Short of the drinking standards which I've yet to be measured up against, I think, after five years as a forum user, I'm getting close to being an official Pirate as old age seems to be taking hold of my comparatively young body (how to win friends and influence people) and I too can now lay claim to a back / hip problem which started to present itself properly yesterday on bike and uneven run course at Big East Triathlon. I blame you lot. Your wonkiness is clearly contagious!
Currently you have to dismount and cross the road if you want to refuel on the bike and the run aid stations are too sparse and undersupplied. That the best aid station was one set up by a local tri club member outside their front door it a case in point. MASSIVE thanks to that member of Blackwater Tri club and his team of young helpers!
The run route it too rough to be classified as anything other than a trail run. It alone was responsible for many DNFs (two people I took part with – both well prepared iron distance athletes - included). I understand why it follows 3.5 miles of costal path – the route is incredibly scenic but you are not afforded a second to take your eyes of the few inches in front of your feet for rear of cacking up your lower limbs so this MUST be changed or there will be grumblings year-on-year and one day it will really ruin someone’s season with a serious injury.
Pros: Great enthusiasm from the event organisers and the few marshals and supporters out on the course. Not overly busy so friendlier for nervous swimmers trying to acclimatise to events which involve open water. Flat and fast (when not windy) bike. When the weather is kind this is one of the prettier location you can choose to spend a number of hours busting a lung!
If they can sort out the aid stations and plot a run route which is less damaging, I think this has the opportunity to be one of the better early season HIMs but those two are a MUST.
Finally … nice to have met Posh Tw*t yesterday who smashed out a PB. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the event now you’ve had a day to reflect. Hope the body recovers quickly and you continue to progress well in build-up to Outlaw.
This was my second outing in Bradwell-on-sea, returning for the event’s 5th anniversary, my first outing being last year.
Run on the same day as Marshman in 2014, many of you will remember the weather which, on the East coast of Essex included winds gusting up to 35MPH and horizontal driving rain. It did mean I PB’d the swim course in 2014, after it was cut down from 1,600m to a paltry 200m.
Anyway, this year’s weather was glorious. If it wasn’t for the stiff wind from the West, I’d almost go as far as to say perfect. Sunny & 15-18C.
The swim was held in the tidal River Blackwater which was far warmer than I’d expected it to be for this time of year. Bradwell Marina was the start for a challenge (Olympic-ish) distance tri a middle distance tri (half Iron albeit the swim in 300m short & bike is 8KM short of the official distance) and a sportive. The latter obviously not enjoying the benefit of a brusk wash is an Essex estuary (I hope).
Whilst there was a bit of chop, this was a pretty good swim. Two 800m loops for those of us taking part in the middle distance event (which started 5 minutes after they challengers). There was some meandering involved on my part which would explain why it took me about 5 minutes longer than I’d forecast but that seemed to be common feedback at the end of the race so I’m not too disappointed with 33m 12s.
A few hundred metres of grass needed to be crossed from the water to T1 where a dry down and change of clothes was involved. Garmin recorded 2m 02s but I think auto pause must have kicked in for the time I was covering any ground by my bike.
The Bike is a lovely flat two loop course totally just under 52 miles.We headed straight out into a headwind for the first 9 miles which was a killer. Combined with some tinkering I’d done to the seat setup on my road bike meant a pretty uncomfortable start. There were some nice tussles with two or three similarly paced people and I was only passed twice in the final 5 miles by some guys who were really giving it some. Unfortunately my positioning on bike meant my lower back was giving me some real jip and T2 couldn’t come quick enough. There were a few annoying pauses in the route whilst Sunday drivers were navigated around and being on open roads, there were a number of junctions involved but generally a good route. I think a few minutes of “auto pause” need to be factored in but moving time on the bike recorded by my Garmin at 2hrs 26.
A quick T2 done in 29s.
The Run is brutal. It’s 13 miles / 21KM, not the 20KM advertised on event website! Two loops, the second half of which is a costal path along the River Blackwater. Scenic if you can afford a moment to look up but for at least a mile if not two the grass is shin-high and the ground underneath so uneven I gave up counting the number of times I rolled my ankles. This caused me even more grief with my back and my motivation through the last 5 miles was simply to get to the finish line so I could lie flat and give my back some relief. Thankfully the run was put to bed in 1hr 44.
Total time on Garmin 4:50 so, on reflection, I’m pretty happy with that for a slightly short HIM.
Cons: The aid stations are appalling. Credit to the guys who give up their time to help support by manning them but the organisers need to get the bike station set up to service people who are chasing a time....