Dorney Lake Triathlon – Season Finale 2022

Report by: Nancy Stuart

Race Date: 18th September 2022

The Season Finale Triathlon brings the curtain down on the triathlon season with a final chance to race in cooler late-summer temperatures. It’s hosted at the iconic Dorney Lake rowing centre, a first-class triathlon venue offering clear/calm waters and a flat, fast run/cycle course.

I’ve never done a triathlon before but have always fancied trying it out, this season finale with a 1st timers option seemed the ideal opportunity.  There were various distances available up to Olympic distance and there’s also an option of a duathlon and a children’s race.

 The first timers event involves a 200m swim in the lake, a 5.3k cycle loop and a 2.5k out and back run. I was allocated into wave 15 starting at 16.40, which meant a full day of nerves building up so I was at the blind panic stage by the time we arrived at the lake and slightly lost it at suggestions from Rich that we didn’t have to do it, or that we might go and look at the merchandise! I felt better when I was allowed into the transition zone to set-up and met some of my fellow first timers who were equally as nervous.

I set up in my new Tri suit, a wetsuit donated by Jill Davies and my bike that Rich insisted was far too heavy for this event. We had a first timers briefing that covered where you could get on and off the bike and the rules of transition and then we were moved over to the start for the swim.

Our start was delayed by 20 minutes due to the previous heat taking longer than expected which added to the nerves. There was no mass start, instead one participant was asked to go first and others were set off one by one down a ramp, into the water. In a way this made getting in the water easier as someone was immediately behind you and you’d hold them up if you hesitated. The ground was uneven at the end of the ramp which meant my entrance was more of a fall in than anything and the person after me had already overtaken.

After a minute of panicking at how cold it was, I relaxed into the swim, breaststroke only. Canoeists lined the route to support us as 1st timers, one asking if I realised I’d still got my glasses on! The swim was over in no time and getting out of the water wasn’t too bad, another ramp which we were advised to swim as far as possible up before trying to stand.

Next it was a run to the transition area on legs made of jelly and on to the bike. I overtook more people than people passed me on the cycle loop but by the run there was a mixture of people from different heats so it wasn’t possible to know who was in my group but I felt like I was hardly moving on tired legs. I did see Rich coming into the finish as I was heading out on the outward run

I finished the event in 17th place in 42.06, 2nd in my age category and somehow came 12th in the run. Rich came 37th in the novice event (400m swim, 10.6k bike, 2.5k run) in 1.01.29, first in his age category.

I may even be back next year for an attempt at the novice distance, definitely recommended as a first timers event.

Results here.

Photo: proving that the bike wasn’t too heavy after all

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