This year the Blithfield triathlon hosted the English Sprint distance triathlon championships. Situated in a rural location at Blithfield sailing club, near to Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire this was a pleasant change to the city centre triathlons I had done most of this season. After registration on the Saturday afternoon there was time for a recce of the bike course. The course was described as being relatively flat with a few rollers. This was not the Norfolk definition of flat and after a few miles of the course it was clear that it was going to be testing but also great fun as there were some very fast downhill sections and technical corners. After looking at transition and a part of the run course, I was really looking forward to this event. Camping was available near transition so it would not be quite an early start as it could have been. The conditions on race morning were pretty good, not too hot and looking like it would stay dry.
There were only 2 waves one for men and one for women, 10 minutes apart. Although there was not a huge field they looked like big waves. The women were in the water and there was some confusion as to where the start line was. The starter was trying to line everyone up between a buoy and a pontoon, the only problem was this was nowhere near parallel with the first buoy. After a while the starter gave up on trying to bring everyone back behind the line and blew the horn, some people were not even facing in the right direction, I had never seen anything quite like it! Surely the men would be more compliant with the starter!! Once we were in, I must have been treading water for about 10 mins; people were getting frustrated with the guys in the kayaks who were trying to push everyone back and effectively making some people swim further than others. In the end we were off and as everyone had tried to keep to one the side of the start line that gave the shortest route, it was carnage, getting bashed about all over the place. This was one swim I was not enjoying and was glad when it was over.
Out onto the bike and I felt good, making progress through the field. I came across a slow car and decided to sit behind it to avoid being DQ’d, the people I had just caught and passed had other ideas and flew straight past it. I was not impressed but once I got back in my rhythm, the miles flew by and we were back in transition. I was not sure where I was but I knew I had some people to catch and being an out and back route could see where everyone was at the turn. I only counted a handful of people ahead and I did not think any of them were in my age group. I could see Kate ahead and used her as a hare to catch – we crossed the line almost together and eagerly waited to find out where we had finished. We both typed in our numbers and found out we had both won our age groups and were proud owners of National Triathlon titles, a first for us both.