The Hotly Anticipated Club Sprint Championships Write-up
By Georgie Baker
Disclaimer: some of our modern club members wanted this post to be written by Chat GPT, so our Comms Officer signed-off on an opening paragraph to please this audience segment:
“The Ful-on Triathlon Club Sprint Championships occurred at Dorney Lake at 10:20 on Saturday, July 8th. Triathletes demonstrated remarkable resilience as they swam, cycled, and ran through a gruelling racecourse. The event showcased intense competition, endurance, and athleticism, leaving spectators in awe of the thrilling display of talent.”
While the above is technically accurate, we know that the majority of you are here for slander and half-truths. To kick things off, I asked our very own male champion, Jonathan Koos, for the juice. “Club Champs was easy”, he exhaled – eyes fixated on his TrainerRoad performance dashboard.
Rattled, I tried to end our interview there. But Koos came back for more: “I didn’t get out of Zone 2, so I had to do a 116km cycle afterwards.”
His female counterpart, Sophie Kirk QOM^2, also weighed in: “I could have gone faster, but I wanted to give the homo sapiens a chance”.
I thanked both droids for their statements before backing out of the room slowly, double-locking the door, and switching off the mains power supply feeding their charging ports.
Time to hear some human reflections…
While the physical Club Sprint Champs started last Saturday, the psychological contest had already begun weeks prior — in the communal showers and watering holes of Fulham. Headed up by mental-games-master, Courtney Ricketts, race predictions, negging, draft-practice and bets were amongst the questionable tactics used by many to plant seeds of doubt deep into the souls of their club mates.
In light of this, it really was anyone’s race on the day. I had my money on Rachel and Nadia – both claiming to have never done a triathlon before. Was this true, or was this more psychological trickery? Unsure which horse to back, Lizzie sported the race-numbers of 32 contenders just in case. Inspecting tyres, gaits and knee tape, she hastily ripped off Elektra, Harry and Rob’s supporter-stickers before they had even made their way down the pontoon.
Bundled into our very own start wave, FoT swimmers jostled for prime real estate on the start line — behind, next to and on top of Stuart Crawford’s feet. Little did they know, it was actually a staggered start, with Koos gaining four strokes on the rest of the field before the gun had even fired. Besides allegations that Lily kidney-punched half of her competitors, there really was not much else to report from the swim. Everyone looks the same in neoprene.
The bike leg became more exciting, according to the lemon-cladded coaching duo of Jessie and Jo: ‘We were impressed to see our athletes cranking down the power before gliding into a tricksy little corner! Despite their best efforts at camouflage, we managed to recognise most of those sneaky club-mates who opted not to wear club kit. They will be named and shamed shortly’.
The 5km sprint to the finish line was really a race against the thunderclouds. Kat Godfrey’s pace hastened every 500m, so determined was she not to get her hair wet (you’d think this would have happened in the swim, but hey-ho). While the spectators seemed pleased with the run, I found it too chummy for my liking. Every 10 seconds, another FoTer would meet my gaze – obliging me to return their well-wishes, blessings, curtsies or salutes. What is this? London’s friendliest and most welcoming triathlon club? Madness.
There’s always one rotten apple though. I have it on good authority that Ben Caroll was paying Ed, Leah and Malakai to heckle the competition as they swung into T2. If anyone needs any emotional support after being told ‘don’t forget to apply your makeup’, we have a hotline for that (although the hotline is also managed by Ed, Leah and Malakai).
Bringing the focus back to high-performance, we bring you a segment called ‘Roger’s top triathlon tips’, by Roger:
- Always make sure to bring your actual tri suit, not the FOT Cycling top that looks surprisingly similar when packed into a kit bag! If cycling tops are your thing, make sure you wear the collar poking out of your wetsuit for optimum glide.
- Read the race instructions before the race so you know where the ‘in route’ is located. Otherwise, you could find yourself doing loops of the transition area to find your way in/out, or having to go ‘off road’ to drop off your bike!
- Once in the transition area, make sure to carefully remove any cycling kit before setting off on your run. Although tripping is a legitimate hazard for some, you shouldn’t need a helmet!
If you follow these tips, Roger personally guarantees that you will become faster than the following people:
Overall fast man – Jonathan Koos
Overall fast lady – Sophie Kirk*
Male 20-29 winner – Matthew Shackleton
Female 20-29 winner – Lily Mannion
Male 30-39 winner – Kostas Leontaridis
Female 30-39 winner – Lucy Iball
Male 40-49 winner – Richard Harper
Female 40-49 winner – Title still up for grabs, to be settled via arm-wrestle at the Rylston.
Male 50-59 winner – Rob Argles
Female 50-59 winner – Title also up for grabs. If you want it you’ll have to fight Charlotte Fisher who stole the laminated certificate after drinking a single gin and tonic at the Spencer. No one is surprised.
*Lucy Iball claims that she “would have won overall”, had she not missed the turn into transition after the final bike lap. Guess we’ll never know.
What we do know for sure, thanks to our analytics team, is that 37% of FoT participants elected to wear socks for the sprint (22% crew-cut, 15% ankle). The committee is already working on a new e-Learning series to combat this.
Before I go, I want to leave you with a top triathlon tip of my own: Maintain full chin flexion before, during and after your race so you are always ready for any paparazzi.