Race Reports

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




River Arun 3.8km swim - BAR Race 4

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BAR Race 4 - Arun 3.8km swim - Saturday 23rd June 2012


Although it was overcast and with a howling wind 14 hardy MSTC athletes took to the murky waters of the River Arun. Steve Mac jetted in specially following a week of 'one on one' alpine action with his coach. With the altitude training he was hoping for another big performance. Pete Harris tried the opposite approach by avoiding swimming as much as he could before attempting the race.



Before the start there is a lot of time to kill and there were surprisingly few pre-race excuses. Mark Jordan was trying a new excuse every hour (I've been quite unwell, I'm still on antibiotics, I feel very tired etc). From my experience this number of excuses usually means someone is properly fired up for the race, and so it proved! Trevor, on the hand, barely mentioned last weeks nasty fall coming down the beacon and Jamie grunted something about having trained already that day.


I knew Mark wasn't really feeling that bad because we cycled over from Haywards Heath, (2½ hours of constantly cycling into a head wind) and I couldn't keep up with him. Callum and Brad kept us company - or I should say kept Mark company as they were always having to wait for me! Loz also cycled over by an even longer route (and then ran to the start of the swim!)


This year there were separate starts for the men and women and altogether there were about 300 swimmers. It is quite something to be in a fairly narrow waterway at the off with so many swimmers, because it is crowded and there is a lot of fighting for space. Most of us tend to look for quieter water and try to get into a rhythm but some of the stronger ones are right in the thick of it. The water was definitely faster than last year even with the headwind. It was astonishing though, to see the fast ladies carve their way through the field having started 5 minutes behind. I now realize what they have that I don't - a propeller! It is the only explanation for the amount of white foaming water they left in their wake - very impressive.


At the start Steve Mac sped off but Mark took a more measured approach and caught him with 1km to go. In the melee I could not say who was who around me, but Mark was looking for Steve's stroke so he knew exactly where he was. In the end he finished 21 seconds ahead in an incredible 56.18.


After Steve Mac, Jamie Goodhead was the next finisher, 2 minutes down in 58.22 and interestingly he won his category. He is recorded in the results as a YOB. I am not sure what he did to upset the organisers in this way, but at least he appeared to be the only one. Next year he is hoping to compete in the ASBO category!


Loz Wintergold started at the back of the field and gently cruised through, finishing 4th MSTC in 61.38, just 18 seconds ahead of me. I didn't notice him slip by but I am not sure I could have tried any harder if I had. Andy Jenkins had another very solid swim in 62.49. I don't know if Jon Webster and Jim Graham knew just how close they were with just 9 seconds separating them (64.03 and 64.12). Trevor managed to shrug off his road rash with 67.34 whilst Pete proved what a strong athlete he is to finish in 77.07 on very little swimming.


The ladies all did very well. I hope Claire Tomsett is delighted with her performance. She had never swum this distance before and was quite apprehensive before the start. 65.35 was an excellent performance. Julienne has got faster each year she has done this swim, and 68.29 continued the trend with Claire Cresswell just 32 seconds behind.


My performance of the day however goes to Rose Ryan. She has been working hard on her swim, but finding our time limited open water swims have not allowed her to swim as far in training as she would have liked. Nevertheless she had a superb swim to finish in 70.23.

Afterwards Loz demonstrated his new superquick T1 transition ideas (hopefully the picture is on the website) before cycling home again with Mark (still not slowing down) Jordan and myself (almost keeping up).


Overall it was another great day for MSTC. It is fantastic going to these events and having your friends around you, and a healthy bit of competition thrown in.




Men - Winner 48.20


Mark JORDAN 56.18 10pts 16.49%

Steve MacMenamin 56.39 9 17.21

Jamie GOODHEAD 58.22 8 20.75

Loz WINTERGOLD 61.38 7 27.52

Steve ALDEN 61.56 6 28.14

Andy JENKINS 62.49 5 29.96

Jon WEBSTER 64.03 4 32.53

Jim GRAHAM 64.12 3 32.84

Trevor MOORE 67.34 2 39.78

Pete HARRIS 77.07 1 59.57


Women - Winner 47.09


Claire TOMSETT 65.35 10pts 39.09%

Julienne Stuart-Colwill 68.29 9 45.24

Claire CRESSWELL 69.01 8 46.36

Rose RYAN 70.23 7 49.27

Mid Sussex Triathlon what a race :)


A big thank you to all of you who helped out at the event and in the lead up to it. All your efforts made our triathlon a massive success once again. Pepole give me the accalade for running a great race but I really could not do it without the imput and help from many others, hundreds of hours go into making it run as smoothly as it does and into making it the success it is.


A few special thank you's go to the sponcership team lead by Steve and Pippa who did a fantastic job yet again. It is probably one of the hardest jobs to do and I don't think we have ever had so many prizes (even more than last year). Also a big thanks to Steve Alden who stores and drags out the racking and other equipment each year. Rob who gets all the marshals together, Rach, James and Dave Lash as the section heads. The list is endless but thank you all.


The real thanks comes from the competitors just have a look at the fantastic feedback here  (I will be updating this daily as new emails come in) You should all be very pleased as you made the race very special for a large number of people.


There were 326 entrants with 277 taking part on the day. (winning male time 1:03:10, Female 1:17:13  results here). Congratulations to Fiona and Steve for winning the Sussex Weald Race Series with Angela Murry 2nd and Callum and Phil joint male 2nd with Ant Grey 3rd all results can be found here


Can I get feedback from you guys on what would you change? any issues?


Hope you all got a Mid Sussex mug and zip buddy if not let me know. I also have a large amount of car window stickes that I will be passing on to Sharron so let me know if you want one. (I will be at the Dolphin with a box of mugs on thursday night)



some photos here




Once again thanks for your help.




"A Club only thrives if its members take good care of it."



Have you beat or set one of these records let me know


Ardingly Sprint Tri - BAR Race 3

The results were outstanding with our 5 Great Britain Age Groupers finishing in the first 8 for the men including Neil Giles winning overall, James Dear 3rd, Rob Hoodless 6th, Steve Alden 7th (first over 50), and Loz Wintergold 8th.


Rachel Baker - another GB Age Grouper won the women's race overall, with both Hazel Tuppen (3rd lady) and Fiona Bussell (6th lady) winning their respective age groups.


We have all been getting used to competing in poor weather and this day was true to form. There was a massive storm the night before with nearly an inch of rain, so the bike course was covered in debris (and a strategically placed fire engine!), whilst the run route was soggy, muddy and slippery. Luckily the swim was meant to be wet.


The day started with registration. Most people commented that it was a joy having Kay and Pippa in charge as it became a stress free zone. Sam and Alex were also on hand in various places including cheerfully encouraging everyone. Dave Lashbrook left it particularly late and was the very last athlete to register, although he was in plenty of time.


The swim had many of us racing in the same lanes simultaneously and most people gave way to the faster swimmers (sorry Dave).  Phil was sure he had done 2 extra lengths but as it was he was the club's second fastest swimmer (only Neil 'the fish' Giles was faster). It is clear from the times that all the swim training and coaching is paying off. Martin Shoesmith's impressive 9.06 is a good example after only a couple of seasons. Ant Grey and Loz counted lengths before they raced, but no-one paid them enough get away with fewer lengths. As the ground outside the pool was so rough it was permitted to leave clothing and shoes outside. Steve Crocker took it a stage further by rapidly donning a pair of slippers before racing up the hill. However in a post-race interview he admitted they were handmade Italian leather shoes with special soles for grip, which enabled a super quick run into transition.


The bike course is well known to be challenging for a sprint course. The damp conditions reduced visibility with glasses steaming up, whilst also making the ground slippery. There was gravel everywhere just to add to the challenge. Charlie Langhorne recorded a remarkable 37.09 bike split some 3 minutes ahead of James Dear in an equally amazing 40.15 (including both transitions) and Neil was only 17 seconds behind. Colin Chambers slowed down to admire the fire engine on the fastest section of the course and still managed to be a few seconds faster than Steve A, who in turn was delighted to be a few seconds faster than Rob. Phil Couch was racing up behind Steve Mac, and was preparing a suitable witty remark as he passed, when his chain came off, and it took him till well into the run to catch up again. By this time his 'wit ability' had long since left him and he could only manage a grimace. Following his problems with an errant horse at East Grinstead he has not been enjoying the bike legs lately. By contrast Ant Grey's new bike has been a great investment - nothing significant has fallen off - yet! In Balcombe many of our athletes were cheered on by Mat Record as he happened to be out walking as we all passed through. This did not help Julie, when she punctured in the village and had to start the long walk home before eventually being picked up by the broom wagon.


Transition is always interesting. Although Jim was doing the 'other' race, he caused great amusement by spending seemingly several minutes putting on extra articles of clothing and reportedly putting gel in his hair! Dave Lashbrook completely forgot to put any trainers on at all and was called back by the referee to dress properly. Lucy Williams managed to get out of T2 having lost both her numbers and Loz struggled through transitions largely due to being affected by the wet and cold which clearly slowed him down.


The run was a real challenge compared to a dry day. There was a long slog up the soggy hill, followed by tricky corners on thick mud. 4 times! Grip was a real issue and the course was also about 200m longer than previous years. Getting elastic bands became tricky as sometimes there wasn't one available at just the right moment. The 'bandsmen' sorted it all out though and everyone did the correct number of laps, although David Ricketts made hard work of it by dropping the bands every time! Claire Cresswell even managed to give the marshals a version of the 'Cresswell Wiggle'


The nicest thing about the run was being cheered on by Pippa, Kay and Jim on most of the laps - that and finishing!


A special mention must go to Helen Graham doing her first triathlon. She was cold, wet and miserable and cheerfully shouted 'never again' as she completed each run lap. But she carried on and finished well, and I am sure she will be racing again soon.


One final note! We found out after our triathlon today that Steve Crocker and Fiona Bussell each won the Weald Sprint Triathlon series. Congratulations to both of you. What a fantastic achievement!!


Men Winner 1.08.53


Neil GILES                   1.08.53     10pts       0%  1st overall

James DEAR               1.11.26      9               3.7    3rd   

Rob HOODLESS        1.14.48      8             8.59  6th

Steve ALDEN             1.16.06      7           10.48 7th

Loz WINTERGOLD  1.16.16      6           10.72  8th

Phil COUCH               1.16.39      5            11.28 10th

Colin CHAMBERS    1.17.08      4            11.98

Dave LASHBROOK  1.17.36      3            12.66

Ant GREY                   1.18.57      2            14.62

Steve CROCKER       1.19.27      1            15.35

Mark JORDAN          1.19.28      all get 1pt 15.37

Martin SHOESMITH   1.21.26                18.22

Steve McMenamin      1.22.27                19.70

Paul WILLS                   1.24.52                23.21

Charlie LANGHORNE 1.25.12                   23.69

Robert COX                   1.27.34                27.13

Graeme FITZJOHN     1.30.20               31.14

Callum MURRAY         1.31.34               32.93

Trevor MOORE            1.33.17               35.42

David RICKETTS         1.33.49               36.19

Peter CLARKE              1.39.12                44.01

Tim CRESSWELL         DNF fatigue (uncomfirmed!)





WOMEN Winner 1.22.11


Rachel BAKER          1.22.11     10pts    0%         1st overall

Hazel TUPPEN          1.27.17       9         6.19         3rd

Fiona BUSSELL         1.30.35      8         10.21     6th

Lucy WILLIAMS       1.34.59       7        15.56      9th

Sharon CHLADEK    1.35.54      6         16.68    10th

Nancy GILBERT       1.36.48       5        17.78

Claire CRESSWELL 1.49.43       4        33.48

Emma ALDEN          1.49.58        3        33.79

Angela MURRAY     1.50.36       2       34.57

Rose RYAN               1.57.42       1       43.21

Helen GRAHAM      2.16.44       1       66.36

Julie WILLIAMS        DNF puncture and long walk!  1pt