Recent Triathlon Adventures: Part Two, USN Dorney Lake Tri

Continuing with my round-up of recent goings on in Triathlon-land, this is my race review of the USN Dorney Lake Triathlon on the 24th July (which now seems like the dim and distant past!).  Garnet was itching to do another triathlon after the wash out that was Llandudno, so he found this one, and peer-pressured me into it (not that put up much resistance).

The event is held at Eton College boating lake – and is billed as “the flattest, fastest, traffic free race course in the UK”.  This is, to a certain extent, true.

The swim is in the boating lake, which is shallow, warm and clean (clean as it isn’t actually connected to the Thames, but fed by an underground spring).  It also has the added advantage of having lanes marked in it, so there are ropes beneath the surface which you can use to stay on course. Which, with my history of getting lost, was helpful.   The swim ended up being further than the advertised 1500m (probably due to the wind), but I enjoyed it, so I won’t complain!

The bike consisted of 8 laps around the lake, which got a little monotonous.  The out segment of the bike is mildly uphill and into the wind, which during the course of the race had picked up considerably, at times making the ride laborious – which makes me cast some doubt on the race’s claim to be the fastest in the UK!

Conversely, the in segment of the course was AWESOME.  The wind at my back, going downhill, flying.  Some days I just love racing bikes!  I managed to shave 5 minutes off my previous best over 40km, so happy days!

That’s when everything started to fall apart.  The run was 4 loops of 2.5km on a strip of tarmac next to the lake.  Towards the end of the bike, I started having severe stomach cramps…which resulted in me running the worst 10k I’ve ever run. Ever.  Even when running 10k on it’s own. 1:14:27!  Aside from the stomach cramps and needing to walk, the run was quite fun.  I was befriended by a jolly pensioner from Eastbourne (he’s the one in the picture). Apparently, at age 64, he’s known locally as the “Triathlon Grandad”, and spends quite a lot of his time running up and down the sea front in lycra, much to the amusement of his peers.  He dragged me on, grumbling quietly, him reassuring me I wasn’t going to keel over, until he reached the end of his last lap and he jogged off down the finishing chute – leaving me to complete my last 2 laps alone.

All in all, this was a great race, and I’d definitely come back to race here again.  I really enjoy races with only a few hundred competitors; perhaps because I feel less intimidated by the whole thing.  I was also heartened to find that even in the small field of athletes, I wasn’t the last to finish – one Weekend Warrior was still going after I’d finished, had chance to grab a quick shower in the changing rooms, and grab my bike from transition before making my way back to the car!  After the race, it transpired I was the slowest on the day.  Obviously, I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed by this – but what can you do?! Onwards and upwards…


About Sophie

I'm an aerospace engineering postgrad student with a passion for triathlon and the great outdoors...
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