When I did my first Triathlon 7 years ago my wife came to watch.
It was in the beautiful New Forest and the sun was shining and it
was a great weekend away. My wife commented how 'friendly' these
events felt - families came to watch, dogs and picnics were
welcome. Even the "athletes" (and I use that term relatively
loosely) were friendly to each other. If you pass someone on the
bike they say well done and likewise you wish them encouragement.
Try that on a cycle sportive and you will get a blank stare.
Its really a challenge against yourself - a metaphor for life.
You try and control the variables you can control; the rest is just
This year I have returned to doing some Tri's in addition to
cycling. And my second Tri event was the Hever Castle Middle
Distance. The area is my old stomping ground - Brett, Dean and I
used to batter each other up and down the long drags to the Ashdown
Forest. Its a very tough course - you are either climbing or
descending; there was 1500m of elevation in 56 miles -its hillier
than the average sportive.
Hever Castle is a great place - we take the kids here all the
time and often go for picnics by the lake. So my kids found it very
cool that Daddy was allowed to swim in the lake.
A Triathlon is fantastic fun for kids - there is so much spectacle.
A swim is striking to watch, Transition always has comedy falls and
the run gives plenty of chances for high fives.
And with a big event there is always lots of food stalls, pumping
music and a general sense of occasion.
To the race itself
The Swim - I jumped in; got wet. Swam around the lake and got
Transition - comedy. Took me 2 minutes to get my shoes on.
The bike was fun - and no mechanical issues which is a blessing
on Kent roads. Annoyingly my inability to descend quickly on a road
bike is following me to TTs. Going down hill, as soon as it hits
55+kmh I want to be nearer the brakes than on the aerobars
(especially on non closed roads).
The last half Ironman I did I had the fastest bike split; this time
I was only 4th.
I rode my Speed Concept and a Zipp 808/Disc combo. Maximum bling. I
am not sure its even a deep wheel course; my average speed was only
21 mph. But if you buy race wheels you might as well use them!