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I'll TRI my best in 2013
A blog about tri-ing hard and enjoying every minute.

Blenheim Tri Race Report

ClaireDby ClaireDJun 12th 2013
I had been looking forward with nervous anticipation to Blenheim as it was to be my first 'big' triathlon - lake swim, crowds, scenery, closed roads, elite races. Having never done it before, I didn't really know what to expect. The crowds and the atmosphere was buzzing and adrenalin started pumping as soon as I got out of the car.
Moving swiftly through competitor check-in, hearing a slight whisper about a bike dismount which I wondered about but didn't really pay any attention to (I thought it was the norm) we approached the main spectator thoroughfare. Massive queue, complete chaos. Turns out there was a bike dismount after all, on what should have been a fast part of the route, cyclists were slipping and sliding about on their cleats as they got off their bikes & ran under what should have been a pedestrian bridge, but which had been knocked down by a tourist bus the day before. I was slightly annoyed/disappointed but at the time thought that I just had to get on with it.
Transition was huge!
Blenheim Tri Race Report
I had some concerns about how I would find my bike, especially as the ladies either side of me also had black, grey & white Treks. The look of disdain on one ladies face when I joked that we could pick up the wrong bike made me look down and realise that her's was a Madone while mine was only a 2.3 Alpha! Instead, I used the palace columns as a marker for where I'd racked mine.
I got set up in transition and headed down to the lake - it was absolutely glorious. For the first time ever, I was looking forward to getting in to the water. I was slightly worried as there were 246 of us starting at the same time but my doubts were unfounded as I positioned myself between the two buoys and had a clear swim throughout. The water was lovely - not too cold, clear enough that you could see and calm (ish) so there were no waves. I really enjoyed the swim.......then I had to tackle the 400m uphill run to transition!
Blenheim Tri Race Report
Transition went quite smoothly and I was soon out on my bike. The bike course was very scenic, undulating and in some places, quite narrow so that overtaking was a bit hazardous. Surprisingly, I found the first lap quite hard as my legs were like jelly! Then came the first of the cycle dismounts (there were 3). What a ball-ache. On the first one, my foot slid along the ground in an attempt to stop, I fell onto the cross bar then slipped and slid down the road until I had to back on the bike, at which point I couldn't get my foot back into the pedal. On the second lap the marshal asked me to wait until a straggler pedestrian had crossed - outrageous. The third one went OK. It spoilt a good ride and my time for a 19.8km ride is embarrassing.

The run route, again was very scenic around one of the other lakes; downhill for the first half then uphill just as you were coming in to the crowds! I had my normal run - not very good as I haven't done any training, but I wasn't in any pain so that was a good thing. I think I am now at about 85% recovered so am looking forward to a time when I can get back to running properly.
When finished, I quickly hopped on the podium for the obligatory photograph in 1st place!!!
Blenheim Tri Race Report
My times were:
Swim 15:56, T1 4:57, Bike 47:19, T2 2:06, Run 30:08
Overall 1:40:26

On looking back at the day I can't help but feel more and more disappointed that the organisers decided to go down the cycle dismount route. I don't know when the incident with the bridge occurred on the Friday but surely with the amount of money made by this event, they could have paid to get it fixed overnight. There were over 7000 triathletes competing over the weekend, all of whom paid at least £65 for the privilege and I know from comments on Facebook that a lot of people were disappointed/angry with the decision. I understand that the safety of competitors and spectators was of paramount importance but the crossing point perhaps could have been re-routed onto a less busy part of the course - it would just have meant a longer walk round to transition. I wouldn't have minded this - in fact when leaving transition my husband and I opted for the longer walk round as the queue to cross at the main point was ridiculous.
I just hope the organisers publish an explanation to justify why this particular decision was made instead of considering others.
(By the way, the elites on Sunday were not made to dismount at the crossing point) Hmmmmm.
ritatrisby member: ritatris, Jun 12th 2013 17:09
Great write up! I've done London for a few years now, and the experience of racing such a big event with so many people out on the course is so different to the local races. Glad you had such a good time, the atmosphere sounds amazing, shame about the rather odd (and dangerous by all accounts) dismount decision, but you did great and you'll nail a bike course pb next time ;)
cedwardsby member: cedwards, Jun 13th 2013 10:16
I think we were in the same wave - 246 was the biggest wave I think! It was spoilt a bit by the dismount and the queuing to get across though.
Nice report of the race.
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