Race Reports

Bala Standard Distance


I arrived on the Saturday afternoon to register having travelled for nearly 5hrs and when i looked at THAT lake i said to myself " why the hell are you doing this again" !!! Maybe they will cancel the swim and turn it into a duathlon!  I stopped moaning to myself [something you do when you get older!] and went and found my B & B.

After a very fitful night's sleep i had a bowl of porridge and cycled down to the race start at about 08.00. On arrival in transition i looked out at the "lake" and it was like a mill pond, not a ripple in sight!! No wind, blue sky and reasonably warm. I thought this looks good!!!

By the time the first wave set off at 09.30 the sky had begun to cloud over and the wind had picked up a little and the water was no longer FLAT!! Well by the time my wave, the last, went off the wind was whipping down through the valley and the water was covered in "white horses" and it was really choppy. Within 100m the wind got worse and the waves got bigger!! I thought if i swallow enough water i might just empty the lake and run round the course!!! I continued to struggle through the water and eventually i could see the exit pontoon but the nightmare is not over yet as the last 15 or so metres is so shallow you almost have to crawl as you can't stand and walk because it's really rocky!

With a helping hand i was up onto the pontoon and running into T1 which went without too much trouble. Although it was cloudy it was fairly warm, unlike last year, so i didn't need a long sleeve top on for the ride and i was soon out onto the out and back undulating bike course on closed roads. The first half was into a strong head wind, so it was difficult to get a good speed going but i did manage to overtake a few riders. The return section, although undulating, was a lot faster, so i was soon heading back towards T2.

This transition went without a hitch and i began the run, which is an out and back undulating course on pavements. Although the wind was bad the run went very well and i even managed negative splits. By the time i crossed the finish line the wind was howling and the sky had really darkened but i did manage to return to my B&B before it rained!!


                       2012 Result                   2011 Result

swim 1500m   45mins 45 secs              52mins 1 sec
T1                 2mins 59secs                6mins 16secs
bike 40k        1hr 16 mins 43 secs       1hr 20mins 14secs
T2                 1min 11secs                  1min 35secs
run 10k          52mins 31secs             55mins 9secs
overall time 2hrs 59mins 11secs        3hrs 15mins 17secs

As you can see i improved my time from last year in all three disciplines, so i was really pleased.

Bedford Triathlon - At dawn look to the east


Both Rob and Neil qualified directly for the European Championships with Rachael as 1st reserve Steve is also a reserve on the waiting list with the other all fairing very well and flying the club flag but being just outside of the selection group but may get in on the roll down. 

A race that is well worth doing if you are in the area or are happy to travel the distance. 

Bedford - it's a pleasant kind of place - or so it seemed in the small amount that we were exposed to. Nestled in between ring roads and out of town shopping centers lay the embankment, a park with a clean straight river with limited weeds, friendly fowl, lots of green areas, a tarmac covered path around the perimeter and men in shorts and compression tights. Almost a perfect setting for a triathlon.

So seven of MSTC's finest and Colin set of in search or glory or humiliation in a field where over half of the competitors were to finish in less that 2hours 30 minutes. 

Lawrence was unfortunately unable to start, being a fine family man Lawrence decided to bring his family and after an unfortunate family accident followed by an afternoon in A&E Loz was not able to start, but child and dad are ok. (post event note - Loz chose not to take his family to the Worthing Tri and managed to start the event) 

Tents were erected and advice was sought from two of MSTC best know members as to how to best to prepare for the most competitive race of the season - off to the pub is the unanimous retort, yep it may be counter intuitive but bladder and intestine loading is the way to go. 

A question arises; Should you take your family to a triathlon (so far it would seem the answer is one vote for no and none for yes) - when this is asked of you what goes through your mind, will they: 

(a)  cramp my style

(b)  get in the way

(c)   affect my preparation

(d)   result in an afternoon in hospital and a DNS

(e)   cost too much

(f)    affect my performance

(g)   prevent me from sharing a tent with three fit members of the opposite sex who have just downed a load of beer, are testosterone loaded and hyped up for the race of their year. 

Rachael considered the options very carefully! - 2-0 in favour of leaving the family at home. 

It was an early start, so late to bed - yep counter intuitive again. Neil chose a remote location away from Tent de Rachael worried that too much noise may keep him up and ruin his race. 

He was quite right - Robs flatulence was thunderous as methane bazookas echoed around the campsite accompanied by teenage laughter from the blokes and telling off from Rachael - it was going to be a long night for us all. 

As the three bladder and intestine loaded men were shepherded and zipped into the holding pens located at each end of the tent Rachael monitored the door and the emergency escape route, a good idea - or was it. 

As the noise subsided all were gassed into a restless sleep with the odd groan of 'get of' and 'yes of course I love you, now go to sleep' coming from one of the holding pens. 

Two hours later it dawned on the blokes - not the sunrise - the bladder, gently sloshing as it was pressed down on cold hard soil or spiky vertebrate.

What to do? 

Tough men are turned to pulp at the thought of having to wake a sleeping woman in the middle of the night - so they lay there zipped in their pens trying to ignore their bloating and expanding abdomens as the exit continued to be  guarded by slumber. 'You will not pass' Gandalf's staff pushed gently into the bladder 'You will not pass' another jab from the staff as stars of pain appeared before our eyes. 

Sh----------t  sh-------t I can t take it any more, I am sure Terry Waite's captivity went quicker than those few hours lying there wide awake with a pulsating melon in your pants expanding as it sucks up moisture from a hidden oasis of beer. 

'Is any one awake' a voice as puny as a baby smeagol on horse tranquilizers gently filters through the nylon of the holding pen, the sound came from a creature so rancid, its body pulsating with pain, devoid of testosterone and scared sh---tless of the possible consequences of waking the guardian of the tent - once more just in case 'is any one awake' 




It wakes - 

A butterfly fluttered somewhere in northern Uzbekistan - the holding pens were ripped apart as three grown men trampled uncontrollably over a helpless prostrate female, flung themselves in to the open air entered Modor, scaled Mount Doom and threw their precious (it was that colour) into the crack of doom of shiny porcelain urinals - Middle Earth was safe or so it seemed. 

Five hours later the race was to start, four hours of which consisted of Steve refusing to leave the campsite until his bowels moved. And move they did - a couple of times at the campsite followed by a few more at transition. The battle of the bowels has passed 

Preparation was complete. 

The veiling shadow that glowers in the East takes shape as the battle of transitions continued. 

Colin won the battle of T1 with a glorious time of 1.11 a full 5 seconds in front of Neil who just sneaked in front of Rob by one second. 

T2 was not so good for Colin who had gone over to the dark side and ran down the wrong aisle, Steve was determined to gain back his transition crown and put in an incredible 57 seconds a full two seconds in front of Neil, this is attained by carrying your shoes our of transition and putting them on past the timing mat, Colin trailed out of transition some 27 later to rue his orienteering skills. 

The swim was wet, the bike consisted of putting out a constant 400 watts, the run hurt.

by Colin Chambers


Results (in finishing order) 








Neil Giles








James Dear








Robert Hoodless








Colin Chambers








Steve Alden








Rachael Baker








Hazel Tuppen









Club Olympic Distance Triathalon

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MSTC welcome Leicester Tri as Sun Shines 

46 athletes in total took part in the second MSTC Olympic Race, including 11 guests from Leicester Tri Club. It was a glorious day, probably about as perfect as it could be to race any triathlon. The lake was beautiful, the bike route challenging and the run route wet and muddy, so something for everyone!!

Setting everything up from scratch only caused a small delay and the race got underway about 7.45am, but not before the race briefing. Martin Shoesmith was very pleased he attended as he discovered the new relay rules might affect him. To keep everything fair the relay swimmer had to completely remove their wetsuit in T1 before tagging the cyclist. Unfortunately Martin likes that nice feel of rubber against his skin, and has recently been swimming 'commando' - luckily he had to time to rectify the situation without being DQ'd for being 'tackle out in transition!!!' 

The standard at the front of the swim is almost unbelievable these days. Dave Gorley from Leicester was out in 22.43, almost 2 minutes ahead of Neil who was just seconds ahead of Phil Couch, Mat Record and Mark Jordan (who found Mat's feet and tickled them all the way round - so excellent drafting!) in 24.35 and all 39 starters were out of the lake in under 40 minutes. Fastest lady out of the water was Hazel in 27.25, with Rachel about a minute behind. 

Most people got through T1 without incident, except Dave Lashbrook who lost his footing as he was running out with his bike and fell quite heavily. Remarkably he just got up, dusted himself down and carried on. 

On the bike route 2 people punctured. Martin Sanwell was at least prepared and had all the kit with him. He lost a lot of time but still continued to race. Nick Deakin from Leicester punctured quite early, along Sunte Avenue, but did not have any kit with him. Fortunately a Good Samaritan was on hand in the form of Tim Cresswell, who gave him a spare tube and got him back on his way. 

As any regular readers of my reports will know there are 2 things that are usually open to mocking and ridicule. One is way too long transitions (I can't criticize anyone today as we can't have transition splits) and the other is avoidable mechanical issues (usually Ant!). Ant was very quick to point out that he passed someone at the side of the road (as did about 10 others) in a black aero helmet trying to fix his Cervelo. Yes, that was me, and to make matters worse it was pretty much the same problem I had last year on the same circuit!! All I can say is that at least I had the problem this week so things should be fine for the big race next weekend - but it was still avoidable!! 

As usual James had the fastest bike split, but he was only 23 seconds faster than Neil, and Dave Jones only one minute back, so both Neil and Dave kept ahead of James into T2, with Dave Gorley of Leicester just behind. Rachel overhauled Hazel to take the lead in the ladies race with Emma Tilbury from Leicester maintaining her 3rd place. 

T2 was fairly uneventful and again we cannot have the time splits. The run however was quite interesting considering it is a fairly flat, accurately measured 10km. It was remarkably muddy which certainly slowed down the fast runners, although Neil still managed to break 40 minutes and 10 runners broke 45 minutes. The route was fairly straightforward - with 2 arrows and a giant yellow blob on the ground marking the turn point. Mike Jaffe did manage to miss all of this and carried on to check out the scenery round the next corner before he realized his mistake. He got it right on the second lap however! The deep mud pulled off one of Loz's shoes, but Rachel went one better by losing both. 

In the end Neil won comfortably in 2.15.05 nearly 4 minutes clear of Dave Jones, who was a further 3 minutes clear of Dave Gorley, with James just seconds behind. Rachel had a comfortable win in the ladies race in spite of losing her shoes and finished about 4 minutes ahead of Hazel who was well clear of Lucy in 3rd. 

Toby wrote a nice piece about his race so I have included it - thanks Toby 

Hi Steve - here's some of my thoughts from the rear...


With two late night social events on both Friday and Saturday, hauling myself out of bed at 5.45 Sunday morning felt like a major challenge in itself.   Ardingly reservoir, was stunning in the early morning light, mist hanging over the water, geese flying overhead and the rising sun glinting off an intimidating array of bikes which made the Tour de France look positively stone age. It was reassuring to chat with a couple of other relative newbies and find them equally daunted by the task ahead. But the relaxed briefing and friendly vibe helped steady the nerves and soon enough we're in the water and off. 

I had a bit of a panicky moment during an open water swim recently, and have learnt to take it slow and steady, concentrating on my stroke, conserving energy and making sure I don't get out of breath. This works well except for the minor problem that it means I end up going rather slowly. I'm one of the last out the water.  Never mind I am feeling good and have only lost a few minutes...I can catch up on the bike. I set off in a group of four, all fairly close together. But fairly quickly the other three start to move away from me. Bugger. I know the first part of the bike route is mostly uphill, having ridden part of it recently in training. So I was happy to push fairly hard (for me), looking forward to the second part of the course, which I logically assumed would be mostly downhill. Oh dear. I don't really understand the physics involved but somehow the route managed to be mostly uphill all the way round. Luckily I managed to get myself into a nice little battle with another rider (sorry didn't get your name) which helped push me along. Unluckily this meant I hadn't conserved any energy for the final challenge (and my triathlon nemesis). The run. 

I'm a crap enough runner at the best of times and even the (greatly appreciated) gentle encouragement of Alan and Margaret during Thursday night's winter training haven't turned me into anything more than a steady plodder. Never mind - it's a nice flat route isn't it? Oh dear again. Mud. The course (out and back twice) was nicely designed to let me see all the front runners sprinting impressively towards the finish, as I'm just setting out. Anybody I had managed to pass on the bike came past me fairly quickly on the run and I just had to revert to my usual triathlon run tactic.  Try and keep moving, attempt to take on gels without throwing up and don't think about how far I still have to go. I had set some target times for myself, but with the hills and mud these were quickly out of the window and I was just aiming to finish! Special thanks to Steve Mcmenamin for telling me I was 'looking good' as I started my (fairly lonely by now) second lap. Obviously complete bollocks, I looked and felt like shit at that point,  but it was said with a smile and every little bit helps! In the end I was quite a bit slower than I'd hoped, but hey, this is a long term project for me. Incremental improvement is my aim. Just wait and see what I can do in 2017... 

Good to see my fellow newcomer Julie coming in behind me to complete her first Olympic distance. I suspect without the problem she'd had with her knee she may well have caught me on the run! 

Thanks to Steve Alden and others that organized the event. I really enjoyed it. Mostly. It's great to be in a club that manages to mix friendly encouragement for the part timers like me with some very serious, competitive and inspirational performances from the front runners. 

Once the race was over we had a glorious day to enjoy a BBQ with all the team from Leicester. The new Inter Club Challenge was won comfortably by MSTC - although I don't think anyone apart from Steve Mac knew there was a trophy! It was great to make friends with other triathletes and hopefully this may form a pattern for the future. 

Name Swim Bike  Run number OVERALL Position
Neil Giles 00:24:24 01:10:49 00:39:52 11 02:15:05 1
David Jones 00:25:31 01:11:50 00:41:34 35 02:18:55 2
Dave GORLEY 00:22:43 01:18:02 00:41:24 29 02:22:09 3
James Dear 00:29:35 01:10:26 00:42:39 25 02:22:40 4
Martin Burder 00:27:22 01:13:51 00:42:51 21 02:24:04 5
Rob Hoodless 00:26:43 01:14:55 00:42:57 13 02:24:35 6
Phil Couch 00:24:35 01:16:49 00:43:39 22 02:25:03 7
Colin Chambers 00:26:42 01:15:02 00:45:58 38 02:27:42 8
Andy Jenkins Pete Harris Fiona Bussell 00:29:40 01:17:08 00:43:42 23 02:30:30 T1
Steve Alden 00:27:57 01:21:05 00:44:22 34 02:33:24 9
Ant Grey 00:30:03 01:18:07 00:48:12 8 02:36:22 10
Lawrence Wintergold 00:27:56 01:20:19 00:48:07 36 02:36:22 10
Dave Saunders 00:33:25 01:21:49 00:42:03 26 02:37:17 12
Martin Shoesmith & Steve Crocker 00:29:27 01:22:21 00:45:33 33 02:37:21 T2
Dave Lashbrook 00:27:18 01:21:16 00:50:45 12 02:39:19 13
Rob Cox 00:26:32 01:26:52 00:49:01 14 02:42:25 14
John Mactear 00:27:08 01:31:15 00:45:39 7 02:44:02 15
Rachel Baker 00:28:24 01:26:53 00:49:08 15 02:44:25 W1
Mike Jaffe 00:32:42 01:26:37 00:47:46 4 02:47:05 16
Hazel Tuppen 00:27:25 01:30:32 00:50:47 24 02:48:44 W2
Dave Beale 00:31:24 01:27:38 00:51:02 31 02:50:04 17
Paul Pearce 00:32:27 01:29:51 00:50:34 18 02:52:52 18
Kate Mactear 00:29:22 01:37:09 00:49:09 6 02:55:40 W3
Sam Darby 00:30:10 01:36:13 00:52:00 20 02:58:23 W4
David Ricketts 00:30:10 01:38:41 00:51:20 1 03:00:11 19
Lucy Williams 00:36:38 01:34:45 00:51:15 32 03:02:38 W5
Ollie Lawrence 00:36:56 01:33:08 00:58:20 10 03:08:24 20
Kat Kemp 00:29:05 01:39:41 01:01:00 16 03:09:46 W6
Ann Pearce 00:30:58 01:36:55 01:01:53 17 03:09:46 W7
Martin Sanwell 00:31:56 01:43:30 00:54:25 28 03:09:51 21
Nick Deakin 00:34:03 01:40:38 00:57:43 27 03:12:24 22
Toby Quantrill 00:32:33 01:35:45 01:08:13 3 03:16:31 23
Mark Jordan & Callum Murray 00:24:35 02:08:58 00:48:36 5 03:22:09 T3
Julie Rowe 00:39:23 01:48:31 00:58:04 2 03:25:58 W8
Dean Allen 00:39:31   35a 03:30:16 24
Julie Williams Tim Cresswell Kay MacMenamin 00:35:33 01:55:19 01:00:58 9 03:31:50 T4
Mat Record 00:24:35 01:32:13 00:00:00 37 00:00:00 25
Emma Tilbury 00:28:11 01:34:07 00:00:00 19 00:00:00
Vicky and Elly 00:28:57 02:05:19 00:00:00 30 00:00:00

Dambuster Triathlon 2012


This year's Dambuster promised to be an exciting gladiatorial fight where worthy opponents slugged it out for a place at the World champs in NZ. For a club triathlete such as myself it was a bit like playing with the English National Orchestra on open strings but in which other sport can the humble part-timer rub shoulders with some seriously fit athletes J?  Although going solo for the girls we had two seasoned MSTC guys Phil Couch and Jon Webster and the newly joined but equally experienced and high performing Neil Giles.

Registration on the previous evening proved to be a test of character in itself. High winds and low temperatures rendered Rutland water a danger zone and we were warned that the swim may be cancelled and the event become a duathlon. Dambuster shambuster! Welcome to the world of hardcore.we were here to race and race we would. If we couldn't swim we would run and if we couldn't run we would crawl (possibly straight back home in my case).

I understand the theory of duathlon but had only completed one in my entire life (6 weeks ago), at a fraction of the distance. I was woefully underprepared  and called home for some sage words of encouragement.  In a strange  way that answerphone message  came straight from the universe.you're on your own lady it said to me. So as I clutched my T-shirt I knew that I would have to face my greatest fear. yes, being ridiculed by my fellow club members if I wimped out, it looked like I would have to race.

That night I slept fitfully reciting the undertrained triathlete's prayer.'Please let them cancel the whole dam thing.'

I rose early and wended my way back to Rutland Water which even on a dark foreboding Saturday morning is still incredibly beautiful. Some good news awaited, the swim was on but had to be shortened by 500m. No such luck with the bike and run.

To avoid hypothermia we were allowed a quick warm up in the water but then had to come ashore ready for a walk/run start. This was a first for me and any tips would be most welcome although somewhat completely useless now. In my mind's eye I entered the water in a kind of balletic synchronised swimmer's dive, all pointy toes and aesthetic lines. In reality I minced in, trod on a really sharp stone and crashed into the water face first like a heffalump. My race had begun.

The guys, as is the convention had a head start to avoid the humiliation of being chicked but our boys did us proud with astonishing swim times of 13:23 (Neil)  14:53 (Phil) & 17:30 (Jon).....I like to think I held my end up (or was it my wetsuit doing that for me) with a respectable 20:10 minutes.

The boys were in and out of T1 in the blink of an eye.actually in Jon's case it was more of a catnap (2:35 haha)  but since I was trussed up like a Christmas turkey (thank you Phil) and freezing cold I managed the shocking time of 3:13.(yes Steve Alden I know it was 2 minutes 30 secs  too long!)

Out on the bike the wind was gusty and the course hilly. After a cracking swim, disaster struck when Neil had a flat. sadly, game over. Phil and Jon returned with impressive times of 1:14:01 and 1:16:32 respectively, but I'm afraid self-preservation kicked in and I only managed a disappointing 1:42:16.

A less embarrassing T2 time and then out on the run. Through woodland and then skirting the reservoir with sheep grazing the scene belied the hotly contested  qualifying places. Jon christened his brand new trainers in a freshly laid cowpat ensuring they would definitely be spending the night outside of his tent. The lads stormed home with run times of 38:03 (Phil) and 40:05 (Jon). With Phil finishing in an overall time of 2:09:10 and overall position of 125 and Jon 2:18:14 - congratulations for two  outstanding  performances and commiserations to Neil after such an amazing start.

The field was thinning but I felt no shame in bringing up the rear. I managed to claw back a few places and after a 55 minute run bumbled over the finish line in 3:02:51 to the welcome sight and cheers of Jon Webster. We may have been thin on the ground but we made a lot of noise. One advantage of getting older is that I came 12th in my age group and no I am not saying how many took part but I wasn't last!

First male finished in 1:47:29 and first female in 2:04:59! Wow!


Julie Williams


Mid Sussex Olympic Distance Race

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The time has come to think about the club Olympic Distance Race, which is held at Ardingly Reservoir on Sunday 22nd July - start time 07.30. The briefing is at 0645.  The swim starts in one wave at 07:30.


This race is open to all members.  We want to encourage everybody to have a go at the event given that the emphasis for most is on having the opportunity to do an Olympic distance event in a familiar and supportive environment. We don't have marshals around the course although the bike and run routes are well signed.  If you don't fancy racing (or are too tired after an Ironman!) then come along anyway because I could do with a few marshals to help things run smoothly. 


The 1500 swim will be a in the reservoir.  For those who are a little worried about the swim distance, rest assured that the route is along the normal swim lanes for Saturday morning swimming and there will be a safety boat and a canoeist in the water at all times. 


Transition area is set up on the grass adjacent to the car park.


The 40 km bike course is essentially a slightly shortened route of the course used for the middle distance event last year.  It is a bit lumpy but not that bad and quite enjoyable - especially on the downhill parts on the return section.


The 10km run is on the paths around the reservoir.  It is wholly off road and, while there is likely to be some pedestrian traffic, it is safe and flat. 


We really want people to have a go at this -irrespective of ability or speed or anything else.  The main point is having a go at this distance and seeing what happens. 


If you are quite new to the club I would particularly like to see you take part as these events are usually very sociable and great fun - hopefully the weather will be good enough for a picnic afterwards.


If there are any questions please ask!


The risk assessments are avalable so if anyone would like me to send them a copy just let me know.



Click here for Bike route

Click here for Run route







Swim risk assessments

Bike risk assessments

Run risk assessments