We had three teams racing at the National Relay Champs last weekend. All three teams did fantastically but a special mention to the women’s team of Ros, Gill, Kim and Rachel who won gold in their category! Below is Jason Bloomer’s race review.
National Relay Champs – 2016
This is not so much a race report as an over view of the event for those that (like me) didn’t know much about it and might like to take part in the future.
It takes place at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham (about 90mins from Worcester) and races are spread over 2 days with a variety of relay formats to choose from.
All relays are for teams of 4 and each team member completes a whole triathlon of 5oom swim, 15km bike and 5km run, all within the confines of the Centre on a closed course.
Saturday – No1 swims, tags No2 who swims and so on until all 4 have swum before No4 tags No1 to start their cycle. Each member then cycles in sequence and then runs in sequence with No4 finishing the race with their run.
Sunday – No1 completes the whole triathlon before tagging No2 who does their whole race and so on. On Sunday afternoon there is a team trial (all 4 members race at the same time together) Only the fastest teams form Sunday morning qualifying for this.
Worcester had 3 teams entered on Saturday, a ladies team on Saturday morning where National Titles could be won and 2 teams in the afternoon which is an open event for any combination of males/females, BTF members/non-members etc.
Worcester Warriors – Ros, Rachel, Kim & Jill. (The Old Birds or when they see this, The Angry Birds)
Team Snail’s Pace – Jason, Catherine, Jo & Susan. (Setting our stall out from the start, only goal not to be last)
Team JJGC – Gary, Jon, Carl & Jonathon. (Team Creativity – how did they think of that name?)
Gary & I were the first to go for our teams so entered the water ready for the start at 1:45pm. There was no countdown so when the hooter sounded I was caught on the hop and got swamped at the beginning but regained my composure and completed the swim in 8:51 (Gary was long gone in 6:15!)
As I ran out of the water I started looking for Catherine but she had already spotted me, the handover was completed smoothly and she was off down the ramp for a flying start to her swim. Catherine, Jo and Susan all had good swims while I changed into bike gear ready for Susan to tag me.
I spotted Susan as she exited the water and again the handover was smooth before I set off on the bike. The bike leg is 3 laps of the rectangular lake (imagine a 2km long swimming pool) with 90 degree bends at each corner. The track was dry and almost completely flat so apart from a stiff headwind on the outward side it was set up for a good pace. 3 of us completed the bike leg in these conditions before the heavens opened for Susan’s ride but she knuckled down and posted another good time. Whilst this was going on Jonathon from the boys’ team had punctured near the start of his ride and ridden 2 laps with a flat before swapping to Jon’s bike for the last lap.
Susan came in from the bike, completely soaked, and handed over to me for the run. I started off too fast but settled down and got about halfway round the lake before Jon passed me with some encouragement as he went by. Despite the puncture the boys’ team were now more than one leg ahead. We completed the rest of the run legs, in the rain, without incident then the remaining 3 members waited for Susan in a designated area near the finish so that we could all cross the line together as a team. (Although we forgot Sid the Snail, our mascot, doh!)
We finished the event in 4:32 (we weren’t last 144/163), the boys’ team in a superb 3:44 (28/163 including a puncture!) and the ladies team finished in 4:11 in the morning event to take the gold medal in their category.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend this event to everyone. It’s something different, great fun and a chance to compete with club mates and friends in what is normally a fairly individual sport. It would be really great if we could put even more teams in next year and make it an (early) end of season club event with a big turnout.