Race Reports

Southwater Duathlon

In the end 9 hardy souls took part, 2 for the short course and 7 for the long.  At the off, Phil Couch was initially quickest, but Neil then reeled him in and went on to run 38.17 for the 10k, which was very impressive as it was quite wet and slippery and muddy in places. Jim Graham was next through in 40.56.

Phil was doing the short course as he is just getting fit again and completed 5k in 19.24. Rachel and Lucy were running at the same pace, but Lucy was doing 5k (23.26) and Rachel 10k (47.12).  It was great to see Jeff back racing again. 47.38 for 10k may have been the slowest on the day, but is still a respectable stand alone time for this sort of course.

The times will show that Jim had the fastest T1, but it was one of the most bizarre transitions ever. He reached the mount point still wearing his trainers then proceeded to change into his bike shoes and dumping the trainers with Helen who was marshaling there. Phil is the man to watch in T1, because he is so quick you might miss him - very slick!
John MacTear learnt from last year's error and got out of T1 without a hitch this time. Lucy took the most leisurely approach but getting the right number of layers on for a cold bike leg was the key to survival.

The bike course was modified from last year due to roadworks. However it is much easier to navigate and nobody went wrong, although the excellent marshaling form Helen, Gordon and Andy as well as Sharon on the run course guaranteed it. Neil is clearly on top form at the moment because sub 64 minutes on a cold wet and windy day was awesome. Most people were slower than their usual but the weather did get worse once the rain
started and the wind picked up, especially on the return leg of the lap. If you look at the results you will see that there were no bad times - everyone did so well in the conditions.

T2 is always interesting.    Phil again showed what is possible, with an astonishing 20 second split. Ant looked like he had a good T2, but not before he came in the out way, and then had to go back out and round to the proper dismount at the car park entrance. Luckily we weren't penalising anyone for transition aberrations. Rob took both his transitions (and most of the race) at a laid back pace, he always looked like he had loads left in the tank.

Most people ran the last 5k at a slightly slower pace than the first 10k, but Neil still managed sub 20 minutes and it was Rob with the second fastest time in 21.30, although again no-one was slow. Phil managed 10.15 for his last 2.5k for a very fast overall performance in the sprint race, and Lucy again ran strongly with a 12.06 lap.

Prize for the most cheerful athlete must go to John for insisting on enjoying himself all the way round whilst still making a huge effort and racing extremely well.

Thank you again to all the marshals, Sharon Chladek, Helen Graham, Gordon Skeats, Andy Jenkins and Hazel Tuppen. Everyone appreciated all of your efforts and support. Special thanks go to Hazel for bringing her homemade chocolate covered flapjacks - they were absolutely delicious!!


It was also nice to Mike and Emma Jaffe coming out of their way on a long run to cheer everybody on.

 

LONG MEN

Neil Giles        38.17   1.20   1.03.58   0.53   19.40   2.04.08  10pts       0%
Jim Graham    40.56   0.56   1.09.53   0.57   22.51   2.15.33    9         9.2
Rob Hoodless  42.30   2.22   1.12.11   1.52   21.33   2.20.28    8        13.16
Ant Grey         44.43   1.23   1.13.54   0.53   24.09   2.25.02    7        16.84
John MacTear  43.56   1.23   1.16.44   1.04   23.57   2.27.04    6        18.48
Jeff Woodall    47.38   2.02   1.16.53   0.59   25.36   2.33.08    5        23.36

Women
Rachel Baker   47.12   2.20   1.15.23   0.59   26.44   2.30.43   10        0%

SHORT MEN
Phil Couch     19.24   1.00   0.35.45   0.20   10.15   1.06.41   4pts

Women
Lucy Williams  23.26   2.52   0.44.53   1.23   12.06   1.24.40   9pts

 

Castle Coombe Chilly Duathlon

/media/3993/cipo.jpg

Wednesday evening found me looking at the BBC weather forecast for Sunday, trying to decide whether to do the Castle Coombe Chilly Duathlon as a season opener. The weather looked cold, dry, and windy, but no rain was forecast in the meantime so that was good. Then I checked the list of entries to date, and there was the name of the guy who beat me by 6 seconds on my first race, and whom I beat by 2 seconds last time. Decision made - I had to race and beat him properly. 

Now I have nothing against the chap - I barely know him - but I needed to get my season off to a good start, and beating a "rival" seemed like a good idea. There were a couple of minor flaws in my plan, including the fact I had not prepared specifically for the race, the bike was still on the turbo trainer, I hadn't practiced transitions since September, on-line entries were closed, the race is four days away and I am not at home for three of them. Minor details. 

Saturday comes and I decided I had better get the bike ready and do a quick run. The bike prep was fairly simple, and I even managed to change the tyre without puncturing the inner tube (a rare success). My run however had felt a bit slow and sluggish recently so off I went to put in a quick couple of miles to prove I still had it. A short while later (and a new mile PB to give me hope) I felt ready - I had even managed to come up with the innovation of using elastic bands to stop the icy cold wind whistling up my non elasticated sleeves. Genius 

Sunday morning comes with a civilised 10:30am registration. Bike racked, multiple pit stops (too much hydration), race briefing, say hello to the rival, and it's off to the start line. Off goes the gun, and unlike last year I set off at my pace - not that of the racing snakes near the front. Halfway through the first lap the girl next to me started beeping and confirmed that we had reached one mile in a respectable 7:10. My rival had dropped back at the 1km mark so I knew all was going well. 

Into T1 at 14:25 and what followed can only be described as a case study in why you should practice your transition - I did not and 1:25 later I finally emerged on my bike, Doh. 

Five laps of Castle Coombe racetrack follow without incident, but I was now frozen due to the 0 deg 13mph wind. Into the final straight heading towards T2 and I managed to get my feet on top of my shoes for a fast exit off the bike - that at least worked and we quickly rack the bike and get the trainers back on. It rapidly became apparent that I need to do more bike-run transitions as "gazelle" was the antithesis of my running style at that point. 

My wife was by the T2 exit and I shouted a query about my rival - "he's right behind you, cane it" she yells - off I went like a startled sloth. My wife's yell started to haunt me and I got my legs going a bit faster. 

I noticed a few runners a couple of hundred yards ahead of me, and having ignored the two runners zipping past, I realised that I was actually catching them. At the 1.5mile mark I caught them, and at a useful hairpin on the run course I looked back to see where my rival was. He was nowhere to be seen and my wife was confirmed as being a lying toe-rag who should not be trusted for race advice. 

The final half mile passed without drama and a quick sprint took me to the finish line. 

Negative split on Run 2 v Run 1, all bike laps within 3 seconds of each other, 87th overall compared to 164th last year, a new PB of 58:25 for the race, and more importantly I beat my rival by 6 minutes (!!!). Happy, happy days. 

My wife pleaded guilty to perverting the course of injustice, and was sentenced to an afternoon of repeated second by second analysis of the race without chance of parole.

 

Andrew Lennox

 

Cold Water Swimming Championships

/media/23981/CWSC Relay team_web.jpg

As one of the original team from Toting Bec's South London Swimming Club who put the Cold Water Swimming Championship's on the map in 2007, this event is an absolute must for me.  I swam every Sunday through the winters of 2002, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the Lido and still miss that great comradely and "sensation" when racing there.  Feeling the water's temperature fall slowly from October to February is as much nerve racking as it is exhilarating, but the times when it fell as low as 1 degree Centigrade are few and far between.  Sadly I never got the chance to break the ice to swim at the Lido.

So when I jumped into the 1 degree water for my first race, I was genuinely shocked.....not just because I am not acclimatised like I used to be, but I was also entering unknown cold territory.  I screamed with cold, my body tensed up......then the beeper started and the race (30m freestyle) had begun.  With my arms pumping and legs doing a 6-beat kick, I was on my way.  The water ahead had amazing clarity, I could see no one close to me.  I had won but there was no time for hanging around.  In one fluid motion I touched the wall and leapt out of the pool.  My body felt like a stone standing on the side for 2 seconds before the blood starting returning to my body, and that incredible feeling started.  The buzz is pretty post-coital in nature.

And this is the reason why cold water swimming is so addictive.  Yes, I am a fully paid up member of the Nutter Club (along with lots of you reading this article) but a few of us get our kicks from freezing waters.  The beer tent, hog roast, hot tubs, sauna and comradely all add to the experience.  Oh, and reaching two finals (freestyle and "head-up" breaststroke) also help.  What started in 2011 with five members of the Tri and Swimming Clubs going up to London has turned into 10.  Tim Fraser from the swimming club scooped a gold and silver.  Our two relay teams acquitted themselves well and we all had a superb day.   Next time we might have to break the ice.........here's hoping!

Matt Record

 

"From outside looking in you cant understand it -from the inside looking out you cant explain it."

It is said that with cold water plunges the non-initiated can only stare and ask "why?" Well that's not really true I also was asking myself that in the run up to the Cold water championships. I was looking for any excuse to pull out but as I was not only entered for the freestyle I also had the joy of the relays so there was no way I could let my team mates down. With gritted teeth and grim determination I accepted that it was inevitable and actually started to look forward to it.

Ok that's a lie, the first time I did this event in 2011 I looked forward to it as I did not know what to expect, this time I knew exactly what was coming. The water temperature was somewhere between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees depending on where it was measured the distance was a width of the Tooting Bec lido (32-35m) in just speedos goggles and a hat.

The journey there was good fun I travelled with Matt and Jamie (we were also in the same relay team)  we were also accompanied by some of the Marlins. We managed to stay off the hip flasks until nearly all the swimming was over, unfortunately Matt downed my hot mulled wine after one swim final while he was waiting for the next, I say unfortunately as he thought it was hot Ribena until he finished his gulp and then coughing spasam.

The rules state that you have to all drop into the water hold onto the edge with shoulders under the water and wait for the count down this felt like 5 mins but in reality 5 -10 sec's then off. There were some quality swimmers there who I think had the advantage of not spending so long in the water. 600 individual swims so it was quite a large meeting with some of the most eccentric people you will ever meet.

Anyway a great day with some bone chilling painful swims, would I do it again... Of course cant wait until 2014.

Steve Mac

 

This week has been interesting; challenges at work, sleepless nights with children, a house without heating, a sick wife, a couple of trips to the Dentist (what kind of individual would become a Dentist anyway?) a few swim and run sessions that pushed the limits (the heavy meals beforehand were a mistake).  Regardless, life is now thoroughly enjoyable as the National Cold Water Swimming Championships are out of the way.

There is absolutely no justification as to why.  There is no need to jump into freezing (literally) water and swim about like a loon, however 600 of this nations "finest" disagree.  The Eccentric Magnet that is Tooting Bec Lido was to put on a show - they came from everywhere, all taking pride in a bond created over sadomasochistic joy!

I often think that with sport you are given a bottle of pain to deal with as you see fit.  Regardless of the competition, you should have an empty bottle by the end; be it a 400m swim, 10mile TT, Marathon, Ironman, Ultra, etc.  Emptying the bottle in 20 odd seconds can be quite an eye opening experience, while using it up through anxiety before you start inevitably ends in grief.  Having completely emptied the bottle, to find out the body wants to continue with jaw grinding grief is "un-fun"!

Like reaching blindly into your toiletry bag and feeling the sweet sensation of your Mac 3 razor lacerating your fingers, so it was to be, one race after the other until Jagermeister and Whiskey dulled the sensations and nullified the singing of the local hula ladies and their ode to the Lido.  

Seriously though, I can't wait to do it again, it must be like childbirth!

 "Make pain your friend and you will never be alone".

Jamie Goodhead

Country to Capital Ultra-marathon

/media/23864/Jamie Ultra-marathon .png

It was the 12th of January, snowing and I was sitting in bed with a cold.  What better thing to do than pack your gear, head to Wendover and run to London along with 300 other eccentrics including your wife.  45 miles of cross country bliss and a day without children, could it get any better?  Actually yes, what other race starts with bacon rolls and a cup of tea?  I'm not sure I can remember being in a pub, teeming with such energy at 7:30 in the morning but then again if the night had been that good I wouldn't have remembered!

These days one can't take these things too seriously, so starting at the very back of the field we ambled down Wendover high street to the first style - now it takes some time for 300 people to cross a style who all arrive at the same time.  No worries, time to stretch, have a chat and ponder how the water will get out of your water proof shoes when they fill up from the top!

It's always nice to spend time with your wife, enjoying the countryside and the company of strangers with interesting stories about how they don't have heating and are using this as preparation for their run from Birmingham.  Things didn't change much for the next 25 miles, run a bit, wade through some mud, have a chat, look at a map, wait at a stile and repeat.  The weather did improve and at checkpoint 1 I discovered the best cake ever made which included some magical ingredients that I'm sure were designed to uplift one's spirits - the world took on a 60's glow!

Now there is nothing quite like a light Siberian breeze hitting you in the face for a day which contributed to the downside of the race when I failed to motivate Mrs G to go any further than the Marathon distance, which left me to go it alone.  A stubborn one that Em but the look of grey disgust and inability to pose for the photographer meant we had failed on our mission of quality time together so I may as well punish myself a little!  75grams of carbs and 500ml of fluid per hour and the knowledge that if I get through the 30 mile point I had enough jelly snakes to get me home, not forgetting the joy of more cake at the next stop was plenty of motivation.

A Canal can be quite boring but not the Grand Union Canal, that has a few house boats, the occasional BMXer, water, footpath, disposed toilet, dead fish, misleading sign or two, tree, derelict property  and at least 2 Sainsburys - now that beats seeing nothing swimming for the same amount of time any day!  And then came the finish, at just over 8 hrs I crossed the line and went to the pub - beats a round of golf but not quite as good as an Ironman so I'd give the experience 6/10 but 10/10 for value - Race T shirt, medal, mysterious cake, gels, and 8 hrs of entertainment all for the bargain price of £40 odd quid - now that is a deal and better than anything I got in the post Christmas sales and it gave me an excuse to miss the Swimming Club's T30!

Jamie & Emma Goodhead

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 23rd December (BAR Race)

/media/23764/Marathon-Runners.jpg

After last year's sub zero temperatures - it was going to be interesting to see what difference milder conditions with recent torrential rain would make. Well - it was wet!! It was also windy. 

As usual the pre-race banter centred around the excuses. Loz and myself pleaded lack of training for distance, Jamie had done loads of distance but all at a slow pace. Martin Sanwell was doing his first marathon so did not really know what to expect. Jules had her usual approach, so virtually no training, and Jim Graham was taking it easy pacing his wife Helen round as his heel injury was still recovering after his amazing 3h 02m a couple of months ago. 

Jamie set off at a good pace straight from the start, but found his lack of pace training was causing pain in his overstretched hamstrings, so after 8 miles he backed off, allowing myself and Loz to move in front. Jamie is doing a 45 mile ultra marathon in a few weeks and it was not worth risking any damage at this point. 

As we approached the halfway turn (it is an out and back course) Loz was beginning to breathe quite heavily which turned out to be caused by tummy problems. Luckily there were 'facilities' at the turn point, but this was just the start of a torrid time for Loz with several stops in the second half. 

Jim was pacing Helen round and Jules was running at her usual sensible steady pace, although the course made it difficult to keep the pace even. It is half cross country and half tarmac, with 2 sections each way on shingle beach. The cross country sections were very wet, muddy and slippery. If Loz wasn't having a bad time already the last thing he needed was to slip on a wet concrete sea defence wall then skid off the edge. Unfortunately there was a big drop to the beach below and he completed the race with a huge graze down his leg.

 The conditions took their toll of everyone - especially as the way back was predominantly into a headwind, and the pace slowed for all. 

Performance of the Day for me goes to Martin. 3h44m for a first marathon is exceptional, and there is clearly a lot more to come. I am sure he will break 3h30m soon. Helen's 4h13m was also exceptionally strong. 

Martin and Loz pushed themselves so hard that they each went beyond the 'empty' point. When they finished they were both so pale that they really looked ill. It took an emergency dash to the nearest MacDonald's to refill them with junk food before either looked remotely human again! 

Well done to those that completed it. 

Men Winner 2h50m40s 

  • Steve Alden         3h19m50s    17.09%    10pts
  • Loz Wintergold   3h32m59s    24.8           9
  • Martin Sanwell    3h44m01s   31.26          8
  • Jamie Goodhead  3h49m32s   34.49          7
  • Jim Graham         4h13m12s   48.36          6

Women Winner 3h04m02s 

  • Helen Graham                4h13m13s   37.58%     10pts
  • Julienne Stuart-Colwill  5h46m56s   88.52          9 

 

Authors Steve Alden