Race Report – Waveney Triathlon

Sunday the 13th May saw me competing in the Waveney triathlon organised by my club Tri-Anglia.

 This is a great event that is always run superbly. I was going to write about how this was my first solo triathlon, but that isn’t entirely true…

When I was about 15 I competed rather unsuccessfully in a large event held around Strangford Loch, Northern Ireland. A couple of week beforehand I had been there for some tandem races with Will Brown (brother of James, who will be competing in the cycling events at this year’s London Paralympics and mentioned in this blog a few months ago). Will mentioned the triathlon and somehow persuaded me it was a fantastic idea to come back for it, even though I wasn’t much of a swimmer then and had never even thought about triathlon before. It was an event on the world cup at that time if I remember correctly, so there were plenty of top athletes involved, some of them staying with Will. This was handy as I needed to borrow a bike and a wetsuit!

I was competing in the main age group race over the standard Olympic distance which involved a one mile swim in the picturesque but rather tidal loch (what was I thinking?) I remember Will saying to me “just aim for the white house over the other side” to which I replied with something like “what white house” as the hooter sounded for the start of the race…oh dear! 15 minutes or so later I had been whacked more times than I care to remember as I was right in the middle of the washing machine like melee, a tad off course, freezing cold as the wetsuit didn’t fit too well and knackered as I was an awful swimmer! Cramp set in and that was the end of my race as the safety boat pulled me out of the water. Still, the after race party was pretty good!

Anyway, back to Sunday’s race which was run off in sunshine but with a cool breeze. It was my first solo excursion since my reinvention as a triathlete in 2009 and thankfully I have a better  idea of what i’m doing now!. I normally use this super sprint event as early season preparation with one of the guides I am going to race a major championship with. However, as I am doing the majority of my events with Luke this year and he’s in Germany at present I thought “why not do it by myself?”

Now this might seem like lunacy given my eyesight, but I would like to think that contrary to popular belief, I am actually quite sensible most of the time. Also, whilst my sight might be poor, I am pretty well adapted to it, meaning that I should be fine with some preparation and care.

It was a 400m pool swim so I couldn’t really get lost! The organisers had kindly agreed that I could swim in lane one, which was near to the pool exit so I wouldn’t have to negotiate my way past lots of other athletes, lap counting Boy Scouts and other unexpected obstacles in poor light once out of the water. I was reasonably happy to match last year’s time of 6:30 mins after negotiating my way around a couple of slower swimmers.

Exiting transition after the swim

The organisers had again been very accommodating in the transition area, allowing me to leave my bike against a wall rather than in the middle of all the other racked bikes…I’d probably still be there looking for it now otherwise! Apart from anything else, I didn’t want to get in the way of others. T1 seemed slow as I was faffing a bit with my helmet, but in actual fact it took a lightning quick 37 seconds.

 Out onto the bike, where my new Matrix Pyro TT was making its competitive debut and it was a case of safety first. Jill and myself normally recce race routes in the car, I then cover the roads in training and above all else I don’t take any risks! This 20km course on rural, undulating and twisty lanes was quite technical so not really suited to my eyesight, but it is so well marshalled it is almost impossible to go off course! I took things quite steadily in places and pushed hard where I could, especially uphill. I only had one sketchy moment when a couple of cars had stopped on a tight corner to chat to the marshal as I was approaching at speed. A spot of braking, quick hop up onto the pavement, a deep breath and I was on my way again. My biggest problem was the Pyro wanted to go quicker than I did! I got round in 33 minutes or so which I thought was OK, but I did wonder what I could have done if I was fully sighted…


Iain and his Matrix Pyro TT machine tackle the 20km bike leg

Another stupidly quick transition (28 seconds!) and it was out onto the 3.2km hilly (well for Suffolk anyway) run. This would be fine if I was careful to avoid fellow competitors and the odd stray cone as I knew this route well from previous years and there isn’t much to worry about. I wasn’t feeling fantastic though (maybe because I had to do all the work myself on the bike leg for a change?) and my feet were cold and a bit numb. With not a single meter of flat, it was hard to get into a rhythm, but I got round quite well and even managed a little sprint finish.


The final push for home

Over-all I completed the race in 55:20, surprisingly taking 11th spot and 3rd in my age group. Congratulation to the winner Andy Atthowe though who came in over 5 minutes ahead of my time! It was a hard morning’s racing requiring a huge amount of concentration on my part, but it was well worth the effort.

Full results at: –


A massive thanks to the organiser Jim Keeble and all of the marshals/other volunteers who make this such a fantastic event every year.


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