Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire – 25th Aug 2019

September 13, 2019
SWIM 1.9k:                16:21              (950m Cut short due to fog)

T1:                               4:34

BIKE 90k:                   3:12:04          (1400m climbing!)

T2:                               3:38

RUN 21k:                    1:48:13

TOTAL:                       5 hrs 42 mins 48 Secs

1st F45-49
6th Female
70.3 World Champs Qualification

Whilst Britain was melting in a heatwave I was stood in my start pen for Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire on the promenade at Forty Foot in thick, cold, damp fog!

The race had started. The pros went off first and then the first wave of age groupers that had seeded themselves in a sub 30-32:30 minute start pen followed. I was in the next pen, (32:30-35 mins). I was extremely nervous, more nervous than I have been in a very long while and I have no idea why! There was no pressure, I wanted to do well and hopefully nab a slot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2020 but knew that that could be a long shot given that there was only one slot in my age group so I would likely need it to roll down quite a way….. or so I thought!

It soon became apparent that they were not starting any more waves, the fog had suddenly become extremely dense and it was not possible to see the buoys in the sea any longer. Ironman were having to think on their feet about what to do. 160 people had already started swimming and there was another 1400 waiting to go. Eventually after well over an hour of standing in the cold (thank goodness for my hotel slippers!) we were told we would be able to swim but that the loop would be shortened to 950m.

I was the first wave in after the delay. Visibility wasn’t great and I was cold, the sea even colder. I was glad for the short swim on this occasion.

Out of the water in a not too shabby 16 minutes with a distance of 950m on my watch. Transition was clear as I was in the first group and other than struggling to do my shoes up with numb hands I was fairly quick. And I had the fastest swim in my AG – that’s a first! J

The Bike:

First up a quality mount line!

I had driven the bike course the day before and ridden a small segment. I knew the course went up and up and up and the road surface in the Wicklow mountains was not great. I was hoping I had made the right choice by bringing my TT bike. I figured I had more to gain than to lose with the aero benefits. There were lots of sharp turns so descending would not be quick. The day before had been gloriously sunny and the views were spectacular. However, that was not to be today.

The course was pretty demanding with long climbs and only short respites for the best part of 42.5 miles, the remaining 11.5 miles was mostly descending. There was thick dense fog in the mountains, it was wet and the temperature had plummeted to just 11 degrees, on the day when the UK was sweltering in well over 30 degrees!

Visibility was down to about 10m and in the end I had to remove my helmet visor and switch the data off on my Garmin to view the map screen to know where the bends in the road were. Incredible. After 2 ¾ hours I finally started the descent back down in to Dun Laoghaire. I had some hairy moments and passed some nasty crashes. No point taking risks at this stage and I was hoping nobody would do anything stupid in front of me.

Less than a handful of guys overtook me and I overtook plenty of women but not anyone in my age group as far as I could see.


I got back to my rack in transition and was delighted to find it completely empty – that gave me some hope that I was somewhere near the top of the field but I could not be certain how much of a head start I had because I was the first group of swimmers after our delayed start.

The Run:

When I had looked at the course map I thought there could be a few small hills on the three lap run route but a friend I had made in the swim pen told me it was flat………. It wasn’t! Whilst it cannot be described as hilly it was tough enough after that leg sapping bike course. It started with a long rise along the road immediately outside of transition before dropping down onto a lovely flat pier for a long out and back section. Then a steep rise off the pier and a few more undulating climbs on the route. I was surprised my legs were running so well. I was also surprised by the number of women already on the run route and was wondering if I wasn’t quite in the top of the field as I had thought. I was looking forward to seeing Martin my hubbie for some insider information that he would have from the tracker but by the time I had finished the first lap there was no sign of him. By the time I had finished the second lap there was still no sign of him and I was getting worried. Halfway through the end of my last lap I spotted him – phew! He had no information because the tracker was down. I was apparently still on my bike hence the reason for his absence and he was worried about me! Anyway, I only had 1km left to run and I had kept up a good pace and knew I couldn’t have given any more to the race so just tried to focus on finishing strong.

In Summary:

I was very happy with my run splits given a severe lack of running over the last couple of years but delighted that some gentle speedwork and build seems to be paying off. Hats off to my coach, Tom Davis, for all that he has done to prepare me alongside my injuries and restrictions. His top quality coaching and perfect race day strategy kept my legs fresh to the end. Thanks also to Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre for his support with all things feet! Huge thanks to Tribal sports nutrition for my Morello Cherry Smoothies race nutrition – a delight to sip on – tart and fresh the whole race through!

I am delighted with the fastest bike split in my AG by over 10 minutes! I just love my Giant Trinity and cannot thank Giant Radlett enough for all their support with my bikes. I have had a great new set of race wheels this year which I love and they have definitely improved the speed of the bike and coupled with fantastic servicing it did me proud today.


I finished in a time of 5 hrs 24 mins, I was happy with that on that course even with a shortened swim. There was no information because the tracker was down so I had no idea of my placing until several hours after the race. Even then I couldn’t believe the results I was seeing a) because I was in 1st place! b) because some people had swum long. I did some calculations from the women in my age group and I could see two ladies who had swum the long course but they finished over 50 mins and a couple of hours behind me so I knew I would have finished circa half an hour ahead had I had a long swim but didn’t know how Ironman would be working out the calculations.

I just had to wait to the award ceremony in suspense for several hours before I could be sure. In the end Ironman decided to compose two separate races – one for the 140 people who swam long and one for the vast majority of us that swam short. The world championship slot allocation was to be announced by notification after the results had been analysed in the US.

However, I can now confirm I did get awarded first place & the World Champs Slot! I was of course ecstatic to be stood on the top step of the podium – I had never dreamt that would happen!  I am very excited about the prospect of racing in Taupo, New Zealand, November 2020!

But first up…… a small matter of an ironman. Having retired from full iron distance races a couple of years ago I haven’t quite been able to quell the hunger for the big challenges they used to bring. I have qualified to represent GB at the European Long Course Championships in Holland on Saturday 14th September, fingers crossed for better weather!

World Long Course Triathlon Championships – 4th May 2019, Pontevedra, Spain

May 12, 2019

Swim 1.5km = 37 mins 7 secs (strong currents!)

Bike 108 km = 3 hrs 46 mins 53 secs (hilly and windy!)

Run 30km = 2 hrs 49 mins 15 secs

Total Time = 7 hours 23 mins and 23 seconds

F45-49 Silver Medallist!

This was the opening race of my season and very early in the year. I felt far from ready. Having spent three years with minimal running due to a Haglund’s deformity which I eventually had operated on and then a year to recover I am well used to winging a half marathon, another year later and a 30k to run is a whole different matter! Unfortunately no sooner had I recovered from the Haglund’s surgery I developed a compressed nerve root at L3 which I finally had injected in February with a 50% improvement in my symptoms. I steadily increased my training with no worsening of my remaining hip and leg pain and was feeling really happy that my Haglund’s removal meant that I could finally run pretty much pain free. All was going well until two weeks prior to the race when I went for a run and my calf seized up. I didn’t think much of it and rested for a few days before trying again to have the same thing happen. With just ten days to the race it was too close to attempt trying to run again. Instead I focused on some intense physio, acupuncture, massage, compression, strength and conditioning and taping. I was also sent for an ultrasound two days before I travelled to Spain to rule out anything serious. Walking became more comfortable each day and I was feeling hopeful the calf wouldn’t seize up in the race but the doubt was a constant in my mind.

We arrived in Pontevedra with two full days to recce the course, register, attend the briefing etc. It was pretty windy and although the weather was warm and sunny during the daytime it was chilly in the mornings and evenings.

Race day arrived and it was only 5 degrees on our walk down to the river. The air temperature differential with the water temperature of 14 degrees meant that the officials had no choice but to cut the swim from 3k to 1.5k. I think this was a wise choice given that 37 people had to be rescued from the 1k swim during the Aquathlon event a couple of days before. Many athletes live in much warmer climes and would be far from used to this cold water.

The Swim – 1.5km

The first half of the swim seemed to go on forever! I actually thought the buoys had drifted in the wind but in fact it turned transpired that we were swimming against a fairly strong current and I had positioned myself right in the thick of it towards the middle of the river. By the time I reached the turn buoy I had already been swimming for 26 mins, way slower than I was expecting. However, the swim back to the start took just 10 minutes, confirming the strong current. I exited the water in 10th place in my age group.   I had no idea at the time what position I was in but in transition the bike racks looked relatively empty so I was worried that I was one of the last out of the water.

T1 – 650m!

T1 involved a long barefoot run to the sports stadium. I was worried what might happen to my calf so took it very easy and it was ok.  I managed to exit T1 in 7th place.

The Bike – 108 km

I was hoping for a strong performance on the bike. Having reccied the course I felt I knew it well. It was pretty hilly with circa 500m of climbing each lap and three laps to ride. We were riding out and uphill into a headwind to begin. I felt strong on the hills and was keeping to the target power my coach had suggested as much as I could. There were some technical descents after some of the hills. With some quite narrow roads and lots of cyclists on the course this wasn’t a great mix but I thought I handled them quite well. Some of the road surfaces left a lot to be desired with a rough section when we were speeding down the hill with a tailwind back into town. There were also sections that they made us ride clearly to just ramp up the mileage that were full of speed bumps. At one point we were even weaving our way around a Univeristy Campus! I spent the entire ride overtaking women but didn’t find anyone in my age group although seemingly I moved up to 4th place by the end of the first lap, and into 2nd place by the end of the second lap which was where I stayed.   I was only overtaken by two women, one aquabiker and one pro.


I met Amy my friend and fellow Tri Londoner in transition. She had finished her Aquabike race and was the world champion – great news! I maintained my second position exiting T2 and started praying that my leg would hold up on the run.

The Run – 30 km

I set off tentatively and my leg felt ok.   It was hot by now, well into the 20’s with no clouds in the sky. The run route was four loops of 7.5 km. We started by running along the river on a dusty trail before turning back on the road, running through the sports stadium where the finish and transition were and then into the town which was slightly hilly. My calf started to tighten up at 5km and unfortunately got steadily tighter. I nurtured it, walking the aid stations to give it some respite and also power walking the hills and a bridge over the river so as not to put too much force through it. The hilly bike and my extreme lack of run training meant I was only averaging 9 min/miles with the walk breaks but actually I managed to sustain a fairly consistent pace for the entire run. As I crossed the finish line the tannoy apparently announced that I was a silver medallist but I didn’t hear this! I had no idea until almost an hour after the race. To say I am elated is an understatement . I simply cannot believe it. A podium position did not even enter my head for a world championship race.  I came just hoping to get the finishers medal.

It is great to have something to show for all the hard work and support I have! Thank you Giant Radlett for my beautiful Liv Cycling UK Trinity and provision with all things bike, especially for racing around at the last minute to find me some new race wheels! (Special thanks to Stephanie Wheatley, Team Rider at Giant Radlett for loaning her front wheel for the race). Tom Davis for his brilliant coaching which has made a startling difference to my performances, he is always on the ball and very adaptable with my training plan to cater for all my nuances. Gareth Ziyambi at A2Z Elite Health for his top notch strength and conditioning coaching and general fixing of the bits of my body that keep breaking. Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre for his expertise and provision of my running and cycling orthotics and last but no means least my family, friends and work colleagues for their unrelenting support. Now to fix my leg and focus on the rest of the season – one thing is for sure, this was a great way to kickstart it!

Brass Monkeys Winter Enduro MTB Series – Round 3 – Sunday 27th January 2019

January 28, 2019


Eating pasta for breakfast early on a Sunday morning can only mean one thing – race day!

Time for the third and final round of the Brass Monkeys Enduro Mountain Bike Series at Minley Manor in Hampshire.   Each round there has been a different course that traverses through the MOD training ground.  It is a mix of heath and pine woodland with flowing and testing singletrack mixed in with swooping trails and stone fire roads.

You choose how long you want to ride for and then do as many laps as you can in that time.  Strong on endurance but lacking in singletrack experience I opted for the maximum length of four hours for the series of three races.

Round One I completed on my old faithful dual suspension Giant Anthem XW 29er.  For Round Two I was lucky enough that my new Giant Radlett/Cadence Performance Liv Obsess Advanced 2 arrived two days before the race.  Boy what a difference it made!  For Round Three I had a little bit more experience of both the singletrack and also more experience riding the Liv Obsess which I have quickly become to love.

Its smooth, it feels cushioned, its manoeuvrability and light weight just make it a joy to ride.  My confidence on the single track, steep drops and immediate rises has increased dramatically.  Handling the single track will require more practice to make me faster but the Liv Obsess  flows easily around all the sharp turns and glides over tree roots.

Round Three was the most enjoyable course for me by far.  My confidence on the single track with the new bike definitely helped but there was way more climbing on open ground on this course and the Obsess loves to climb!

We weren’t quite as spoilt with the weather as we had been for the previous two races.  With sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, icy rain and hail at points it was a punishing 4 hours.  The trails were wet and muddy and became quite slippery towards the end.  I was definitely ready for that finish line.  Four hours is tiring, fatiguing on the legs, torso and hands and the concentration definitely starts to wane!

Super happy to place third in this third and final race and take 2nd place for the series!

Totally unexpected but what a great way to start my 2019 race season 🙂

Thanks as ever to Giant Radlett/Cadence Performance for their unrelentless support with all things bike and to Gorrick for a great race series.

Brass Monkeys Mountain Bike Enduro Round 2 – Minley Manor 6th Jan 2019

January 8, 2019


I am not a mountain bike rider by any stretch of the imagination but I love riding off road.  Endurance I am good at – single track riding not so!  I am a complete newbie to single-track but I love these events for the endurance persepective and the more I do the better I will be so I had no hesitation in entering the Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro Series.

For Round 1 I rode on a my Liv Anthem Dual Suspension 29er.  I love that bike and was hesitant about an upgrade for several reasons.

  1. I love 29″ wheels and the new Liv MTB’s are a maximum 27.5″
  2. I love the comfort of dual suspension and with a delicate rear end (previous coccyx injury) I thought I would suffer on a hardtail
  3. With the new single chain ring at the front (rather than a triple chain ring) I envisaged I would get into all sorts of difficulty with sudden changes in incline, particularly aggressive climbs.

As a Team Rider for Giant Radlett I was fortunate to be given a choice and eventually settled for the Liv Obsess Advanced 2 and I could not have been proven more wrong about all of the above!

I took the bike for a quick spin around the trails in Radlett for an hour the day before the race and I was immediately hooked on it.  Next up was the race – Round 2 of Enduro Brass Monekys  – 4hrs of singletrack riding.  There were some lovely open sections on this course for a change and the bike climbed and descended superbly.  My technical mountain bike skills are virtually non-existent at the moment so I made good use of these sections to make up some time.  Once in the forest on the single track I was back in novice mode.  However, the bike was super easy to manoeuvre and so stable.  It was so much easier to handle than my 29er on the narrow twits and turns. I also really could not tell that I was riding a hardtail at all.  It was such a comfortable ride I had no issues with my derriere!  On top of all this the bike is so super light that the Christmas adipose excesses clinging on to me were no bother.  The climbs were easily manageable.  Once or twice I got caught out with slippery tree roots and my biggest issue was not realising how light the bike was and keeping the front end in contact with the ground when I was climbing steep gradients.   I am already obsessed with the Liv Obsess, a total convert and I suspect my 29er will be made redundant by me!

In Round 1 I was 11-12 mins per lap slower than the leaders.  In Round 2 they rode pretty similar times yet I was only 7-8 mins slower per lap.  I am pleased with that difference and cannot wait to get some more singletrack experience under my belt to really put the bike to the test.

As for the Enduro Brass Monkeys – what a great event!  4 hrs of riding doesn’t sound like much but these rides are super fatiguing.  Not just the legs and lungs, for a change my whole torso and arms probably ache more!  Great organisation, super friendly staff and great medics (not used but great to know they are on standby!).  They even delivered great weather and dry conditions for this event.

Bring on Round 3!

I am so grateful to Giant Radlett for continuing to support me with all things bike.  I lead regular off-road ride-outs from the store on the weekends and cater for all abilities.  Keep an eye on the board in store or follow Giant Radlett on Twitter or Facebook for further updates.

Photo courtesy of

2018 World Long Course Championships – Aquabike

September 23, 2018

Swim (3km) – 57 mins 30 secs
T1 – 4 mins 32 secs
Bike – (121km) – 3hrs 31 mins

TOTAL: 4 hrs 33 mins 16 secs
4th Place 45-49F (1st Brit)

Last year was the inaugural World Championship Long Distance Aquabike event in Penticton, Canada and I placed 5th. Aquabike came along just at the right time for me as I had a problem with my foot last year that required surgery and it meant I couldn’t run.
I had qualified to race both the Long Distance Triathlon and the Aquabike at this years World Championship Festival of Sport but six months after surgery I hadn’t returned to running at the time I needed to make the decision which race to enter. With no guarantees the International Triathlon Union would let me swap the safest bet was to do the Aquabike again.

The event consists of a 3k canal swim and a 120k bike.

We took a look at the canal when we racked our bikes the day before the race. It was murky, brown water and full of jelly fish. I wasn’t really looking forward to getting in. Then my friend, Amy’s hat flew off in the wind straight into the canal. Decision made. We all got in for a recce and hat rescue although I took quite a lot of persuasion!

The weather had been hot in the build-up to the race but race morning started overcast and cool at just 10-12 degrees. This meant we were all ill prepared and shivering once our day bags had been handed in.  Our race was set to start at 7:43 and transition was supposed to close at 6:50. There were long queues to collect our timing chips and get into transition though. This combined with a massive lack of toilets meant everyone’s swim starts were delayed. We eventually started at 7:58 am.

The Swim
Brown, murky, jelly-fish soup with lampreys actually attaching themselves to people! Yuk! (Thank goodness I didn’t find out about the lamprey until after the event!)

The swim was crowded and boisterous to start. After a few whacks around the head and jaw and someone making several attempts to swim straight over me I was losing patience. Eventually it calmed down and it was a fairly straightforward out and back loop with clear marker buoys. At the turnaround we had to climb out of the water – Aussie swim exit style, climb some steps and dive back in again. Only issue was the bottom step was super high so it was a tricky scramble to get out. I tried to get into a better rhythm on the return leg but in reality I squealed and immediately withdrew my hand every time I found a jelly fish. That was a lot of times!

I tried my hardest to stick on a pair of feet in the hope that the person in front would clear the jellies for me. I think it helped a bit but I couldn’t have been more pleased to see the steps at the exit. Again the bottom step was super high in the water so my second undignified scramble of the day ensued.

Out of the water in 57 mins 30 secs – not too shabby given the conditions but definitely not my quickest.

It hadn’t been possible to see the layout of our transition bags the day before so it took longer than it needed to for me to find my bag. Wetsuit off with no glute cramping issues which have been plaguing me of late and I was off on the bike.

The Bike
My plan was to ride the first half at around 85% FTP and increase to 90% FTP on the second half before leaving everything I had out there in the final 10km.
I love my Giant Radlett/Cadence Performance Liv Trinity!  Its so comfortable to ride and beautiful to look at!  Even Louise Minchen (BBC news presenter who was also racing for GB) commented on what a lovely bike it was when I passed her by.

I’m a newbie to riding with power and my Powertap pedals read about 7% lower than my Wattbike which all my zones have been set on so I had some calculating to do. I seemed to be averaging the low 180’s and I kept an eye on my HR too. At this pace I was overtaking consistently and not being passed at all until the lead men came powering through. I’ve recently adapted my riding position to try and get more aero and I think it’s paying off.

We had two loops to ride and it was pretty windy. Retrospective wind data shows very little assistance in the way of a tailwind and a lot of resistance from head and cross winds.

In the last few kilometres I was trying to pick off as many women as I could find and with about 2km to go I spied a German lady. I bided my time and took her on an uphill into Odense and kept the power on the pedals until I saw the finish line.

I was pleased with a 3:31 bike split with no mechanicals and an average speed of 21.3 mph in tough conditions.

Many people find it difficult to accept a 4th place finish but given the circumstances I’m super happy. It’s been a long road to recovery from my surgery so I’m delighted with my highest ranking World Championship placing and automatic qualification into next years World Championships too!

Huge thanks as ever to Giant Radlett/Cadence Performance for their continued support with all things bike. Also huge thanks to Gareth Ziyambi of A2Z Elite Health and Simon Costain of The Gait and Posture Centre for literally keeping my body in one piece and able to compete!

Next stop will be Zofingen, Switzerland as I’ve just found out I’ve qualified to represent Team GB at the World Long Course Duathlon Championships in September!

Fambridge Yacht Haven Middle Distance Triathlon & Tri London Middle Distance Club Championships

July 10, 2017

Swim – 39 mins 45 secs (current & a tad lost!)
T1 – 01 min 58 secs

Bike – 2 hrs 44 mins (fastest female bike split)

T2 – 1 min 25 secs

Run – 1 hour 37 Mins

Total: 5hrs 5 mins 


1st Female

1st Vet

1st (but only!) Tri London Female 

2nd Overall Tri Londoner

This is a small event held on the Dengie Peninsula in Essex.  I last raced here in 2011.  Transition is set up in the Fambridge Yacht Haven Boat Yard. The swim is in the tidal River Crouch and the bike is two loops on the quiet, undulating roads of the Dengie Peninsula. The run is four laps, predominantly off road along the river bank, through some fields and back to transition at the Yacht Club.

Five of us raced from Tri London for our own Club Middle Distance Championships –  as I was the only female I didn’t have much to do other than finish to win that trophy!  Unfortunately I think the race clashed with some qualifiers for Standard Distance European Champs so the field on the whole for the race was relatively small at circa 100 triathletes.

Dengie Events are a small organisation but slick. Registration was quick and simple, volunteers and marshals were friendly and well informed and the safety crew were knowledgeable, friendly and very reassuring.  (I always make friends with the safety crew with my history of allergies! 😉)

It was a dreary start to the day with drizzle and grey skies but a promising look on the horizon.

The Swim:

It was a deep water start after entering the water on the concrete slipway so only a tiny squeal from me as my feet found the warm, slimy mud at the end of the slip.  My swim time was slow for me. Five minutes slower than a couple of weeks ago. I can only put this down to the tide and associated currents. We seemed to have a fast swim out and then a slower return. Two loops of this and it is evident from my Garmin lap times that this was the case. Of course it wasn’t helped by me swimming off towards buoy 2 instead of buoy 1 on the first lap!  I’m sure my fingers also ended up inside a jelly fish at some point but thankfully I only found one.


I entered transition with a couple of the Tri London lads just ahead. I know one of them is definitely a faster swimmer than me so was pretty happy that although my time was slow I wasn’t alone! The lads headed out on their bikes before me but that was a good thing the chase was on.

The Bike

I was fairly certain that one of the Tri London lads was headed out on the bike before I got into transition and two I had seen leave. That left one. He could well be ahead but if he wasn’t I was sure he would be before too long.

I hadn’t tapered for this event and had raced a hard 70.3 a couple of weeks prior so I was pretty pleased to be maintaining a 20.5 mph average speed on the undulating and breezy course.

Two well signposted loops. The sun was out now and it became progressively warmer as we cycled.  One chap overtook me as I left transition and I overtook several more and a handful of females. I had no idea how I was placed but did my best to keep the power to the pedals and continued my hunt for the Tri London lads. I wasn’t sure I’d catch them but it was a good focus for me. Every time I saw a glimpse of someone ahead I tried my hardest to catch up and pass. Eventually with five miles to go I caught sight of the familiar blue of the Tri London kit. Whoop! I had found one and another hit on his toes too. I didn’t manage to create much of a gap but was delighted to reach T2 ahead of them.


Relatively quick for me. Now time to put my non-existent run legs to the test.

The Run:

I’m battling a retrocalcaneal bursitis and Achilles tendonitis courtesy of a “Haglund’s Deformity”. You can see the excess bony growth in the picture below which has a sharp edge rubbing against the bursa.


As a result I need surgery but I’m trying to muddle through until the end of the season.   I’m doing very little run training as a result and the little I do is 9:1 mins run/walk circa once a week for less than an hour. In spite of this so far I have managed to run reasonably respectably in races.  Dropping some weight has definitely helped my run times too.

With only one aid station on each lap I didn’t get many walking breaks. The off road run on uneven terrain was also difficult for my right foot. I’ve managed to adapt my gait pretty well to keep the stress through my Achilles down by planting my foot down and lifting it back up without powering through the forefoot. I maintained a steady pace, power-walking up a short hill on each lap to avoid over stressing my foot and also for a bit of a chance for it to off -load. I also walked the only aid station back at the start and finish. Unfortunately the bin was placed a bit close to the aid station itself so I frequently had to stop. It was seriously warm on the run and trying to maintain fluid levels was more important to me than my speed.

I had no idea of my position in the race but shortly after leaving the Yacht Club for my final lap I heard the commentator mention a female also on her last lap. That definitely spurred me on and I spent the entire lap looking over my shoulder for her determined to try and avoid her passing me. Fortunately she wasn’t gaining on me.  As an added bonus I found a Tri London lad melting in the heat during the last kilometre of the run. After a brief chat my legs picked up the pace to head to the finish. 

I crossed the finish line to learn that I was the first female and the first female vet! Wow! I had just won a triathlon. I know it was a small field but I’m still chuffed given that I thought I wouldn’t even be running at all this year!  Not only that only one of the Tri London lads was ahead of me – happy days!

Thanks Tri London lads for your fab company and helping me keep my focus for the race.

As ever huge thanks to Giant Radlett & Cadence Performance.  Along with my pride and joy – my trusted Liv Trinity W time trial bike the new race kit clearly helped! Can’t thank these guys enough for their ongoing support and maintenance of all things bike.

Thanks also to Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre for keeping me on my feet during challenging times. Gareth Ziyambi is also a miracle man keeping on top of the aches, pains and strains with minimal input. Particularly with a recent troublesome ‘mouseitis’ that was giving me awful pain and discomfort in my arm and shoulder. 

@MattLovell holds all the secrets to helping me on my way to racing weight. All it takes is a little willpower but that’s easy when you can see the results!

All in all everything seemed to come together on the day. Long may that last. Looks like I might enter The British Middle Distance Championships after all!

I really like this event and hope to not leave it another 6 years before I’m back!


July 31, 2016

3.8km Swim (Challenge have admitted this was short*), 180 km Bike, 42 km Run

Short Report:

Swim             54 mins 52 secs

T1                   4 mins 13 secs

Bike               5 hrs 37 mins

T2                   3 mins 48 secs

Run                4 hours 1 min

Total:            10 hrs 38 mins

European Long Course Triathlon Championships Silver Medallist!

2nd out of 14 GB ladies

7th Overall Female

Long Report:

This was my 8th Iron Distance event.  The days of Long Course Champs being Long Course (4k, 120k, 30k) are long gone since the European Triathlon Union teamed up with Challenge.  The race is now one of Challenges iron distance events around Europe.

I did promise myself that last year would be my last ironman but then the World Long Course Champs was to take place in Oklahoma and a nightmare to travel to so I decided I would have one last stab at getting my much yearned for PB and sub 11 hr ironman by taking part in Challenge Poznan.  I qualified for Team GB & entered the race early in 2016.  Then in March I upset my Achilles (again!) and had to stop running for three months.  Hardly the best race prep but I did manage to have more bike focused training.  I started running again in June and had completed a couple of 70.3 events prior to this big one and the Achilles was holding up with a  9 min run:1 min walk strategy on all my runs.

I arrived in Poznan late on the Friday night.  Something I never do.  I usually like a couple of days pre-race to find my feet and faff!  Luckily I had Martin (my husband) with me and he dragged my bike around to save my arms.

The day before the race was a frenzy of building my bike, registering, packing my transition bags, race briefing , racking,  eating and meeting the other Team GBers.  The event was not particularly well organised with long waits to rack our bikes whilst they numbered the bike racks.  It was far from restful!

Anyway my previous two nights sleep had been good so I wasn’t too concerned.  Managed to get to bed fairly early.  Not much sleep was had but that is normal before a big race.  Breakfast was ready and waiting in the fridge for my 4:30 am alarm call – cold spaghetti Bolognese from the restaurant J.

I was pretty organised in the morning and left the hotel at 5:30 for the 20 min walk to transition with Martin which left ample time before our start wave at 07:05.

The Swim:

A deep water start 100m from the end of the lake.  We were swimming in Lake Matalski, a fantastic rowing lake so the swim was a simple long length of the lake, turn to swim the width of the lake and return to the start end.  With a 2k long lake with measurements for the rowers clearly marked you would have thought Challenge could manage to mark out a 3.8km route but when I exited with a swim time of 54 mins I was confused and looking to see if we needed to dive in again!  Luckily I spotted people in the change tent and everyone was commenting on how fast they had swum.  I know my swim speed and that a 54 min 3.8km is very unlikely and was certain the course was short.  Anyhow, worry about that later.

The Bike:

I was quite concerned about the bike leg as I had been experiencing knee pain on all my bike rides longer than an hour since June.  I was hoping my gruelling massages with Gareth Ziyambi and Cliff Gudgeon would see me through and thankfully they did!  A closed road out and back circuit along a dual carriageway.  Nothing to look at but the road ahead.  Luckily it was four loops of 28 miles each which meant I could keep my brain occupied with time and distance calculations.  My four hour mind numbingly boring Wattbike sessions were definitely great mental prep for this!  The course was mostly flat with a few low rollers here and there.  It wasn’t too congested which was lovely.  I saw a Danish girl whizz by me sometime during the second loop and thought she was in my age group but there was no way I was prepared to challenge her at the speed she was going.  I was sticking religiously to a HR in the top of zone 2.  I knew it was going to be a long day!  It was warming up already on the bike with the air thick and humid.

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

I managed to maintain an average speed of 20.1 mph which I was very happy with.  The end of the bike course was poorly marked and it wasn’t until lap 3 that I had sussed out where to exit to go back to transition.  I also managed to spot Martin here who told me I was in 2nd place (WHOOP!) which gave me a bit of an incentive to motor on on the final lap when my focus is usually beginning to wane.

The Run:

We started by exiting transition and running along the length of Lake Matalski where we had swum earlier.  I was quickly plagued with a stitch which is usual for me after I get off the bike.  I stopped to stretch and sort it out and then ran on.  It was a long way to the first aid station so I employed my run/walk strategy.  I couldn’t make out the run route at all.  It had us twisting and turning all over the place.  Some was trail/sand, some cobbles, some pavement.  The aid stations were roughly every 2k so they became my walking territory along with any hills of which there were a couple short and steep on each lap.  The crowds in the city centre were a fantastic support and in fact there were people sparsely populating the entire course with a lot of locals banging wooden spoons against saucepans the entire afternoon.  As irritating as it was I had to admire their dedication!

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

It was great to see Martin close to the end of my first loop, he informed me I was still second with a 15-17 minute lead on the 3rd placed girl.  I knew I had to remain focused and that I could still be caught but knowing your placing is a great incentive to keep running!  I could also see that I could be on for my sub 11 hour race time that I had yearned for since I finished Barcelona in 11:07 three years ago.  The run surface was tough, it was a grueling route and the humidity was insane.  It was so hot and sticky.  It was just fab to have so many other GB athletes out on the course.  We were the largest team of 37 and the encouragement was great both from them and their supporters around the course.  Even Laura Sidwell, GB Pro who was racing the middle distance event (and won!) was encouraging us on her way around!

On lap 3 I became concerned that my lips were slightly burning.  I put it down to the sun and salt stinging them and then to the oranges that I had been sucking on at each aid station.  However it was slightly unnerving since my lips are often the first thing to react when my allergy kicks in.  I was just a wee bit concerned as I had taken an anti-histamine in the morning so perhaps my pro-dromal signs would be weakened…… I ran on but it wouldn’t go away even after washing my face with water and stopping eating the oranges.  I reassured myself that nothing else was happening and all was ok but then when it wouldn’t subside I looked at my skin on my arms and legs to see a fairly significant rash.  I couldn’t bear the thought of doing so well this far and not finishing so I popped another anti-histamine and told myself to just keep on running, no stopping (it can make it worse).  I know that being scared made me run faster which is no bad thing!  I saw Martin again as I began my final lap and he told me that I was still ahead but that 3rd was closing in but he knew I wanted the sub 11 more than anything and he knew I could do it.  The final lap was hard, I was hurting – my legs simply didn’t have much running in them.  I finally reached the final climb up to the spectacular finish line and rocked across in 10 hrs 38 mins absolutely over the moon!  (The state of my legs below gives you an idea of the kind of terrain we were running on at times!)

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

fot.Pawel Naskrent/

So a new PB over this distance by 29 mins – although I do acknowledge that our swim was short, in spite of that I would still be well under the 11 hours I yearned for.

And European Long Course Championships Silver Medalist!!  My fourth European medal in a third age group.  I really could not be happier.  As an added bonus I have also qualified for Challenge Samorin – the new Challenge Championship 2017.

Whoop! What a great race.

I find it quite interesting that this is probably the least training I have ever done for an iron distance event.  My biking consisted mainly of mountain biking through the winter, a week in Lanzarote and the Tour of Wessex.  Since the end of May 90% of my long ride cycling has been on my Wattbike at race pace for 3-4 hours at a time.  I was worried about the bike leg because of this but in fact I think it did me a favour with my fastest ever bike split!  My running was virtually non-existent and I replaced all of my run sessions with bike sessions until early June.  No run training seems to suit me!  Quality vs Quantity it seems is the way forward!

Huge thanks as ever to my sponsors Cadence & Giant Radlett.  They provide me with immense support and some fantastic bikes to ride.  Also to Simon Costain at the Gait and Posture Centre who literally keeps me on my feet.

To all my friends, family, Tri Londoners & Oxygen Addicts you are always ace in your support.  Kevin from Tri London deserves a special mention for patiently sitting on a mountain bike beside me to enable me to do my last few long runs whilst he was out of action with a calf injury.

Last but very definitely not least to Martin, my husband whose support is never-ending, having him out in Poland was simply fantastic.  He is always there for me wherever I am.  I have had some great results this season and his presence at my races has been a huge contribution to that.

Next up Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, September 2016.

*Explanation from Challenge for the Short Swim

Basically in spite of measuring the distance accurately, drawing a map, putting it on facebook, showing us in the briefing, showing the judges in their briefing and having a guy show us on a jet-ski in the morning it still wasn’t enough!  One of the water canoes positioned himself across the path of the oncoming swimmers directing them around a buoy but this was the wrong buoy.  However, he was not allowing people past.  The pros, the men and then the ladies were all directed to turn too early.  The race referee and the ETU Technical Delegate allowed the race to continue on the basis that the shortening of the swim did not affect the outcome of the final competition.



The Commando!

November 21, 2015

Guiding at The Commando – Hever Castle, Kent – 14th November 2015

Alison has struggled to participate in sport having lost her sight ten years ago. I was put in touch with her by the British Triathlon Federation just over a year ago as Alison had wanted to take part in a triathlon. We successfully managed this at the Hercules Festival of Sport back in September and I was keen to find another challenge.

I thought an off road run with obstacles could be fun and approached my good friend Nina for some advice as she was working with The Commando Series. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we found ourselves welcomed with open arms by The Commando Series and before we knew it we were on the start line! This event appealed to me as I knew there were Commandos on the course to help out if Alison’s visual impairment meant we came unstuck at any point.



I need not have worried. I had described each of the fifteen obstacles to Alison and she did not appear to be phased by anything! We thought through our tactics and before we knew it we found ourselves at Hever Castle in pouring rain and a boggy field. There was a lovely heated marquee for us to keep warm and dry in whilst waiting for our start wave and within a short time we found ourselves rolling around in the mud in the warm up pen!


The Commando Series is a 6km obstacle challenge designed to give the participants the opportunity to experience the mud, sweat and pain of real, modern day, commando training, taking on 15 gruelling obstacles over a wild terrain course. Many of the obstacles were designed to be exact replicas of the training obstacles found at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Devon including a 30m neck deep wading pool and the dreaded Sheep Dip a 2m long tube submerged in muddy water.

After the warm up we were already fantastically muddy. It was pelting with rain too. The terrain itself was tough enough without any obstacles!

We had a briefing from Brian Adcock the Commando in Chief, an ex-Commando who had ultimately made our participation possible.



The torrential rain had made the ground extremely slippery even in trail shoes. It was tough enough just for me to stay upright and I could see where I was going!

The course consisted of the following obstacles:

  1. Tunnel Rats – 10m long winding tunnels crafted out of wriggly tin and earth, crawling through on our hands and knees.
  1. Smarty Tubes – 8m long and 2 foot wide drainage pipes sunk into the ground, semi-immersed in muddy water and getting progressively deeper.


  1. The Wires – a 40m long wooded glade dissected with metres and metres of elastic cord – this was really tricky! It wasn’t just the wires there were logs and very slippery, uneven terrain.

  1. Slippery Slope – a 30m long steep muddy slope with large ropes hanging down that we had to haul ourselves up on. It looks flat in this photo but I can assure you it wasn’t! It was like mud ramps so it was tricky for Alison as there were sudden drops in the ground at repeated intervals all the way up.


  1. Monkey Bars – OK this one beat us so we chose the easier option of a balance beam instead.
  1. The Scramble – an 8m high scramble net. Not a problem for Alison, just scaled it like a pro! This was the view from the top.
  1. Doom Drop – a 30m slippery slide with a steep entry and long run off. This was so much fun we wished it was twice as long. Alison went off first and then I followed. She showed no fear just throwing herself off the top of the steep hill onto a tarpaulin covered hill side flowing with water and washing up liquid. We literally bombed down it!

  1. Catacombs of Doom – A 30m long cave system originally tunnelled out by Lord Astor’s workers on the estate. I don’t know why I led us through this Alison would probably have done better! It was very dark and so slippy we ended up crawling through on our hands and knees. No photos – it was dark!
  1. Peter’s Pool – a 30m wide clay marlpit once used for brick making and now filled with chest-deep muddy water, we are both quite short so I am sure it was more like neck deep! This was tricky to get into and in fact Alison ended up have a pretty quick immersion as I hadn’t realised until we were hanging off the ropes that the sides of the mud bank were cut away where she was hanging. She was still grinning when she resurfaced though!
  1. Creepy Crawly – a 12m low scramble net that we had to commando crawl under.
  1. River Cross – A crossing of the River Eden – neck deep but assisted with a rope
  1. The Chasm – A 20m crossing of another clay marlpit this time on a high wire, we crossed using the Tyrollean Traverse method. It was daunting enough to get onto the wire let alone traverse across not attached to anything knowing there is quite a drop if you fall AND not being able to see! Huge KUDOS for this one Alison! All I could do was describe how far she had left to go from the other side!


  1. The Frogger – a 15m crossing of the River Eden using inflatable tyres or an option to go back in the water again using a rope to navigate the crossing and that is the option we chose.  This is us clambering out.
  1. Sheep Dip – 1 2m long drainage pipe submerged in muddy water – pushed through from one end by a commando and hauled out at the other!

  1. The Wall – the finish line – a 12ft high wall with a scramble net over it. Tough enough for anyone that could see where they were going let alone Alison that couldn’t but it was no problem, Alison was at the top very quickly and calmly!


Then the climb down the other side to the finish!


Another highlight? The warm showers afterwards:


All in all this was an amazing day out. We are so grateful to Nina and all at The Commando Series for enabling us to participate and for their help and support both before, during and after the event.

Thanks too to Colin the photographer at Peachy Snaps Photography for some amazing shots.

Thanks also to Martin for being chauffeur, photographer and most importantly Ted, Alison’s guide dog minder for the day in awful weather conditions!

None of it would have been possible with the help of Lesley Keddy and all the volunteer guide runners at South Oxhey Park Run that enables Alison to keep run fit.

Last but not least I would like to thank my sponsors for their continuing support.  Giant Radlett spoil me rotten with fantastic bicycles to ride and neverending support.  Not only does this help my triathlon racing, it has also meant that I have been able to keep fit in spite of having to take a long break in my running due to an Achilles injury.

Its a wonder I am able to run at all but Simon Costain from the Gait and Posture Centre continuously supports me with these awkward feet of mine!

I would highly recommend this as a superb day out for anyone and we hope to be back next year.  Finding the next challenge is now on the cards but this will be a tough one to beat!

Alison you are gutsy, fearless and an amazing inspiration to others.  I cannot wait for the next challenge.  Any ideas anyone?!


October 5, 2015

Could you imagine swimming 400m in a pool you had never set foot in before, then jumping on the back of a tandem with someone who has little experience and hitting busy roads for 13 hilly miles and then wrapping that little lot up with a 5k hilly off road trail run on uneven ground, all the while being blindfolded?!

Let me introduce you to Alison Mead a 53 year old tough cookie that has a B1 Classification from British Blind Sport having lost her sight in 2005.

I was introduced to Alison by the British Triathlon Federation in July last year. Alison was keen to get involved in triathlon again having participated in a race a couple of years before. Alison needed to find a guide that could help her achieve her dream of racing again and I was hoping to be that person.

We started off by run/walking along the Ebury Way, a fantastic trail not far from her house in Oxhey. After doing this a couple of times I suggested we might try going to a local Park Run as it had the feel of more of an event than running on our own. We decided to go to St Albans Park Run on a chilly morning in November 2014. We might have been the last people to finish but it didn’t matter the support and encouragement from other racers and park users was fantastic and we left on a real high.

A short while later Park Run started up near Alison’s house and Ted, her gorgeous guide dog, learnt how to bring her there in spite of the fact that some of the walk is off road. I would run here with Alison whenever I could but logistically committing to training every week was difficult to fit into my already busy schedule. Soon other people offered to guide Alison and within no time she had a guide every week! A lovely lady called Lesley Keddy, has now set up a rota so Alison has a guide most weeks and if she doesn’t she kindly helps marshalling. Fullerlife Leisure based at Watford Grammar School for Girls have supported us in using their pool for swim training. Cycling was a steep learning curve as I had never ridden a tandem before. Alison has her own tandem that I initially took to the Ebury Way Trail with a friend who was experienced in riding a tandem. Alison and I then ventured out on the trail and once we were competent we ventured off to Moor Park on the roads the week before race day. The tandem is a definite learning curve! Once its up and moving it is fine but setting off requires balance and concentration!

Race Day was soon upon us and with some invaluable help from Kay Tang, Cycledude in transporting the tandem at an ungodly hour of the morning we found ourselves outside Westminster Lodge in St Albans at 5:45 am.

Hercules Events, the race organisers had been so accommodating and helpful and Alison was given race No.1! We had our own special briefing from David the Race Director at 6:40 am and then were allowed to start our swim whilst the main group then had their briefing.

I could hear their amazing cheers of support from all the other race entrants whilst David explained what we were up to. We had 16 lengths to swim, ducking under the lane ropes at each end of the pool.  
When we first started swimming together Alison was really only confident swimming alongside the wall but we soon learnt how to manage against the lane ropes by swimming in a busy public pool on a bank holiday weekend!

In a little over 11 minutes we were out the pool and had a fairly long run to transition just as dawn was breaking.

   We organized ourselves fairly quickly and managed to get the tandem off the rack and had another long run to the mount line. Alison is amazing in being able to run just holding the bike to guide her.

 Mounting the tandem and getting it going was the only bit of the whole race that I was nervous about and thankfully we managed on the first attempt!

The ride was a little hilly but it was only towards the halfway point that some of the faster entrants came by us. We had been hoping for a minimum average speed of around 12 mph so our 15.5 mph average was a brilliant boost and Alison clearly loved the descents and feeling the wind in her hair as we exceeded speeds of 32 mph. We found ourselves back in the park in no time at all. We had to slow up for the half mile or so through the park to the dismount line as by now the narrow footpath we were riding on was busy with other runners and cyclists.

We dismounted successfully and then had to negotiate a windy transition with a very long bike. Mission accomplished and we were soon heading out onto the run.

 The run really took some guts. It was predominantly off road on hilly, uneven ground. We knew the first part around the lake as it is the same as Park Run St Albans but then we ventured up and down several hills on tricky terrain. Alison experienced a severe cramp in her hamstring so unfortunately although we were looking set for a 5k PB all of a sudden she was brought to a grinding halt and we had to spend several minutes stretching out and massaging her hamstring. In spite of a couple of stints of this we still managed a decent time and as we rounded the final bend with 200m to go we could hear the race commentator announcing her imminent arrival. At this point a third bout of severe cramp set in but Alison battled it out to run across the finish line as its inflated structure actually started to collapse just as we crossed under it!

I have to say that this was simply the most fun I have ever had at a sprint triathlon! Alison is just so gutsy! Her swim was strong, we beasted the tandem ride (and didn’t fall off!) and her run on that hilly, off-road, uneven ground battling with severe cramp in her leg was outstanding.

Alison had a few objectives – to finish, enjoy it and hoped to beat a previous race time from a couple of years ago. She managed all three even though this event was longer than the last one!

None of this would have been possible without the help of many people. We would both like to pass our thanks to the following:

Carol Macdonald at Triathlon England for putting us in touch with each other.

Hercules Events for being so accommodating and helpful.

Lesley Keddy from South Oxhey Park Run, the other guide runners and of course Park Run itself which was an essential part of the training preparation for this event.

Kay Tan, Cycle Dude the mobile bike mechanic for transporting the tandem in the middle of the night.

Fullerlife for supporting us with training at their pool.

The roar and support of those waiting to race after us.

Lesley & Nick, Ted’s original boarders who looked after Ted for 24 hours

Ted himself who is of course invaluable and he also played a major role in getting Alison to Park Run

Alison High a friend and regular guide at Park Run, Alan & Sandra & other friends that came to support.

Must not forget Martin, official paparazzi for also getting out of bed in the middle of the night!

All the awesome tweeters and facebookers!

Then of course there are my sponsors:

Giant Radlett, for keeping me on some beautiful wheels and providing never-ending support

Simon Costain at The Gait & Posture Centre for literally keeping me on my feet!

Since the event we have even been featured in the media with both The Mirror and Join In Uk writing some lovely articles. If you are interested you can take a look here:

The Mirror article

Join In UK article

We are also delighted to have been invited to attend British Blind Sports 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner next month.

If perhaps you would like to to consider guiding please take a look at Join In UK and/or Guide Running UK for more information. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Alison – you are a inspiration and should be very, very proud of yourself!  I’m now hunting out a new challenge for us!

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October 11, 2014

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English Middle Distance Triathlon Championships – The Grafman!

June 10, 2014

Short Report:


This race is a middle distance triathlon located in the heart of Cambridgeshire near the ancient villages of Buckden & St Neots. The race base is set at Grafham Water . The swim is a dip in the beautiful Grafham Water Reservoir, followed by a fast out, 2 laps and back undulating bike course, finishing with a 2 lap “out and back” scenic run around Grafham water and the surrounding villages. It was the official English Middle Distance Triathlon Championship event. It was also possibly the hottest day of the year so far!


Swim: 33:26

T1: 2:12

Bike: 2:44:53

T2: 1:28

Run: 1:52:59

Total: 5:15:59 (3rd in AG 40-44F)

National Age Group Championships Bronze Medallist


Long Report:


My race no of 69 seemed to cause a lot of amusement!

Race start was at a very civilised 7:30 am which meant that for a change I was getting out of bed later than I would on a normal weekday! As my parents were also watching me race I went up the night before. They had conveniently found a campsite just around the corner from Grafham Water but I decided to treat myself to a night in more luxurious accommodation at the Premier Inn in Huntingdon, 10 minutes drive away. Martin was also with me and just as I was getting into my wetsuit at the swim start my brother and his wife also rocked up. Uh oh! The pressure was on!



It was only two weeks since I had completed the Tour of Wessex so I was slightly worried that there would still be an element of fatigue in my legs. Along with that I had a terrible cold straight afterwards and although feeling much better still had a voice that was a lot gruffer than normal so possibly was still carrying a virus.

The Swim:


There were wave starts with the women in the final wave along with the older men. My plan was to try and stick to the feet of Naomi, another Tri Londoner who is a much faster swimmer than me, for as long as I could. I probably managed it for about 50m before there was complete carnage from all around and I lost her. I tried to maintain the pace but developed quite a strong stitch and was worried as that doesn’t normally happen to me in the swim. I eased off and as the carnage settled I then couldn’t find any feet at all and spent the rest of the swim on my own. The route was one large triangle, run out of the water, back in again and then swim a smaller triangle. Judging by my GPS tracking, I didn’t do too bad a job at sighting in spite of the strong sun shining for the return leg which made sighting extremely difficult. I glanced at my watch as I exited the swim and was pleased to see it was a couple of minutes faster than my race last month. I had tried to put more effort in but I always find it so difficult in the swim to push hard when I am not trying to keep up with anyone.




As I ran up the bank into T1 I could hear the family shouting and the cameras clicking! I was pleased to see a far amount of bikes still on the rack too. I took my time in T1. I have big problems with blisters on the run so I wanted to make sure I put some silicone anti-blister lube on my feet before putting my socks on and had to sit down to do this. Still a relatively quick transition for me.



The Bike:

The bike was an out and back course in the shape of a T. The length of the T ridden just once and then the bit across the top twice. In spite of the waved starts there were lots of us out on the bikes which meant that there was also a lot of drafting. In spite of the BTF presence it didn’t seem to make any difference. They only seemed to be out on their motorbikes for the first 30 minutes or so anyway! As is usual for a waved start race I found myself on many occasions stuck behind the slower guys with cars trundling behind them, unable to overtake as the roads were fairly busy, narrow and there were cyclists and cars coming in the opposite direction too. Coupled with this seven miles into the ride my right knee was hurting pretty badly. I had injured this knee last year but it has been great, its stood up to a long training camp and the Tour of Wessex and I couldn’t understand it. Then I remembered that the day before I had walloped it directly onto the knee cap at speed on the corner of a window sill getting onto my watt bike. I was tempted to stop and try and stretch it to see if it would help but in the end opted for the HTFU option and got on with pedalling. I tried to ignore it but to say that the bike course dragged on is an understatement. The pain was radiating into my thigh. I tried to put more effort through the opposite leg. Regardless, my heart rate was also quite high so I figured I was actually doing ok. Being out and back I could see the other Tri Londoners and try and watch the progress of everyone. I tried to distract my mind my working out how far ahead or behind others were and then if I was gaining or losing on them. It was great entertainment for an otherwise boring course. There was really only a group of supporters at the top of the T, gathered outside the Snooty Tavern. Pat from Tri London was great encouragement each time I passed. Soon enough I was returning to T2 once again stuck behind a camper van slowing us all down.



I was pleased to see quite a lot of empty spaces on the bike rack but had no notion of where I was in the field. By now it was hot! hot! hot! In and out just 13.1 hot miles to run!



The Run:


The run was a couple of loops of mixed terrain around Grafham Water. Slightly undulating in places but nothing too terrible. We had to run across the dam on the south side of the reservoir. With a fairly stiff breeze this was quite exposed but relatively cooling. However, after turning around at the end of the dam if felt like I was cooking on the return. Not sure if I took on a gel too soon but I developed a terrible stitch just after the first turnaround point and ended up having to stop and do some stretches and deep breathing before starting to run again at a slower pace, didn’t quite work so I repeated the actions again then set off running at a slower pace and it seemed to do the trick. I decided to ignore the next aid station and let my stomach settle. The next part of the run was relatively shaded either through woodland or alongside trees. I saw a few competitors for whom the heat had got the better of them. Including a couple collapsed. I offered assistance both times but they were in good hands. My stomach settled and I began to enjoy myself, particularly the abuse from my brother and the encouragement from Martin as I ran past transition each time. The aid station at the far end of the course about 4 miles in had run out of water and cups – less than ideal on an extremely hot day! My knee was sore but nothing like it had been on the bike and I was able to maintain a steady pace. Was good to see so many of the other Tri Londoners and others I knew. It made the time pass quickly and I began my counts again to see if I was losing or gaining time. My family were around the transition area with the other supporters and that made for a great buzz when I ran through.

I’ve been plagued with Achilles problems over the last few years and have just had new orthotics made by Simon Costain at the The Gait and Posture Centre. He has also been manipulating my “concrete” feet on a weekly basis and this has made such a difference to me. This is the first race I have really noticed it, with minimal discomfort from my feet on the run.


On the final lap my sister-in-law ran the last 100m with me putting the pace on which meant I had to pick mine up. Couldn’t believe how soon it was all over and was delighted to be welcomed across the finish line by a cool pint of Erdinger and of course Martin and my family.


There were a huge gang of Tri Londoners present – 17 of us in total – we sure made our presence known. The Tri London ladies were awarded a spot prize of Team of the Day which was a bundle of protein bars and then the task of finding the “Male Legs of the Day”! It was absolutely fantastic to have so many of us there and some noisy supporters to boot. I have never raced with so many friends before and it was a superb experience.


I had been hoping for a top 10 position at this race. After crossing the line you can obtain your results but you have no idea of your placing. I went along to the prize giving to support my fellow club members as I was sure a couple of them would have been on the podium. It was an awful shock to hear my name called out for the Bronze! I am delighted!



Huge thanks to the team at for their continued support. Two days before the race I managed to snap two of the cables on my bike that control the Di2 (electronic gearing). Don’t ask me how I managed this but after a panicky call to the store the trusty Dave came to the rescue and sorted it – phew! I’d also like to thank the team at I am striving to be the best I can be this year in recognition of the huge amount of support that & the team from have given me. spoil me rotten and alongside that they provide an excellent service for all things bike! are rather special people too. Alongside their lovely sofas they just love being nice, they do lots of lovely things for various charities which you can read about . remains my inspiration and with the support from and Giant Radlett I stay focused and determined to train hard and hopefully race well. I appreciate all the help that I get more than these guys will ever know.








Tour of Wessex – 24th-26th May 2014

May 29, 2014

The Tour of Wessex is a three day cycle sportive which took place over the last bank holiday weekend in May. It involves cycling over 337 miles and 25, 168ft of climbing through beautiful, quintessential villages of Somerset, Dorset and Devon, through Cheddar Gorge, to Corfe Castle and over Exmoor. Challenging hill climbs and pure endurance make this a tough but awesome event. I have previously ridden it in 2010 and 2012. The event HQ is based in Somerton, the ancient Royal Capital of Wessex.


This year I chose to stay in a hotel in Glastonbury 7 miles away from HQ with a friend. There were several others that I knew also there and many others besides. Camping and Glamping are available but if the weather is bad I felt it would be impossible to get warm.

With a horrendous six and a half hour journey down to Glastonbury on the Friday night we arrived much later than we had hoped but managed a quick pint in the pub with some friends before preparing the bike and turning in for the night.

The bike I chose to ride for this event is a Giant Avail Road bike with aero wheels. I love this bike! It is so comfortable and great for climbing too.


Up at 6 for breakfast and then a hurried drive to Somerton for the start of Stage 1.

Stage 1 – 107 miles, 7,210ft of climbing – 6 hrs 32 mins moving time, 7 hrs 17 mins clock time

Garmin File can be found here

Myself and another Tri Londoner Sara were riding together but there were many other friends around too. Its quite tricky to all meet up at the start but we found Farouk and Ben. It was a miserable morning. Overcast and raining and only about 10 degrees. I stupidly thought that if I wore a waterproof I would just get hot and sweaty so decided to just ride in a short sleeve cycling jersey with arm warmers and shorts. Bad decision! The rain was relentless all day.

We left Somerton and as the first 25 miles or so are fairly flat we managed to maintain a good average speed, riding in some fast pace lines. These rides are all scenic and soon enough we were passing alongside Glastonbury Tor an iconic and evocative landmark.


From here we crossed the Somerset Levels. Lying below sea-level these were terribly flooded only a couple of months ago and although they have resurfaced from under all the water the surface water created by the rain today was pretty significant.

Next up was the 8km climb through Cheddar Gorge – not so great in the pouring rain but still majestic. Britain’s biggest gorge is famous for its dramatic cliffs which rise 450ft to the plateau of the Mendip Hills and is an impressive sight. Its a pretty tough climb through the gorge itself with a maximum gradient of 17%. The rain was making the roads so treacherous that all the manhole covers were incredibly slippery. At the foot of the gorge some poor chap had found out the hard way and I saw him picking himself up off the road with his bike in one hand and his front wheel still attached to half his front forks in the other.


At the aid station at the top we met up with some others. Had a little chat and big feed before heading off. I suddenly realised then how cold I was. There were now four of us, Farouk, Yoann and Sara were all with me. Less than a mile from the aid station Sara developed a puncture. We stopped to fix it but I became unbearably cold and knew what a mistake I had made by leaving my rain jacket behind. I was shivering violently, my teeth were chattering uncontrollably and it was still raining. I was numb in my face and from the elbows down and knees down. Never mind, the only thing to do was pedal faster!

From here we went on to Wells, England’s smallest city with a magnificent cathedral which we cycle right by.


Next up came one of the toughest climbs of the weekend – King Alfred’s Tower. Although this is only a 2.32 km climb its average gradient is 6.5% peaking to 18% and with a river running down it as we were climbing. My limit for getting off the bike and walking was not far off and many others chose to do so!


Shortly after this point we reached a marker that split the long ride with a shorter ride. Luckily the rain appeared to be letting up, I have never been so tempted in my life to cut something short! We said goodbye to Farouk at this point as he had undertaken Lanzarote ironman just one week earlier. I prayed that the weather would dry up and make the remaining 47 miles more bearable! We rode a long loop back to this same position but then it was just 20 miles to home.

From here we passed by Longleat Estate & Safari Park and Stourhead House & Gardens. Its an impressive area to cycle through and thankfully on a wet day not nearly so crowded as it usually is.

On the return to HQ we were really battling with a head wind. If any pace lines came through we jumped on them. They usually fell apart on the hills but with what felt like 12 very long miles to go a pace line passed by us and one of my club mates, Adrian was on the back. He had a fully packed up bike preparing for some monster ride across Europe. I knew he was an incredibly strong rider but felt able to jump on the end of the line and sure enough we managed to cling on. With some super fast riders working together at the front and another chap that seemed to be about 7 foot tall with a black batman cape flailing behind him in the wind riding directly in front of me we were sorted! The miles flew by! The group disbanded on any ascents slightly but we managed to cling on to the end, feeling slightly guilty that I hadn’t done any of the hard work but would make up for it again.

We arrived back looking like we had been mountain biking. The bikes were filthy, we were frozen and soaked right through. I was so glad not to be camping!



Thankfully tonight we were visiting some friends in their rental cottage so we managed to wash and dry our clothes whilst having dinner. My socks were past rescue though and ended up in the bin. We spent some considerable time trying to clean the bikes with a packet of baby wipes and a towel and just about made a difference.

Throughout the evening and the night it continued to rain heavily.

Stage 2 – 116 miles, 7,398 ft of climbing – ride time 7 hrs 14 mins, clock time – 7 hrs 59 mins

Garmin File can be found here

The morning arrived and it was still raining! It was forecast to be dry! Just as we started it began to clear up but in an effort not to make the same mistake as yesterday I decided to pack my waterproof in my rear pocket.

Today another Tri Londoner, Bjoern, was riding with us. He had what sounded like a pretty miserable day yesterday riding on his own. Again a speedy ride initially with 10 miles of fast pace line riding to the first hill. The first sight on this ride is the Cerne Abbas Giant, 25 miles in. This is an ancient nude figure, sculpted into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas. It stands 180ft tall and is Britain’s largest chalk hill figure. In past times it was apparently used in fertility rites, perhaps inspired by its fabled phallus.


This is a pretty ride through some little villages with some interesting names, Piddletrenthide, Piddlehinton, Puddletown, to name but a few. The weather was dry and warm. I was almost too warm but I certainly was not complaining! This area is the spectacular Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. We had a few long climbs in the Lulworth area but with the view of the sea it made the whole experience much more pleasant! We then had a long descent down into Lulworth Cove but unfortunately no time to stop on the beach and admire Durdle Door as we headed straight back up the steep climb out of Lulworth Cove.


Next up it was time to climb across the Lulworth Ranges which are used by the Arnoured Fighting Vehicles Gunnery School, one of the British Army’s pre-eminent training establishments. I just hoped they were not out firing today as we seemed to be riding incredibly close to targets!


Six miles on we were treated to the spectacular sight of Corfe Castle rising high above the village of Corfe. The view of the castle which dates back to the 11th century is so beautiful and impressive it was worthy of a quick photo shot.


We had some speedy miles from here until the stunning village of Milton Abbas. This is a picture-postcard village which dates back to 1773. You ride through the centre of the village surrounded by thatch cottages, olde worlde pubs and tea rooms, the temptation to stop was definitely there!


Its a pretty tough climb but made all the easier by the fantastic scenery. I had to stop at one point to adjust my saddle. I was in a whole world of pain! My saddle had become ever so slightly nose up and I hadn’t noticed it the day before but by now I was in an awful lot of pain. We lost Bjoern at this point but I was sure he was happy enough by then on this lovely dry day! I tilted my saddle down which felt enormously improved but I fear the damage had been done! Not long to home now – we managed to jump on a pace line heading past us and as the terrain had smoothed out somewhat we kept a high speed back to Race HQ in Somerton. Towards the end there were just four of us, two guys and myself and Sara. Sara and I definitely pulled our weight this time, spending a lot of time on the front battling with the strong headwind. We all helped out but those lads were so polite on the return through the timing mat that they dropped back to allow us across the line first.

Stage 3 – 114 miles, 10,560 ft of climbing – ride time – 8hrs 5 mins, clock time – 9 hours 30 mins

Garmin File can be found here

I really wasn’t looking forward to today. We both seemed to be developing colds & the saddle sore I experienced yesterday was awful but I hoped that the adjustments I had made would see me through. Oh how wrong I was! I had employed all the tactics I could think of to try to alleviate the problem including wearing two pairs of shorts. Sara was facing similar problems and this cost us an awful lot of time today. I rarely freewheel, even down hills but every turn of the pedals was painful. I stopped at a shop to buy vaseline, switched my shorts around, stopped regularly, stood out of the saddle regularly but all to no avail. From the pain point of view it was a deeply miserable 114 miles of riding – I have never experienced anything like it! I won’t say any more about it – lesson learnt! I SHOULD have adjusted my saddle as soon as I realised there was a problem and perhaps lowered it even further during the ride today, anyway….

Day three is always a tough day not only is it advertised as 112 miles and ends up 114(!) but you also have 223 hilly miles already in the legs. When you look at the chart they give to you the hill climbs all look much of a muchness until you notice that they almost halve the scale for day three!


Day three leaves Somerton and heads towards the Quantocks via Bridgewater. We got to the start line early today and early on Sara and I started working with a Verulam cycling club member. He is local to me in Radlett as this club is based in St Albans. We all did our fair share until an extremely long pace line came by and we jumped on. Unfortunately Sara got dropped at a set of lights and I had not realised. As she was not in sight I stayed with this group until the hill climb up to the first aid station. It was an exhilarating ride to that point. My average ride speed was well over 19 mph until the start of the climb up to Quantock Common. This was pretty tough with tired legs & saddle sore! Its a 2 km climb, average gradient 7.8% with a maximum gradient of 16%. The Quantock Hills are a designated Area of Outstanding National Beauty so the views did not disappoint.



After descending the other side I was greeted by the sight of the first feed station and lots of my Tri London buddies. I waited here for Sara and then four of us departed together. Whilst “racing” this sportive may be the preferred choice of some, I prefer to ride with company. These are very long days in the saddle and definitely much more fun with friends. It is fantastic training whichever tack you choose. Whilst I had a beautifully light bike, Sara’s was considerably heavier and I’m glad it was her and not me powering it up those hills! I know for sure she will be motoring when she next gets onto her carbon steed!

We rode from here passing Dunster Castle, dating back to Norman times. Although there were a couple of shorter sharp hills it really felt like not time at all before the second feed station was upon us and I didn’t feel I needed it. It was probably placed strategically at the bottom of the Porlock Hill Toll Road. This is a pretty long climb – 6.7 km with an average gradient of 5.7% and a maximum of 14%. I actually really enjoyed this climb. This toll road is definitely a far easier alternative to the viciously steep Porlock Hill which even cars seem to struggle up! The road climbs from the village of Porlock to Pitt Combe Head. The road snakes along the coastal cliffs, and provides stunning views across Bridgwater Bay to the Vale of Glamorgan. The first part winds through quiet woodland with switchbacks where you can see the riders below and its really very pretty and tranquil. It then opens out onto open moorland of heather, gorse and whortleberry bushes.





No sooner have you descended this hill you are faced with another steeper climb back up the other side onto Porlock Common. From here its just relentless hills over and through Exmoor National Park. Many of these were steep and long. However, my legs were feeling strong and I was too, but oh boy! did I mention I was saddle sore???

At the 118 km point we were faced with a particularly brutal climb and at a sharp hair pin half way up the gradient becomes 25%. Exactly at this point it seems my chain perhaps caught a spoke as I changed into my lowest gear and the pedals refused to turn. With feet in an awkward place I was unable to unclip before toppling into the road much to the amusement of a passing van as I lay sprawled on my back with a bicycle clipped to me and still couldn’t unclip! Luckily Sara came to my rescue and unclipped me and noticed my rear wheel was now out of its stays! I was worried the rear derailleur would be damaged but fortunately it all seemed to be working fine. With no more damage than a bruised and scraped elbow the hardest part was working out how to get back in the saddle on this brute of a hill!

We managed and continued to plough through the miles, albeit rather slowly. From an average ride speed of well over 19mph at the first quarter of the ride we were now down to just over 13 mph! The final aid station eventually became a welcome sight on the horizon and we had a well earned feed but just as we were leaving Sara had another flat! It was a great place to have one though as the Shimano Support Team kindly repaired it for her.


What was also welcome was that the aid station crew informed us that it was all down hill from here back to Somerton! Whilst not strictly true it definitely was much easier going and there was at least the long descent down from the top of Exmoor. We picked the pace up and worked hard together to get back as quickly as we could. For the last long 8 miles (which soon turned into 10) we led a mile each and picked up a couple of others on the way and let them jump on the back. By alternating each mile it definitely made the time pass much quicker and we were soon on the lovely River Parrett Trail which is beautifully flat and scenic. It crosses the somerset levels and moors and from here is just 5 miles to the base. Two naughty climbs in the last couple of miles and we were back to HQ. Tired, sore but thrilled with our achievement.

Two tired bikes too!


The Tour of Wessex is not to be underestimated. It is a very tough challenge! However it is such a friendly event in wonderful surroundings with amazing people. My legs and I felt strong throughout the entire event this year and I put this down to some serious mileage with the Every Day Training Camp out in Lanzarote in March and over Easter with my Tri London buddies. The Giant Avail road bike was also a fab bike for this terrain and definitely helped make the whole event very enjoyable. I was spoilt with the fantastic company of Sara for the whole event and of course my other Tri London pals & triathlete friends.

Many thanks to Giant Radlett for the crazy amount of support I get from them and also to Pat remains my inspiration and without the support I received from I would not have attended the training camp in Lanzarote and this event would have been a whole different ball game! I usually use the Tour of Wessex to get fit for the season, to be on the start line fit made for a much better experience!

Time to rest up for a few days to cure my cold in time for the English Middle Distance Triathlon Championships on 8th June and oh! Did I mention I am saddle sore?

World Long Course Triathlon Championships – Belfort, France – 1st June 2013

July 9, 2013

RUN (10K) 48:53 (20th)
T1 3:18 ((6th)
BIKE (87K) 3:29:33 (19th)
T2 6:16 (13th)
RUN (20K) 1:49 (11th)

TOTAL: 6 hrs 17 mins 6 Secs
PLACING: 15th 40-44AG


For the second time in my triathlon career I had qualified to race for Team GB at the World Long Course Triathlon Championships. This is a distance that I love. The race format is (usually!):

4k swim
120k bike
30k run

This year the race was in Belfort, France, somewhat earlier than last year. This little town lies near the border of Switzerland and France and is in fact a 29 times Tour De France Stage Town. Part of the bike course was along the road that leads over a pass near the peak at the Col du Ballon d’Alsace, 1,171m (3,842 ft). The pass is noted as the site of the first official mountain climb in the Tour de France on 11 July 1905. The Tour has crossed the mountain twenty times in its history.

I flew out to France from City Airport with Martin (husband), Olivia (fellow Tri London club member) and her husband, Andy. We hired a car at Basel Airport and thus ensued our first challenge – to exit the airport in the right country – we failed! Ending up in Switzerland and in the wrong country for our car hire! A quick traipse back through the airport and we managed to exit in France and collect our hire car from the right desk. The second challenge soon arose – how to get two bike boxes, four adults and lots of luggage in the largest estate car Hertz had available. We managed but there was no room for a cat’s whisker!

We checked into our hotel about half an hour from Belfort. Two other Tri Londoners, Kris Boye & Alex Thompson were also joining us here. The hotel was fine. It was a fraction of the cost of accommodation in Belfort and there were no rooms available in Belfort anyway, even though we had looked to book early.

The weather reports had been pretty dire for the week with race day no exception and the organisers website declared that the swim may well be shortened due to adverse weather conditions. As soon as we arrived in Belfort we went straight to registration where the team managers briefing had just finished and I quickly learnt that the swim had definitely been cancelled and the race would now take on a Long Course Duathlon format of:

10k run
87k bike
20k run

I knew this would not suit me so well. In spite of not being the best swimmer this tends to be the discipline I perofrm the best in and it also tends to break up the field much more than a short run. I am also a steady runner but one who’s pace does not slow much even over long distances and generally find that the longer the run the bigger the gains I make, particularly during the later stages so I was not too happy to find that last run shortened by six miles.

We went to explore the race venue and the mountain in the car. The race base was at the lake that we were supposed to swim in and the day we visited it was sunny and the water looked very inviting.

View of the Lake

View of the Lake

We drove most of the route of the bike leg and I became more and more nervous about the extent of the climb as it seemed steeper than had been predicted and I was wishing I had changed my rear cassette for some lower gears. Once at the top of the Col Olivia and I put our bikes together and rode down the mountain to get a feel of the descent. It quickly became apparent that descending on a TT was not going to make the most of the downhill speed. With the snake pass descent, cornering on a TT made one feel extremely vulnerable and Olivia was making huge gains on me on her road bike. Nevermind it would be easier on race day with the roads shut and being able to sweep wider. This recce had proved extremely useful though because we were also aware of how cold it felt to descend even though it was a relatively sunny and dry day.

The good weather didn’t last long and the next day it was pouring with rain. We had to rack our bikes but first we went traipsing around Belfort District looking for warm clothes and various missing bike parts. By the time we got around to racking the car parks were a quagmire with cars stuck all around.

This was the general state of everywhere around the race venue!

This was the general state of everywhere around the race venue!

We made our way to a relatively clean grassy area put the bikes together and waded through the mud to transition which was equally boggy although covered by a blue carpet.

Transition the day of racking

Transition the day of racking

Race morning soon arrived but unfortunately nobody had warned the hotel that lots of hungry triathletes would be seeking breakfast at 6:00 am since they were open at that time anyway. Unfortunately arriving at 6:02 meant most of the food had been eaten! The poor waitress was scurrying around frantically trying to cope but luckily the bread van arrived just after we did so we managed our carb fest.

The boys drove us to the race start which was a sedate 8 am and left us there since they were heading off up the mountain before it closed to find a premier photo spot. They managed that task very well! Olivia and I headed off into the boggy and muddy transition dressed in our newly purchased matching fleeces and bin bags. We had bags to drop off in T1 and T2 which were already muddy and slippery so goodness knows what would happen during the race. Next up time to find the team manager to be marked up for medical conditions.

We hovered around race start with some of the other GB athletes all dressed in warm clothes and bin bags before making our way to the start pen. We had been warned to try to get to the front of the pen since the path soon became single file after the start.

Trying to keep warm & dry!

Trying to keep warm & dry!

Before I knew it we were off. I was under strict instruction from Jo at Everyday Traininng to take the first 10k easy to save my legs for the bike. This was a hard task when everyone shot off out of the starting blocks. Less than 100m in and I suddenly felt a whip against my legs followed by half the row of ladies behind me falling flat on their faces. Seemingly a TV microphone cord had been flicked up. Luckily no damage done and off I trotted. I quickly fell into pace with one of the girls from GB that I have been racing with a few times at the Euros and the Worlds previously. We reiterated our desire to save our legs and not to chase after those sprinting away from us. The run course was a trail around woodlands and the lake and was scenic but with two fairly substantial hills. The first run Garmin data can be seen here

Before long we were back into the muddy transition, I grabbed my bag, shot into the changing tent and put on a few layers. This was one race where the strict kit regulations were relaxed due to the dire weather and we could wear pretty much anything provided it did not advertise sponsors or clubs. Luckily most of my Giant clothing is manufactured with my sponsors on so it wasn’t against the rules. On went the fleecy bike jacket, the knee warmers, long fingered gloves and toe covers on my shoes. I was already wearing arm warmers and a vest under my GB kit. Uneblievable in June eh?! I have been trying to make my transitions quicker this season and was pleased to see I placed 6th in my age group for this one! I shot out of the T1 tent and as I went to put my glasses on found I had lost a lens – no point looking for them in the mud so they went straight into my back pocket. I decided against bringing a rain jacket with me. I figured if it rained I just had to pedal hard enough to keep warm.

The bike was windy enough, gently rolling for the first 20 miles then there was approximately 15 miles of climbing, pretty gentle for the first 8 miles then rising much steeper. The road wound up around the mountain and Martin and Andy were a welcome sight on top of the hairpins. They were busy clicking away and shouting words of encouragement. Soon the climb steepened and I began a long, slow grind, wishing I had had the sense to change my rear cassette for some lower gears. I was passing some but being passed by many and all in all I didn’t feel that strong on this bike leg. The scenery was pretty and I started to warm up on the climb, almost becoming too warm but I knew it would not last.

The climb up Ballon D'alsace

The climb up Ballon D’alsace

Close to the top visibility became extremely poor and suddenly an aid station appeared a few metres ahead with people moving eerily through the mist.

This is a picture taken from Europsort TV coverage

This is a picture taken from Europsort TV coverage

I grabbed a bottle and braced myself for the descent. We were told there would be an ambulance on every hair pin bend and I think there was. Unfortunately at least two of them were busy with casualties. The descent felt slightly safer than two days ago with the ability to sweep wide on each corner in the safe knowledge that no cars would be coming up. I managed a top speed of 34.9 mph. I was glad of my extra clothes for this descent as it quickly became very chilly. The rest of the bike passed without any dramas and soon I was racing back into a very muddy T2. The bike course data can be seen here

It was a long run through transition in bike shoes pushing a bike on boggy carpet which was floating on the mud beneath. Another quick change in the tent and off I went on the run. I was suprised to find Nicky again since she had passed me on the climb. She told me she had received a five minute penalty (later revoked) and her anger seemed to give her a burst of adrenaline as she shot off away from me. Nicky and I have raced at the European Long Course Championships twice with gold and silver medal positions so I was scared when she started making big gains on me. I hoped I would be able to pull back later in the run. We had two laps of the same route we had run earlier to do. This time around the hills felt far more of a struggle but on the descents I seemed to gain a lot of places so tried to run those as hard as I could. On lap two I got a severe stitch at mile 7 which was present for a good couple of miles and ended up having to stop and stretch and deep breathe before it crippled me from being able to even walk. Eventually I managed to beat it and from mile 9-12 I managed to increase my pace and suddenly started overtaking lots of people. I felt great and continued to push the pace ignoring my heart rate and really enjoyed passing others, finding Nicky and some other GB girls and powering past and having no-one pass me. Unfortunately it was all over far too soon and I was yearning for that extra 6 miles that we usually have. The second run Garmin data can be seen here

I crossed the line in a time of 6hrs 17 mins and 6 seconds to finish 15th in my age group and 2nd Brit. Not quite as I had hoped but in the circumstances I was happy.

Finishers Medal!

Finishers Medal!

I quickly found Olivia who had had a blinding race but now appeared to be suffering. After some extensive treatment by the excellent medics she made a good recovery and Martin and I decided to go and fetch the bikes and the cycle back to the car parked a couple of miles away. Unfortunately that field too was badly affected by the mud and some poor lady was stuck in her car revving the engine so hard that black smoke was pouring out of her exhaust. We intervened and helped release her from the mud and in one split second I went from being nice and warm in lovely clean and fluffy clothes to being covered in mud from head to foot again! So much for being rewarded for my good deed! The poor lady was mortified!

Mud Glorious Mud!

Mud Glorious Mud!

Never have I beeen to a race where so much of my kit got so muddy. I have been cleaning it for weeks now! The following day my legs definitely felt like they had raced hard when we decided to do a spot of sightseeing which involved lots of walking up steep hills and climbing steps! The views were worth it though!

A few of the sights

A few of the sights




All in all another fantastic experience racing for Team GB. The team manager, the other athletes and of course Tri Londoners all enhance the experience. Likewise travelling with a couple who speak fantastic French. Olivia there seems to be no end to your talents! I really appreciated having my no.1 fan and the fantastic support of Martin with me for this trip as he helped enormously. Thanks to all of my friends and family that continually support me and for all your lovely comments, texts, e-mails and facebook posts I am always astounded by the amount of encouragement I receive.

Finally none of this would be possible without my fantastic sponsors Giant Radlett, every member of the Giant Radlett team goes out of their way to make sure I am race ready with both equipment and maintenance and I cannot thank them enough. Alongside Giant the nutrition from Powerbar, the knowledge and experience of my coach Jo Carritt at Everyday Training and my new sponsorship from Pat and the team at makes me one of the most fortunate triathletes around 🙂


ITU World Championship Long Course Triathlon – 2012

July 30, 2012
Short Report:
Swim – 4 km – 1 hr 18 mins 41 secs
T1 – 3 mins 46 secs
Bike – 120 km – 3 hrs 54 mins 5 secs
T2 – 2 mins 54 secs
Run – 30 km – 2 hrs 45 mins 50 secs
Total:  8 hours 5 mins 15 secs
12th in the world! 40-44 AG (35 starters)
Swim 10th
T1 17th
Bike 18th
T2 24th
Run 15th
The International Triathlon Union is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of Triathlon. It was founded in 1989 at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France and has maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada since then. It now has over 120 affiliated National Federations around the world and is the youngest International Federation in the Olympics.
While most known for the short course events you can watch at TriathlonLive.TV, the ITU also has a long course triathlon series that culminates in the ITU Long Course World Championships, where nearly two thousand athletes from dozens of countries compete for elite and age group world champion titles by racing a 4K swim (about 2 and a half miles) , 120K bike (ABOUT 76 miles) and a 30K run (a little over 18 miles).
Having won the European Long Course Champs here in Vittoria-Gasteisz in 2010 I was familiar with lots of the course and looking forward to racing the World Champs.  However, racing this just three weeks after my ironman at Challenge Roth and with a sore knee that had been troubling me for some months now I knew it would be tough.
Nobody else from Tri London was racing so I was all set for it to be quite lonely out there.  I should not have worried though.  There were many familiar faces and two of the lads (David & Brian) that I met last year in Finland were at the airport so we all traveled together.
We had a few days before the race to ride some of the course and visit the lake for a swim.  The weather was pretty cool considering the time of year so I was thankful for that.  I didn’t do too much in the way of training before the event as on a short cycle to the lake my knee still felt really sore.  I had seen Bruce Butler just before flying out and he had worked on it a lot and taped it up and initially it had felt much better.
Vitoria-Gasteisz is the capital city of the Basque Country and also the European Green Capital.  Its quite a nice city and we saw plenty of it as we managed to get ourselves very lost on more than one occasion.  Most notably one night in the dark in a torrential rain storm.  We had attended registration and then taken a walk around the city before finding a fantastic restaurant for supper.  Unfortunately whilst we were in the restaurant a torrential rain storm started and we were only in light summer clothing.  We chose to stay in the restaurant and have a few more drinks but the rain was relentless and in the end we had to leave.  Thankfully I was sensibly drinking soft drinks but I wasn’t the only one so the mad dash back to the hotel in the rainstorm was pretty hilarious.  We lost one of the lads and in spite of turning back he had disappeared into thin air.  All of our paper registration bags were in tatters with race numbers and bike stickers flying around the pavement and one of the lads in leather soled shoes spent more time on his bottom than upight!  In the end after more than an hour of trying to find our way back to the hotel that was 10 mins away I had to resort to using my bike Garmin to find our way back to the hotel.  Thankfully we made it!
This race had split transitions which meant racking your bike by the lake which was a good 20 minute coach ride away from the city centre.  Unfortunately this took up the majority of the day before the race as the queue for registration and racking was immense.  Martin flew out the day before so it was great to have some company and my no.1 fan by my side.
Race day finally arrived.  In spite of not sleeping well all night, typically the hour or two before wake up time I was fast asleep and somehow my alarm had not sounded.  Martin woke me up and I made a mad dash down to breakfast.  This was not the sedentary pre-race prep that I was yearning for!  I had my usual quick breakfast of a small bowl of muesli and a sports drink before dashing back to the room to get my bags.  Everything was packed and laid out ready so I left Martin in bed and ran down to the coach.  There was lots of confusion about the timing of the coaches and the two that were waiting were almost full and I just managed to get one of the last seats.  As I was sitting there looking around me I thought people were carrying very large bags compared to mine and wondered what on earth they had in them – uh oh – wetsuits!  Of course!! Where was mine? Hanging on the wardrobe door.  I rang Martin in a blind panic from my mobile but his phone was turned off so I pelted back into the hotel and with no key had to pound on the room door hoping he would waken.  He did, I grabbed the wetsuit and made a mad dash downstairs to find the coach had gone!  Another one was there but they said it would not leave until it was full.  There were only a few of us on board and eventually after much negotiation they decided that they would take us too.  Phew!!
Arrived down to a very cold and misty lake but had a lot of time to faff before race start which I love.  Martin arrived just before race start which was great but all too soon the time had come to take my place on the start line.  The race starts on dry land and on the whistle we ladies all ran into the water.  Its a 4 km swim and one loop which was L shaped.  Its a beautiful lake but it felt like a hard swim.  Everyone was reporting the wind to be against us for the large majority which is perhaps why we found it quite slow.  Out of the swim and onto the bike.  The course is undulating but with a sore knee hillier than I had remembered from 2010!  I had no idea of what sort of position I was in so just kept my head down and one eye on my heart rate and pedalled as much as I could.  My knee didn’t feel too bad which was reassuring but the wind was up as was common for the majority of my races this year!  The Garmin Bike file is here but the wind did seem to slow me down quite a lot and I was disappointed as this course in 2010 is still my fastest bike split during a race of this distance.  Mind you, in hindsight perhaps my ironman three weeks ago also played a part 😉  We had one and a half laps of the bike course before returning to the centre of Vitoria-Gasteisz to the Old Town.  Our bikes were taken off us as we entered into T1.
T1 – Transition was in a large marquee at the back of the Old Town, you run into the marquee try and find your bag by the number which was pretty difficult due to the sheer volume of bags hanging on the pegs.  After a slow transition I was off out and in desperate need of a toilet.
The Run
In spite of passing a couple of aid stations there was still no sign of a loo and as we were in the middle of a city no bushes to hide behind either!  My Garmin had failed to pick up a satellite whilst I was in the marquee so I missed the data for the first part of my run but when I evenutally did find a large portaloo I left the watch outside to pick up the reception whilst I nipped in.  Loo stops are never quick in the GB kit as it all needs to come off which is a right pain.  Never mind the multi-tasking worked and as I set off I had a GPS reception.  The run course is great for spectators as it was 4 out and back loops through the city.  Luckily it was semi-shaded but fortunately it remained a fairly overcast day which kept the temperatures down.  Martin was on the run route and that was great, being able to see him so much kept me moving.  At the end of each lap you had to run past the finishing chute and that was tough seeing people moving down it when there were still another couple of laps to do!  Nonetheless my knee was holding up and my legs were being fairly good to me and allowed me to maintain a pace I was pleased with over the 30 km.  I seemed to be passing more people than were passing me and I even managed to pick up the pace for the last loop past the grandstand and around to the finish.  This last little loop seemed to last forever but it was great as the Team Manager and a whole host of other supporters were there cheering us all in and I collected my flag from them and sprinted for the line and was pretty delighted with my time considering Roth only three weeks previously and my dodgy knee! The Garmin run file less the missing parts is here!
All in all a fantastic experience and I was pretty pleased with my position given the circumstances.  Here’s hoping that next year I can improve on that!

European Long Course Triathlon Championships – Challenge Almere – 14 September 2019

September 22, 2019

Swim 3.8k: 1 hr 16 min

T1: 4 min 45 Sec

Bike 180k: 5hrs 8 min

T2: 3 min 18 sec

Run 42k: 3hrs 58 min

TOTAL: 10hrs 31 mins


I thought I had retired from iron distance racing in 2016 after my 8th full distance race but I’ve missed the challenge it brings.

I was nervous about returning after such a long hiatus but excited to be on the start line of a race I’d taken part in five years previous.

The Swim:

We were swimming two laps of a freshwater lake. I hadn’t had a swim practice because I’d been feeling like I was coming down with a cold in the few days prior to the race. There was no opportunity for a swim warm up on the race day either so my warm up was swimming to the deep water start line. The women in the European Championships were set off in our own wave and despite the beginning of the swim being particularly aggressive and congested everyone quickly became strung out and I found myself with no feet to follow. The water was a tad fresh but not too cold. It was weedy though. There were several occasions when I found myself struggling to pass through them. I’m not a fan of anything in the water though will take weeds over jellies any day!

I was disappointed to exit the swim in a time of 1 hrs 16 mins. I have no idea why. The fingers on my left hand were curling in the cold on the second lap but it looks like I was slow from the start. I’m usually a consistent 1 hr 8 min swimmer unless there are strong currents aiding or abetting me. The disappointment is more profound because I’ve been trying to work on my swim to improve it not worsen it!

T1: Even though I thought I’d learnt the layout of swim in/out and my transition peg I was disorientated and struggling to find my bag forgetting I was coming in from the opposite direction of the tent – doh!


Two laps of an almost entirely flat course (although I did find a 4% climb over a motorway!). Flat doesn’t necessarily mean easy though. There is no respite from either pedalling or the TT position. Almere is also extremely open. A dyke road with sea on one side and flat open fields on the other forms a large part of each lap. The road is raised up on a bank and without buildings or trees to catch any of the wind it’s challenging even in a gentle breeze. The start and end of each lap are also on small, winding bike paths with some challenging corners.

With the majority of my training focusing on the bike I knew this would be where I could make up some time. I barely ride outdoors anymore, doing most of my training on a Wattbike so don’t get many hours on my actual race bike. This wasn’t too much of a worry to me. I knew I had performed well training this way at my last irondistance event at Challenge Poznan but with an ongoing, but slowly improving, lower back injury I thought I might struggle with the length of time in the TT position.

I was trying to maintain zone 3 power. I finished the first lap on target and with an average speed of almost 22mph I was really happy and knew my bike split would be more than I could have wished for if I could maintain it.

Lap 2 was always going to be the harder of the two but I was pleased with how quick time was passing and I was eating and drinking well. I was definitely grateful for the extra tri shorts I had slipped on under my GB kit too!

By the end of lap 2 I was struggling to maintain zone 3 but was still overtaking some of the men and no woman had overtaken me during the entire bike course so I was feeling positive.

T2: I arrived into T2 and could see that I was likely one of the first back in my age group as the bike rack was looking predominantly empty – yay!

The Run:

Now I was entering into the unknown. I’ve struggled with Achilles issues that ultimately resulted in surgery a couple of years ago and I’ve had a long slow recovery. Then for the last year I have suffered a compressed nerve root in my lumbar spine which has affected my back, hip and leg meaning more time sidelined from running than actually running. I knew I was still able to perform okay at the races that I had done but this was taking it up a whole other level being double the distance. Aside from my 18 mile run at The World Champs six months ago I haven’t run further than a half marathon in well over a year.

I set off conservatively with a plan to walk the aid stations. I didn’t even look at my watch other than to check the lap at each beep to see what time I was doing. I ignored all the data just running comfortably and was amazed that my pace stayed pretty consistent and higher than I would have expected.

The run course was great, it was six laps of just under 4.5 miles so I got to see Martin (my hubby) pretty regularly as each lap was taking just under 40 mins to complete. Martin told me I was going well but a lady from Finland who was in the open race was catching me. She passed me halfway through the run but I saw her number was from the open wave so wasn’t too concerned. It surprised me that she was wasn’t in the Championship though. I knew I had a good lead over everyone else. Unfortunately what we didn’t know was that the Finish lady had been a late swap to the Championship and so ultimately did win the Gold medal. She totally deserved it but it came as a bit of a surprise! That said I was delighted that I ran my first sub 4 hour irondistance marathon on very little run training. My pace slowed up a bit towards the end but I’m amazed I managed to average sub 9 minute miles including a few toilet stops too! My legs were definitely the limiting factor so I’m hoping there’s more in me than this for next year when the World Long Course Championships are held here.

I’m totally delighted to have picked up a bike PB, run PB, Course PB, irondistance PB, to be the fastest British lady AND another silver European medal!

Team GB Medal Winners

Huge thanks to Martin my patient hub for being my absolute rock and total support both during the event and throughout my training. I couldn’t do it without him.

Coach Tom Davis has taken me from strength to strength and my results this year are testament to his fantastic coaching. He’s been working with a pretty broken body but yet gets me to nail the results and has complete confidence when I have none 😂🙌🏻

I’m so appreciative of the relentless support of Giant Radlett with all things bike. I simply ♥️ my Liv Trinity but they provide so much more than the bike. Cheers guys!

Tribal Sports Nutrition are also now supporting me and for this fussy eater that hates sweet food I am delighted to have finally found a product which I love. Morello Cherry smoothies are my new training and race nutrition. Tart, fresh and great fuel to boot. They also have a Pineapple flavour smoothie. Give me a shout if you would like to try them. You won’t be disappointed!

It’s been a tough time with injury over the last few years. I’m sure I picked up my back issue from the boot I wore following my foot surgery. Thankfully, after my treatment, a focus on strength and conditioning with Gareth Ziyambi at A2Z Elite Health and Grace Keene at CHHP I’ve continued to improve and the body managed to hold up the entire season!

I have lucky feet too! Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre continues to take great care of them.

Last but not least , huge thanks to all my family, friends, colleagues and training partners. The support I get means so much!

Now it’s time to put my feet up and plan next season which already seems to be taking shape with pre-qualification sorted for at least four European & World Championship events.

European Ironman 70.3 Championships – Helsingør, Denmark – 17th June 2018

July 8, 2018

This is the third consecutive year I’ve raced this 70.3 as I have friends living in Denmark so now it’s become a bit of a tradition. I’ve been on the podium the last two years but had no expectations!

I had to have foot surgery in October and I knew my recovery would take 4-5 months however it took somewhat longer, especially to run, so it was always a bit of a gamble being able to compete in this race at all. I started running in April and did a steady build up to 90 minutes by the weekend before the race. That was quite tough and I was hoping the extra 20 mins or so on race day would be achievable. I still have tendon issues but much less than pre-surgery.

Denmark had superb weather the last few weeks but typically the rain decided to make an appearance for us. It was a dark, damp and dreary morning and had rained heavily overnight.

Swim: 34:28

T1: 06:48

Bike: 2:29:42

T2: 02:49

Run: 1:46:52

Total – 5hrs 0 mins 39 secs (PB!) – 6th


Swim start is drip fed and starts with a jump off the harbour wall into the Kattegat Sea.

I seeded myself in the second wave with a predicted swim time of 33-34 mins. That may have cost me some time since I found the swim very congested and caught people from the earlier wave – lesson learnt. The swim route was different this year and was quite confusing. We double backed on ourselves and I was worried I’d actually got lost and was starting again!

Either way 34 mins was an ok time for me and as I ran to transition I spotted a pal who is usually a faster swimmer than me also running into T1.


It’s half a mile run through T1. I made an early start at stripping my wetsuit to my waist as I left the water and took it off quickly in T1 only to find my wetsuit zipper had chewed up my tri suit cord and I couldn’t untangle it!

Huge thanks to my pal Kevin who heard my shouts for scissors and came to the rescue ripping the two apart. My tri suit was now open but at least I wasn’t carrying the wetsuit on my back for the rest of the race!


I ride a Liv Trinity TT for Giant Radlett / Cadence Performance which I love. Giant Radlett kindly sourced some Powertap Pedals for me recently so I was looking forward to racing with power for the first time. I had my targets and a few different fields on my Garmin set up to allow me to keep an eye on power, heart rate, cadence and speed. As power is so new to me in racing I wanted to be alert to the other data also.

As well as monitoring my targets there were three pals ahead of me and two behind me so I was also hoping I could find some of those ahead and not let the ones behind catch me – I almost accomplished that mission 🙂 Just failed to catch one of the lads that started in a wave 10 mins ahead of me.

Knowing the route also helped me to push the power a little on the first section of the bike which is relatively fast and flat before heading onto a more technical section with more elevation. I think my tactics worked well. I had a four minute PB and an average speed of over 22 mph to make the bike my highest ranking discipline and my fastest ride ever of this distance.


No dramas here – felt ready to see what my poor foot could deliver on the run course.


Since my return to running six weeks before I’ve been employing a run:walk strategy so I don’t overload my Achilles’ tendon. I started with 2 mins of running and 1 minute of walking respite and increased it up to 9 mins run 1 min walk which was my intention for the race.

The run route is lovely – around the grounds of Kronborg Castle and the harbour before heading into the town. There is good support along the way and most importantly our support crew of five were on the route and we passed them twice on each 3.5 mile lap.

I kept the pace steady with the regular walk breaks and felt okay. I was maintaining good speed and managed to finish with a negative split and a sprint at the end.

Super happy with a PB time and to finish 6th/86 in my Age Group.

2016 – 3rd in AG – Time: 5hrs 24 mins

2017 – 2nd in AG – Time: 5hrs 4 mins

2018 – 6th in AG – Time: 5hrs 0 mins

Clearly although I’m getting faster so is the competition!

Hopefully I’ll be back again next year!

Huge thanks as ever to Giant Radlett for their continued support with all things bike.

Thanks also to Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre and Gareth Ziyambi, world class physio at A2Z Elite Health for literally keeping me on my feet.

Tallington Lakes Olympic Distance Triathlon – 3rd June 2018

June 15, 2018

I’ve had a challenging winter following surgery to my heel to remove some excess bone that has caused me lots of pain and difficulty running for the last two years. I feel like I’m just returning to full fitness and with the tri season rapidly approaching I felt that I needed a short triathlon of some description as a recce for a 70.3 in two weeks time.  I managed to get an on the day entry to this lovely little race.  The race was set in a beautiful park on the Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire borders.

  • Swim (1500m):  27:16
  • T1: 1:33
  • Bike (44km): 1:19:55
  • T2: 1:04
  • Run (10km):  50:00
  • TOTAL:  2:39:50    –    4th Lady, 1st F45-49

The swim was straightforward and clearly marked in lovely clear water.  The bike wasn’t a particularly fast course with lots of turns and junctions but it was on lovely quiet undulating country lanes around the venue. I was riding my favourite TT bike of all time my Cadence PerformanceLiv Trinity which is super comfortable and the run through the leisure park – traffic free and relatively flat.

All in all a great race.  I have been working harder at my swimming of late and was pleased with my swim time and exited the water as 3rd lady,  just over 2 mins slower than the first lady.  I had the 3rd fastest female bike split too – just two minutes behind the leader but my run predictably saw me slip a little into fourth position.  I only started running at the end of April and am building up slowly to avoid any setbacks.  I am currently running for 8 minutes and walking for 1 minute so was pleased to hang onto 4th place.

It was a small race but I was delighted to finish 1st in my age group and 29 mins ahead of 2nd place in my age group.  I was fourth lady overall. This is a great confidence boost that I need prior to the 70.3 in a couple of weeks!

Huge thanks as always to Giant Radlett for their continued support for all things bike, to Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre for all things feet and last but no means least to Gareth Ziyambi of A2Z Elite Health who’s skill, patience, treatments and thorough assessments of me using advanced ViMove technology have made my return to running possible.

Surly Dorset Gravel Dash – 27 May 2018

June 8, 2018

I simply love riding off road, its safe, its sociable and its great fun.  This ride had been on my radar last year but I couldn’t persuade anyone to ride it with me.  Allergies when exercising mean that I prefer to have someone I know around me.  Aside from that you don’t need a pal to ride with as everyone I met was super friendly.

The forecast in the week leading up to the race was dire with heavy rain and thunderstorms all day.  Fortunately the forecast changed the day before to dry and sunny except there was a small matter of a rainstorm forecast for an hour, in the hour before the ride starting.  You could have set your watch by it.  No sooner had we pulled up in the car outside the Red Lion Hotel in Swanage the heavens opened!  Ah well it made for a bit of banter before we all started.

After a fun race briefing by Charlie The Bikemonger, we all knew the rules. 1) Don’t be a Dick, 2) Its not a race (but it is really) and 3) We are all going to die (but please make sure it is not until after the cut off of 9pm on the day of the ride and make sure you enjoy yourself before you do (wise words of William Shatner and expertly recited by Charlie!)

The options for this ride are 50:50 miles over two days or 100 miles in a day.  Myself and my buddy Kevin had chosen the 100 in a day, or at least I had and persuaded Kevin to join me!

As soon as we set off the sun came out to play and it turned into the most beautiful day.  Within minutes of leaving Swanage we had begun climbing up into the hills of Dorset and that set the scene for much of the day – hills, hills and more hills – 2460m of them!  Fortunately the worst was in the front three-quarters of the ride.  The scenery was stunning though and the majority of the ride was off-road.

Kevin had an extremely misshapen tyre at the beginning of the ride and 30 miles in he noticed the rubber peeling back from the tyre rim.  40 miles in – puncture! As he replaced the tube and reinflated the tyre the side wall of the tyre blew and made any chance of repair impossible.  Of course this happened in the middle of the countryside with no roads in sight.  Sadly Kevin had to bail the ride at that point.  We don’t talk about the cause of the misshapen tyre ;o)

I rode on meeting various people along the way, some I rode with for fair stretches.  People were riding a wide variety of bikes; cross bikes, fat bikes, single speed MTB, full suspension MTB, hard-tails, 29+, one guy even ran it over two days!  Happily I was on my Giant Anthem 29XW with full suspension and my Selle Italia saddle and I was in blissful comfort all day – apart from my legs of course!  I’ve had the bike for a few years and I absolutely love it and I remain super grateful to Giant Radlett and Cadence Performance for their continued support and the complete overhaul they gave the bike just before the event.  It rode like a dream.

For the last 30 miles I rode with three guys, two on cross bikes, one on a mountain bike, Steve, Tom and Peter and as Peter says 07:00 = 4 strangers in Swanage, 19:00 hrs = 4 friends in Swanage.

After too many fig rolls, malt loaves and Haribo Tangfastics to mention I got back to the race base with my new buddies – 96.5 miles on the Garmin – 2nd lady – 9.5 hrs on the move.  I couldn’t leave my mileage at that so went out for a sight seeing tour of Swanage to make it up to 100 miles …… as you do!

All in all a simply awesome event, I highly recommend it and fully intend to go back next year if it fits in with my race schedule.  I think the legs are still recovering 10 days later but they had a good soak in the sea the following day at Lulworth – bliss!

Penticton 2017 International Triathlon Union – World Long Course Aquabike Championships – 27th Aug 2017

September 13, 2017

Swim – 3k – 55 mins 5 secs

T1 – 3 mins 58 secs

Bike – 120k – 3hrs 41 mins 31 secs

Total – 4hrs 40 mins 34 secs

5th in Age Group

This was to be my A race this year and it was the inaugural Aquabike race at the ITU World Championship Festival of Sport. I thought it suited me perfectly given that I found out in February that I need surgery to my foot and am not really able to run.  The Aquabike is a separate wave of the Long Course triathlon who then go on to run 30k. Lots of my friends were doing the triathlon and I was very envious as it’s my favourite distance.

We arrived in Canada five days before the race. Penticton is a stunning location. We were swimming in the Okanagan lake.

This could get quite choppy on a windy day but on race morning it was like a millpond.

We were up at 4:15 am for a 6:55 am race start. Quick breakfast of pasta and then headed into transition whilst the sun was just beginning to come up.

The swim:

It’s such a beautiful lake to swim in. The water was clear and beautifully clean. The Aquabikers started in one wave together. The water is shallow to begin so I made the most of running the first 75 metres or so. Then I got into a steady rhythm for the one loop of 3k. Unfortunately we met several of the slower swimmers from the waves of the long distance tri that had set off before us but other than that it was uneventful and I focussed on working hard and managed a good pace for me.

T1 – Out the lake and into transition. I felt good. Two wetsuit strippers started to help me out of my wetsuit and told me to sit down. Bam!! 💥 Both my glutes went into a terrible spasm. This has happened to me once before many  years ago and then only on one side. I ran into grab my bike bag and into the change tent where I found a chair and hoped it would ease off. Sadly it didn’t!

The Bike: I was running to the mount line hoping my glutes would settle but they didn’t. They were insanely painful and tight including the tops of both hamstrings. I got on the bike and could barely pedal. I saw some green grass and was tempted to stop and stretch but still thought spinning easy would help and would lose me less time. The first part of the bike course was out and back on a dual carriageway with little elevation. It was super fast the day we reccied it. Alas today it wasn’t going to be for me. I couldn’t get down on the tri bars and had no power in my legs. I made the decision to stop and stretch after 6 miles. When I got back on the bike the pain had lessened and I was able to get down into the tri bars but still couldn’t power down to anywhere near normal. I made the most of what I could do and was just thankful the pain had diminished enough by the first turn around at 7.5 miles to enable me to up the power slightly and I started passing back all the people that I’d already passed before I stopped.

After the out and back section we had two hilly loops to complete. We entered the first hill at 20 miles. As I changed into my small ring my wheel suddenly had a hard resistance on it. I could barely turn the pedals. I started the climb like this and just as I was thinking about getting off to investigate it a mechanics van drove past. I managed to attract their attention and they stopped and adjusted my rear wheel for me. I got going again. It was only slightly improved.  As they drove past me again we chatted and they once more loaded my bike into the back of their van and tried again.  I cycled further up the hill but it felt no different. As they passed me again we chatted and I asked if they could do anymore. Back into the van with the bike and they made the most adjustment they could. Off I went again for the third time. This time it felt better. The faces around me were now very familiar! I kept overtaking and then falling back and repeating the process. By now I was at the top of the climb and was just praying the rear wheel was secure for the descent.  I tried to ride hard in spite of the descents in order to make up as much time as possible.

The scenery was stunning as we rounded the top of Skaha Lake and began the second big climb. I was managing to overtake lots of people on the climb but my glutes were still very unhappy. The sun was beating down on us now too.  We had a long sweeping descent of circa 6 miles that brought us to the beginning of the lake and from there a flat stretch before a climb back into Penticton for the turn around for the final loop. With just 26 miles left to ride on the last loop I was trying to work as hard as I could. Unfortunately my glutes couldn’t power as hard as I’d liked and my heart rate was down from where I wanted it. Never mind I was focussed on treating it like a time trial and trying to hunt as many women down as I could.  I wanted to leave everything I had out there and I believe I did.

In spite of my mechanicals and glute issues my stoppage time was only six minutes. I was super happy to finish in 5th despite all of this but feel sure the placing would have been higher without these issues – hey ho – that’s racing for you! It’s still my best placing at a World Championship event by a long shot!

As ever special thanks to Cadence Performance & Giant Radlett for their continued support of all things bike. To Simon Costain of the Gait & Posture Centre & Gareth Ziyambi at A2Z Elite Health for literally keeping me on my feet.

My 2017 season so far:

1st Female – Hercules Events 5k Open Water Swim

2nd In AG – Ironman 70.3 European Championships – Helsingør, Denmark

1st Female – Fambridge Yacht Haven Middle Distance Triathlon, Essex.

Gold Medallist, National Middle Distance Championships  – The Owler Triathlon, Kent

5th in AG – ITU World Championships Long Distance Aquabike