This is a FREE local event organised by local people! I've no idea who they are except they're called Kimi and Kurt! Kurt wears an Ironman tshirt. Its all 'organised' over Facebook but the details are rather vague except for kick off at 7pm on Madeira Drive, meet up abut 6pm. Just before 6pm I was on facebook at home telling some people who had come down from London where the start probably was... it all felt rather like an illegal rave!
According to my friend who did it last year 10 people took part but this time there were between 50 and 60.
Transition is some poles taped up to some metal barriers beside Madeira Drive. Its all a bit chaotic but everyone is very enthusiastic. And its FREE! I get there early and set up and then spot Steve Mac who is waiting for Kay.. they are both competing but Kay has all the gear in the car and must be stuck in traffic. I go for a quick jog to warm up. When I get back Kay is there with 5 mins to go before the start.
Race briefing and Kurt explains the routes. Swim is diagonally out to a buoy and then straight out to a 2nd one and then parallel to the beach and straight back in. There is no buoy to mark where parallel runs out and straight back starts :s So a guy ( rumoured to be an ex world champion at Standard distance ) suggests we just go straight back diagonal from the 2nd buoy as everyone will cut the corner anyway. So that's decided and thats what we're doing!... when your used to race briefings being a list of rules you must follow its a rather refreshing change allowing the competitors to change the course :)
So over the pebbles to the sea.. I've taken my run shoes to leave by the start flags ( haha take that you dastardly pebbles ). In for a quick acclimatisation and its a lot colder than Ardingly! I'm really glad I have 2 caps on. Lots of bubble blowing with my head under water, until it freezes and then its out and 20 secs later we're off!
There's actually not too much bumping, probably because its just about impossible to see the buoys when you are at sea level and there are a few heads and arms in front obscuring the view, so everyone goes off in what they think is the general direction and head out in a fan. I generally follow the pack hoping they are better at sighting than me. Its been quite choppy on the way out and I've had a few mouthfuls of delightfully salty water! The waves and current should be with us on the way back. Its does seem much faster going back but I end up reaching the beach early and have to swim along the shore to the flags. So even though the swim was shortened from the original 800m I reckon I easily swam that anyway. Run shoes on and I walk up the beach pulling the westsuit top down and then jog the last bit.
Meanwhile...Steve and Kay start after everyone else and head in the general direction of the pier, get bored or lost and head back!
And onto the bike - not your usual left turn at every junction with this route. Highlights include :
- a right turn across the busy seafront road, with optional cycling down the pavement until you find a break in the traffic
- trying to get across to the right lane of a very fast road to go right round the Ovingdean roundabout
- a fast decent with 180 degree turn at the bottom
- a turnaround point where you had to go round the 'No' of 'No Through Road' that was painted on the road
- the other turn point is a planter in the centre of Madeira Drive , basically a U turn in the middle of the road
- Heavy mist descending and thinking I should have brought a light as all the cars turn on theirs.
Luckily I've cycled in Brighton for many years so aren't too phased by most of this. Unfortunately Kay hasn't and despite Steve's valiant attempt to get Kay to draft him round the course she decides its too dangerous. Personally I think being that close to Steves arse would make anyone stop. So now its full speed ahead for Steve as he attempts to track me down from a long way back!
I actually manage to overtake a few people on the bike and not too many pass me. I take one guy near the end of the 2nd lap and he then drafts me in so I'm determined to beat him on the run , which is helped by him telling me he is crap at running!
Onto the run , a flat 5km on Madeira Drive , 2 laps ... again round the 'No' and the planter. I get into a rhythm and get away from Mr Crap Runner, unfortunately it turns out I'm not that much better at running than him and he catches me up , so we have a chat and run together. Rounding the 'No' another guy passes us and I'm feeling ok so I go with him.. I manage to stay about 20 yards back but its enough to break Mr Crap. Steve's finally off the bike and passes me going the other way making various gestures suggesting he's got me in his sights!
On the second lap I try to catch the faster guy but he's drawing away... I do catch the Tango man who seems to have entered the triathlon.. or maybe he's Dutch. And across the finish and a medal! And there's a goody bag left on my bike! and a bottle of water ... fizzy :( .. but a hot pasty as well !! And its all FREE!
I set off on a cool down run and pass Steve coming in so I turn around and we sprint to the end and he nearly gets a PB for the 5km :)
I really enjoyed the whole thing, ok it was a little 'different' to other triathlons but we're talking about a free event which a few people have given up their time to organise and it was great fun ... and there was a hot pasty at the end!!
I think Steve liked it too despite the late start , not too sure Kay would do it again though. So its not for everyone I would say :)
my new approach to Tri's this season is to participate only in
certain parts of any event. After the Mini-Marshman confusion which
resulted in me delivering a strong 5k but no bike (and no swim
following its cancellation), this time I managed the swim and half
the bike, but dnf'd due to conditions on the bike course, so did
not complete the run. Hopefully my next race will see me
complete all three disciplines.
The Brighton Tri series is great for those who are comfortable cycling in challenging routes which take in right hand turns, dual lanes, roadworks (at the moment) and heavy traffic. My cycling is deliberately limited to quiet lanes of rural Sussex and therefore these conditions, coupled with the seafog that swept in during lap one of the bike leg, proved a step too far for me. The swim however was wonderful. With a 7pm start, we swam into a flat calm sea made quite beautiful by the setting sun. To catch sight of Steve in front of me, with his fine swim stroke sillhoetted against the horizon reminded me how rewarding sea swimming can be. The strong current on the way back also reminded my of the power of the sea and I was very glad to have Steve near me as there was no other support out there. After what seemed to be a very very long time, we made it to shore and despite a 2 minute delay in starting, we still managed to overtake a couple of people on the way.
Would I do it again? Probably not until the roadworks are gone. However, I would recommend it to anyone who has no issues with traffic. In summary, the event itself is great as a way to manage your race fitness without incurring cost and is informal and friendly, whilst still allowing you to race hard if you want to. And a free event including a sea swim is a great way to introduce yourself to another style of tri.
Also some great free event photos http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10150828197615899.397188.713915898&type=1&aft=10150828229515899
Want to know more about these triathlons
If you friend/member of this Facebook group you will get them http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/226519147379576/
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