Race report from Ian Simon -
I originally thought that timing the race to start at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon was perfect. That was, until I noticed it clashed with the Olympic road-race and hopefully Gold for Cav – its not unusual to have race nerves, but normally they’d be for my own race, not someone else’s! Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out for Cav and Team GB but hopefully the large Alnwick Tri contingent would have more success in Bamburgh.
The race venue is epic. I think Bamburgh Castle is the most impressive of the Northumbrian castles and formed an awesome backdrop to transition and the swim start. I registered and set my bike up in transition, then tried to recce the swim start and mount / dismount line – however, I turned back realising that I didn’t have the energy to walk that far!
The race briefing was given, then we were piped down to the swim start. Nice touch. Swim conditions were perfect, the water was calm and clear. Bad start for me, but once I got into my rhythm I seemed to pick up plenty of places. One lap of the swim, then the charge up the beach to transition.
On to the bike. This was the only problem part of the course, as you have to make a right turn off the cricket club then battle holiday traffic through Bamburgh. The roads cleared quickly and then it was just a case of hammering the out and back course, not made any easier by a gnarly wind. With the course design, you get a great opportunity to see how the race is going when athletes start to turn. For me, it was a realisation of just how quick the pro’s are, as the 2006 world champ Tim Don came flying past with a massive lead. The good news was that only two others turned ahead of me. After turning, I could see there was a big queue of strong cyclists queueing up, and it didn’t take long to lose a couple of places. I managed to keep focused and dug in up the climb from Budle Bay, finishing the bike leg with 3rd & 4th just ahead.
Normally, I’d be looking forward to finishing strongly on the run, possibly challenging for a podium position from a position like this. However, my run fitness isn’t there, so I had to just try to relax and hold on to my current place. The run was another out & back, this time along the beach. Another good opportunity to see the other athletes and try to gauge running pace. We were quickly off the beach (it was maybe a tad short – I’m not an 11:16 5k runner!) and having survived the soft sand of the beach path for a second time I checked behind before relaxing and enjoying the short lap of the cricket ground to the finish.
It was a really enjoyable race and it was great to see so many Alnwick Tri members out racing.