Triathlon events come in many flavours and the Reading triathlon is very much a familiar beans on toast to many in Team Trivelo having conquered it many times before. Our blog this week gives an inside review of last Sunday’s race for any looking to enjoy this event in the future.
Racing on a Sunday with no Saturday registration means a pretty early start for all but the most local of locals. The event is run from the Reading lakes hotel using the Tri2o open water swimming centre. Parking is a solid 20 minute walk away from this at Green park although for most this was replaced with a leisurely ride balancing their tri gear in various methods as they wobble along the route. Transition is well set up with opportunity to rack your bike immediately with allocated race numbers. Don’t expect to start empire building as your space is tight. No chance to sprawl out.
The lake is clean and with easy entry and exit without any risk of injury. There is the usual jovial mood at the start line with plenty of nervous first timers but the waves are sensible sized with only 450 doing the event in total. One lap for those signed up for a sprint and two laps for those after some extra punishment. All well marked with chunky buoys and marshalled with a good sprinkling of kayaker types watching your every move and willing you on. Plus being a bit bored probably. No trauma the swim is dispatched in sensible time and exit without looking a dick and falling over as stumbling out. Equally no attacks by monstrous creatures from the deep robbing me of my personal best times. Running to transition plenty of scope for a blue steel smile to the camera heading to T1 and looking good. Sucked the gut in as well for added measure. Transition kind of works although usual trauma with adding some Trivelo branded nonsense for the ride.
Again a one lap or two set up depending on your race distance but slightly longer course than standard affair with the Olympic munching up 28 miles of Berkshire. Little bit lumpy in the middle but this is no Box hill territory. Biggest issue on the course is poor road surfaces with some of the downhill pretty tricky with some sweeping bends combined with potholes ready to dump you on the asphalt. For me first lap went well with lots of overtaking, always a good sign that things are working although 10 miles in hit a massive pot hole and nearly lost the back end. Elected to stop as the back wheel then felt like I was riding on a clowns bike as tyre pressure dropped to that of a kids party balloon. Shit. Running tubs always a concern but not having lost the tyre got some air in via a c02 canister and cracked on. With limited tyre pressure and now a growing sense of doom that I had popped a spoke descents for the remainder for fully in the Miss Daisy camp as everyone swept by me on the fastest sections leaving me to then hunt them back down on the ascents and flats. Completing the bike was a relief with a solid average mph but nothing Sir Bradley is going to be losing any sleep over. As the wind had been building during the bike leg getting back into t2 without further incident was a result. T2 now buzzing as shorter distance competitors are pinging about and supporters congregating a more sensible time of the day. Straight in and out for me with a couple of gels in hand ready to crank it up a notch on the run.
6 laps for me doing the Olympic distance off-road looping around the lake and giving friends and family plenty of chances to shout encouragement and mockery as you pass a number of times. No coloured bands to collect and remember what lap you are on just some good honest competition. For me switching off pretty much and leaving it to the Garmin to remember how many miles I had covered and chirp in with the odd bit of shouting when my pace dropped too low. The off-road surface is grass so plenty choosing trail shoes for this but it was pretty dry and regular running shoes coped admirably. A few camera folk peppered around the course offering you some motivation to pick up the pace and get you game face on for the official pics. Coming into the finish straight cranking up the pace to overtake those last few unsuspecting punters and across the line for a medal + shirt + mars bar. Mars bar? Awesome. After a few hours of energy gels and bars something as old school as a mars bar hits the spot. All done for another year and comfortably finishing top half of the table which after a slow bike leg has to be a result.
About the author – Billy is the founder of Trivelo bikes and has competed the Reading triathlon 5 times collecting a series of race t-shirts and low cost medals in the process.