Before we get into this week’s race round up, sadly we had some very bad news yesterday: three of our fastest club racers were the subject of a nasty bike crash. Whilst John Borton escaped the full collision, Ruth Purbrook was in A&E with a broken collar bone, and James Ellis unfortunately came off worse and we are waiting to here how badly injured he is. I am sure you will all join me in sending well wishes to both Ruth and James, but also to Barny Purbrook and Sian Morgan – and keep our mutual fingers crossed that all will heal relatively swiftly.
Whilst it is hard to bring things back to a more positive note, we did have some great racing over the last 2 days. In addition to Ironman Switzerland (which was given good publicity on Facebook), we also had club members taking on the mountains on their bikes, a middle distance triathlon, a welsh aquathlon, a mountain run and a 10k.
L’Etape du Tour de France
This is one of the few chances amateur cyclists get to test their potential mettle as a Tour rider (though just the one day – not three weeks!). The route of L’Etape varies each year, but is always a mountain stage. This year’s course wound its way from Albertville to Val Thorens over 135km. Those who know Val Thorens probably recognise it as a snow sure ski resort – which means it’s rather high. The finish line is at 2,365m, and riders climb a total of 4,563m over the course of the race. A brutal test – particularly having to deal with the continued hot continental weather.
Of the club, Katherine Montserrat, Katie Marsh, Cristian Marcos Ayuso, and Stuart Montserrat were competing. And also (via Richard Huntrod’s Facebook post – good reading if you are on Facebook): Lea Marie Burek; and, Richard Huntrods
Stuart stormed across the finish line in a very speedy 7hr 21min, with Katie, Richard and Cristian arriving just over 1.5 hours later, and Lea Marie and Katherine not far behind. As with all brutal or long-distance events, simply getting to the end requires respect, and to do it in such good times is formidable. Well done all!
The Owler is best known for its Middle Distance offering, and is based in Ashford, Kent. A brief 1.9km lake swim then sets competitors off on a 90km bike route heading through the undulating countryside via Dungeness, Camber Sands, Rye and back, before running the half marathon on local footpaths. Other than Ashford, these are some stunning bike roads – but often with something of a headwind!
Club member Nick Goodfellow was out racing and absolutely smashed it, coming 3rd overall, 2nd in his age group and finishing in a swift 4hr 32.5min – one of the fastest middle distance times of the year!
No-one has really tested their endurance limits until they’ve attempted something like a marathon or an Ironman, and even then, when you can put an extra burst in on the bike or run, you still probably don’t know how fast you could have gone. It’s only when you really reach that limit that you gain valuable knowledge for the next attempt.
Whilst Ironman Switzerland isn’t in the top difficulty bracket of Wales or Lanzerote (and possibly Bolton) it does have a few nasty surprises up its sleeve – something the wonderful lake swim can only postpone the realisation of. Often this race takes place in sweltering continental temperatures that can sap the strength out of you on the run and bike. It features the wonderfully named Heartbreak Hill on the bike course. And, whilst the run course is generally flat, it is not in the city centre, so support throughout is not going to keep you pepped up and flying.
Three of the club were competing in this weekend’s instalment: Jessica Rice; Gina Siebler; and, Nell Kenny.
Jessica was on cracking form, speeding around the swim, out of T1 in barely over a minute, and putting down a very well controlled bike leg. Dealing well with pacing through the marathon saw her finish in a fine time of 12hr 14min coming in the top half of her age group and top 3rd of all women racing! For long distance racing, Jessica is relatively young, so hopefully this is just the start of some great results in the future!!
Nell actually emerged from T1 in a faster time, before putting in a comparably strong bike performance. She bravely faced up to the brutality of running a marathon, despite the pace and distance starting to take its toll around a third of the way around. Finishing in a very respectable 13hr 47min, Nell will I’m sure be back for more!
For Gina, the day was not to be hers, although, for all of us watching, it was fantastic to see her taking all of that consistent training and some of the most regular racing with the club to the next level. A competitive swim, having to deal with a fair amount of flailing limbs around her, saw her through to T1, which she also sped through in barely more time than Jessica or Nell. Gina battled through the merciless bike course – and a few of us have experienced what that’s like when you just can’t settle, particularly in the heat – but still finished with a fighting shot of making the finish. Ironman cut off times can be brutal – and their occasional inconsistency between races can often seem very, very unfair. Gina’s run-walk strategy should easily have seen her get to the finish for the 11:30pm last-in time. The few of us in the club who have been out on the run course whilst it gets dark, the field has dwindled, and the support reduces know how difficult and dispiriting that time can be. Gina was certainly able to make the finish. Pacing may have put her on the 11:30pm mark or just over. But we will never know, as the last lap cut-off time put paid to her dreams of finishing. We all feel for you. But, more importantly, we all think the next one will be a dead cert!!! Surely one of the most improved triathletes over this season.
Over in Port Talbot, two of the club were racing a cycle-less race – the Aberavon aquathlon. Popping up again was Ceri Ruzzi, this time joined by Ursula Faux.
Ursula cruised in as 2nd female, winning her category, in a time of 35min. Ceri was only a minute behind, and rounding up the category podium in 3rd! More of the same in the last few London League races please ?
Eiger Ultra Trail E51
Imagine doing a 51km run. Yes, a little bit harder than a marathon, but if you took it at a slow and steady pace you could be ok. Now imagine the same 51km run with 3,100m climb – yup, that’s 2-3x as much climbing per km as the Etape du Tour!
The swiss trails offer spectacular running – well groomed and wide, they offer the ability to navigate some amazing mountain scenery, provided you have the legs for the climbing. The Eiger Ultra trail weekend uses these trails, and higher altitude paths, to provide a variety of distances around the stunning Eiger mountain. Runners must be self-supported, although infrequent refreshment stations are provided.
Jonathan Furuya was out representing the club in the brutal 51km event. Over a solid 8hr 49min, he crossed the finish line in the top 3rd of his category group – apparently looking pretty happy!
In the flatter world of the West End, Julian Beazley was racing the Asics London 10k. Flying around the tourist sights, Julian stormed to a 37min PB, placing 82nd overall, and 21st in M25-29!
And that is all the news from this weekend.
In a new twist for the London League, Greenwich Tritons Aquathlon has also been added to the list on 8th September. This now gives us 3 races, outside of the London Triathlon, to score more Maximum points. The three races are:
- Capital Tri Aquathlon – 1st September
- Clash of the Tritons Aquathlon (Greenwich Tritons) – 8th September
- London Fields Aquathlon – 22nd September
We must get 3 things for these three races – 3 fast women; 3 fast men; and, a big turn-out: 10-20. This can be done. It’s a big ask. But if we get this right we can claw ourselves into a top 3 League place!
As usual, if you’re missing from any of the above, or have races coming up, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The race calendar is still not fixed, so please email or message your upcoming races directly.