A full race report from Abby and Lesley about the 2017 edition of Ponteland Tri.
Part 1 – Abby
Desperate to do a triathlon in 2017, and too nervous to sign up to an open water one, I set my eyes on doing Ponteland Triathlon as my first triathlon event. Training had been going well. I had been going to Tri4U swim sessions religiously for over a year and had couple zwift sessions with as number of short but fun bike rides over the last few months. The running part was never a worry. Even though I was well aware that I would have legs of both lead and jelly (how odd that they can feel such opposite sensations at the same time!), the run was never a concern as I had no doubts that I could cover the 5k distance. So it was much to my dismay that I managed to render myself unable to run a month before the triathlon due to a combination of
Alas, I couldn’t resist taking part and so it was after a heavy round of acupuncture to the right buttocks that I found myself by the pool on Sunday morning surrounded by like-minded individuals in equally skin-tight attire.
The swim start was a bit chaotic. The slower and more inexperienced swimmers went off first and unfortunately, due to some incomplete instructions on triathlon etiquette, many of them were victims of head on collisions. Nobody had mentioned the tickle the toes of the person in front of you rule! I even witnessed one man try and overtake THREE swimmers in front of him only to swim straight into the poor fella coming the other way. Luckily by the time I got in things had calmed down and the 15 lengths were up far quicker than I was expecting than they ever seemed in training.
So out onto the bike I went and I won’t pretend it wasn’t tough. Whilst the sun was shining, I am not the best climber on the bike and the wind that was seemingly coming in all directions added to this. I had discovered when riding the day before and after fiddling with my bike in preparation for the race that my bike chain was having some trouble going from the little ring to the big ring, so I set off knowing that I was going to have to tackle all of the inclines in the big ring. For a strong cyclist this probably wouldn’t be a big deal, but for me Medburn is like a mountain and I had no idea if I would make it to Stamfordham Road without having to get off. Luckily it turned out I am a drama queen and the hill really isn’t as scary as I thought.
Back to transition and onto the run, I could feel my injury niggling but luckily without pain. Legs were heavy but the jelly feeling left me pretty quickly, which was a surprise since I had not managed to do any brick runs due to my injury. Rather it was the lack of practice and general fitness that lead to me struggling to run the entire loop without a quick walk in the middle. So my challenge for next time is to run the whole thing!
Part 2 – Lesley
Not bad for my first year doing triathlon – four in a six-week period; two Go-tris and two Sprints.
When I signed up, I requested that I would like to do the swim in lane 5 next to the steps. This is because, having swum in the Ponteland pool previously, I felt that I would not be able to drag myself out of the pool in the deep end due the pressure that it would put on the wrist I broke last summer, which still isn’t at 100% strength. All was well until about 5 minutes before my start time when the organiser came over and told me that they were changing my lane. At this point my reaction could have gone in a number of directions (1) throw a turbo strop (2) have a total meltdown (3) give the organiser one of my special brain melting death stares. I opted for (3) and luckily (for him) he sensed the imminent danger he was in and moved me straight back to lane 5. No-one messes with Lesley Bennett!
I was furious when I came into transition from the swim to get my bike. I nearly fell over someone’s swimming stuff and water bottle which they had just discarded right next to my bike. I know we are all in a hurry and it is a competition but PLEASE have some consideration for other competitors. Towards the end of the bike leg, just after the hill at Medburn, I had a problem with my gears and thought it was a reoccurrence of an issue I had a few weeks ago. The result was that I rode the rest of the course fixed in one gear as I was too frightened to change it in case it got stuck in an even higher gear!
When I got home Jonathan checked it over and could not find anything wrong….just typical. It was probably the Triathlon Gods toying with me. However, I did get a trophy on strava on that last section so something good came of it!
I enjoyed the event and I was much more relaxed about the whole of the proceedings not being so bothered about how I performed.