29th September 2010 – Clacton on Sea, Essex, Great Britain
What a great way for triathletes to wind down at the end of the season – a brisk sea swim, a bike through Essex countryside ending with a sea front run and all under a beautiful early autumn sky. Certainly many in the field for the sold out Clacton Standard Distance Triathlon could be forgiven for having similar thoughts as they prepared to enter the water from the beach about a mile up the coast from transition.
The need for the start about a mile further up the coast from transition soon became apparent to the competitors as they entered the water.The ones who forgot the advice given at the briefing, to swim directly out from shore rather than towards the first buoy, soon remembered it . As the current quickly swept them past the buoy on the wrong side they were forced to swim against the tide to get back on course.
Once round the buoy, and accompanied by safety canoes and jetskis, each wave in turn made its way parallel to the coast, arms turning almost in unison with the blades of the wind turbines further offshore.
Exiting the water onto the beach between weather-beaten timber groynes, competitors then made their way up a steep incline to transition with the fastest swims coming from Nicholas Dyer and TFN’s Helen Gorman with both taking just over 21 minutes for the 1500m swim.
As the race progressed so the weather turned. What had started as a pleasant morning soon became cold. Driving rain lashed the course and those who had managed to start the bike in the sun found themselves buffeted by strong winds as they began their second bike lap on the now wet gently undulating Essex countryside roads. Spectators dived for cover under the nearest tree or raised umbrellas as they struggled to identify and cheer on their nearest and dearest through the rain as they continued on the bike or entered transition to begin their run.
As they made their way along the cliff top path on the outward leg of the 10km run, the competitors were cheered on by spectators huddled together for protection from the elements in a shelter more regularly used by families eating ice creams. However, by the time the first competitors had reached the turn at 5k, just a few metres short of Clacton Pier, the weather had improved. Making their way back along the promenade they negotiated all the usual British sea front sights of beach huts, anglers and, families out for a Sunday morning walk, before making their way back up onto the cliff top and to the finish line.
In the end a good day for Steve Norris who backed up the 2nd fastest individual bike split of the day of 01:01:03 with one of the fastest runs to win in a time of 02:02:24. For the ladies the overall title went to former British Elite competitor Loretta Sollars, racing in the Female 40+ category on this occasion, with the fastest female bike and run splits of 01:06:59 and 00:42:28 helping towards her 02:13:02 finish time.
1. Steve Norris 02:02:24
2. Charlie Brown (Met Police Tri) 02:04:28
3. Nicholas Dyer 02:05:38
1. Loretta Sollars (F40+) (East Essex Triathlon Club) 02:13:02
2. Jade Edwards (Human Performance Unit) 02:22:37
3. Paula Dewar (F40+) (VO2 Maximum Race Team) 02:23:32
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