Club member Nick shares his experience of Fareham Triathlon.
As a novice swimmer having learnt to swim properly about 2 years ago, my thoughts at 9am at the start of Fareham Triathlon turned to the 400 metres of watery struggle I was soon to be plunging into inside Fareham leisure centre. As it turned out, it wasn't going to happen any time soon - I was in one of the later waves and the swims were happening in numerical order starting with number 1. I was number 158!
After a chilly wait outside in my tri-suit watching lots of fast people completing their swims and running into T1, I was eventually called into the pool at about 10.30am. Before I knew it, my swim hat was on and I was underway. Sometimes my swim rhythm gets hampered by what is happening around me, but the lane was blissfully quiet with only two other swimmers and, dare I say it, I was enjoying it.
After 8 minutes odd of competent front crawl, it was time for the dash to T1. Helmet on, bike out its blocks, time to get on the bike and start the bike leg.
The route consisted of two laps, which included one fast downhill, a couple of short sharp climbs and one set of traffic lights on each loop in addition to a couple of right turns at junctions. At one of the right turns, I saw one poor cyclist have issues with his clip-in pedals and could only watch him as he toppled into the side of a Ford Fiesta. Ouch! Luckily the junction was patrolled by marshals who helped him.
There was support most of the way round the residential part of the bike route with marshals and onlookers providing much needed encouragement. The bike leg went well - perhaps I could have pushed harder but I was making sure there was enough in the tank for the looming 5.5km run.
Coming into T2, you had to ride across a dropped kerb to get to the dismount line, but it wasn't entirely clear that this was the case, so I ended up dismounting about 20 metres short of the actual dismount line. A swift T2 and the rapid onset of heavy legs meant that it was time to go running.
The run route went out from the leisure centre, through a residential area, towards some woods near the motorway, and back again. The first couple of kilometres were tough (due to those heavy legs and a seemingly constantly uphill route) but the knowledge that the legs would come back to me and that every uphill has a matching downhill kept me running. Eventually I got into a good rhythm and my pace was increasing. However, my dream of finding a nice long downhill was shattered when I came across a series of about 40 short steps leading downwards, which in no way made up for the gradual uphill to this point!
Once this was out of the way, I maintained a good pace and crossed the line back at the leisure centre in a time of 1:19:40, putting me 65th overall out of 203 finishers. Considering I had only signed up for this triathlon 10 days beforehand, I was pleased with how it went.
With the Olympic distance race at ITU London getting closer, I wanted to do a sprint event to get some race pace kilometres and transition practice under the belt. The Fareham triathlon was perfect for this. With a large mix of abilities taking part, it is one I'd recommend to anyone, whether it's your first tri, you want to expand your medal collection, or you want to try and get amongst the fast racers.