2023 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
2023 was yet another successful, action packed fun season.
We hosted 2 Sunday Sprint Triathlons, 4 midweek evening Aquathlons and our first Triathlon England South East Series Junior Event.
Our members competed in a huge range of events - triathlons, duathlons, midnight marathons and even a jungle ultra run in Thailand!
Our youth section had some fantastic results - and a lot of fun along the way!
We received a nice surprise at the beginning of the year. Ocean Lake Triathlon were awarded the Triathlon England Regional Club of the Year award for the South East!
A testament to the volunteers who help with our races, the coaches who give up their time every week, the committee members running the club, and our amazing members for making Ocean Lake Triathlon such a friendly and inclusive club.
Although the triathlon season doesn't get going until the summer, we run numerous training sessions throughout the off season.
Pictured above is a Monday evening session at the CycloPark. That evening the seniors practised their transitions whilst the juniors worked on their bike skills.
As well as our regular off-season training, we try to target various winter events, getting as many members along as we can...
A large contingent of club members took on the Kentish Killer. As James described it - One lap of Brands Hatch followed by every hill in Kent!
A smaller, but maybe slightly crazier group, entered the Fortitude Ultra. An event where you select a 3, 4 or 5 Mile loop and on the hour, every hour, for 10 hours, you run it. Most people took the 'easy' 3 mile option, however big shout out to Steve for taking on the '4 mile' lap and running just over 40 miles.
Other notable off-season achievements...
Nichola and Trevor earned a very nice looking medal at the SVN Moonlight Challenge with a 10 hour endurance run.
Jordan Lockett took part in the European Duathlon Age Group Standard Championships in Venice. Jordan ran a personal best of 33:35 for the first 10km run, had a strong bike, and had enough in the tank to claim the silver medal!
Claire Stone entered the Amazean UTMB Jungle 100km Ultra in Thailand. Over 24 hours of high humidity on a rain forest jungle trail. With such a high DNF rate, just to finish was incredible, however Claire went one step further and won her age group!
Steve and Andre completed the Tour of Flanders Sportive in horrendous conditions. I'm not sure what was worse - the cobbles or the freezing rain!
Tri Star Superstars!!!
This year our youth team took off!
A special thanks to coaches Steve and David for building up the youth section. They not only delivered quality training on those dark evenings throughout the offseason, but importantly ensured it was fun. It was great to see our young triathletes take that enjoyment into the Summer events.
April saw the first two events in the South East Junior Series - The Woking Aquathlon and the Medway Duathlon - Two early season events for our young athletes to not only get a taste for racing, but also deal with some atrocious weather. Everyone certainly earnt their medal that day!
There were some great performances - Phoebe making the podium in both events and a 1st place for Holly at Woking!
Over the summer there were plenty of opportunities for our juniors to race. In June Imogen took part in the Deal Aquathlon and took home a trophy after winning the Tri Star 3 age group.
Later that month we were honoured to host one of the South East Series events - An Aquathlon at the Leybourne Country Park. Almost all of our junior team took part - and they did us proud - Smiles all round and podium finishes for Holly and Isabel.
Training continued over the summer. It was an opportunity for a debrief following a race, and time to reflect on what went well, or maybe didn't go so well. There was also a chance to chat with Agatha who has progressed through all the Tri Star, Youth and Junior categories with Ocean Lake. Agatha was able to talk about her race plans for the year and give some great swimming and racing tips!
The great results continued throughout the season...
Well done Mollie who raced at Castle Howard in treacherous conditions. Mollie was pleased with her race, especially her swim as her sighting went well - and she showed great tenacity finishing with a strong run after falling in a puddle in the slippery conditions of the bike leg!
And to cap off a great year for our youth team, the final standings for the South East Series resulted in Phoebe achieving third in the Tri Star 1 category, and Holly second in the Tri Star 2 category. A fantastic way to end the season.
One of the great things about triathlon is there are lots of events and distances to choose from. There's something for everyone. But for some, there is a strange desire to seek out the longest, toughest, events possible. Step forward Trevor...
In May Trevor completed his first Ultra Run - The SVN Saxon 100 Miler, which he completed in an incredible 21hrs 36mins. Trevor reports...
"...It was great to have Nicola, Izzy, and Charlie for support and as pacers in the latter stages - huge thanks.
It was hot yesterday, windy, and then cold out on the marshes overnight - running in the dark was tough physically and mentally.
As usual the medal from SVN is awesome: a replica of a Saxon belt buckle from the Saxon Hoard.
Everything went to plan: bagels, bananas, bazin, fruit cake and salted roast potatoes to eat plus 32GI Endure to drink and PH salt capsules.
Now to sleep, recover and prepare for The Bastion..."
Yes - you did read that right - This was just a warm up for the main event - The Bastion - A full iron distance event at the Castle Race Series 'Festival of Endurance' at Hever Castle.
'Why the Bastion?' - Trevor said...
"...It’s local, relatively inexpensive for a long course race (especially if you get one of the Castle Race Series discount offers), and it’s very well organised and marshalled..."
Why NOT the Bastion' - There are more reasons so it's a longer answer!
"...Well, it’s The Bastion and has a reputation for being tough; with over 3,000m of climbing on the bike followed by a hilly, rough terrain trail marathon. The stats speak volumes: 30% no show and 25% DNF.
If you’re into fast times and PBs, The Bastion is not for you. If you want a challenge that will test your endurance, determination and mettle it might be what you’re looking for. Or maybe like me, you’re a “crazy old man”!
I had a good swim; felt back to pre-Covid form at last. After the carnage of the beach start at Eastbourne standard recently, a “mass start” of 20 was very civilised! I like how they have a buoy every 100m - makes sighting easy and feels like you’re making progress as you pass them.
Despite training on the bike course I underestimated the toll race intensity would take on my legs. The hills on the last lap were uncomfortable. By the time I got to the run I knew it was going to be mind over matter and a case of just putting one foot in front of the other. The marathon felt like the last 25 miles of the 100 miler I did recently. During the 100 I never considered giving up. In contrast, I thought about quitting several times yesterday. Happy to have done it and to come away with the age-group win; because I was the only old man crazy enough to do it!
It was great to see Nicola, Mark, and Nick on the course - a familiar face always lifts the spirits.
Finally, appreciation for Nicola’s support over the last 6 months. A heavy swim/bike/run training schedule and 7-hour Sunday rides has an impact on family life..."
Well done Trevor. Incredible achievement!
But wait. Trevor wasn't done yet! He had one more event to complete his personal Endurance Challenge Trilogy for 2023...
In November/December he completed the SVN Space Cowboy Series - 10 marathons in 10 days (in atrocious weather!).
"...In the 40 years prior to 2023 I had done precisely 2 marathons! In 2023 I have done 16. So far this year I’ve run 1,845km, cycled 2,753km and swum 37km. I think I’m done with extreme endurance for a while - but never say never..."
Chase The Sun
It wasn't just Trevor who took on a crazy challenge this year. Andre, Claire, Martin, Steve and Stuart entered 'Chase The Sun'. An epic 200+ mile ride from Minster on Sea on the East coast of England to Weston-super-Mare on the West coast. Starting at sunrise on the longest day of the year, with the aim to finish before sunset. It was a mammoth task, which required a lot of long distance training over the months leading up to the event.
"...I've completed some huge endurance challenges over the past 10 years, but this takes the biscuit. I only got into cycling 3 years ago when I started triathlon, and now I've cycled across the country. This was a challenge of mind and body starting with a 2:30am alarm to get up on Saturday. 2 punctures made it a whole lot harder but it was an experience I will never forget. I feel battered and bruised. Thank you for words of support throughout the day, they really kept me going and for everyone that sponsored me..."
"...What a fantastic experience, although not sure my legs agree.
In the midst of winter, full of alcohol and bravado we decided to sign up, and now we've managed to tick it off the bucket list.
Such an amazing time - big thanks to all the kind folks who've helped get us ready for this - so pleased to have completed it - And congratulations to all my friends who made it to the finish - you're all brilliant..."
It doesn't always go to plan...
Not every race goes to plan. Simon entered the Seven Oaks Triathlon as a warm up and equipment test ahead of his race in Chantilly - and he was glad he did. He suffered a mechanical with a quick link failing on his chain causing him to come off. Well done Simon for battling on - and well done on completing your first 70.3 at Chantilly in 5hr 32mins.
Unfortunately later in the year Simon faced more challenges at Challenge Barcelona where he didn't realise until the last minute that Tri Bikes weren't allowed! Simon reports....
"...The day I was due to fly, the penny dropped I couldn't compete on my Tri bike. First time I've come across this, but I've only been doing Tri for a year. So a quick drive to Larkfield Cycles to buy better tyres, off to Gatwick we go. I pumped up my tyres with a tiny pump, however with my seemingly aggressive pumping, broke the valve stem..."
"...Swim: start was fun, or just bonkers, sprinting down the beach to the sea, away we go. I did make an effort to warm up in the water first so soon felt comfortable. The sea was flat calm, warm and visibility excellent. Very busy, especially around buoys and overtaking breaststrokers. Pleased with my time considering how busy it was..."
"...Bike: I've had a busy summer and haven't been out on the bike - with the unprepared last minute bike I was a tad concerned. The course was 4 laps. This was my first drafting event and I made the most of it sticking to the back wheel of others and riding in groups. I did leave the group I was with twice, but out on my own, they caught me both times after about 5 minutes, so I decided to stick with them for the last lap. Average 36kph, for me that's fast, really pleased with it.
34km in, I hit a sunken drain cover. For a few seconds I thought I'd got away with it, but it didn't take long for the air to escape. Flat - I used my spare yesterday - no help nearby.
In the backdrop of La Sagrada Familia, I paused for a second, I didn't want my race to end there, I only had 4k to go, so off came the shoes, strapped to my handlebars, and off I ran. The applause & support from spectators and other competitors was great..."
"...Run: I did have a good few blisters, so unfortunately this just a matter of survival. An excellent event in Barcelona, hopefully I'll be back next year, I'll bring along more tubes and a touch more luck..."
Well done Simon!
More Race Reports...
Agatha entered the world qualification Sprint Tri event at Cardiff. Not wearing a wet-suit Agatha had a strong swim and was second out of the water! Again, strong on the bike in the front pack, but unfortunately she suffered a mechanical on the last lap. Her pedal snapped off so she couldn’t finish. We'll never know how she would have run wearing those Crocs...
Next up we hear from James who had a fantastic race at the Midnight Man 70.3
"...MIDNIGHT MAN 70.3
Sub 5hrs! - 4:57.28
So happy with the result, going under 5hrs had always been a goal but piecing it together seemed like a big ask! But absolutely buzzing - The race plan all came together.
Swim was a mass start and chaotic getting punched and kicked and trying to keep my goggles on, managed to pull away with the front group and make some space to get some pace going.
Came out the water 4th with a 31.42 and a 1.36/100m average pace.
Bike was a 13 lap course on closed roads with 4 dead turns each lap. It was pretty windy on a couple of the stretches but kept my head down and got it done. Missed the timing mat on lap 1 which sent my brain into melt down thinking I had to do 14 laps to not get disqualified, but luckily having Steve & Jackie for support crew they got it sorted and with 3 laps to go knowing I was nearly done and finished it was on!! Managed the bike leg in 2hrs 41 with a 19.7mph average pace.
Run was a strange one being on a housing estate and starting at 9.30pm while everyone’s going to bed. It was a 4 loop course so nice to gauge effort and timings. First 4 miles I was having stomach issues due to nutrition/digestion, luckily at 5miles this eased and managed to get into a rhythm. At the 10k mid point the clock was on 4.07 so i knew sub 5 plan was in sight with another 10k to finish. I crossed the line just before 11pm with a 1hr 40 half marathon. I am buzzing with the result and going under 5hrs really is the icing on the cake! Big thanks to Jackie and Steve for your help and support on the day and to Steve for planting the sub 5 seed in the first place..."
Next we hear from Matthew after his race at Chantilly...
"...Le Olympique Chantilly.
Predictably, the Swim was chaotic! Did my usual trick of missing the second buoy and swam 100m too far. Bike was glorious, rolling french roads in the beautiful sunshine. I put a decent effort in, 1:33 for the 43km, pretty happy with that. Also managed to save some for the run and remembered to take in the scenery! Nutrition was good. Transitions need work.
Think I can call myself a triathlete now. I have loved every second of the event - if you haven’t done it, highly recommend. Thoughts already turning to more training and gradual improvement..."
In recent years a few of our members have competed in Ironman Weymouth. This year Jack took part, however the weather was not quite as good as previous years...
"...My first Ironman event and first middle distance triathlon. The day started with a 4am alarm clock where I awoke to thunder and lightning shortly followed by a power cut that wiped out the whole town. Not the ideal start but the weather soon cheered up and things were looking good for a 7:15 race start. Despite the optimistic outlook it was announced at 7:10 that the swim was cancelled due to the risk of electrical storms. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, however an understandable decision by the race organisers. We then waited an hour and half to get into transition and on to the bike. As soon as I got moving on the bike the events of the past 2 hours were forgotten and the frustration turned to determination.
Bike - I really enjoyed the course despite the horrendous weather, some great scenery and some really quick descents. I was ahead of my target pace from start to finish, which would prove costly later on. I was over the moon with my bike time which ended up being roughly 10 minutes quicker than I anticipated.
Run - felt good out of transition, hamstrings a bit tight but soon loosened up and for the first 8km I was bang on plan, then the over enthusiastic bike pace caught up with me, cramp in both hamstrings. The cramp came and went for the remainder of the race which was very frustrating as I felt good but just couldn’t push the pace. Post race, the overriding feeling is one of disappointment as the event was incomplete. Although, I am happy with the overall time for the bike-run and it’s given me confidence that I can break the 6 hour mark at the next opportunity. I’ll definitely be back to settle unfinished business next year. Thanks Steve for the training, pearls of wisdom and putting up with my constant rookie questions.
On to the next one….."
At the end of the season Chris took on Ironman Barcelona...
"...What a race.
Location and weather spot on
The IM village was huge and where we stayed was only a 15 minute walk away.
The atmosphere on the morning was electric. Paul Kaye did a great job creating the atmosphere atop the swim start podium and the sun rose almost as if on cue as part of his spiel.
As ACDC thundered across the beach any pre race nerves/dread/fear disappeared. We were then funnelled underneath the podium which was lit with ultraviolet, highlighting good luck messages plastered all over IM flags either side. Out the other side to the swim start and we were off. It was a tough swim. Super crowded the whole way round, we swam against the current for the longest stretch and the rising sun made sighting a nightmare. It seemed to go on forever, and a 53 minute time was a surprise, nowhere near my PB.
T1 went well and after a slow start through some twists and turns in Calella we were off on to the N-11 coastal road for an out and back. It was brilliant. A few bumps to start with then pretty much flat. Slight tailwind gave me 33.3kph average on the way out, and finished at just shy of 32kph and 2:42, my PB by a country mile. Was absolutely buzzing going into T2. My last two 70.3 runs have been suffer-fests, primarily due to my naive belief that "banking" some sub 5min kilometers at the start would be a good idea. This resulted in me swearing off ever racing again for the remaining 15km and shuffling painfully to the finish line.
This time I stayed calm in T2, got the HR down and stuck to a steady pace from the off. It worked. Apart from a wobble at km 12 (helped by the guy just behind me telling me to Vamos) I stuck to my chosen pace roughly, and even sped up for the last 2-3k, unthinkable in NC last year. It was sooo hot. Got hosed down at every aid station. Crowd support was great, loads of cowbells and silly signs. Somewhat bittersweet, the turn around was down a cordoned off lane of the finishing chute, great for crowd encouragement and the booming music, at the same time a reminder there was another 10k to go as a heartbeat away other atheletes were finishing their race!
I finished in 2:16. A PB by only about a minute however it was a way more comfortable run, and at no point did I swear off racing again!
Overall time 6.06, PB by 16 minutes. Absolutely over the moon. Not quite the sub 6 hour I wanted however not far off, and it was a truly memorable experience..."
In September it's the end of season Southwater Relay event. A fun event where all three members of the team complete all three disciplines before handing over to a teammate. It's also the last race in the South East Series inter-club competition so there are points to be won!
This year we had three teams and had a lot of fun. It was also extremely close - only 6 seconds between two of our teams!
Looking forward to the rematch next year!
Some of our other achievements this year...
Martin Ballard knocked 12 minutes off his Marathon PB at the Manchester Marathon.
Steve Wright ran a sub 1 hour 10 mile at the Canterbury 10 and claimed 3rd place in his age group. Then later in the year smashed the Hastings 5 miler, picking up an age group win with a sub 30 minutes!
Sophie Galley completing her first 70.3 in the Cotswolds.
David Taft 1st in his age group at the Tribourne Aquabike. Plus competing in the World Age Group Long Distance Aquabike (3k swim, 116k bike) in Ibiza.
Jasper Shaw ran a superb race at the Bridge Duathlon grabbing second spot.
Greg Theophanides winning his age group at the Huntsman 70.3.
Alfred Osborne 2nd in his age group at the Eton Dorney Tri.
Steve Hunter 2nd in his age group at the East Grinstead Sprint Tri. 1st in his age group at the Tribourne 70.3.
Mark Hooker 3rd overall in the Bewl Water Sprint Triathlon.
Justin Horsfall-Turner winning his age group and 4th overall in the Channel Tri standard distance.
Alfred Osborne 2nd in his age group at Eton Dorney, only just missing out on the win. Also qualifying for the world championships with a fantastic performance at the Bournemouth sprint Tri!
Hamish Reilly continues to go from strength to strength competing at Elite level....
3rd at U23 (and 5th overall Senior) at Elite European Champs in Turkey.
Gaining his first starts at World Cup races in Hungary, Morocco and China.
Representing Team GB at the European Games in Poland and getting the 'Olympic' Kit!