On Sunday 2nd August I took part in the Cotswold Classic a middle distance triathlon, which was the first triathlon event to take place since Covid-19. It had been touch and go whether the event would take place based on regulations but the commitment by the 113 Events team meant that they could provide an excellent race.
Pre-race day our start times had been set alphabetically by surname which was the fairest way to organise. The race briefing was also put on youtube for us to watch before arrival and several emails were sent prior to the race which included maps of where spectators could socially distance and watch. The start, finish and transition areas were participants only but spectators could track our times online.
Upon arrival, we were temperature checked and asked to wear masks in the race area/transition zone to set up our bikes. All bikes were spread out on the racks which I thought was a bonus when you’re normally used to a cramped transition. There were portaloos outside of transition near the swim start and finish which were clean and full of antibacterial wash.
The first of four waves started at 6:30am with each participant heading into the water every 10secs. Due to pools being closed the organiser gave a choice of a 300m swim or the full 1900m, I went for the 1900m which was two laps. Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the 1st and perhaps 2nd buoy from the shore so when I got into the water I realised I had no idea where I was going, I actually stopped and ask a marshall on a kayak for the direction of the 1st buoy. Once you turned around the 1st buoy the sun was directly in your eyes so getting to the 2nd buoy was just as fun. Despite the navigation, the lake was beautiful and so clear in parts you could see the bottom, I would love to swim there again.
A slow trot into transition to change into my bike gear and eat a banana before I set off. I felt super relaxed and was pleased with my swim time so I was looking forward to starting the bike.
The bike route was flat as a pancake and 2 loops all in all. I was one of the first people to start the race so the route felt nice and quiet. Despite the race not being on closed roads they had marshalls and police out to stop the traffic so I was lucky enough not to have to stop at any junctions. In general, the bike and nutrition plan went well the only thing that didn’t was my Garmin Edge telling me I was doing a 31kph pace but it turns out it was only 28kph. I did feel a bit robbed as I was aiming for a sub 3-hour bike and I thought I was on track so I will have to figure out what was going on and aim for a sub-3 next time.
Not much to say really I took my helmet and shoes off and changed into my trainers and I was off.
Then this is when it all goes downhill, the run course was a 3x 7km loop. The course went through the country park and out into a nearby village but despite going round 3 times I couldn’t really get familiar with the route, not that it’s a bad thing. The course was narrow in some places, definitely not 2m wide to overrtake. My running however was terrible and it took me 2hr20mins to get round. Not my worst time on a 70.3 but something to be improved.
All in all, it was 6hr11mins (with transitions) 6hr06mins according to 113 as they didn’t time the transitions due to social distancing. So my aim, get a sub 6, hopefully sometime this year especially if the ironman doesn’t go ahead.
I would definitely recommend this event, the organisers kept us up to date throughout the run-up to the event and afterwards. I will be returning to the lake for sure as it was just beautiful.