Royal Navy Triathlon Championships 2013

Rule #42 A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.

If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.

Prologue – What’s past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge

Why are sprint triathlons called sprints when they last over an hour? I did spend most of the time “in the red” and had to calm myself down a little at times.

I travelled up the day before and caught up with an old colleague in between stalls and burning the clutch.  My nutrition, I have to admit, was very non-pro and was washed down with a couple of ales as I took advantage of a night away from home.

Warm Up – If you spend too much time warming up, you’ll miss the race

The next morning we grabbed breakfast and set up our bikes.  I discovered I had a flat rear tyre (again! 3 in 4 outings).  I decided it must have been a slow flat so I pumped it up, risked it and went for a ride along the bike route in an easy gear.  It was a pleasant day with some wind and the sharp rises would require careful gear selection.  We discussed not going out too fast on the way out especially as the longest hill came just after the turn around when lots would have been turning a big gear on the way down so it may be possible to spin up easily and gain time.


We registered in plenty of time and set got our kit sorted in transition.  There was some serious bike porn on display in transition which got me thinking how I could possibly get permission for something similarly fast – I think it’d be less painful to sell my internal organs to raise the funds!  So I racked my trusty Specialized Allez Comp with sturdy Mavic CXP22 wheels which I use to commute, for road races, triathlons and time trials.  I like to think I am just using it as a training session so casually using the heaviest wheels to not damage my “tubs” rather than the unfortunate reality that I only have one bike.  I know, there, I said it (all donations gratefully received).


With the race starting at some time after 1300 it meant “lunch” would need to be at a strange time.  I probably ate too much Malt Loaf, bananas and “energy” beforehand whilst nervously sipping High 5 with caffeine as a trial for the Outlaw.

Swim – If you have a lane, you have a chance

This was only my second sprint tri and my first pool swim so I wasn’t too sure of what to expect.  The run from the pool to T1 looked harsh on the feet so I prepositioned some trainers outside the pool door (T1a) to make the run to transition quicker and less painful.  My reasoning was that as a better runner than swimmer I would gain time over many in this phase thus reducing my “swim time”.  I got my tight swim hat and got into the water.  Pulling my goggles over my face I realised quite a lot of people would be watching so I would need to use my best technique.  Off I went, splashing down the 33.3m pool.  Conscious of the photographer’s flash I kept breathing on one side (that’s my excuse) and would liked to have settled into a rhythm.   I didn’t.  I went out too fast and by the time I’d completed 4 lengths I was beginning to feel the effects of my poor pacing and technique.  Luckily it was significantly less than the 1 mile I would normally swim during training and I found the race conditions helped it pass quickly.  I only got lapped twice, I think, but I was starting at the blunt end of the pack so that shows how bad my swimming is.

I got into T1 having overtaken someone on the run, who was unable to run fast on the path and was seeking the comfort of the softer grass verges, thus justifying my T1a trainer stop.


Split Name

Leg Time


Cat Pos

Gen Pos






Number crunching the swim.  My swim split above is not glowing.  I finished 73 / 107 or a third from bottom.  An improvement from St Mawes 2011 < Mawes Blog>> when I finished stone dead last but by no means good or a performance I am pleased with.  I am going to allow 51 sec for my run from the pool to T1 which includes taking off the tight swim hat.  That means I swam 533m in 11:30.  I can extrapolate that to a 34:30 per mile pace.  Which is a bit faster than I normally swim.  This gives a predicted time of 1hr 23 min for 2.4miles at that pace.  I obviously won’t be able to hold that pace for that long but given that I will be wearing a wetsuit and I may be able to draft 90 min should be an achievable time.  I went off too quickly but in all most open water races that is fairly common with the aqueous brawl that starts races and sends emotions and HRs rocketing skyward.  In an hour sprint race that is not too much of a problem but ahead of a long 16 hour Ironman it could be emotional!


T1.  I was fast!  Well For me.  Off trainers, on helmet, on bike shoes (no I’m not a pro that has them on my bike already)!  1st in category, 31st overall! I lost 16 seconds to the winner so some work to do but a better performance compared to the swim.



Leg Time


Cat Pos

Gen Pos






Bike Rule 4 “It’s all about the bike, unless you’re a twatwaffle”

I did make a mistake here.  As I mounted the bike I realised I had forgotten to put on my gel belt. I realised I couldn’t put it on whilst cycling so went to stow it in a pocket on the go, a gel felt out, I remembered I wanted to take one straight away, faffed, nearly took out the marshal on the corner, spilt some over my hand (sticky) and didn’t concentrate on the first hill out of the base.  I got it sorted with the sweet, sticky, residue lingering on my hand and distracting my focus.  Powering out the gate I felt naked without my ID card but figured my bright blue RNRMTRI suit would probably work well enough.  I could see my first victim ahead of me and set about trying to cycle fast but controlled.


My HR was a little high after the excitement of the swim and T1 and although it calmed down I was never comfortable.  My plan had been to do a Wiggo – slow out fast back but actually I just rode hard.  I overtook quite a few and was never overtaken.  My bike handling on the turn was quite smooth and fast.  I am looking forward to my course over the next 3 weeks and tackling a few trips down the road again.  On the way back I employed more spinning than grinding reversing the effort I used on the way out.  It was only on the way back I remembered my shades were in my helmet so put them on and had another gel (less sticky this time).



Leg Time


Cat Pos

Gen Pos







This split put me at 33% of the field on a heavy, slow bike in a poor non aero-posture with a suspected slow puncture and I was pleased to note I had the same split as some much faster and more expensive aero bikes proving that my hard work and training is paying off but secretly pining for some bike bling.  I would be interested to see how fast I could ride if I had wheels that cost the same as my entire bike so if anyone wants to offer me the use of their pride and joy… I’ll insure it!  It also shows that it’s all about the bike and big gains can be made.  A tough course, ridden hard and completely against the plan for the Outlaw but a good session for improving the Lactic Threshold.


Making my way back to T2 I managed to loosen my shoes off but still dismounted and ran in my shoes to rack my bike.  I changed back into my elasticated worn Saucony trainers that I used after the pool, had a sip of water and took my helmet off.  Then I set off on my run.



Leg Time


Cat Pos

Gen Pos







An average T2, maybe I was tired…


Run – Run like hell and get the agony over with — Clarence DeMar

I left a lot of myself on the bike course.  I ran the RN XC Champs on some of the course so I knew the route, although some of the signs had turned around in the wind causing me to doubt myself.  I could feel my tendinitis from Tuesday’s run in the shoes (need new ones) and started to get stitch.  My hamstrings and muscles felt fine and could have run faster if my foot or stomach didn’t hurt.  I am disappointed with my run time after London but you reap what you sow.  I have only run twice since London and it shows.  With another marathon only 6 weeks away I have got some training to do.  I may need to stock up on NSAIDs then!



Leg Time


Cat Pos

Gen Pos





A top 25% run but 2 min down on the winner which is disappointing but unsurprising given my lack of training and uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.  Must tri (sic) harder, B minus.



Overall :

40 / 107

Gender :

39 / 94

Categ :


Tri pic

Just inside the top 50% of the field, let down by my poor swim as usual.  I am happy with my performance and had a great day.  The sun was shining, there was some exercise involved and we had fun.  Super!  I have also confirmed that my lack of kit will probably see me concentrate on running post-ironman to prevent my frustration from overflowing.

A lot of newcomers, which was great to see, attended and from what I could gather enjoyed their day.  It would be good to see a report of their day.

Also if the photos get published I’d love to see them as I was trying to smile even in the pool!


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