Tri Talk HomepageTri Talk EventsTri Talk ForumsBlogsTri Talk TrainingTri TradeTriPlayerWikiTeam Tri Talk
25 years in tri
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    TriTalk.co.uk Forum Index -> General
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
fruit thief




Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 2735

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:13 am    Post subject: 25 years in tri Reply with quote

Hi all. I first entered a triathlon exactly 25 years ago, and have completed at least one race every year since. Here are a few memories and observations from along the way. Please forgive this post if it seems self-indulgent, but a couple of years ago I remember reading something similar from another poster. It was interesting and I thought maybe someone somewhere might like to hear this story.

My very first triathlon was a sprint-ish distance race held in the summer of 1992 at Grouville in Jersey, Channel Islands, where I grew up. I cannot remember how or why I entered it. At school I was never sporty and the only team I EVER got picked for was chess. What I do remember is that at some point aged about 16 I realised I was seriously unfit, but that this was a choice, and a switch flicked. I started running on the beach near our house and cycling round the Island. Nothing structured, just a kid having fun on his bike.

Running did not come easily, 800m on the beach nearly killed me at first, but I remember instantly loving cycling especially on Jersey’s north coast cliff paths. I started riding a 30 mile loop of the Island & timing it to get faster.

I think it was probably my Dad who suggested entering the triathlon, he’s a great man who always supported any enthusiasms we showed as children -and often hijacked them himself – more about that later.

I recall the race well. The sea was warm. I did not wear a wetsuit because I did not have anything so fancy – instead for the whole race, including the 750m swim, I wore the main piece of sports apparel I owned: a pair of black cycling shorts and a lycra top with Banesto logo, as sported by Miguel Indurain in the 1992 Tour-De-France.

Turns out Big Mig didn't have to swim in his though.

The 13 mile bike course was out and back to St Catherines. I rode a Raleigh Pioneer, a sort of hybrid MTB with straight bars and 700c wheels. In the heat of the moment I forgot to brake and fell off on the hairpin bend below Gorey Castle. Bloodied my knee, and had my first ever reprimand from a race official for swearing. The run was a flat 3 miles along the coast road. I finished somewhere in the bottom half of the field. It was a buzz.

Probably my one key triathlon memory is of sitting in the kitchen of our family home one dark wet afternoon at Christmas 1992, back from my first term at Nottingham University. Ironman Hawaii happened to come on TV. This is the moment I got hooked. Mark Allen won I think, Greg Welch and Scott Tinley were there. They were these incredible lean muscular figures with amazing physiques, riding bikes from outer space and running over this beautiful, hot paradise island. That was what I wanted to do, to be. That was a defining moment in my life, and it brought the realisation that if you want something enough, then generally you can have it, you just need to work hard to make it happen.

It is hard to describe how ill-informed we were pre-internet, and how sketchy information could be about a still niche sport. I was basically clueless, but signed up for “Triathlete” magazine and together with some other guys at Nottingham Uni started a triathlon club. Actually I am taking too much credit there, the Uni Tri club if I recall correctly was started and driven by the energy of two guys called Patrick and Mark, but I was there on the sidelines. We initially swam at a pool in Radford, until in about 1995 a pool was build on campus. We ran around the campus and Wollaton park and would ride at the weekends.

My Raleigh Pioneer got stolen from outside the Queens Medical Centre, but it was insured and I put the payout- about £250 – towards the cost of my first ever triathlon bike, a Dawes Galaxy. This was purple and yellow and had a Reynolds 531 frame, road geometry, but with a pair of aero bars which were an unusual sight in 1993.

With this new bit of kit I kind of found I had a natural affinity for cycling and started riding everywhere and at any opportunity. covered a LOT of miles on that bike, and it became my preferred means of transport even for long journeys. I visited friends in Birmingham, York and London. One memorable August day I rode from Dartmouth in Devon to Nottingham. There was a headwind all the way. I left at 3am and arrived at 11pm, utterly knackered, and with wind-damaged eyes, I couldn’t see properly for a week. My longest ride was on a family holiday, when I decided to ride home from Santander in Northern Spain, that took 6 days.

We entered the British Universities Triathlon Championship which for 2 years running was at Halesowen. One year Craig Ball won, another year it was David Haines from our club. I still see Craig’s name sometimes but am not sure what happened to David. I was always mid pack & back then just assumed that was my natural place in the order of things- but actually the truth was I had much more potential, just no idea about how to train. I think most people are like that starting out. My gear was also quite basic, I remember in 1995 wanting a disc wheel (like in triathlete Magazine) but being completely unable to afford one. So I stuck a load of brown parcel tape all over the spokes of my Dawes’ real wheel – it must have looked ridiculous. Dave Haines won that year with a pair of Spinergy wheels. But it’s not about the bike… he could run 10km in 31 minutes whereas I would have been happy with 41 minutes.

Can’t remember which was my first Olympic distance tri – it was either Bournemouth or Windsor. Windsor was when I realised just how fast the pros where. The pro wave had started 30 minutes behind mine, and on the run a group containing Tim Don, Spencer Smith and a couple of Aussies blew past me like I was standing still. Another tri hero from that time was Simon Lessing, never got to meet him in the flesh but did get to talk with him here of tritalk when he signed up as “Christopher Lessing”.

In 1997 I started work as a Junior Doctor in Derby and then Leicester. I had long promised myself that I would spend my first pay cheque on a bike, and that is exactly what I did. That first pay cheque was for about £1500 and my Aluminium framed 650c Scott Waimea from Total Fitness Nottingham cost £875. Add a pair of second hand Zipp clinchers and I was ready to race.

With some of the guys from Leicester Tri Club I raced the Weymouth Middle Distance tri back in 1998, it was a hot June day and I was wearing the sort of crop top and speedo two piece combo which everyone had back in the 1990s. I biked too hard, blew up on the run, had to walk most of the second lap and got bad sunburn in a sort of bikini distribution. You live and learn.


Scott Waimea, Weymouth 2002?

Shout out to old clubmate Duncan Shea Simmonds of these parts who was good then and got far better – great to read of his Kona exploits in recent years. A great memory is racing the Holme Peirrepont club relays with Leicester Tri. We were never going to challenge Total Fitness Nottingham and the like, but had a good day out.

In 2001 we briefly moved down to Cornwall. Riding a bike round there is tough, they have every sort of hill. Newquay tri and Wadebrige duathlon stick in the memory as good events. The sea at Newquay was proper rough. Cornwall did not work out too well for us and we moved to Dorset, were we still live and have been very happy.

A big part of that happiness was due to hooking up with North Dorset Tri club, a small and friendly club based in Blandford Forum. Weekly coached 90 minute swim sessions with a like-minded group really helped upped my game, and my time for 400m steadily dropped to a PB of 5 minutes 19 seconds in a race in Salisbury.


London tri ?2003

Coupled with a growing love of cycling, I found aged about 30 I suddenly was holding my own in local races, at least until the start of the run. In Roger Wakeling’s Concept Sport series I quite often finished in the top 10 and on a couple of occasions even broke into the top 5 and won something: a pair of socks here, a £10 gift voucher there.

I wouldn't get out of bed for less- total prizewinnings 2005, one pair of socks.

In 2003 HIMUK came to Sherborne, Dorset and in 2005-2007 Ironman UK. It would have been rude not to get involved, so I did, as a volunteer medic. About this time a couple of stars aligned. Chris and Ali Boon, who promoted IMUK, were looking for some support with medical cover. There was a scheme in Dorset to fund newly qualified GPs looking to do some professional development. And I had started doing a MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Bath University. I ended up getting sponsored to go over to Hawaii in 2004 to attend the Ironman Sports Medicine Conference, work in the medical tent, and then come back and apply some of the knowledge to the race in Sherborne. Hawaii as beautiful as we expected, we swam with green turtles and had a coffee with Jurgen Zack at Lava Java. Normann Stadler won the men’s race and Natascha Baddman won the women’s race. Maybe I could have taken sports medicine further, but life got busy as a GP & with a young family. It did not happen- but this was a very happy time.


Not a military Field Hospital- Kona Med Tent 2004

In 2007 I signed up for Ironman UK, the first and only Ironman race I have done. I followed a Don Fink “Be Ironfit” plan and did it properly, getting in several 20+ mile runs and 4-5 hour rides down on the tri bars. That year I had some of my best results, including a middle distance at Weymouth, a big race in which I think I finished in the top 20, and a 1h22 half marathon (still a PB). On race day I was conservative, as I was determined to finish having raised sponsorship for a charity in India. I took it steady on the bike & finished the race feeling comfortable and fulfilled, but also aware that some sort of line had been crossed and committing that much time and energy to a hobby was probably a step too far.

My wife Heidi was and always has been amazingly supportive and has never complained at me dragging off the family to some crazy place- at the same time, I think I have generally kept things in perspective too - it has worked for us. I sense we both recognise that everyone needs a hobby, an interest, something outside work and family, and that this makes life richer as long as it doesn't get out of hand.

After IMUK it took a little while for the juices to get going again, but the Alpe de Huez long course race did the trick. That, without question, is the hardest race I have ever done. Beautiful but brutal climbs. For several years we took our main family summer holiday in the Alps, driving down and camping at Annecy and Bourg De Oisans. Happy days & I did the ADH race twice – it was no easier the second time round either.


Watching Lance Armstrong ride up Alpe De Huez, 2004

For a while I had been aware of the age group world champs, looked kind of interesting, and a few people from North Dorset Tri club had managed to qualify. I missed the bar a few times but finally qualified for the Sprint race in Budapest in 2010. That’s all a bit of a blur, I flew out on the Friday after work and as back at my desk on Monday morning – a bit surreal and a bit lonely – not sure I did it right really, maybe if the chance ever comes again I’d go with a group and stay in the team hotel.

About this time, my trusty Scott bike needed retiring. Chrissie Wellington had exploded onto the scene riding and winning on a Cervelo P2. So I bought a frame on Ebay and spent an interesting and educational winter building one up from scratch. Amazingly, it worked, and that’s what I have ridden since.


Self-built cervelo P2C

Talking of Chrissie, it was absolutely amazing – surreal even- to see such British Success around 2008/9/10. Not just Chrissie, but the Brownlees tearing up the ITU scene and so many great women at ITU and long distance- Rachel Joyce, Leanda Cave, Jodie Swallow, Jodie Stimpson, Non Stanford.

In 2013, 21 years after entering my first triathlon, I won my first race. It was the Gillingham Sprint Triathlon organised by Total Buzz Events. Small scale, sure. But proof that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, or at least, buy him better kit.

Also in 2013 my remarkable father (mentioned earlier) decided to have a proper crack at triathlon. He had followed my interest in the sport and got into cycling in his 50s, and had always been a decent swimmer, but perhaps it is the fate of our family never to be great runners. Anyway, he set a goal of qualifying for the Age Group team at London 2013 and achieved it, finishing as 7th M65 in a really quite competitive, some might say obsessive, field.

Later we entered a tri as a 3 generation relay team. Dad swam, I biked, and my teenage son ran. We did OK too!

Since then I have been pootling along entering local races in the summer, and last year managed to set some new PBs for running including a 37min 10K. That is an improvement of 2 minutes per decade. By the time I’m 100 Mo Farah better watch out.

Overall triathlon has been a great sport and opened up a great lifestyle. My three sons are all into health and fitness in different ways, and my wife and I run together most mornings if we are not working. We have met loads of interesting people and it has taken us to some interesting places. Not sure what is next. Maybe one day to race at Kona??? I don’t know if it will ever really happen. I may not be good enough, and the old frame may not hold out. But it definitely remains on the bucket list, if and when life ever allows.

I’ll end by mentioning Lanzarote. Reading here about Club La Santa, we bit the bullet one year. What a place. I got butterflies in my stomach sitting in the Sports Bar – the photos and the history. A family love affair with the Island began there and we have been back many times, not always to La Santa- sometimes just to chill out in Playa Blanca and run up Hache Grande and over Papagayo. Windsurfing, riding, swimming, diving. Happy days.


With the boys at Club La Santa - the elder two ganged up beat me in the aquathlon

So there you have it, well done if you got this far without falling asleep. I hope triathlon brings you as many good times and good memories.

Nick
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SidSnot




Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 1636

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice little write up and a good read. I'm in my 16th year this year, having started out at Eton Super Sprint...
_________________
@sidmott
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gingerbongo




Joined: 21 Sep 2012
Posts: 1655
Location: Devon

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, lovely little read on a rainy, windy Wednesday.

Thanks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
explorerJC




Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 15884
Location: Farthingstone

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapeau - 25 well spent years!

It will be 30 for me this summer - I will write up my story
_________________
www.appliedtri.co.uk Tri and Du coaching

www.naturalrunningform.co.uk Natural Running Form Coach

2018 Training Camps http://www.appliedtri.co.uk/training-camps/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 645
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great read. I only took this sport up recently and am onto my 3rd season, hopefully will reach 25 years by the time I am 68

Your Weymouth picture is taken from directly in front of the garage of my childhood home
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fat buddha




Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 2520
Location: rural Zuzzex

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
Chapeau - 25 well spent years!

It will be 30 for me this summer - I will write up my story


do you have to?? Wink

great read FT

I'm a mere novice by comparison, only into my 15th year of tri this year but as you all know, now on the darkside as a TO rather than competing although I hope to get at least one done this year once my AF is sorted
_________________
And the lord said unto John; "come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TRO Saracen




Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 1236

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the write up, really enjoyed that and well done getting the balance right and so much good from the sport.

7 seasons done, still loving it. Totally agree with all the great people met, life changing experiences had etc.

Good luck with Kona dreams - your 25 years has given me hope that my Kona gameplan 'outlive all the fast guys in my AG' is a goer, 25 years would take me into a Lew Hollander-esque M70-74 AG....
_________________
2018: IM Wales and Florida. Let the games begin.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roscoemck




Joined: 10 Aug 2016
Posts: 453
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up and inspiring for someone in their first ever season.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Andy G




Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 484
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant read. Thanks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mungo




Joined: 29 Sep 2016
Posts: 391
Location: Preston

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow
What a good article.....!
I'm a couple of years behind JC but did start training for my first tri about the same time.
Love the sport, had a good few years off but stoked to race.
So much has changed in 25 years.
_________________
Keep Triing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
explorerJC




Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 15884
Location: Farthingstone

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fat buddha wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Chapeau - 25 well spent years!

It will be 30 for me this summer - I will write up my story


do you have to?? Wink

great read FT

I'm a mere novice by comparison, only into my 15th year of tri this year but as you all know, now on the darkside as a TO rather than competing although I hope to get at least one done this year once my AF is sorted


Just for you Smile
_________________
www.appliedtri.co.uk Tri and Du coaching

www.naturalrunningform.co.uk Natural Running Form Coach

2018 Training Camps http://www.appliedtri.co.uk/training-camps/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Wheezy




Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 1806
Location: Sub 3 (elect)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A nice write up Fruit thief. Thanks for sharing. Smile
_________________
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
My Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fat buddha




Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 2520
Location: rural Zuzzex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
fat buddha wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Chapeau - 25 well spent years!

It will be 30 for me this summer - I will write up my story


do you have to?? Wink

great read FT

I'm a mere novice by comparison, only into my 15th year of tri this year but as you all know, now on the darkside as a TO rather than competing although I hope to get at least one done this year once my AF is sorted


Just for you Smile


well come on then - gerronwivit!! [drums fingers] Very Happy
_________________
And the lord said unto John; "come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 17751
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess we're the same age. I started in 1992, and did the Uni event in Halesowen in '95 (where I DNF'd with a rare mechanical - my rear hub exploded); were you there too that year? Again I've done many of the events you mention and have had the same inspiarations in the early 90s, with images of Hawaii. I would wait for a friend at Uni (who lived at home) with Eurosport to record Kona and give me the video cassette about 3 months after the race actually happened! Back then 220 was a good magazine, uninfluenced by modern commercial interests.

Because of a hiatus, it wasn't until 2008 that I finally did a big event, the IM70.3 in St Polten, and then Roth that July. I found those events quite overwhelming compared to the local races I'd done in the past both in the UK & Germany. Since 2016 I now find myself drifting back to grass-roots events, as for the time being I've had my fill of expensive big-brand hysteria; perhaps it's because it feels so removed from why I got involved in the first place.
_________________
26 Years since it all began....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
explorerJC




Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 15884
Location: Farthingstone

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fat buddha wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
fat buddha wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Chapeau - 25 well spent years!

It will be 30 for me this summer - I will write up my story


do you have to?? Wink

great read FT

I'm a mere novice by comparison, only into my 15th year of tri this year but as you all know, now on the darkside as a TO rather than competing although I hope to get at least one done this year once my AF is sorted


Just for you Smile


well come on then - gerronwivit!! [drums fingers] Very Happy


you shouldn't rush a masterpiece... Smile
_________________
www.appliedtri.co.uk Tri and Du coaching

www.naturalrunningform.co.uk Natural Running Form Coach

2018 Training Camps http://www.appliedtri.co.uk/training-camps/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    TriTalk.co.uk Forum Index -> General All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3
  Share
 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum





Home | About TT | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Advertising | Contact TT
Copyright ©2003-2015 TriTalk®.co.uk. All rights reserved.