Norwich Triathlon Part 1 (pre-race)

Pre-Race Preparation

The Norwichtriathlon took place on Sunday 1st July held at the picturesqueWhittlinghamCountyPark on the outskirts of the city. I was there taking part in my first Olympic distance race organised by Tri-Anglia. Not only would this be more than double my usual sprint distance I was also competing solo, so it was always going to be something of a challenge. Still, I like a good challenge!


I had two fairly modest aims for this event:-

  1. To finish – I wasn’t too worried about how quick I went
  2. To run well – I usually run like a donkey after pushing hard on the bike

People often wonder how I can compete solo with my poor vision. There are lots of factors to consider (another time, maybe) but preparation is key. This was especially true here with a 1500m open water swim, a technical 40km bike section and an 11km off road run to negotiate safely. It helps massively that it’s a local event and I’m not sure I would race elsewhere without a guide.

Prior to the big day I did a few untethered practice swims – something I have found very difficult in the past when the tether has accidentally detached itself. I partnered up with Mark Philo from the club for the first session with Mark making sure I got round OK by staying close and giving the odd shout when I strayed. The second time I was more adventurous and just went by myself as part of one of the club aquathlon races.

Focused on the task

This worked amazingly well for the first 800m of our 1 mile training loop. Initially I just kept in the middle of a group before jumping on to the feet of a quicker swimmer who came past. I stayed there all the way to the turn and whilst I never actually saw my unwitting partner, I could sense they were there by the change in water turbulence just in front of me. In fact, I could actually sense every change in direction they made – awesome!

Things went downhill after the turn however when I lost them, the sun was in my eyes so I couldn’t see anything and my goggles kept filling up with water, I wasn’t quite sure where to aim for and maybe lost a little confidence so just waited a few minutes for the next swimmer to come past. I kept losing my new companion as my goggles continued to leak and needed emptying regularly. In the end I was by myself again and whilst I couldn’t pick out the marker buoys, I just kept swimming slowly in roughly the right direction until eventually making it to the end. Oh well! I would have to bank on there be more swimmers and a new pair of goggles on race day…

I knew some of the bike route already as we use it for training and also club duathlons during the winter. Nevertheless, Jill and I completed two laps in the car the day before picking out key points and landmarks so I knew all the turns. Besides anything else, Tri-Anglia make it almost impossible for the competitors to go off course with an army of cheerful marshals ensuring everything is as easy as possible. They even seem to place people ahead of junctions or other key points to warn competitors to slow down. This is a bonus for me as I frequently plough on at speed and miss key turns when riding solo. I was only going to take it at a steady pace anyhow – no risks taken with bigger fish to fry later in the season!

The run wouldn’t be too tricky as most of it is quite straight forward and covers the lake paths we use for our winter 10k’s and summer aquathlons. Besides, I don’t run very quickly which gives me more time to react to things!!  


The two lap run route

Transition was one area I was a bit concerned about, so whilst registering the day before Jill and I did a walk-through from swim to bike and bike to run making things much clearer. Stan, another club mate, also showed me the finishing area and how to get there from the main run route…I didn’t fancy making my run 16.5km by having to do another lap!

 So preparation done, but how would it go?

Find out in a couple of days in Part 2.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *