This was my 2nd attempt at the Upton upon Severn Triathlon with the standard/olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run), the 1st being last year and my 2nd ever triathlon after the amazing Blenheim Palace. This year was meant to be about me pushing on, sorting out my awful swimming, and getting a bit quicker on the bike and run. But a dodgy chest for a few months meant that any training went out the window and Upton was just about me trying to make it to the end.
This was the first time in any event that I was actually early and prepared, which meant I had just enough time to get everything laid out in transition correctly, get correctly hydrated, fueled (and emptied!), and at the start without sprinting there. The weather was getting VERY warm and after zipping up my wetsuit, sweat was pouring out the bottom at my ankles. It was great to see lots of friends there, Mike, Dale, Martin, Jayne, Lee, Jo, Phil, Helen, Martyn, Rhona, and lots of others.
I wasn’t expecting much from my swim. Last year, I did the swim in 33:34 but it was with a huge current that everyone else seemed to make the most of but me. This year due to the warm weather and not much rain there was almost no current and the river was very low. I was still making my way down the ladder into the lovely 18°C river Severn as they were counting down from 1 minute and the start was a bit of a swim away! I got there just in time at the back and settled into a steady swim but was a bit concerned I was actually overtaking people and looking behind I wasn’t last. I carried on down the river accidentally getting caught in trees on the left hand side a few times, zig-zagging as normal and saw the familiar Upton bridge marking the finish earlier than I thought. I got out the river on 31:57 but much happier with my swim than last time.
Through transition and onto the bike and my home territory. I very quickly got comfortable, bashing out a decent 21.1 MPH average 40km ride. The bike route is lovely, with a few little bumps but mostly flat roads allowing you to get comfortable and into a rhythm. Last year the swim took so much out of me I struggled to average 20 MPH but this year I was much more comfortable. A particular highlight was a local resident with a hosepipe on the end of his drive spraying anyone riding past who asked for it. The last 5km are all downhill back into Upton where I saw Lee Ross and knew he was doing very well as he’d already been through transition and was running up the hill while I was cycling down it.
After transition and 2 full cups of water it was onto the run. The chest was starting to complain a bit and I was feeling a bit of cramp around the midriff. Then after a couple of km the lack of training and dieting showed through and I got a bit of knee pain which effectively killed the run. I didn’t really care by that point as I was chuffed with the swim and bike, and just pleased I was going to be able to finish. The 2nd lap through the farm I took on as much water as I could and gave up 10 seconds off my time to stand directly under the hosepipe shower they had brilliantly provided, before dragging myself over the last few km to the loopback grandstand finish.
Both last year and this year I’ve been impressed by how organised Upton Tri is. Everything is thought of. I’d recommend it to anyone and maybe I’ll camp over next year with a few beers for afterwards. – Darren Mansell