Windsor was my second sprint distance triathlon this year and I have to say I absolutely loved it.
I had only ever completed my previous two triathlons at Eton Dorney. I love Eton but it is completely flat and closed road circuit so I needed more of a challenge for my next triathlon.
Firstly it was an extremely early start. I was in the old girls sprint wave (35yrs+) and my start time was 6.15am. Luckily we had to register and rack our bikes the day before so all I had to do was get myself to transition for about 5.30am latest to sort the rest of my stuff out, get my wet suit on and walk the 10 mins to the swim start line.
I am very lucky that I have such a supportive family and crazily they want to experience every moment of my triathlon journey with me. So at 4.30am we (me, husband and 2 kids) left our hotel at Heathrow and made our way to the venue. The car park is at Windsor boys school and is another 10 minute walk to the transition area. I suppose that this comes in hand in hand when you book for a triathlon in a middle of Windsor where there is a lack of space.
Sprint Triathlon: 750m Swim, 30km Bike, 5km Run
The Thames is a real challenge as it has such a strong current however I read up on this before the event and was advised to head to the right hand side of the river. For most of it I think the current was in my favour because I felt really strong and the swim was over really quickly (14.58 minutes). My swim time at Eton 3 weeks earlier was 17.38 so I am crediting most of the gain in time on the Thames helping me along.
We had to jump in from a steep bank into the water for the swim start- which in a way is good because you get used to the water very quickly. The water temperature was actually really warm. We were told 19 degrees and it definitely felt that warm, however a friend who was also doing it complained the water was too cold and this caused her breathing issues.
If you bring a support crew like I did, they get to see everything. They get allowed to get so up close and walk along the bank near you for nearly the whole of the swim lap. Literally every time I breathed to the right hand side I saw my family cheering and waving frantically which was really nice. It was however quite distracting as I kept waving back at them instead of concentrating on the swim.
I still managed to catch most of the wave in front of me and some of the stragglers from the mens wave before them so I was pretty chuffed.
The bike leg at Windsor is a little longer than most standard Sprint distances which is usually 20km. This one was 30 km.
As soon as I got out of the water the heavens opened and it started to really rain. I hate the rain especially on a bike and I can count on one hand how many times I have actually ridden a bike in the rain.
Windsor has one of the biggest transitions in the country, so it’s easy to get lost and misplace your bike. Also because of the size of the transition it is a long run from the swim to your bike and then another long run with your bike to the mount line.
I usually hate the bike leg but despite the weather and the fact the bike is my weakest of the 3 disciplines, I felt really strong. The course was beautiful (lovely countryside) and was very well marshalled. I was a little cautious due to the wet and also because I saw so many people fixing punctures but luckily I survived unscathed. It was an undulating course on mostly open roads and there were some notable hills but my time was relatively fast for me so I was pleased. Time was 1:01.50.
The three laps up to Windsor Castle hurt as there is one very steep hill on every lap. However the view of the castle and the fantastic support along the route made it really enjoyable. Each lap went really really quickly. The rain continued to fall but that didn’t matter. Also because it was laps it meant I got to see my family 3 times which was fab.
My 5km run time was 28:17 which was ok given the steep Windsor hill.
All in all it was a really enjoyable race despite the weather. Human Races I find always put on a good race that is very well Marshalled. I also got a lovely goody bag and a nice medal at the finish line.
My next Race is Olympic Distance at Leeds Castle in just under 2 weeks and Outlaw Holkham Relay in 3 weeks - very exciting….