3
13 Nick Deakin 00:41:11 03:37:26 02:56:15 02:07:19 05:44:45 5
17 Paul Pearce 00:42:36 03:53:09 03:10:33 01:59:40 05:52:49 6
27 Julie Williams 00:47:29 03:52:12 03:04:43 02:18:12 06:10:24 Relay
2 Lucy Williams 00:56:37 04:58:50 04:02:13 01:58:59 06:57:49 short bike
42 Steve Harley 00:40:37 04:58:50 04:18:13 01:59:34 06:58:24 7
10 Dean Allen 00:55:53 04:33:19 03:37:26 02:31:57 07:05:16 8
43 Pippa Crouch 00:40:45
33 Jason Cole 00:41:10



Steve A


1st place at Seaford Olympic

After a positive showing at Worthing in the sprint triathlon the weekend before where I finished 4th, I was mostly looking forward to my first Olympic distance event of the year down in Seaford. My friend had kindly lent me his TT bike after I had somehow managed to crack the top tube on my own bike a couple of weeks before - a super slick machine with a Zipp disc wheel at the back. Only problem was I am 6 ft tall and my friend is about 5'6" so every time I rode the bike my knees would bang into my elbows.

On Saturday the weather was gorgeous: no wind, no waves, sunny and warm. At the best of times my swimming resembles a drowning man and this race was not much different although I guess I managed to drown with at least "some" style coming out of the water in 11th place and sprinting up the steep shingle into T1. Aaaargh, Idiot! Having mounted my tri shoes on the bike I had forgotten to open up the straps on the shoes so I wobbled my way down the first 50m of the bike course getting my feet in. Right, time to monster. Seaford is a pan flat bike along the prom so it was relatively uneventful. The biggest challenge is counting 12 laps and avoid being taken out on the 22 180 degree turns you have to make but I survived intact and could see that I had made some gains on the cycle leg. A quick T2 and out onto the run. Where is everyone and who is the guy on the bike in front of me? It took me a good 30 seconds to realise I'd run out first. This was a unique experience for me and I spent the next 9.75km torturing myself with the thought that someone was going to run past me. My paranoia definitely helped me step on the gas and I managed to hang on to cross the line in 1st place, very proudly wearing my MSTC tri suit, of course! The last time I did this race in 2005 took me nearly 3 hours so pretty happy with that improvement!

Swim 30:18

Bike 1:03:26

Run 40:49

Total 2:14:33


Graeme Jeffery