Race Reports

National Sprint Championships, Big Cow 2014


This is the first time I have entered this race. Neil Giles said it was a good one. SatNav said it was a 2 hour drive from home and as my start time was 8.10am I could drive up if I had an early alarm start.

Breakfast was 4.15am, I arrived at 6.20am and drove the bike loop for a reconnaissance. It looked good, a bit flat for me, I like hills these days. The first wave was age 18 to 39, and I had a good vantage point to observe them on their 750m circuit. I was in the 50-54 age group, J, tattooed on my left calf, just like Dambuster. Starting far right was the best swim line.

The lake water was warm and I got a great start, and seemed to be in the lead group, sighting, I could not see many ahead of me. T1 went well I emerged on the bike in the lead group, how exiting. Before the group broke up I counted 5 Jays, and 2 were behind me  which meant I was 4th. How very exciting.  A Jay overtook me and disappeared up the road. 5th. A Jay faded, 4th. Into T2, and out on the run. I could see a guy about my age, about 60m ahead. I was very very slowly catching him. My eyesight goes a bit blurry on the bike and it wasn't until about 30m that I could see his calf tattoo. It was a Jay! OMG I could be 3rd if I could overtake him. It took me for ever to catch him, about 2km.  "Come on Jay" I said as I overtook him.

No idea why I said that. Mmmm he sat on my left shoulder, taking my pace. Oh dear. I could see another guy about our age about 50m ahead. I was making no progress, Jay overtook me...we chased him down together taking each other's pace. It was Kay! That's no bloody good. Jay was now suffering, I think he was hacked off it a Kay. As I overtook Kay, he wasn't bothered by me, he let me go. I had about 1km to go, no oldies ahead, and I could no longer hear Kay and Jay behind me.

I settled into my Jedi running. Blurred vision check, shoulders hurting check, chest on fire check, stomach burning check, legs in agony check, calfs in screaming agony check. I was in great shape. Was I really 3rd? Pat pat pat pat pat pat I heard from behind. Oh dear. Pat was coming up fast. As Pat came past, Pat had grey hair, bad news, Pat looked about 50, I made him come around to my left as we swept around a long right turn. Pat was wearing GB blue. Oh dear. This could be very bad news.

I could see the finish inflateable arch about 200m away. Pat had better not be a bloody Jay. I could now see his left calf until he was 2 -3m ahead of me. Pat Bloody well was a Jay. PatJay was now pulling away.....but then I held him. 100m to go. Come on Martin come on. 50m to go, come on come on, this could be for 3rd. COME ON, GO, GO, GO. I could not pull him back. Finish. If I am 4th I am going to cry all the way home I think. 

Shattered I go over to PatJay to say hello, his wife was there. "Bad luck Andy, I think you were 4th" she says. PatJay and I have a chat, "I think I am going to cry all the way home" he says. "Don't" says his wife. Jay The 3rd, was 58 secs ahead of us it turns out, and JaySwim1st, was a fish, miles ahead in the swim. So I was 5th.

If you had said I would have come 5th in the Nationals a year ago, I would have laughed so much, I would have had a hernia. You have got to do this race next year, there were only 25 in my age category, so a great chance for a medal. Wouldn't it be cool if you had been there and won one. A MSTC member with a National Championship medal, that would be super cool.

Martin, 7th July 2014

Notingham Big Tri


Paul Newsome, Colin Chamber and Martin Shoesmith traveled to the Euro and World Sprint Qualifying event on Saturday 31st May. Being a youngster, Paul was rewarded with a 7.30am start, Colin and I, being very old, a 12pm start. This meant Colin and I travel up and back in a day, leaving Cuckfield 7.45am. The event is held in and around the international rowing center at Holme Peirpoint, a 2km long, perfect rectangle lake, about 1.7m deep (I could stand up).

Transition is interesting, it's a "double transition" area, which means you have to leave your
running shoes in T2, all alone…with no bike for company. Which makes finding them amongst another 249 pairs potentially tricky. Its a good job I left a "flag"
to find mine, Colin's are bright pink so he was OK.

The Swim was nuts, 250 in our wave, I should have brought the dirty washing to this big washing machine. There was a ton of weed in the water, and for 150 meters it was getting stuck in my fingers and feet, if we had got out at this stage, like they do at the World Series, we would have all looked like a platoon of wetsuited camouflaged SAS commandos. Exit from the lake is via a soft and grippy blue carpet… just like the pros, heaven. Then 4
laps around the lake on the bike.

The event is a Mecca for BTF Officials, we were carefully watched from all angles, and 30 cyclist in our wave were "draft busted". There were 2 on motorbikes following us around and around, and Colin was pushing his luck drafting one of them. I escaped, as I had Colin's spare number on. Then T2 to find your trainers, then a run around the lake. On your run, you can see the finish line all the way around the lake and it was mighty tempting to take a quick dip across the 8 rowing lanes for my first ever 1st place.

On the run in, you can see the grandstand, hear the noise of the crowd, the blue carpet and the finish line. What a super fast time from Paul, smashing the club record by 3 minutes, what a great performance. Colin was on a massive PB, but a running injury ended his chances…it still counts Colin, that's 0-2 for the year BTW. You get your times straight away, icecream and home. I strongly recommend this event, its top notch. Allow 3 hours for the drive, buy bright loud trainers, and ask Colin for his spare number…don't explain


  Paul Newsome            
(M) 25-29 Mid Sussex Tri Club 01:01:10 12:10 0.55 28:57:00 0.48 18:20
  Martin Shoesmith            
(M) 50-54 Mid Sussex Tri Club 01:04:47 12:43 01:03 29:36:00 0.48 20:37
  Colin Chambers            
(M) 50-54 Mid Sussex Tri Club 01:04:52 12:11 0.58 29:08:00 0.54 21:41


Shoesmith 2nd June

City of Bath Sprint Triathlon


A glorious sunny day started at 5:15am in my own bed. For once the triathlon I was to attempt was within 35mins of my own house. My resident triathlon widow/driver for the day headed for the shower and I headed for the coffee and my oaty based breakfast+banana.

Prior preparation and planning had paid off for once, and though the use of a tri-kit check list developed on my I-pad following bitter experience, the car had been loaded the previous day and all items ticked off. It still didn't stop my pre-race butterflies worrying, but it helped to not do a headless chicken impression on the morning of the race.

The final pre race necessity was completed in the luxury of a non chemical environment and we were off in the car. We promptly became stuck behind the slowest driver in Wiltshire with an unbelievable amount of oncoming traffic preventing an overtake. At that point my butterflies started developing an unhealthy desire to possess and use automatic weapons.

Eventually we got into Bath and headed up the hill to the university. It took about 2mins to drive up the hill at 30mph - I sat contemplating a similar journey scheduled for about 2hrs time to be completed by bicycle, whilst my butterflies further developed an interesting Anglo Saxon vocabulary.

We arrived at the car park to the oh so familiar "pssst" sound of bike tyres being checked - another race season had started and it made me smile.

The car next to us produced a mountain bike accompanied by a beginner triathlete who admitted the bike was her sons, and whilst it had sort-of road tyres, she had not checked them and had never trained on hills. For the uninitiated, the CoB triathlon has 1,005ft of accent in its 23km bike course...

In a fit of decency I pumped her tyres up from 20 to 55psi (max on the tyre wall said 60), and we tried to encourage her to great things. At least I was unlikely to be last now.

Registration was completed, and our labels were a very professional set of bike and helmet stickers from sportstiks.com that included a "supporting 116" sticker for my triathlon widow. She declined to wear it, and I offered her the "bag label" sticker instead - and got "that look".

Bike racking followed, all organised and signposted, and we headed into the Olympic size pool for race briefing. The briefing was good with some humour to keep you awake. One memorable moment was when the race director confirmed that in the pool there would be no diving, bombing, or petting! On the bike briefing, we were told aero bars were prohibited for one of the downhill sections because of a sharp left at the bottom, but I rarely eat chocolate when riding, so ignored that advice.

We were split into groups of 8 for the swim and each group of 8 were given a lane to swim clockwise around until the magic 8 x 50m lengths were complete. Thankfully I was scheduled to be in lane 1 so would have a ladder to get in and out with - those in the middle lanes would have to clamber out over a foot tall diving plinth.

My start time came, the whistle blew, and off I went. I overtook the swimmer in front of me at the end of the first 50m, and at the end of the second 50m I felt a tap as someone wanted to pass me. I let him by at the end of the length, and he promptly went 10m and pulled up completely out of air as he had gone out too hard. Two lengths and two casualties - I am invincible!

One very slow swim later (9+ mins) and I am out and running to T1. All goes well and I am off down the road overtaking a lot of racers as I go. The course is well marshalled and I am working hard to keep the speed up and feeling cocky. The first decent (450ft) cures me of that - it is fearsome. I am doing 30mph and being passed by riders doing 40mph+ but I cannot take my hand off the rear brake as we twist and turn down the hill. At the bottom revenge comes my way as I power up the hill overtaking all the 40mph brigade and a few more for good measure.

Smile for the cameras, around the roundabout, and back the way we came. Down the non aero hill and up the other side overtaking others like the god amongst men I feel I must be. Back towards T2 and they sneak in a final hill I hadn't noticed on the way out which saps your legs just when you need them for running.

T2 goes well, and I perform the triathlete shuffle on shaky legs as I headed through run-out.

Ah yes, the run...

Now if on dating websites curvy=fat, then in triathlon "flat and on good ground" translates as steep accents through soft and occasionally mud filled woodland paths.

I took about a mile before I got into my stride, but once there I felt good and covered the ground well. At the 4km mark I realised it was on for a PB if I got my finger out, and I pushed on. At 100m to go I turned the corner to be faced with a 3m tall ridge we had to run up and across before the finish line would come into view.

Final dash to the line aiming for the photographer, and across we go with a new PB of 1:21:43 and I finished in the top third for a change!

Tea and medals followed with the usual post race bragging with my fellow athletes.

In summary it was a tough sprint race with good marshalling that I would recommend as a warm up for the Dambuster - if only because of the bike course. I even have a new favourite mug from my goody bag.

Haywards Heath Triathlon


After a very early wake up call of 04:30. yep 04:30 still full of cold and then scraping the ice of the windscreen I set off to Haywards Heath Triathlon.

The race as all Hedgehog races are very well organised and run with out issue, except for the 04.30 wake up call.

First swimmers off at 06:30 it was a very cold start with some athletes pulling out after and on the bike due to the cold, best in these conditions to spend an extra few seconds putting on the correct clothing as cycling fast down hill is cold even when you are not soaked from the pool.

A great lumpy bike route from HH to Ansty down to Burgess hill then up Issacs lane back to HH and repeat. The run ummm best do some hill repeats to train for this as its up hill out of transition then down hill back to transition 4 times.

The 4 loops were great as it meant you went through all the crowds a few times, 4 in fact, which gave you the boost to attack the hill again.

A great show for MSTC gathering a great haul of trophies and all members coming in the top 6 of their age group:


OA Pos AG Pos Total Name Swim Bike Run
4 2 01:10:21 James Dear 00:06:27 00:43:24 00:20:30
10 2 01:13:47 Philip Couch 00:05:15 00:48:28 00:20:04
15 3 01:17:08 Graeme Jeffery 00:07:30 00:48:41 00:20:57
21 4 01:22:16 Steve McMenamin 00:06:17 00:51:00 00:24:59
25 6 01:24:12 Charlie Langhorne 00:07:18 00:51:51 00:25:03
3 2 01:24:21 Hazel Tuppen 00:06:09 00:54:06 00:24:06
4 1 01:24:25 Karen Pattison 00:06:56 00:54:27 00:23:02
33 5 01:25:38 Gordon Skeats 00:06:54 00:55:41 00:23:03
8 1 01:32:27 Sharon Chladek 00:07:49 00:57:24 00:27:14
72 4 01:35:50 Dean Allen 00:08:18 01:01:02 00:26:30
37 5 01:11:28 Emma Cole 00:06:40 00:50:02 00:14:46


Sussex Triathlon - Sprint distance

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Race day dawned and after driving home late the night before in the torrential rain through flooded roads and with only four hours sleep I was less than enthusiastic when I set off, a feeling which seemed to be reflected by Rob when I picked him up and told him that the website recommended grippy shoes to run on the very muddy course.  However, when we arrived the skies looked a bit bluer and it was dry so our spirits were lifted.  As the race was quite close to home Colin managed to arrive with time to spare so he decided to have a picnic in transition before the race. 

Start time arrived and we all got in the water between two buoys, there were a lot of people and not much space so I decided to be brave and get to the front of the swim and try not to think too much about all the horror stories of people swimming over you.  I set off as quickly as I could on Rob's feet to try to avoid the hoard of swimmers coming in from the right towards the first buoy.  The good thing about a sprint distance is that you only have 750m to swim which meant  the other five buoys came round quickly and it was time to negotiate the giant step out of the lake.  As I ran the distance into transition I could see Colin ahead of me, Rob and his bike had left transition by the time I got there.

swim times being: Rob 13.39, Colin 14.41, Rachel 14.49.

As I set off on the bike I could just about see Colin but being a proper cyclist he soon disappeared and I set about chasing down as many of the people ahead of me as I could.  I passed three women quite early on and a fair few men but the course was very lumpy and there were a lot of blind corners, so with the rain and my usual cautious cycling I was doing my usual job of being overtaken on the downhills and bends and having to work twice as hard to catch up on the flats and uphills.  Rob said after that he didn't particularly like the bike due to the blind corners but the thought of how much more I would hate it kept him amused.  Coming down the last downhill I was caught by two ladies who were much braver than me, I managed to go back past them on the climb afterwards but coming into transition we were all very close together. 

Bike splits were: Rob 40.35, Colin 40.41, Rachel 42.53.

I managed to get out of transition as the first lady but was overtaken by one lady quite quickly, I hadn't studied the run route and there was a small loop where the out and back overlapped and Rob suddenly appeared coming the other way and was leading the race, then not far behind was Colin.  There was one horrendous hill which was very muddy and slippery both on the way up and down.  I really struggled to run up this and that was when I was overtaken by another lady which was quite disappointing but I ran as fast as I could to the end and was delighted to be third lady.  Rob was delighted to be second male overall after being overtaken on the run by an athlete that was not only a faster runner, but also older than him, a very rare thing indeed! 

Run splits: Rob 21.07, Colin 23.29, Rachel 24.44.

I need also to point out that in contrast to our recent Olympic race at Northampton where Colin beat Rob on the bike and in transition Rob has taken the time to do some transition practice and took great pleasure in pointing out to Colin that he also managed to beat him in T1 and T2.  As Colin pointed out to me, Rob had said after Northampton that a few transition seconds weren't really important but when Rob was the quickest at them they suddenly became crucial.  We stayed at the end for the presentations as Rob was really looking forward to his moment on the podium and despite his request to make a speech which was ignored he will really be pleased to see his moment of fame on the website.

 Overall times: Rob 1.16.43 (2nd), Colin 1.20.30 (10th), Rachel 1.23.58 (21st). 

Rachel Baker