2020 - The Year of the Turbo Trainer!
Like everything else in life, the world of triathlon was a little different this year.
Many people's main race was either cancelled or postponed, however there were still a few opportunities to compete this year.
Jordan Lockett had a great start to the year. In March he competed in the Anglian Standard Distance Duathlon. Winning his age group Jordan qualified for the 2021 European Championships.
Before lockdown Dominique Crist braved the weather entering her first half marathon at Brighton.
Meanwhile Kevin Barnes and Martin Ballard competed at the Seville Marathon. In contrasting conditions Kevin smashed his target with a sub 3:30 time.
Life in Lockdown
Lockdown arrived and the season looked uncertain. At various times of the year we were limited to the 'rule of six' and at other times we could only meet one other person outside our household. Swimming pools were closed. Face to face raining became difficult and/or was cancelled altogether depending on the rules at the time.
Fortunately we didn't have to entirely abandon our group training though. We moved to online coaching instead of face to face.
When the 'rule of six' was in place we managed to continue our social Sunday rides - but of course maintaining social distancing and in groups of just six people.
In the first phase of lockdown Nicola led some online Pilates sessions. These were very popular - and not just with our athletes as Barney the dog will testify to.
As with many event organisers and clubs, we sadly had to cancel our first few sprint races.
Many of our members signed up to 'virtual events' instead. Randolph managed to create a 'Running T-Rex Strava Art' as his entry into one of the Castle Series half marathons.
During the second lockdown the club created challenges to keep our athletes motivated and active.
It was such a successful event that we were featured on the BTF website
The challenge required athletes to aim for a specific distance that they could run over the month of November. A different theme was set each week, with prizes on offer for the best photographs that fitted the theme.
The first week was an 'autumnal' theme, which produced some great photos from Mark Beardon.
Week 2 required some thinking outside the box as the theme was 'River Deep, Mountain High'. David Withers had been missing his cafe stops on our social rides so made a cake mountain for his 'mountain high' photo.
As it turned out, cakes were a popular choice for the next theme as well - "What motivates me to run". Olivia Leroutier said "...Friends, countryside, a good chat while running with friends, getting fit and faster, wearing OLT colours and of course my favourite activity ... eating cakes!!..."
James Coleman drew his motivation from "...Running along the coast watching the sun rise and knowing that anywhere in the world I can take my trainers and watch and go for a run..."
But the most populate answer seemed to be "...running with my dog..."
More OLT Press Coverage
Last year we featured Marian Boyd's superb Gold Medal in the European Age Group Aquabike championships. This year the BTF ran a feature about Marian on their website with specific reference to how welcoming our club is, which was great to read.
This year also saw our very own Rob Waite win "Coach of the Year" in the South East and then go on to claim third place for all of England. Well done Rob! A truly great achievement!
And finally a special mention to new member Martin Glover. In lockdown, just before joining OLT, he raised £4,303 for The Heart of Kent Hospice by completing an Ironman in his garden. Martin cycled 112 miles on Zwift and then ran 1,750 laps of his garden to complete a marathon.
There was a small window between lockdowns when we were allowed to race! The number of entrants was reduced and various other social distancing measures were brought in to comply with the BTF Covid rules, however races did go ahead.
First up we had quite a few members racing at the Cotswold 113 event.
Next we had the Castle Triathlon Series event at Hever Castle - Again, well represented by OLT members. The lake temperature was a cold 12.5 degrees however we almost didn't notice as we were so glad to be racing again (well, maybe we did notice a bit).
We also managed to host two of our own Sprint Triathlons at the lake. We reduced the number of entrants, but we also implemented a rolling start with athletes starting at 10 second intervals.
We were aware there would be other people walking round the lake whilst entrants were on the run, so we stated race entrants had to give way to all other park users even if they had to stop running.
As such we changed the event so it was not a 'race'. There would be no winner. Despite this we received fantastic feedback. Everybody just welcomed the opportunity to take part in a triathlon even if the race element had been taken away.
Although there was only a month of the season remaining when the first lockdown lifted, we saw a lot of success for OLT members...
Randolph Burt achieved a sub 20 minute 5k for the first time.
Dominique Crist completed her first Half Marathon.
Mark Beardon completed his first Middle Distance Triathlon.
New member Rebecca Phillips took up cycling, chose one of our sprint triathlons as her first triathlon, and enjoyed it enough to take part on a very cold sprint triathlon at Hever.
Lorraine Crist, inspired by our OLT lockdown challenge, set her own challenge to run 80k in December. Successfully completing it with a day to spare.
Martin Glover running a Lockdown Ironman in his garden.
Nick Wigston continues to run all the SVN marathons. Possibly the best medals around, he only needs one more to complete the Lord Of The Rings set.
We also saw the following European and World Age Group qualifications...
World Sprint Triathlon Champs - Agatha Skelton
European Sprint Triathlon Champs - Sean Callow, Agatha Skelton
World Standard Triathlon Champs - Jordan Lockett, Matthew Latham, Samuel Morley, Mike Davies
European Standard Duathlon Champs - Jordan Lockett
World Sprint Duathlon Champs - Matthew Latham
World Standard Duathlon Champs - Jordan Lockett
World Long Distance Aquabike Champs - Stuart Hall
European Challenge Middle Distance Aquabike Champs - Stuart Hall, James Evans, Mark Richards, David Taft, Marcus Ford.
Meanwhile, between lockdowns, Hamish Reilly was racing in the French Grand Prix Triathlon Series where he achieved two podium finishes!
Then, upon returning to the UK, spent his 18th birthday in quarantine!
Once out of quarantine Hamish popped down to Eastbourne and won the Eastbourne Aquathon.
Covid/Lockdown permitting Hamish plans to qualify for the European Junior championships in Austria and the World championships in Bermuda in 2021.
As a club we would be nothing without our members. Training and racing alongside each other - cheering and encouraging anyone else wearing the OLT kit - the sport of triathlon becomes so much more fun when you are training together.
New members are always welcome at Ocean Lake Triathlon. We like to think we are a friendly welcoming club, with members of various age and ability. Whether you are the best, or like most of us doing it for the fun, everyone is welcome!
We had quite a few new members this year. Amongst them was Sean Callow and Martin Glover who both joined along with their children.
Sean was actually meant to be competing in the Malmö Euros sprint triathlon this year but couldn't due to the pandemic. Fingers crossed it goes ahead this year instead.
About OLT Sean said...
"...I really enjoyed the coached lake & track sessions - And being able to train at the same time as Ethan (my son, 9) was a huge plus..."
Similarly Martin said...
"...My son Samuel loved the training sessions and we haven’t looked back since. Samuel also passed his lake assessment this year with the help of Coach Steve Hunter. That really was a highlight for the both of us..."
The end of 2020
As the year came to a close and all racing was complete it was time to think about Christmas - which meant the return of the famous OLT Christmas Quiz!
Of course it sadly had to be virtual this year, but that didn't stop us having fun.
I still can't believe I failed to spot Coach Steve Hunter in the 'Guess the celebrity behind the Santa Beard' round!
Many thanks to our Chairman Ian Skelton for hosting.
Hopefully we'll be back to some kind of normality in 2021 with group training sessions.
And group rides with those all so important social coffee stops!
Until then, and certainly throughout winter, we will continue our online Turbo Sessions.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday evening using Zoom. Festive costumes optional!
Here's to a successful 2021