I arrived a week ahead of the race armed with a limited knowledge of what to expect and my best undies for the annual pants run! Being my first Kona, I was determined to enjoy, learn and celebrate the ‘Mecca’ of triathlon.
On arrival, the atmosphere didn’t disappoint. Early morning swims in the bay alongside some of the best triathletes in the world, followed by drinking coffee, amongst the best triathletes in the world. Life felt pretty good and training felt easy. It was nice also to be away from the stress of work.
I caught up with Darren Jenkins @nevagiven he was coaching in Kona and is a previous racer, he gave me a tour of the bike course and kept me away from the draw of the coffee and expo reminding me I had a race to do.
The weather leading up to the race wasn’t what everyone said it would be yeah it was warm and the wind blew but nothing too much to worry about. I thought if this is hard, they should race Nice or Lanza.
Kona was pretty much as good as it gets for a triathlete, it buzzed and our minority sport was celebrated like football in the Uk.
Some Oz friends were winding me up about shark attacks and the frightening annual statistics. I didn’t believe them but I left that night with an element of doubt as they never did reply when I said, you’re joking right? The next morning you can imagine my fright when I was circled by dolphins 2km from the shoreline! The first thing I saw was their shark like fin above the water!! But I quickly chilled out in amazement when I looked under water and saw they were just dolphins playing around beneath. Has to be one of the best things I have ever seen.
To the race; transition was well laid out I’m not going to dwell for long here it’s the world champs, transition and organisation was faultless as you would expect. My spot was a little way away but I wasn’t too worried.
It seems I had the same plan as everyone else from the start; to go hard for clear water. It was a full on sprint and I didn’t get away, I thought hmmm plan b already? I was going nowhere fast, totally boxed in, and there I stayed as the swim went on and on. I was hacked off, as I knew I was going too slowly. I made a few bids for clear water, but it didn’t last, as I got taken out like a rugby tackle! I decided not to kick in order to save my legs and waited patiently for transition.
Out of the water, up the steps and onto dry land. No one can stop me now. I haven’t seen my T1 time but I imagine it was fairly quick compared to those with a similar racking position as mine. In fact I was too quick – I took the swimskin down to my waist, but forgot to remove it. I started the bike with the usual track stand, as people seemingly forget how to get on their bikes in a triathlon – it’s comedy gold at times watching people! But I found myself being patient again waiting for the crowd of athletes to get on and out the way so I could go.
There would be no easing into this bike, I was already way off where I wanted to be. Approximately 30 mins into the bike I started noticing some restriction in my glutes and lower back. I looked down at my legs, initially a bit confused by the black tri shorts – what’s going on here? Shiiiiit swimskin still on. What to do now? Tip for anyone reading you can’t take a swim skin off when cycling, you have to stop and you can’t leave it on, it just gets more and more uncomfortable. I tried, but at the 50 mile mark I decided I had to take it off. I pulled into a feed station and handed it to a volunteer, it took me a while to explain to him what I was doing, but eventually he agreed to get it back to transition for me.
Great back on with the race, I still felt I hadn’t got going and I was running out of miles now. Can we start again please? I wasn’t ready!
I never saw the swimskin again, but it felt a huge relief to take it off. I neared Hawi, the turn around, and bugger I could feel the wind, it was blowing much harder than previous days. I had underestimated it and now I was working hard. From this point on the wind did not ease up. I had forgotten a piece of advice I had been given earlier in the week on combating the wind and it played on my mind now. I felt vulnerable now and I had lost momentum and average speed was dwindling. I was riding badly and not how I knew I could, made worse as i was also suffering from another pre-race issue. I wanted the bike to end now but it dragged on and on, my watts were low and I couldn’t do anything about it. It was like the swim all over again i just had to be patient and finish off the bike and hope for a good run. Unhappy with my bike and swim so far, but it didn’t matter as I rode back into triathlon town. There’s no worries in triathlon town!
Run time, well those of you that know me will be aware a running injury has kept me out of running for sometime, so today wasn’t going to be sub 3. Believe me I needed it to be, but I made a realistic decision in light of my running base. It wouldn’t be wise to go for broke and risk blowing. I decided I would keep it easy and bring home a nice sub 10. It’s fair to say I haven’t found my running legs in an ironman yet, so with the heat and humidity and intermittent run training this year, I stand by my decision. I went looking for an experienced shoulder to pace off. Then I heard a friendly voice, it was Matt Molloy of @teamfreespeed. A chat to Matt was what I needed, it restored a bit of morale. I got back on to the queen k and I had jogged this section pre race, so I knew what to expect. By now I was ready to hear the words “congratulations you’re an ironman!”.
A finish was never in doubt but a PB was now out of the question. I found a pace that I considered respectable and would allow me to savour the experience.
I didn’t suffer in the marathon, except for the first few miles maybe as my legs made the transition and a small bit when I realised I had to run about two miles longer than I thought at the end of the queen k, but this detour enabled the finish along Ali’i Drive so I wouldn’t change it for a second.
Amazing race and I witnessed some incredible performances.
Final thought; the race didn’t go quite to plan, but its cool. It’s my first kona, the real race is getting here and I’m proud of that. I know now how it feels to race here and how to do it well.
Thank you Kona it’s been amazing. Will be back soon.
James - www.jamesbrownironman.com
With a dominant display of power, Thames Turbo dads took on all comers to regain the Bananaman team time trial title. A race that creates a golden opportunity for alliteration. Thames Turbo were there for the first race back in 2005 and since then have won all but one of the titles. The race was held at Eton Dorney on the 15th September and the team was made up of Ex Olympian Tim Male, cycling supremo Richard Legge and Roger Barr, a northerner trapped in southern mans body.
Results can be found at - http://www.humanrace.co.uk/lidl-bananaman-triathlon-2012-bunch-of-bananas-team-time-trial-results
A huge thanks to Chrissie for popping down to see the Turbos as the Hampton Pool. The 4 time Hawaii Ironman World champion continues to inspire all generations of triathletes and we wish her well for 2013 when we hear she’ll be back on the Kona trail. Big thanks to Thames Turbo member Natarsha for setting this up.
We’ve now launched a new system that allows you to join Thames Turbo Triathlon club online. To do this please follow this link.
Please note that we operate a waiting list for youth / tri star membership so you won’t be asked to pay as you will put on a waiting list.
You will need a PayPal account if you wish to pay monthly.
Once you’re a paid up member of the club there will be a short wait before you will be issued your Thames Turbo website forum details. This is a manual process performed by the webmaster so it won’t happen instantly. The username and password you receive with your registration is used to edit your club membership profile. You can access this via – this link
Another sunny breezy day greeted 400 triathletes at the third of our four race series. Once again the course had a set of road works that meant a bit of luck was needed to get the ultimate bike split and a stiffening breeze on the run out to Chertsey once again prevented any super fast bike splits.
Our male winner has been competing in Thames Turbo races since 2005 and a nervy wait at the end would see him take the win by just one second in a time of 59mins 11seconds. That’s right folks Thames Turbo Powerbar’s very own Richard Legge showed that his recent win at the Human Race Eton Supersprint was no fluke with another stella bike split allowing him to take the victory from the fast improving Paul Burton. Speaking at the finish Legge has this to say : “I’ve been trying to win this race for years and somebody always turns up to steal it. Dan Corner, Tim Male, Jonathan Hotchkiss, Dion Harrison are just a few high profile big hitters who’ve preventing me from winning. I’ve even come 3rd in the past with a 56!!”. Dirk To Oude Ophuis rounded out our top 3 with a creditable time of 1.00.14.
Meantime in the ladies race Thames Turbo’s very own Aimee Billington took her first victory in 1.10.45 from the fast running Lucie Custance (Clapham Chasers) with Thames Turbo starlet (15-17 age group) Eliza Cottington filling the 3rd spot with the fastest swim split of the day (6mins42s). At 432m and the swim time including T1 you’ve got to swim close to 5mins per 400m pace to go that far under 7 mins.
A big thanks to all our marshals and sponsors.
Provisional results can be found here. We’re aware there are tweaks / amends that need to be made but if you do spot anything do let us know at email@example.com Amends will be made tomorrow in one hit.
A bright, sunny but extremely windy day greeted over 360 racers today at the Hampton Open Air pool for Race 2 of the popular 2011 sprint race series. At the sharp end 4 men dipped under the magic hour mark and the male winner was David Bartlett in 58mins 22s with Thames Turbo Powerbar’s Tim Male grabbing 2nd spot in 58mins 42s with an excellent bike split of 32mins 26s given the windy conditions.
In the female race honours went to Thames Turbo Powerbar’s very own super vet Ruth Hutton. The current F45-49 Age Group World Champion’s overall time of 1hr4mins51s included an astonishing bike split of 35.16 on her way to beating the talented Libby Cameron into 2nd place by over 1 min 20s.
Records were also smashed in some of the age groups. Notably 15 year old Luke Penney of Optima (a former Thames Turbo junior) finished a creditable 6th place overall and recorded an excellent time of 1 hour 37s smashing Pav Rooprai’s M15-17 2010 record by nearly 4 mins. Luke Penny is certainly a name to look out for in the future as the lad follows in the footsteps of Tim Don and Stuart Hayes who are also products of the Thames Turbo junior system.
Another super vet Thames Turbo’s Richard Stanhope, a four time Olympian at rowing, silver medalist in the 8 at the 1980 Olympics and a stalwart of the local triathlon scene clocked an impressive 1hr4mins18s to better his own M50-59 2009 record by over 1 min. A truly impressive performance and an inspiration to all.
Well done to all our finishers and don’t forget we still have places available in our popular evening Aquathlon on Thursday 23rd June. Visit www.thamesturbo.com for more details.
Race 1 of our 4 race series kicked off in glorious sunshine with arguably one of the strongest fields in recent history. Wins went to local pro Jonathan Hotchkiss with Thames Turbo Powerbar’s Vicky Gill taking the female win by just 5 seconds from Thames Turbo Powerbar’s supervet Ruth Hutton.
Oli Bradbury notched up an impressive bike split beating all the big hitters by almost 30 seconds. Given the field had some of the UK’s best triathlon bikers that some achievement to the young buck. Watch out for Oli this year.
Results can be found here
Through the post last week came a crisp certificate of achievement from the BTF for getting the Event Quality Mark for the children’s aquathlon. The award recognises the high standards of safety and organisation experienced by our young competitors at our aquathlon.
News report taken from www.triathlonlondon.org – “British Triathlon is proud to announce that the Thames Turbo Sprint Series has been awarded the new and exciting Event Qualitymark Level 2. The new programme is part of British Triathlons drive to increase the standard of triathlon events across the country and to provide a quality assurance standard for both event organisers and athletes.
Nigel Clemens the Chairman Thames Turbo was delighted and said, ” The last couple of years have seen a rapid evolution in Thames Turbo as a club. We have increased membership significantly (most particulrly in our Youth section) and taken many areas of the club to new and higher levels. With the support of the BTF we have achieved Clubmark and Starmark and now are proud to accept Level 1 accreditation for our ever popular Sprint Series of races. Entrants can be reassured (as they have come to expect) that Thames Turbo provide safe and high quality events, attractive to novice entrants and the elite alike”.
Heather Barclay, the Series Race Director also was overjoyed to hear the news “Thames Turbo are proud to have achieved BTF Event Qualitymark Level 2 for the popular sprint race series. This demonstrates the hard work from all Turbo members behind the scenes to make the race a success and appealing to all levels from novice to elite, without it’s members volunteering at the races it wouldn’t be the success that it is.”
There are only seven other events in the country that have achieved the Event Qualitymark Level1. If you think your event is a high quality event please get in touch with Gareth Hall, National Development Manager”
Congratulations to Helen Smith (Thames Turbo Sigma Sport) and Tim Male (Thames Turbo Sigma Sport) for winning the 2010 Sprint Series titles. Top 5 series standings can be found here. Race 4 was won by biking powerhouse Tim Male with Karen Axelsdottir taking the female race by nearly 4 mins with an excellent bike split that ranked 6th overall. Race 4 results can be found here. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2011 and thanks for all your support this year.