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CPT Race reports

NB: These pages have now been archived. They are kept for information only and may contain broken links to pages that have since moved or no longer exist.

If you've competed in a race and want to write a report, even if it's only describing the course for people who might consider doing the event in future, please do. You can e-mail your report to the webmaster (webmaster@crystalpalace-tri.co.uk) for publication.

If you have any photographs to accompany your report you can e-mail electronic images. If you only have prints, give them to Karen at a training session, I'll get them scanned and returned to you ASAP.


Amsterdam Half Marathon
16th October 2005
Report by Barley Verhagen

Just a quick race report from Holland in case anyone is interested in running the Amsterdam 10K/half-marathon/marathon next year.

Course: skirting centre of Amsterdam and suburbs for full Marathon - mainly flat as you would expect from the Low Countries!

Weather: fantastic - sunny clear skies around 15 celcius

Organization: okay 5 out of 10

  • Race packs are not send out prior to race day and have to be picked up from a sport's venue around the start/finish area
  • Half marathon distance signs were small and easy to miss. Also mixed in with marathon distance markers and therefore could be confusing
  • Water stations - every 5 to 7K - Gatorade was sponsoring the event and plenty of energy drinks available but no energy gels/bars etc
Safety rating: okay again 5 out of 10
  • Pedestrians & cyclist were still trying to cross the road while runners where on it causing at least one fall.
Overall rating:
  • I enjoyed the race but as I have family out there it was easy for me to pick up the race packs etc. Don't enter this race if you want to see the Amsterdam sites as the course does not pass them. PB possibl due to flat course.

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London Duathlon
17th September 2005
Report by Ron Yee

London Duathlon 2005Having just flown back from working in the Far East just the day before, I felt a bit tired before I had even started, however my family had been quite zealous in collecting sponsors for Whizz Kidz, so there was no backing out.

I was scheduled to start in the second wave at 9.05am, so when I arrived at 7.30 am I was quite surprised to find only about 30 cars in the frost covered competitor car park which allegedly had a capacity of 1500 cars and was sold out. I made the mistake of registering and leaving some of my kit back in the car since it was quite a long walk from the car park to the competitor’s village. Registration and chip collection was well organised however I was surprised to find the transition area was not numbered but being early I was able to leave my bike almost near the end.

The run route was a gently rolling anti clockwise lap of the parks perimeter road which eventually turned out to be 10.9 km long (and not 10km as advertised). The 21.8 km bike route consisted of 2 clockwise laps of the perimeter road that included a short killer of a hill about halfway between Robin Hood Gate and Kingston Gate (I was glad I changed my cassette from a 12-23 to 12-27) After climbing the hill both times I developed quite painful cramp in my left calf and it took about 1/3 of a lap before I could spin it out. Apart from that hill the cycle route was quite fast however on the second lap it began to get a little congested as there were more people on the course making overtaking problematic. I almost went into the back of a chap on a Crevelo P3 who had a spectacular blow-out just as we were passing the transition area for the second time – it was just like a gun shot filling the air with dust. The second run was an anticlockwise route than followed a gently rising inner circuit that passed White Lodge mostly on road with only the last few hundred meters on grass.

I eventually finished 607th in 2 hrs 10mins 48secs (the winner finished in 1 hr 29mins 52secs) there were just under 2000 competitors. My unofficial splits were Run 1 (10.9km) – 51.41; T1 – 2.06; Cycle (21.8km) 47.21; T2 – 2.36; Run 2 (5km) – 27.04.

Conclusion: It was a great fun event with lots of atmosphere but not one if you want a fast time it could prove quite frustrating due to the congestion on the bike legs. Next time I will do more hill training on the bike and less posing for photos at the transitions!

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Ironman UK
21st August 2005
Report by Karen Ayers

I'm not sure how to describe my feelings since completing the IM. At first, I didn't feel at all as I'd expected. I was pleased that I'd finished, that my time wasn't too bad and that I wasn't last, but I didn't feel as excited or as pleased with myself as I'd thought I would. I just felt as though I'd finished another triathlon! I was slightly disappointed with my time, which was ridiculous because my main aim was to finish, but secretly a part of me thought I could do under 15 hours. It's taken a month for me to feel good about what I did and to feel really pleased that I finished and lived to tell the tale!!

I didn't sleep much on the Friday night but managed to sleep soundly on Saturday night. Something I never do before a big race! I only woke up when my alarm clock went off at 4am on Sunday morning. I managed to force down my Oats-So-Simple and a cup of tea. Bruce got up with me and was more nervous and anxious than I was! We drove the three miles from our B&B to Sherborne in the pitch dark and queued to get into the Castle grounds. I still didn't feel nervous.

I went into transition to check my bike, pump up the tyres and put a couple of last minute bits into my Bike and Run bags then found my CPT friends and had a chat before we changed into our wetsuits and watched the thick mist over the lake! We watched and waited. The 6am start didn't look likely!

At about 7am we were ushered down towards the lake as there were rumours that the mist was clearing. Unfortunately it descended again and was thicker than before! Our early morning breakfasts and hydration plans were taking effect and we had to go back to transition to use the portaloos, not an easy task in a wetsuit! I managed to find my family and friends near the swim entry point and went to speak to them several times. Thanks also to Stuart's family for providing caramel Rocky bars while we were waiting!

Eventually at around 8am we started entering the water. I took a few minutes to look back at all the wetsuited, capped, bodies entering the water behind me and realised I was taking part in something special, it was quite a spectacle.

There was a false start when someone in the crowd blew a whistle and those at the front had to be called back! I'd started my stopwatch but hadn't moved! Without much warning at all the foghorn sounded and we were off. It wasn't as chaotic as I'd expected and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to swim without getting too bashed about.

Everyone seemed to be heading wide of the buoys, which had been my plan to miss the melee, so I just continued swimming with the buoys just to my right. I managed to swim in clear water for most of the way. Sighting was easy because of the buoys all the way up the centre of the lake and because of the direction of the sunrise I was able to breathe bilaterally all the way around. It was fairly busy around the turn points but again not as bad as I'd expected.

I swam comfortably round the two laps and was very pleasantly surprised to be pulled out of the water in 1:15. 15 minutes quicker than I'd expected.

I headed for transition and accepted the assistance of a wetsuit stripper. Unfortunately she had long finger nails and put them straight through my brand new Orca Predator wetsuit. I had to shout 'Stop' very loudly. I was really upset but determined to try to put it behind me and not let it affect my race. I grabbed my Bike bag and headed into the changing tent where there were nude bodies in all shapes and sizes!

Changed into my cycling gear, grabbed my bike and to the cheers of my family and friends ran to the mount line. Managed to mount without any problems and headed out of the Castle grounds to start my tour of the Dorset and Somerset hills!

As I'd had such a good swim time, it was very busy for the first lap but I was soon being dropped by all those I'd started out with! As I climbed the first hill out of Sherborne, I heard someone shouting 'Is that Karen?' and was cheered by Ruki. There was a lot of support on the bike course, mainly I guess because it was such a nice day. There were crowds in most of the villages we passed through, especially outside the pubs, and everyone was making lots of noise, clapping, cheering and in some cases calling out names. It was wonderful.

The first feed station came as a bit of a surprise, I wasn't prepared as I hadn't seen any warning signs. Managed to dispose of my bottle quickly and grabbed some Gatorade. The Gatorade bottle wasn't easy to drink out of and it was so diluted I thought I'd grabbed water by mistake! After a couple of hours I couldn't face eating whole bars at a time, so nibbled throughout and took half a banana at most feed stations.

I had to make several 'loo' stops, one stop to put my chain back on and one stop to adjust my saddle. After about 4 hours the backs of my knees, at the top of my calfs, were aching and I decided my seat was slightly too high. I dropped the saddle and it felt a lot more comfortable.

I did the two Dorchester laps in around 4 hours and was really pleased with how it was going, maintaining just above 16mph average speed. Bryan Rhodes, the lead man, flew past me on his second lap as I was on my first! I headed back towards Sherborne and the two laps north of the Castle. This section was tough, with a couple of really steep hills that seemed to go on forever. I somehow managed to 'lose' an hour on these two laps and my speed dropped drastically to around 14.5mph.

A couple of the feed stations had run out of Gatorade and at another I had to wait while a bottle was filled up for me. I knew I was falling behind when I saw people I'd come out of the swim with finishing their second lap as I was just starting mine, but I kept pedalling!

I got back to the Castle in 7:59, very glad not to go over 8 hours for the bike! My computer read 113.96 miles! So either I did an extra two miles or the course was long!

I grabbed my Run bag and went to sit down in the female changing area. Had a complete change of clothes and reluctantly set out for the marathon.

Bruce and Matthew were just the other side of the fence and called 'Smile for the camera'. I think I replied, in a very friendly and enthusiastic manner 'F@*? off' !! I think I also told Bruce to sell my bike!!! There were some CPT supporters (Phil, Frances and Ruki) further along and I managed to jog past them and out on to the road. My family were waiting just outside the Castle and Mark, my brother, ran along side me for about 200 metres. A couple more CPT supporters (Berit and Theresa) were just around the corner and ran a short distance with me. I was then on my own for about 20 miles!

The run course was just torture at the end of such a hilly bike. I managed to jog most of the way to the half way point but knew I was in trouble from my saddle being too high on the bike. I was aware of a growing pain in the back of my knees. I just concentrated on reaching each two-mile marker and ignoring the miles beyond. I saw all my fellow CPT Ironmen heading back on the marathon as I was going out! I was pleased to see they were also walking at times.

After the half way point I managed to run downhill for another mile but after the 14 mile marker I walked (marched) all the way back to the finish. I tried running a couple of times but couldn't so gave up trying as I was just getting cross with myself. By about 16 miles the sun had completely set and it was pitch black. Most of the run course was on dual carriageway, with one lane coned off. This was very unpleasant in the dark, running towards cars doing 70mph with their main beam shining straight into your face.

About five miles of the run was through country park and woods. This was very scary, walking on my own and crying as I went! There were no lights and no marshals. I wasn't worried about people in the woods, I thought the trees were coming to get me! I wasn't even sure I was going the right way some of the time!

I couldn't face any more Gatorade on the run so stuck to water and had a couple of gels. I tried to eat some more banana but had overdosed on banana during the bike and rejected the last one I tried to consume! A kind man along the way gave me a red jelly baby which made me very happy!!

I thought the hills were never going to end but was determined to keep marching. I managed to keep going at about 4mph. At about 23 miles there was a footbridge over a dual carriageway. I had to cling to the railings and drag myself up the steps, walk along, then cling to the railings again to go down, two feet on each step to get to the bottom safely!

I was really pleased to see two familiar faces coming towards me about two miles from the finish. Bruce and Matthew (my husband and son) had come to find me. Matthew was getting concerned about me! They walked with me, trying to coax me into running again but I wasn't having any, and told them in no uncertain terms!!

Apologies to my CPT friends and supporters who stayed to see me cross the Finish line. I did hear you shouting your support but I was concentrating too hard on getting to that Finish to acknowledge you. Your support and encouragement was, nonetheless, much appreciated and I wasn't deliberately ignoring you!

I did manage to jog very slowly to the Finish but didn't have the energy to lift my arms to cross the line. I was just relieved it was all over in 15:39:47.

I queued for a massage while Bruce went off to see if he could find me some proper food. Just as I lay on the massage couch he came back with food, so I had a massage while eating chips and a hot dog!! According to my HR monitor, I had burnt off nearly 9000 calories, so it was justified!

We cheered the last man over the finish line, who sadly missed the 17 hour cut-off by 1:45, had hugs and kisses from family and friends (Bruce, Matthew, Mum, Helen, Adam, Colette, Phil, and Phil T) who had stayed to the bitter end and then headed back to the B&B for a restless couple of hours sleep!

Apparently, Bryan Rhodes, who led the race throughout to win in 8:42, said it was the hardest Ironman course he had done and he was 40 minutes slower than he'd hoped. I was only 40 minutes slower than I'd hoped, so took great consolation from this!

It's definitely a day I'll never forget, especially now I've got the tattoo to prove it! It's a story I'm happy to retell to anyone and everyone, so please stop me if I'm repeating myself at any time!

Thanks to everyone who helped get me through, you know who you are!

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European Championships - Lausanne
20th August 2005
Report by Carole Jackson

European Championships 2005 - LausanneAm sitting here thinking it would be good for all those of you who fancy doing the World Championships in Lausanne next year to know a little about the course which will be the same as this year's European Championships. So I thought I'd write a race report.

Usual format swim, bike, run - always good. The swim is in Lake Geneva, varying temperatures but on race day it was 18.5 degrees, it had been a degree or two warmer leading up to the race but storms had developed and cooled it down. The swim is a two-lap course, after the first lap you exit the water up a ramp, run along the pontoon and dive (or in my case descend gracefully) back into the water for the second lap. The water is clear and on this day it was flat although the wind does chop it up quite a bit. Up the ramp again, over a specially constructed bridge over the road and down the side of transition - 800 metres originally but reduced to about 500 for our race.

Now the fun starts, to say the bike is hilly is an understatement; this race has probably one of the most difficult bike courses I have ever seen. One mile flat then 9 miles up to the top of Lausanne, steep and winding, there is a section of cobbles, which is so steep some people walked and others simply fell off because they had stopped moving. I think they were better off, I cycled all the way and my back was killing me! Finally you reach the top and it's 3 miles straight back down into the town centre- except its not straight its very steep and technical. It was comforting to see the barriers, padding and first aiders standing by on these tricky bends! Then what? Well, then you do it all again! There were people behind me, not many I admit, but by the second lap some had just dropped out.

So back from the bike and my mind is saying you can't run now, pull out. However the run is a flat 4-lap course so I told myself try one lap and see how you feel. Amazingly I felt OK, I wasn't moving very fast and the time was ticking on but who cares it had become a case of just wanting to finish. I heard some of the faster women in my group finishing around 3 hours when they would normally do 2.20 so I just kept going. The end was great! If you plan to do it next year good luck, I can say with some confidence that I won't be joining you but wish you well!

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Windsor Triathlon
19th June 2005
Report by Jeremy Blunden

The Royal Windsor Triathlon was quite an adventure this year. At registration the day before, the temperature was nudging 33 Celsius, so things were looking up. I was hoping for a respectable time even though this was meant to be a training race.

On the day of the race it was 20 at sunrise and after the most stressful part of the race - queuing for the toilets and Mark repairing his puncture in transition - it was rather nice to jump into a cool River Thames. There was the usual mayhem at the start with everyone trying to get tight into the boats on the far side of the river. I took up my customary position: middle of the river battling the current with a posse of breast-strokers on my inside preventing me from moving over. Long swim to the turn and then a nice relaxing few strokes around the buoy with the dolphins from the wave behind encouraging me by holding my head under (we should practice this a bit more at the lido). Then to the swim exit but not before a really good kick in the mouth, so hard that the bloke who did it stopped and asked if I was OK!

My usual twenty minutes in T1 - socks on (oops, no, wrong pair they were for the run), change into bib-shorts (wrong colour so get spare pair out of suitcase; where did I leave the key to the padlock?), don't forget nutrition (quick prawn sandwich and some tea from the old thermos). Eventually I am on my way for a fairly uneventful bike leg. It was windy and the usual rolling course that doesn't quite allow me to settle into a rhythm but I did have a chance to chat with John P on one of the bike loops.

Into T2 pretending to undo my helmet every time I passed a marshal (I do love hearing them shout) and then out onto the run course. This is where it became an adventure race! I had absolutely no legs left and so slogged up the hill past the castle (great for window shopping) for the first of three laps. By now it was incredibly hot and my run strategy with timings (don't you love it) was out of the window - for me it was real survival. Lots of people walking, lots of people dropping out, and then I stopped to help a very wobbly man who looked like he had lost every ounce of blood. With police officer calling for assistance on his radio I got up and then cramped up immediately in both calves. So a nice little walk over Eton Bridge until my legs came back a little. Somehow made it to the finish and then, looking at my time, realised I must have run an extra lap.

More than fifty DNF and, looking at the 16 min run times in the top twenty (including the winner), I think there will be a few more! Lots of ambulances arriving to take competitors to hospital including, rather dramatically, the air ambulance. BBC news reported three competitors detained in hospital - wishing them a speedy recovery. Some good times from my team mates including Barley who broke three hours for the first time. Fantastic. Well done to all who finished - same again next year?

Jeremy - 'nudging four hours' -- Blunden

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Club trip to Rimini
29th March - 5th April 2005
Report by Phil Taylor

Tully Tours Press Release
Rimini 2005
Hotel Belvedere

Tully Tours carried out a magnificent job in pulling together one of the club's finest weeks abroad. Attention to detail was meticulous right down to ordering good weather from the man upstairs. Such was the stress Glyn put himself through we had to calm him with a few light ales to the early hours on the odd occasion - 7 nights!

The first ride to welcome us and show what we would have had weather wise if Glyn had not been at the helm - it poured with some special effects, lightning and full surround sound, thunder, thrown in for good measure.

As we were guided out into the gently undulating country side by some good tour guides, testosterone got the better of a few on the gentle 30 minute climbs, others conceded that this was not going to be their finest hour, or half. Jon led the sprints to the tops of the hills followed by the hopefuls, Will slick hair do Forbes and Tony on his very impressionable Steed - keep watching the antiques road show!

Glyn did the honourable thing to make sure none of his clients got lost and stayed firmly at the rear.

The ladies of the squad kept their steeds rolling and were always up there with the pack, with Cathy showing off with 0730 runs which Nigel dreamt of but wisely stayed firmly tucked up in bed.

The food was plentiful, my watch said I burnt 16,000 calories over the 384 miles of hilly cycling, yet I put on 0.5kg! (MUSCLE). The evening meal was the one with plenty of free red wine and numerous delightful puddings which Nigel said all tasted delicious and as good second time round - Easy Tiger!

To help relax after our rides we had free entrance to the local Thermal Baths where some went over board with floating toys attached to various parts of their anatomy - Tony took full honours here looking like a Bertie Basset - I have photographic proof!

We were treated to a surprise celebrity within our mists, Brian twinkle toes Tinker, won the dance competition hands down. Brian can be seen live at this Christmas' bash, maybe some other brave sole may like to knock him off his perch but be warned it will be toughly contested.

So after 7 days of fantastic cycling, food galore, flowing red wine and champagne, sunshine, stunning scenery, oh and a few beers, you can understand why we were all in such a rush to get back to blighty and away from the terrible treatment the Italians bestowed upon us!

Phil
(Tully tours official PR officer - after being sacked as catering manager - now redundant)


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Hastings Half Marathon
13th March 2005
Report by Dave Crockwell

View Results

Hastings didn't get off to the best of starts. Having left home with plenty of time I arrived in Hastings and joined a very long queue heading towards the official car park. About 20 minutes later on arrival at the car park the 'full up' sign had been posted. So it became a bit of a scramble to find a place to park on the road. By the time I arrived at the start area it was quite crowded, but the sun had come out and it was a very good atmosphere. I started in the under 120 minutes area, and it took me about one and a half minutes to cross the start line. There was a steep hill shortly after the start, and a constant gradient between 3-5 miles, so quite a tough start. From about mile 6 it levelled out. Around the half way stage there was fantastic support, very noisy, but very encouraging. There was very good support at various intervals from then on. By the time I arrived back at Hastings sea front the sun had gone in and there was a stiff breeze coming off the sea, but at least the end was in sight. Having finished my first half marathon there was a very welcome cup of tea available. All in all I enjoyed the event and would most definitely do it again.

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Thanet Duathlon
16th January 2005
Report by Geoff Dillon

View Results

Jim, Mitch and I had a great day out at Birchington on Sunday. A highly recommended and excellent value for money event. Here's my report:

"What a beautiful day: sunny, not bitterly cold. I lined up alongside Jim, Mitch and 70 others. A lovely morning run to begin with, along the promenade and back, looking out over the huge sweep of barnacled rock, out to the glistening blue sea. Then the fun started. I mounted my mother-in-law's £100 'bike' - a motorist had written my bike off the week before - and set off wondering if it would still be in one piece after the first small bump. To my amazement, it was.

We had to cycle twice around the perimeter of a large field, and straight away began the constant decision-making on whether to risk slicing through the puddle of sludge or skirt round it though the tall grass and hope you didn't come a cropper. The bike soon clogged up and began to feel like a lump of lead, as my back ached from leaning over it to keep it moving; but it was doing Halfords proud. After this traumatic first side of the field the remainder was much more civilised, finishing with a good fast bumpy trail and sprint along the promenade. The hundred pounder had got me round only 2 minutes slower than when I did the course last time.

The run was a single lap round the same field, trying to avoid taking on mud and weighing down my very weary legs. Five dykes stood in our way two-thirds of the way round, although this time they hadn't filled them with water. I still tried to jump the first one, though. The run finished up and over a series of small hills before the finish line quickly approached.

As I rested in my car with my bike laying beside, two old dears, unaware of my presence, looked woefully at the bike and concluded that someone must have dumped it. I immediately took them to task. After all, I had to defend my new found friend."

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Last updated: 7 September 2005
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