ROUND three of the 2015 Stratford Triathlon Club Grand Prix competition saw five club members travel to Bicester on Sunday to compete in the Seniors Sprint Triathlon and Alan Coley-Smith was again in sparkling form as he came home first for the club, writes Victoria Jeffs.
This type of event is suitable for everyone from beginners to age groupers and the support is fantastic, with the start position dependent on your swim time, going off in waves of athletes of similar ability.
Conditions at this time of year are always a challenge, so exiting the pool was a bitter experience and, coupled with strong westerly winds, it made for some tough racing conditions.
The bike leg was an out and back loop with some sections exposed to cross-winds, making shallower wheel choice the best option, with everyone managing to stay upright and hold their positions.
Getting out on the run was an opportunity to see how everyone was going as the 5km was made up of five laps of the school field. This set-up is great for spectators, however for the competitors it feels as though you are being hunted down, with the gaps growing and closing on each lap as you pass one another.
Regardless of the conditions, the Stratford triathletes put in some great performances. In a field of over 400 competitors, super-fast Coley-Smith was first home for the club as he proved his ability across all three disciplines with a sixth place overall and second in his age group.
Closely on his heels with a stellar performance was Brian Weetman, who used this event as his season opener and, despite the winds, he had a great bike leg to come home sixth in his age group.
Behind Weetman there was a battle going on between Dave Clarkson and Paul Nash as the two chased each other down on the run leg and provided some important extra motivation for each other.
Clarkson managed to hold off Nash, finishing just over two minutes ahead. The slightly younger Clarkson managed ninth in his age group and Nash was fourth in his.
Leighanne Earley put in a fantastic effort on her first ever triathlon to finish sixth in her age group as her spirit of adventure and winter training paid off.
Add in an extraordinary willingness to “give it a go”, it meant she learned many great lessons in transition on the day and proved she has nothing to fear in her big goal of reaching the Straffordshire 70.3 Half Iron distance race in June.
Round four of the Grand Prix series takes place at the Duston Triathlon on April 20.
Results: (sprint: 400m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) – Alan Coley-Smith – Swim 5:46, Bike 37:32, Run 18:50 – Total 1:03:39 – 6th Overall, 2nd in his age group; Brian Weetman – Swim 6:47, Bike 43:25, Run 20:56 – Total 1:12:50 – 6th in his age group; Dave Clarkson – Swim 7:41, Bike 44:59, Run 23:32 – Total 1:20:00 – 9th in his age group; Paul Nash – Swim 8:41, Bike 45:15, Run 23:58 – Total 1:22:24 – 4th in his age group; Leighanne Earley – Swim 10:45, Bike 53:15, Run 24:10 – Total 1:32:32 – 6th in her age group.