Straggtri News

Straggtri Newsletter Friday 25th November 2016

Feature photo: Straggtri participants in the Club La Santa Aquathlon. The whole contingent of 13 Stragglers and Straggtri members took part in the Club La Santa, Lanzarote Sprint Triathlon last week. A magnificent achievement to have so many people be both present and fit to take part unlike the litany of injuries of the previous year. Read a race report below.

MyFirstTri - Club La Santa Sprint Triathlon

by David Worth

There are two things I am not keen on. Getting up early to exercise and swimming under pressure. So the prospect of taking part in a triathlon where I had to swim 400 metres (farther than I had ever swum non-stop before) at 8am in the morning was not something I welcomed. The feeling was less of nervousness but more like attending a funeral - my own funeral. There was resignation that it was happening and nothing I could do about it, so the gallows humour crept in and i actually felt quite relaxed in a dead man walking type of way. Two days previously I had taken part in a Aquathlon as a wet run for the real thing. Over 200 metres I was last out the pool by nearly a length so I wasn't feeling hopeful of much improvement over double the distance.

Looking at the photos there was a certain grimness amongst most of the participants at least on our side of the pool - the slower lanes. Having done the Aquathlon, I knew it was important that we tried to grade the swimmers so that the fastest went off first and we didn't impeded one another so I took it on myself to sort the 5 in our lane according to their previous performance.

In all Stragglers had 7 individuals and two teams taking part. Grahame Mortimer, Mirella Genziani, Helen Brett, Chrissie Glew, Anne Woods, Ian Robertson and me doing the individual race, the last three doing their first Triathlons, and two Stragglers teams of Trish, Steve Brett and Sandra Worth and Ann Coward, Ray Coward and Glynda Mortimer.

I had learnt from the Aquathlon, that the start was sudden and gave little warning given so I was prepared. In our lane a very manageable 5 people nicely sorted but just as we settled, we were suddenly joined by 3 latecomers who slid into the pool at the last minute. 8 in our lane! This needed some organisation but as I quizzed the newcomers on their likely speed I heard the starter shout GO and suddenly found myself stranded at the back of the pack in a maelstrom of thrashing feet and arms. They weren't going particularly fast, some breast stroking others trying to beat the water to into a foam but they formed a wall of white water which confounded my best attempts to swim my normal gliding leisurely crawl. After one length of constantly being held up, swallowing water and generally being put in my place, I decided to revert to breaststroke and enjoy myself.

Ann Coward sets the early pace in Lane 8 followed by unidentified Stragglers including Ian Robertson, Mirella and David plus interlopers who spoilt the party. Note lane 7 swimmer already nearly a length ahead.

Now being able to look around and take in the opposition I could see how rapidly i was falling behind. The first were out the pool long before I had done 4 lengths of the 8. I think I was lapped by a young lad about 11 years old doing the breast stroke. Eventually it went quiet, the spectators had left, I saw the last swimmer climb out the pool in front and breast stroking a tranquil last length hauled myself out the pool nearly two minutes behind the next competitor and ran gingerly to my bike.

Now which way does this helmet go

It took what seemed forever to pull on a top and cycle shoes (mental note buy a Tri Suit) even though Helen had lent me her talcum powder to puff in the shoes (thanks Helen for that secret tip). I had forgotten my water bottle (mental note - make a list of everything you need and tick it off before you leave home) but luckily my back-up team (Sandra) thought to bring it for me later. It was a curious feeling being in a race but with no one else around. I jumped on the bike - doh, why didn't I leave it in a suitable gear for the first downhill section. My legs were weary from the breaststroke (mental note - learn the crawl better). Pounding my way through La Santa I glimpsed a cyclist in the distance praying that it was someone in the event who I might catch up.

The cycle route took us up a long drag to Tinajo a local village at the top of a hill. I eventually caught the distant cyclist and eventually, nearer the top, offered encouragement to Anne and Mirella as I crawled past them with some semblance of an overtaking move. Meanwhile the leaders were flying past us going downhill at a rate of knots. Turning at the roundabout, it was with relief that I sailed downhill pedalling madly in top gear but making no impression on my speed. I had no Garmin so couldn't judge my speed but soon realised that this was not a good place for gaining time on those in front who were still specks in the distance.

Coming into transition or perhaps I should call it transmogrification, I fought with my shoes which remained glued to my toes and then wouldn't lace up (mental note, get some shoes that have a wide entry and those knotty laces), I set off 200 yards behind the woman I had overtaken 5 minutes earlier. Trying to emulate a runner, I thought this would be my best section but, surprisingly, my arms and chest felt like concrete and I struggled to breathe freely and run with any kind of freedom. I decided later that it was the combination of the effort of breaststroke using my arms (mental note, learn the crawl better) followed by my body getting chilled coming down the hill on the bike which had chilled my muscles. After a couple of k I loosened up enough to start hunting down people in front but it was too little too late and all i remember was greeting fellow runners already on their way back from the turn point including most of the Stragglers who were running.

As we came into for the lap of the stadium I saw Anne Woods ahead and felt I might catch her. I gave it my best shot, overtaking two other male runners who looked like they should be a lot faster than me, but Anne was flying and I saw her finish 50 yards ahead only then to be re-taken in a sprint by one of the two men who obviously felt indignant that some old bloke had just gone past him.

But it was done and dusted and I was elated to finish. Overall I felt the sum of the parts were less taxing than running the whole thing. The bike gave a chance for a rest. The swimming allowed me some thinking time and assessing the field in front but the running was hard as always.

It was a steep earning curve - not dissimilar from the hill we went up.


Straggtri Newsletter Friday 23rd September 2016

Feature photo: Congratulations to the Mark Pattinson, Helen Brett and Grahame Mortimer who gave Straggtri a strong showing in the Tri Project Thorpe Triathlon. See story below.

Tri Project - Thorpe Park Sprint Triathlon

Helen Brett {middle) listening carefully to the pre race briefing

It was a good day for Straggtri with three competitors at the Tri Project Thorpe Park end of season event. Helen and Mark tell their stories.


I really enjoyed the Thorpe Park triathlon, despite having to set the alarm for 4am. Registration packs were handed out on arrival and all was quite relaxed as just under 250 people were taking part.

Three waves set off at 0700 - mens under 40, 0710 - mens over 40; 0720 ladies and teams. The swim was quite straight forward although my wave were wearing yellow hats which made the yellow buoys a bit difficult to distinguish!

The cycle was well sign posted and flat apart from a couple of slight hills as we crossed motorways. As it was still early there was very little traffic.

Once back in transition, I set off on the run ; 2 laps round the park. Running with the roller coaster rides towering above us was an interesting experience. The park wasn't open to the public, but I think the rides were being tested and warmed up, ready for the punters. As part of the package, you could have entry for the day. Although I decided the Nemesis inferno wasn't for me.

We were all awarded a nice medal at the end. No goodie bag, just loads of power shot electrolyte drink tablets. I wasn't concerned as I usually end up throwing away most of it.

I was pleased with my times and we were all done and dusted by 9.30!



A great local triathlon worth getting up early for. A fabulous 750 metre lake swim of which at times we were close to the weeds at the bottom. Apparently better than previous years. There were 2 bouys 15 metres or so from the finishing ramp of which several swimmers missed and went straight to the exit. Something the organisors should tighten up on.

The 21 km cycle was on familiar local roads; out to Staines and back and then out to the M3 flyover and back. This meant you could always see other cyclists on the other side of the road so you were reminded that you were in a race. And then, bizarrely, a 2 lap 5 km run through the Theme Park! I did well in my age group (2 age groups put together again) but no hope of coming first when Richard Stanhope turns up!

The time difference between 3rd and 6th was 45 seconds and sadly I was at the bottom end of that split. Just shows how important 'marginal gains' are. To sum up a roller-coaster of a triathlon, a colossus event but certainly not my nemesis.

Well done to all for a great race.


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