Bedford Tri-Crazy 2014 Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Well, my second year of triathlon is now well under way, and my first race of the season was completed this morning.

I took part in the race last year, as my first ever triathlon, so I knew what to expect, so was pretty relaxed about it.

However, it was my wife Sam’s first triathlon, so she’s been experiencing an awesome combination of nerves and excitement!  Her nerves were misplaced though – she’s had fantastic coaching and training has gone really well, as she signed up for the Tri Triers beginners group with Freedom Tri.  Sam has done more triathlon specific training than me since joining the Tri Triers over the last 12 weeks.  Compared to 2013, my triathlon training has been pretty poor.  This tells a bit of a picture:

2013 Training

2013 Training


2014 Training

2014 Training

The training for the Brighton marathon has been my focus for the first quarter of the year, so the swim and bike training has been compromised, and my running has also suffered, as long slow runs really don’t  help with the faster, shorter 5k distance at the end of a sprint triathlon.  Last year I had been doing brick sessions, more swimming, and more speed work on the run, so I wasn’t really starting the race full of confidence on my performance potential.

Saturday afternoon was spent sorting out kit for the race, and we had a good evening meal of chicken and veg in a pesto sauce, on top of a bed of wholemeal pasta.  We didn’t get to bed particularly early, as pre race sleeps are generally a bit restless.   I managed to sleep better than Sam though.  I think she had about 3 hours in total!  The alarm went off at 5:30, and I was up and out.  I got the bikes on the back of the car, and we left promptly at 5:45, aiming to get to the Robinson pool in Bedford for 6:15 when the registration opens.  Parking can be a bit of a problem, so we wanted to be there early enough for this to not be an issue.

We registered, and picked up our goody bags, this year including a cereal bar, Club bar, bottle of water, pouch of Capri Sun, and a choice of t-shirt.  I opted for a pink t-shirt, so I could be t-shirt twins with Sam.  Just for the LOL’s 🙂

After registration, we were able to get the bikes into the transition area and setup.  Here’s a nervous, excited and cold looking Sam:

Sam in transition

Sam in transition

You can see how early we were from the picture below – lots of empty racking for now, also Sam in the background faffing with kit.  There’s a lot of of stuff to mess about for with the swim/bike/run.  You can see here my new bike – I don’t know if the racking is low here, but I had a sod of a job getting my bike on and off the racking.  You can see Sam’s back wheel is about 6″ off the ground, but both my wheels are on the ground:



Sam was due in the water at 7:46, where my start time was 8:10, so Sam soon headed in to line up for the swim.  I faffed a bit longer, and soon went in to queue up too, ditching my glasses, it was typically disorienting.

Sam was out of the pool before I got in, so we gave her a good cheer from across the pool.

The swim felt like tough going.  It was only the second time swimming in my Freedom Tri tri-suit, but that shouldn’t make much odds.  I was just following the swimmer ahead.  No one over took me over the 400m swim, and I never pushed it to overtake anyone either.  Perhaps I should have pushed it a bit more.  According to my watch, my swim time 10:37.  A good couple of minutes slower than my 400m time trial at the Freedom Tri club session a few weeks ago, and a bit slower than my pool races here before.  But we won’t dwell on that 🙂

I was out of the pool, and had a mad dash outside to the transition area to towel off and get my bike gear on.  I got my glasses and helmet on, then my cycling jacket was hard to get on, as I was still wet.  My socks didn’t go on much better, as my feet were still wet.  I then couldn’t find my cycling mitts (they later turned up in amongst with my friend Clare’s stuff somehow!), so for the transition from swim to bike was, all in all, a disorganised shambles.  Transition 1 took me 3:06.

Here’s me leaving transition with my bike.  It doesn’t look very big any more, next to me!  (photograph taken by Richard Allen)

Transition exit

Transition exit

As I said earlier, I’m on a new bike, well new to me.  I bought it second hand last week from one of the club coaches.  I did a long test ride on it last weekend before buying it, and a turbo session during the week.  I had put the wheels on my old bike on, and swapped the cassettes over, and this introduced a bit of uncertainty.  A road test would have been a good plan, as it turns out that the cassette was a bit loose, so the gears were a bit jumpy, especially when trying to put power through the bigger gears which was frustrating to say the least!  Despite that, I did manage to average 16 mph on the bike, completing the 15 mile ride in 56:45.  I really should have tested the bike, with a bit of an extra tighten of the rear gears, my bike ride would have been a good bit quicker I reckon.

In retrospect, I kind of wish I’d have ridden my old bike today, my trusty red Specialized Allez.  It hasn’t been sold quite yet, and it would have been an interesting comparison to have raced the same race on the same bike.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Here’s me entering and leaving the second transition,grabbing a high-5 from Lynn on the way out – it’s the Freedom way! (photograph taken by Richard Allen):

In and out of T2

In and out of T2

Getting back, I was chuffed to see Sam’s bike back in the transition area.  She was nervous about getting lost, and I was nervous of her bike betraying her, with either a puncture or some other mechanical failure, so seeing that she was safely back to Bedford Park, nothing could go wrong now!

I was really please with my transition 2 time – I managed to rack the bike, strip off the jacket and helmet, change shoes and turn my race number around in 40 seconds!

The run leg of this triathlon is 2 and a half laps of Bedford Park.  While it’s a well established fact that I’m not a fan of laps, a lapped 5k is manageable.

Despite not having trained for 5k and the sorted distances, the run leg of the triathlon went pretty well. I averaged 8:39/mile over the run, completing the run leg of the race in 25:21.  I felt strong on the run.   It felt like I managed to run with good posture, and the encouragement from the Freedom Tri support crew was fantastic!  I probably could have ran marginally quicker if I hadn’t taken so many high-5’s off my club-mates, and had mini races with Debz’s and James’s children, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, and at my level, the enjoyment is paramount!  What’s the point of being dead serious and competitive when you’re a back of the pack athlete like me?  I only do what I do for my own pleasure.  If I was results driven, I think it would ruin it for me.  I enjoy pondering over the results and the data and statistics that the gadgets provide me with, but that’s just the inner geek coming out in me.

The social element of the sport is far more important than the results to me.  The friendship that I’ve gained over the last year or so in the world of triathlon has been fantastic.

Remember that pink tshirt that I picked up as my race memento “for the LOL’s”?  Well that kind of back fired on me!  It turns out that the pink shirts were ladies, and the “large” wasn’t very large at all.  Get ready with the eye bleach, because here comes the photo of Sam and I in our matching shirts:

T-shirt twins

T-shirt twins

I somehow don’t think I’ll get a lot of wear out of my shirt!  It’s a bit short, a bit snug, and a bit like a ladies cut.   Oh well, we live and learn! 🙂

For what it’s worth, I finished in a grand total time of 1:36:28.  I was positioned 204th out of 286, and 28th out of the 34 men aged 35-39.

But more importantly, I had a very nice morning, with some very nice people.






Leave a comment


  1. Martyn

     /  15/06/2014

    Hi, Glad I’m not the only one with a ridiculous t-shirt from the tri… I was wondering if Richard Allen was a club photographer or if he was one of the people who took photos of everyone, I tried to find him online but failed.

    • Hi Martyn. Well done today! The best way to contact Richard is to email him via the club forum. He’s not an official photographer, they just like to go and support where they can.


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