Frissen’s on two wheels
There’s no stopping Paul and Karen Frissen on two wheels as the pair have just completed their second cycling Sportive in as many weeks. Having successfully negotiated 36 miles of the Exmouth Exterminator, including tough climbs along the East Devon coast, this weekend saw them peddle beyond 40 miles on their first visit to the South Downs. The end of season event saw a challenging route spanning Hampshire and Sussex, with strong winds but thankfully no rain. The couple even got to experience their first timed hill climb.
Even though they are self-confessed novices at cycling events, the pair are already making plans for the standard route next year that covers 70 miles.
Midsomer Norton Sprint Triathlon – 24 September 2017
Cathy Parkinson rounded off an impressive season for Torbay Tri with 2nd place in her age group at the Midsomer Norton sprint triathlon. Starting with a pool swim, Cathy was soon out on the undulating bike course that took in the foothills of the Mendips before returning for the final 5k run to the finish. Cathy crossed the line in 1.22.16 to claim the runners up age group spot and also finish in the top ten amongst the ladies overall, against a strong field of 150 finishers.
Ironman Italy – 23 September 2017
Born in Wales, made in Torbay, Ironman in Italy
Swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 mile, run 26.2 miles – Neil Downer has now been there, got the t-shirt and proudly earned the medal to become a triathlon Ironman. A relative newcomer to Torbay Tri Club, Neil spent the summer months training with other members as well as putting in the miles on his own to prepare for the biggest sporting challenge of his life. Come race day, Neil surprised himself with a sub ninety minute sea swim over the 3.8km course before leaving the fishing village of Cervia behind and onto the 180km bike route that passed through ancient historical sites. Returning for the little matter of a marathon between him and the finish line, despite the sore and heavy legs Neil set out to run as much as possible and was cheered on by his daughter Hollie. As day turned to night, Neil was able to comfortably achieve his target time of sub 14 hours to soak up the finishing line atmosphere in a very respectful time of 13.39.21 as a voice boomed out…Neil Downer, you are an Ironman!
Torbay Triathlon – 17 September 2017
Jon Parkinson and Cassandra Harrison have been crowned Torbay Tri Club’s champions for 2017 and were part of a strong club showing who also claimed several impressive podium finishes and age group titles at the Torbay Triathlon.
Bathed in sunshine and treated to perfect race conditions, over 150 people began with 400m pool swim at Clennon Valley pool before making the transition to a 15k lap on the Torbay Velopark. With plenty of support lining the bike course and spectators getting a close up view of the fast action as the triathletes raced by, home advantage on the track clearly helped the Torbay Tri contingent. With racers all starting at different times in the pool, it meant a race against the clock onto the 5k run course out on the fields as no one knew their final position until all racers had crossed the line. With the club’s championships also on offer, it was seasoned triathlete Jon Parkinson who was the club’s first male to finish and Cassandra Harrison claimed the female title. Elsewhere there were fantastic performances from the whole club, which included Jon, Wendy Urban and Terry Windeatt claiming age group wins while Cassandra and Rob Pressling also finished with 2nd places on the podium.
The triathlon was won by top junior triathlete James Alcock, who also trains with Torbay Tri, in a time of 48.07
Results: 9th Jon Parkinson 52.47 (1st V50), 37th Hamish Renton 58.36, 40th Cassandra Harrison 59.08 (2nd V40), 49th Ian McClean 60.14, 54th Simon Mills 61.09, 57th Wendy Urban 61.34 (1st V50), 74th Charlie Harris 64.27, 85th Pete Coish 67.11, 94th Terry Windeatt 68.39 (1st V60), 99th Rob Pressling 70.05 (2nd V60), 132nd Sam Froggatt 78.38, Jo Coish 80.58
Thorpe Park Triathlon – 17 September 2017
With the aim of sprint distance age group qualification for the European Championships in Glasgow next year, Graeme Kay and Frank Reay set off for Thorpe Park, with a battle to the finish line between the Torbay Tri duo. Unsurprisingly it was Frank who was the quicker of the two out the water on the 750m swim but the lead soon swapped over the 20k bike course before arriving back in transition together. Coming down to the 5k run and just a matter of meters between them, the lead once again changed several times before Graeme just managed to hang on and secure victory over his team-mate. It was a double cause for celebration for Graeme as he also secured a spot at the 2018 European Championships by placing an impressive second in his age group. Graeme will now join Tim Watson who has already won a place in Glasgow.
Results: Graeme Kay, Frank Reay
Weymouth Ironman 70.3 – 17 September 2017
Faced with choppy sea conditions and a big swell, Torbay Tri’s Rich Carus didn’t enjoy the best of starts to his day on the Dorset coast but was hoping that his sea legs would soon been replaced by a strong bike performance over the 56 mile courses. Unfortunately any hopes of this were dashed as Rich sacrificed his own personal achievement to assist with two serious bike accidents and help with traffic management. Despite losing significant time on the bike, Rich still enjoyed the event and was able to safely complete the final 13.1 mile run along the Weymouth seafront to cross the line in a respectable time of 6.33.28.
Plymouth Aquathlon – 10 September 2017
Staying local and making the short trip down the A38, Cathy Parkinson was Torbay Tri’s sole representative and came away with an impressive age group victory at Plymouth Aquathlon. Leaving her bike behind for the swim, run event, Cathy opted for the standard distance to race over which comprised of a 1500m swim and 10k run. Faced with choppy conditions in the water, it was no easier on land having to work hard against the wind to reach the finish line and claim her Super Vet age group win. Cathy finished in a time of 1.32.44
Perranporth Triathlon – 3 September 2017
Celebrating its 30th year, Perranporth triathlon is not only one of the oldest in the UK but is also regarded as one of the toughest. This year was no exception as 4 foot surf greeted racers, including Torbay Tri’s Lee Turner who returned for some more coastal action to test himself against. Despite a disappointing 1500m swim by his own high standards and battling the surf conditions, Lee soon found himself passing other racers on the hilly and arduous 38k bike leg that tested your bike skills through tin mining country. The final 7.5k run was no coastal jaunt as soft sand and granite cliffs drained any remaining energy before a return back along the beach to the finish line in Perranporth. Despite exiting the water in 137th, Lee passed over 100 people to claim a top 30 spot in 2.18.28
Helvellyn Triathlon – 3 September
No ordinary triathlon, over 400 people lined up in the Lake District and what event organizers proudly claim to be ‘one of the toughest triathlons in the world.’ Amongst those bravely tackling Helvellyn Triathlon were Torbay Tri’s Dave Pressley and Mike Davies. Putting friendship aside for a few hours, their day began with a chilly one mile swim in the crystal clear waters of Ullswater before dispatching of the wetsuit to take on the notorious 38 mile bike leg. Faced with challenging climbs, this is no easy ride and includes a 2.5 mile climb to the top of Kirkstone Pass and culminating in ‘The Struggle.’ Saving the hardest for last, the final 9 mile fell run incorporates going up and down Helvellyn which stands at over 3000ft. Understandably tired but relieved come the finish line, Dave was first of the pair back in 5.21.55 while Mike followed soon after in 5.31.24
Medals all round at Moor to Sea sportive – 2 September 2017
Gold, silver and bronze medals, along with personal best times, were the rewards for eight Torbay Tri Club cyclists who completed the 6th annual Moor to Sea cycling sportive.
Attracting over 600 cyclists from across the country, all riders set off early from Exeter Racecourse before winding their way down to the coast through Dawlish and Teignmouth and then heading inland to Kingsteignton. From here the course split between those heading up Haytor and onto Dartmoor for the grueling 65 mile ‘Challenge’ route and those cycling along the Teign Valley in the 37 mile ‘Inspire’ route. All cyclists were then reunited on the extremely tough final climb up through tthe narrow lanes at Doddiscombleigh and back to Haldon.
For those riders seeking an extra challenge there was the incentive of going against the clock and set times to achieve a medal standard at the finish while Haytor itself staged a timed section for a race to the summit.
First back in the Inspire route was Cassandra Harrison, closely followed by Rob Pressling as they claimed gold time standards for their ages. Paul and Karen Frissen, in their first Moor to Sea event, came in soon after to achieve their silver medals.
Four club members took on the longer Challenge distance and all came away with hard earned bronze medals and impressive times, with Hamish Renton taking a huge 45 minutes off last year’s time while son Rueben impressed also impressed as third U18 finisher. Wendy Urban and Cathy Parkinson were not far behind and supported each other with smiles right up to the finish line.
Inspire route – 37 miles
Cassandra Harrison 2.37.34, Rob Pressling 2.39.47, Paul Frissen 2.48.24, Karen Frissen 3.00.59
Challenge route – 65 miles
Rueben Renton 4.52.48, Hamish Renton 4.55.51, Wendy Urban 5.05.47, Cathy Parkinson 5.05.53
Portishead Sprint Triathlon and Dawlish Aquathlon – 19 August 2017
A triathlon debut for Lorraine Henderson and a podium finish for Andrew Gunther saw Torbay Tri Club represented on the north and south coast this weekend.
A new member to Torbay Tri, Lorraine chose Somerset’s Portishead Sprint Trithlon to make her multi-sport debut. Settling the nerves with a 400m swim in the open air lido, it was then onto a 25k ride that saw windy conditions make the hilly course even more challenging. Returning to transition, Lorraine then set off on foot for the 5k coastal path run before triumphantly crossing the finish line in 1.53.48
Closer to home and Andrew Gunther and another new Tri Club member, Sarah Lakey, took part in the Dawlish Aquathlon as part of the town’s carnival celebrations. Despite a relatively small field, Andrew still claimed an impressive top 3 finish while Sarah was pleased with her swim performance as both completed the 750m sea swim and 5k coastal run in sunny conditions.
Cotswolds Standard Triathlon – 12 August 2017
Torbay Tri’s Frank Reay was the club’s only representative at the Cotswolds Standard Triathlon. Having battled injuries through the season, Frank was pleased to put a solid performance together across the 1500m lake swim, 41k bike and 9k run. Starting the day with a lake swim, Frank then took to his strongest disciplines over the flat bike and run courses to cross the line in 2.34.27, finishing well inside the top half of over 200 entrants.
Reaching new heights at Alp d’huez triathlon
Torbay Tri Club scaled new heights as six members faced the challenge of France’s iconic Alp d’huez Triathlon.
Famed for its 21 switch bends on route to the mountain summit, its gruelling enough just as a cycling mecca but forming part of a triathlon and it’s an entirely different challenge to face. With a short and long distance race to choose from for the Torbay Tri group, the triathlon festival began with a child’s event that saw Josh Parkinson inspire the adults as he sprinted across the blue carpet in front of his proud parents.
Come race day Andy Longthorpe, Jon Parkinson and Patrick Roberts lined up with an international field to begin with a 2.2k lake swim that saw over 1000 racers enter the chilly glacial waters. Patrick led the trio out the water as they then took to the ferocious 118k bike ride which incorporated three mountain passes and ended with a race to the top of Alp d’huez itself. Beneath the blazing sun, the final 20k run covered trails and mountain paths before the glory of finishing on the blue carpet.
Andy Longthorpe 8.20.48, Jon Parkinson 9.03.13, Patrick Roberts 9.56.25
The next day it was the turn of the ladies as Rachel Longthorpe, Cathy Parkinson and Katharina Roberts tackled the short distance triathlon but which still included the Alp d’huez bike climb. Beginning with a 1.2k swim and then 28k bike, the final 6.7k run took runners on the same course as those in the longer event before the blue carpet finish. Supporting each other through the race, Rachel and Cathy crossed the line together while Katharina unfortunately did not complete the run.
Rachel Longthorpe and Cathy Parkinson 3.39.29
Podium positions for Torbay Tri at Geopark triathlon
Home advantage and perfect racing conditions resulted in Torbay Tri Club taking several impressive podium positions at the Geopark Triathlon. With a choice of sprint and standard distances, all racers started with an early swim in the calm waters of Goodrington before taking to the challenging bike leg that took them out on country lanes and plenty of plenty of hills to test the legs over one or two laps. With the heat and competition rising, the return to transition meant racers then had the challenge of completing a gruelling coastal path run course of 6k and 12k. Beneath the blazing sun, the run took competitors out to Broadsands and back for the sprint distance while those going long continued along the coast and then headed inland before returning over the hills to the finish.
In the standard race there was a race to the finish as Andy Longthorpe just held off a run charge from team-mate Jon Parkinson to claim 3rd place overall, with both Jon and Frank Reay claiming age group victories.
In the sprint race Lee Turner led home the team while Wendy Urban crossed the line as 3rd female and there were age group wins for Simon Mills and Julia Gow-Smith. New recruit Paul Frissen also produced a solid performance.
6th Lee Turner 1.43.38, 9th Simon Mills 1.47.46 (1st MV40), 18th Wendy Urban 1.54.59 (3rd female), 26th Julia Gow-Smith 2.00.25 (1st FV50), Paul Frissen 2.07.41, Charlie Harris 32nd 2.15.35
3rd Andy Longthorpe 3.02.51, 4th Jon Parkinson 3.03.15 (1st MV50), 24th Frank Reay 3.47.19 (3rd MV50), 29th Hamish Renton 4.04.10
2nd Rose Parkhouse 31.26
Dartmoor Classic – 2 July 2017
Amongst the thousands of cyclists who descended on Dartmoor this weekend, Torbay Tri Club were well represented across the three challenging distances, with many proudly completing the event for the first time. Months of training clearly paid off as several members achieved gold medals, with the medio distance of 68 miles attracting the largest number from the club. Having sacrificed his time last year to assist with a serious accident, Rich Carus returned as the club’s sole representative over the gruelling grande 107 route which took him out across the moors to Tavistock and back.
Behind the scenes and a team of helpers from the club also assisted over the weekend with registration, parking, finishing times and welcoming home the weary participants.
Graham Reynolds, Torbay Tri Club’s Chairman said:
“Great representation from our cyclists and excellent performances from everyone. I’ve received lots of positive feedback about the energy from those helping and we enjoyed being part of such a famous event.”
Grande (107 miles)
Bronze – Rich Carus 7.05.39
Medio (68 miles)
Gold – Jon Parkinson 3.52.01, Simon Graham 3.57, Nigel Fenn 3.59.57, Wendy Urban 4.03.08, Glynn Hughes 4.17.14
Silver – Jonathan Cowling 4.44.59, Lucy Goldsmith 4.44.17, Gary Brenton 4.50.42
Bronze – Cathy Parkinson 5.17, Rachel Longthorpe 5.17, Rose Parkhouse 6.07.38
Piccolo (35 miles)
Andrew Gunther 1.40.45, Peter Coish 2.12.43, Jo Coish 2.43.46
Silver – Sarah Addis 2.52.25
European Sprint Distance Championships – 25 June 2017
Months of committed training saw the duo of Tim Watson and Graeme Kay proudly represent Team GB at the European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany. Competing in their respective age groups against the best in Europe, just to qualify was a huge achievement and both did Torbay Tri Club proud. As a relative newcomer still to triathlon, Tim produced an outstanding performance to claim a bronze medal spot on the podium by just 5 seconds and was also first British male in his 40-44 age group. Having already qualified for next year’s championships in Glasgow, Tim can start planning for further success closer to home. Proudly lining up for Team GB, Graeme put in a solid performance to finish 26th in his 60-64 age group, with strong bike and run disciplines the highlight of his day.
Tim Watson 1.09.17, Graeme Kay 1.24.40
Scillies Otillo – 17 / 18 June 2017
Taking a dip on the hottest June weekend on record is appealing enough but Torbay Tri’s top swimmer, Patrick Roberts, got to enjoy the best of the Isles of Scilly – all be it swimming between and running across them as part of the Scilly Otillo swimrun World Series. Facing the challenge of a total of 8km of open water swimming mixed with 30k of trail running, Patrick got to enjoy plenty of beautiful beaches, rugged trails and of course the sweltering heat which made completing the race an even greater challenge. A true test of strength and stamina, Patrick completed the course as part of a duo with Paul Clark in a time of 7h 52m for 88th place overall.
South Hams Triathlon – 11 June 2017
Torbay Tri Club made the short trip to Blackpool Sands and some challenging sprint distance action. An early start and chilly waters soon woke competitions up as they began the race with a 750m sea swim before an energy sapping jog up the beach to start the bike leg. With plenty of hills to test the legs of he 20k bike course, a flat burst along Slapton was also treated to breezy conditions. The was no letting up on the 5k run which comprised of several laps beside the sea before crossing the finish line. In his first sea swim triathlon it was one of the club’s new faces, Simon Mills, who put in a strong bike leg to lead the team of four home amongst a field of over 170 finishers.
Results: Simon Mills 1.28.53, Frank Reay 1.31.09, Gary Brenton 1.34.34, Cassandra Harrison 1.44.44
Race to the Tower – 10 June 2017
A double marathon through the heart of the idyllic Cotswolds, Torbay AC’s Jon Pressling completed his first ultra marathon. A test of physical endurance and mental strength, the route took in breathtaking scenery as it passed through quaint villages, woodlands and plenty of hills along 53 miles of the Cotswolds Way. With a blustery start soon turning to hot temperatures and then rain come the end, there was no hiding from the elements which added a further challenge to the event. Early on in the race Jon ran and chatted with 4x Ironman World Champion, Chrissie Wellington, for a memorable experience that added to the overall enjoyment of the event. Although slightly disappointed with his time of 11.26.14, Jon still placed 31st from 330 finishers. “One of the toughest races ever completed that broke me physically and mentally but highly recommended to anyone to take part.
English Sprint Championships – 4 June 2017
Having had a disappointing race by his own admission last time out, Torbay Tri Club’s Graeme Kay responded in emphatic fashion to take 3rd place and a podium spot at the English Sprint Champions at Thorpe Park. Having finished fifth in Southport a fortnight ago, Graeme blazed his way around the 750m lake swim, 21k bike and 5k run course to claim a hard earned bronze medal and place on the podium. With nearly 500 triathletes in action, Graeme completed the course in 1.17.42, as he now turns his attention to representing Team GB at the European Championships in Germany later this month.
Outlaw Half Middle Distance Triathlon – 21 May 2017
Returning to Nottingham for another outing at the Outlaw Half Middle Distance Triathlon, Torbay Tri Club’s top biker, Jamie Stevenson, lined up amongst hundreds of long distance specialist triathletes with the aim of going sub 5 hours, having narrowly missed out last year with a 5.02 time. Starting the day with a 1.2 swim in the chilly waters of the National Watersports Centre, it was then on to Jamie’s strongest discipline as he put down a speedy 2h 35m over 56 miles to set himself up well for the final half marathon run of 13.1 miles in under 1h 45. Leaving every last bit of energy on the course, Jamie achieved his aim and triumphantly crossed the line knocking 5 minutes off last year’s time to claim a sub 5 finish in 4.57.15
Southport Sprint Triathlon – 21 May 2017
In preparation for representing Team GB at the European Championships in Germany next month, Tim Watson and Graeme Kay headed north for a speedy outing at the Southport Sprint Spint Triathlon. The event takes takes in many landmarks of the famous seaside resort but with speed of the essence, there was little time for sightseeing for the duo as the race began with an open water swim in the Marine Lake before a flat and blustery bike course on closed roads along the coast and a final sprint to the finish around the lake, gardens and under the pier. Tim showed fantastic form ahead of his European outing by claiming first place in his V40 age group against solid competition and third place overall – only two minutes behind the overall winner to bag a spot at the 2018 European Sprint Championships. Graeme narrowly missed out on qualifying too, despite the fastest run and second quickest bike times, with fifth place in his V60 age group and will attempt to qualify with a top four finish later in the year.
Tim Watson 3rd overall and 1st V40 1.02.58, Graeme Kay 5th V60 1.18.08
Taunton Flyer – 20 May 2017
Tackling her longest ever cycle event and in preparation for a French Alps adventures in the summer, Cathy Parkinson made the rather shorter trip across the West Country border for a 74 mile tour around Somerset on two wheels. Themed around the wartime airfields of East Devon and Somerset, the ‘Dakota’ route passed historic airfield at Exeter, Dunkeswell, Upottery and Culmhead, with over 1200m of climbing too.
Pembrokeshire – 20 May 2017
Having clearly enjoyed himself the scenery at Ironman Wales last year, Rich Carus crossed the border once again and this time taking to two wheels for the Tour of Pembrokeshire. Tackling over 135 miles, it was a long day in the saddle for Rich who covered the distance in nine and a half hours, made all the more impressive considering there was 13,000ft of elevation to contend with. Describing the ride as “the toughest of my life but absolutely beautiful”, Rich is showing plenty of strength and stamina for a summer of cycling ahead.
Immortal Mega Sprint Triathlon – 14 May 2017
Set in the glorious Stourhead National Trust estate, one of Torbay Tri Club’s newest recruits, Charlie Harris, was joined by her husband at the challenging Immortal Triathlon. Described as a test for even the fittest of triathletes, Charlie was one of the first women to exit the 900m swim before tackling the scenic 18 mile bike course which passed through Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset before finishing with a 4.5 mile run to cross the finish line in a time of 2.32.12 Having clearly enjoyed the beautiful location and best of the weather, Charlie spoke after the event that she “absolutely loved it”.
Exe Valley Triathlon – 14 May 2017
Several members of Torbay Tri Club made the short trip up to Tiverton for the popular Exe Valley Sprint Triathlon. A favourite for those looking to put down a quick time and set the season off with some speedy action, the event attracts a solid field from across the region and welcome triathletes of all abilities. Comprising of a 400m pool swim, it was then on to a rolling 25k bike through the beautiful Exe Valley before finishing with a final sprint up the hill on the energy sapping 5k run. Gary Brenton led the club home and was soon followed by Vince Langdon while new recruit Abi McRae impressed in finishing her debut sprint triathlon.
Gary Brenton 1.21.20, Vince Langdon 1.25.41, Abi McRae 1.40.10, Wendy Urban 1.41.52
Exeter University Aquathlon – 30 April 2017
April showers failed to dampen the spirits of Tim Watson and Cassandra Harrison as the duo represented Torbay Tri Club at the final round of Exeter Tri’s aquathlon series. Taking the plunge in Exeter University’s heated outdoor pool, a 600m swim was followed by a lumpy 2 lap, 5k course around the university grounds. Continuing their impressive showings in duathlon action the previous weekend, Tim crossed the line in fourth place while the duo claimed second and third in their respective age group from over sixty finishers.
4th Tim Watson 26.07, 42nd Cassandra Harrison 36.28
Donut Duathlon – 23 April 2017
On foot and two wheels, Torbay Tri Club came away from the Donut Duathlon with a dominant showing on the podium steps. Represented by 8 members, with the ladies outnumbering the men, GB triathlete Tim Watson warmed up for his forthcoming European championships with second place overall while Wendy Urban went one step further up the podium as First Lady. Cathy Parkinson and Cassandra Harrison claimed second place in their respective categories while Rachel Longthorpe also finished in third. Nick Robinson also impressed in his first duathlon. The race was staged at Clennon Valley, Paignton with racers completing a 5k run, 15k Velopark bike and 2.5k run.
2nd Tim Watson 51.11, 12th Wendy Urban 59.56, 26th Cathy Parkinson 1.04.02, 27th Gary Brenton 1.04.11, 40th, Nick Robinson 1.08.06, 46th Cassandra Harrison 1.11.15, 47th Rachel Longthorpe 1.11.35, 61st Jo Coish 1.19.06
Southampton Sprint Triathlon – 16 April 2017
In only his second triathlon, one of Torbay Tri’s newest members Geoff Binding travelled along the south coast for some speedy sprint distance action. Despite being put in a quicker lane than planned for the 400m pool swim, Geoff found his rhythm on the 20k bike that took racers around the edge of the New Forest National Park. Finishing with a 5k run out to the village of Dibden Purlieu, Geoff crossed the line in 1.28.43
Hamish Renton was Torbay Tri’s sole rep representative as Dawlish hosted the penultimate event of Exeter Tri Club’s aquathlon series. Taking the plunge for a 600m pool swim followed by a speedy 5k run, Hamish crossed the line in 37.17 to finish 48th from 77 finishers. The race was won by Henry Irvine in 25.06, with the final round being staged at Exeter University at the end of the month.
Sidmouth hosted the second event of Exeter Triathlon Club’s aquathlon series, with Torbay Tri represented by Kathleen Alcock and Terry Windeatt. With plenty of speedy action over the sprint distance race (600m swim and 5k run), Kathleen finished in 37.17 while Terry crosse the line in 42.59, several minutes quicker than his previous aquathlon outing in Dawlish last month. The race was won by Henry Irvine in 25.15 and the third round of the series returns to Dawlish next month.
Taunton Deane Aquathlon
Jon Pressling and Cassandra Harrison took to the water and road over a long course distance at the Taunton Deane Aquathlon. Starting off with a 1k pool swim, it was then a quick change before facing bitterly cold and breezy conditions along rural lanes of the undulating 9.5k run. Joining over 50 racers, Cassandra narrowly led the duo out of the pool before Jon used his run strength to good effect in passing ten on his way to crossing the finish line.
Jon Pressling 58.45 (17th), Cassandra Harrison 1.13.41 (41st)
The opening event of Exeter Triathlon Club’s aquathlon series saw members of Torbay Tri make the short trip to Dawlish. With plenty of speedy action over the short distance (600m pool swim and 5k run) and 80 finishers, Andrew Gunther impressed with 9th place in 30.08 while Terry Windeatt crossed the line in 46.23. In the novice race (300m swim and 2.5k run), junior member James Alcock ran his way to victory by nearly 2 minutes in 14.46
When you have a race called the Stinger Duathlon then you know you are in for a tough ride (and run), which is exactly what Torbay Tri’s Paul Mulley experienced as he got his season off to a rather muddy start. Comprising of a 5k trail run, 20k mountain bike and 3k run, this was certainly not a course for fast times and more about the challenge of simply finishing the slippery and technical course. Describing the race as the hardest thing he’s done except an Ironman triathlon, Paul finished in a credible 2.47.30
With a choice of sprint or olympic distance duathlon racing, Torbay Tri were well represented with eight members making the short trip to Dartington, including two first timers to multi-sport. Both distances saw racers begin with a run on paths around the private estate before tackling the undulating bike course and returning to transition to finish with a cross-country run around the estate. Those on the sprint distance tackled a 5k run, 20k bike and 2.5k run while the olympic distance racers doubled up and completed two laps of each discipline to cover 10k, 40k and 5k in total. Gary Brenton led home the club’s sprint team and Julia Gow-Smith claimed her age group title while Frank Reay saw off the challenge to also claim third place in his age group. Russell Hart and Michael Libralon equally impressed with their first ever multi-sport event, finishing well inside the top half of finishers.
Sprint – Gary Brenton 1.23.08 (29th), Julia Gow-Smith 1.23.58 (32nd), Cassandra Harrison, 1.33.45 (61st), Val McClean 1.37.26 (70th)
Olympic – Frank Reay 2.34.41 (26th), Ian McClean 2.34.49 (27th), Russell Hart 2.37.41 (31st), Michael Libralon 2.42.48 (39th)
Roadford Team Triathlon
Roadford Lake was the setting for an exhilarating day of team action which saw Torbay Tri enter two teams. Each indiviudal in the four person team was required to race their way around the 400m lake swim, 13k bike course and 3.5k run before handing over to their team-mate. From start to finish, the action was certainly fast despite the challenging weather conditions that saw many competitors facing heavy rainfall. With nearly 100 teams participating, Torbay’s “Tri Hard with a Vengance’ team impressed with 19th place overall and also topped the podium with 1st place in their category in 3.45.24 while Torbay Triers finished in 73rd overall in 4.42.17. Patrick Roberts was able to lead the team across the line despite suffering a nasty bike crash on the descent back to the lake, making for a rather painful run to the finish.
Torbay Tri members taking part were Jon Pressling, Tony Foster, Jamie Stevenson, Patrick Roberts, Cassandra Harrison, Eve Bates, Rob Pressling and Frank Reay.
Ironman Lanzarote 70.3
Aiming to improve on his time from last year, Ryan Rudge arrived for another crack at Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 in good form and with a strong cycling season behind him. Having enjoyed the race last year and having completed several other 70.3 races in 2016, Ryan got off to a swift start with a 34 minute lagoon swim before his strongest discipline on the bike. Unfortunately the winds the Lanzarote are renowned for made the 56 mile course even more challenging than usual, with no hiding from winds over 20mph sweeping across the course. Ryan was still able to post a solid 3hr 18min bike time before taking to the coastal 3 lap run course under the scorching Canary Islands heat. Narrowly missing out on a sub 6hr finish, Ryan battled the wind and heat all day to cross the line in 6hrs 21secs, cheered on by his brother.
Bicton XC Duathlon
What started out as a sunny day of running and biking around Bicton College and Woodbury for Torbay Tri’s Rob Pressling soon turned into an even more challenging event at the first Bicton XC Duathlon. Even as a seasoned triathlete, this was new territory for Rob in taking to the trails on two wheels and when heavy rainfall hit the course it made things even more difficult for all the competitions. Covering a 3k run, 12k bike and 3k run, despite mechanical issues Rob still secured a respectable finish in under 2 hours and said after that it was “one of the toughest bike courses he’d ever experienced and was a a world away from normal road racing but certainly actually enjoyed the challenge”.
Facing his most difficult and biggest challenge to date, Torbay Tri’s Rich Carus set out to complete Ironman Wales and raise money for Rowcroft Hospice. Famed for having one of the most challenging 112 mile bike and marathon run courses on the Ironman calendar, even the 2.4 mile sea swim started the day in spectacular fashion. With months of gruelling training behind him, Rich made a solid start in the sea and emerged with a 1hr 17m time that included near identical splits for the two laps. Onto the bike and Rich averaged nearly 18mph to record a 6hr 25m split around the Pembrokeshire hills. Heading out onto the run and a strong start kept Rich in contention for a sub 12hr finish before cramp set in. Soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the occasion rather than abusing his body even further, Rich proudly crossed the line for a hugely impressive 12.31.30 for 582nd place from 1600 finishers.
Inspiring the next generation, the day before Rich’s daughter, Minnie, completed her own IronKids race which involved a 1000m run and was rewarded with a medal for her efforts.
Tri the Beast Triathlon (Duathlon)
Described as both exciting and challenging, with nearly 9000ft of climbing, Frank Reay became the first person from Torbay Tri to face the challenge of Tri the Beast on Exmoor and it certainly left a lasting impression. Unfortunately a victim of the bad weather, the swim was sensibly called off but instead a 400m wetsuit run started off the day before a swift transition into bike gear to tackle the 56 mile bike through stunning Exmoor scenery. The bike in itself was challenging but this was nothing compared to final 11 mile run that took in steep ascents and with no flat sections to ease the pain. The Valley of the Rocks proved a fitting climax and pushed all participants to their limit. In Frank’s own words, “Blimey – it was tough” and this is someone used to gruelling triathlons. Coming 19th overall and 3rd in his age group, Frank finished in 6hrs 13mins.
Jon Parkinson crossed the border and represented Torbay Tri at the Gower Triathlon. Renowned for being a tough course in its own right, particularly on the bike, the elements made the whole race even more of a challenge as wind and rain swept the course. Having completed the 1500m sea swim, the 37k bike saw racers head inland and facing the worst of the weather before returning to the 10k run which included a beach section. Despite the conditions, Jon kept smiling throughout and crossed the line in an impressive time of 2.27.07 and 14th place from nearly 200 triathletes.
Perranporth Extreme Surf Triathlon
Jason Mann was among over 200 brave triathletes entering the Atlantic waters for the 29th Perrenporth Extreme Surf Triathlon. Recognised as one of the UK’s oldest and toughest triathlons, due to adverse weather the course was shortened on the swim but still involved a hilly 38k bike and unforgiving 7.5k run over granite cliffs and sand. Jason claimed 1st place in the Grand Vets age group in a time of 1.50.33
Moor to Sea Sportive
Having both previously ridden in the Moor to Sea Sportive last year, Jon Pressling and Cassandra Harrison returned with faster times in mind on what turned out to be a challenging day battling the tough course and weather conditions. Jon took on the 100km route which involved a special timed KoM section up Haytor before facing strong winds and rain across the moors. Clocking a time of 4h 16m, this was enough to secure a gold medal following silver last year. Cassandra took over 20 minutes off her previous time around the 60km route that like all the others finish with an energy sapping climb up Doddiscombleigh to secure a silver medal in 2h 59m. Torbay Tri’s Hamish Renton also took on the 100km Challenge course with friends and crossed the line in 5h 42m despite suffering mechanical problems along the way.
Making a local splash at the GeoPark Adventures GeoSwim was Torbay Tri’s Jon Parkinson and Cassandra Harrison. The duo lined up along other swimmers at Goodrington Sands to swim their way round a 3k and 5k course along the coastline. Jon used the 3k to fine tune his swim for the Gower Triathlon next week while Cassandra completed her longest ever swim over the 5k distance. Both triathletes enjoyed relatively calm waters and conditions that were a vast improvement on last year’s event. The duo were among 75 swimmers taking part, with a 1k swim also on offer.
Jon Parkinson 38m 37s, Cassandra Harrison 1h 19m
Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon
There was nothing unlucky about the thirteen triathletes from Torbay Tri who descended on the Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon. Renowned for being a relatively flat course, fast times were the priority for some while for others it was their first attempt at completing a race over a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. With months of training and strict schedules behind them, Torbay fastest swimmer was Lee Turner in 29.53 and he also secured the team’s fastest run in 1.25.48 while Jamie Stevenson blasted his way round the bike in 2.30.24. In windy conditions, there were several accidents on the bike course that involved Torbay racers but they showed their determination and strength to carry on and cross the finish line. With impressive, fast times through the team, it was particularly special for Tony Hodge and Jonathan Cowling who successfully completed their first middle distance triathlon.
Lee Turner 4.33.51, Jason Mann 4.56.57 (1st 55-59), Jamie Stevenson 4.58.51, Rich Carus 5.00.04, Nigel Fenn 5.06.34, Glynn Hughes 5.23.44, Paul Mulley 5.36.43, Cathy Parkinson 5.45.38 (3rd 50-54), Tony Hodge 5.55.15, Vince Langdon 5.58.15, Peter Coish 6.18.48, Jonathan Cowling 6.31.25, Rob Pressling 6.35.01 (3rd 65-69).
Bideford Sprint Triathlon
Jonathan Cowling decided to celebrate his birthday with a trip to north Devon for the Bideford Sprint Triathlon. Joined by team-mate Jamie Stevenson, the Torbay Tri duo treated the event as a warm up for their middle distance triathlon challenge in two weeks time. Starting with a tidal 500m swim in the river, it was then onto a 22k bike that featured some steep inclines and speedy descents before finishing with a fast and flat 5k run that took in the Tarka Trail. Jamie was first across the line for 16th place in 1.12.53 and Jonathan finished 95th from nearly 200 finishers in 1.28.43
Sprint and Standard Geopark Triathlon
Calm waters, a clear blue sky and raising temperatures made for perfect conditions as Goodrington played host to the Geopark Triathlon. With home advantage for Torbay Tri, it was the ladies in Sprint distance action to start with and the first to enter the waters, which could have been mistaken for the Mediterranean. Beginning with a 750m swim, Cassandra Harrison was among the leading ladies out and team-mate Emma Stevenson was also well positioned. The challenging 24k bike involved plenty of hills and rural scenery before a fast return to transition and the awaiting 6km coastal run to Broadsands and back. In a close run between the ladies, it was Cassandra who narrowly crossed the finish line ahead of Emma.
With three Ironmen among the five strong male contingent from Torbay Tri, it was a case of both mental and physical toughness that saw them exchange positions around the 1500m swim course, 42 bike leg and punishing 12k run that truly tested their strength and stamina. Andrew Gunther was first from the club out the water and stayed ahead of the others through the bike and then onto the run, which took racers out along the coast and through welcome shaded woodland sections before returning to Goodrington. Andrew claimed 5th place overall, with Jon Pressling in 8th position while Frank Reay and Paul Mulley also claimed top 20 positions.
Full Results – Geopark Sprint: Cassandra Harrison 2.15.19 (40th), Emma Stevenson 2.17.01 (41st)
Geopark Standard – Andrew Gunther 3.05 (5th), Jon Pressling 3.21.41 (8th), Frank Reay 3.33.31 (15th), Paul Mulley 3.40.21 (18th), Vince Langdon 3.56.10
Eve completes Britain’s Biggest Sportive
Eve Bates took on the challenge of cycling Britain’s biggest sportive as more than 26,000 cyclists took to the streets of the capital for the Prudential RideLondon – Surrey 100. Attempting her first 100 mile ride, unfortunately the event was cut short as several major accidents resulted in delays and a change of route. Eve was still able to complete an impressive 90 miles in 6hrs 20 mins and claim her well earned medal after crossing the finishing line in front of Buckingham Palace.
Le Bike for Ironman Mulley
In his own words, “this sounds daft” but Torbay Tri’s Paul Mulley has successfully completed a charity cycle ride from London to Paris. Covering 280 miles, through night and day, Paul is no stranger to physical challenges as a year to the day he completed Ironman Uk but this time it was more about mental toughness and staying awake for the duration of the ride that lasted nearly 26 hours. Already looking for his next challenge, Paul raised over £1000 for the charity Scope.
Taking a break from the bike, Torbay Tri were in action as neighbouring Plymouth Tri Club hosted several aquathlons. Having previously staged the popular Plymouth Triathlon, the same swim and run was familiar to those taking on the two discipline format and proved just as challenging.
Over the standard distance, 1500m swim and 10k run, it was Graham Reynolds leading the team home in 1.27.28 and closely followed by Cathy Parkinson in 1.29.26 and Alix Reynolds in 1.33.24
Hamish Renton tackled the sprint distance, 750m swim and 5k run, crossing the line in 46.51
Long Course Weekend
Rich Carus continued his Ironman Wales training by visiting Tenby and taking on three separate disciplines that will make up his main event event in September. Starting with a 2.4 mile sea swim on Friday evening that was completed in 1.27.56, Saturday saw the longest day in wet and windy action with a 112 mile bike completed in 6.37.41 The weekend was completed by a marathon run on the Sunday that saw Rich clock 3.52.33 for a total time of 11.58.11 for 50th place overall.
Bude Shoreline Triathlon
Torbay Tri’s Lee Lee Turner travelled to North Cornwall and Bude’s Summerleaze Beach for the popular Shoreline Triathlon. The event had always attracted large numbers, looking to challenge themselves in the Atlantic Ocean before tackling the fast and hilly bike route, finishing with a run though the town and along the canal. Lee bagged himself a hard earned podium finish, claiming an impressive 3rd place overall in a time of 1.00.14, from almost 200 finishers.
Weymouth Classic Olympic Triathlon
Husband and wife team Jamie and Emma Stevenson headed to Weymouth to test themselves over the Olympic distance, comprising of a 1500m sea swim, 40k bike and 10k run. Following a lumpy swim that included a strong current, the duo also tackled the wind on the rolling bike course in which Jamie clocked the 3rd fastest time. With plenty of energy still left in the legs, the final flat run saw Jamie cross the line and claim an age group title for the first time and Emma also impressing by finishing second in her age group. Speaking after, Jamie said he was “chuffed and wasn’t expecting it.”
Jamie Stevenson 15th 2.16.46, Emma Stevenson 64th 3.05.42
Chatsworth Sprint Triathlon
Tim Watson headed north with the hope of emulating Torbay Tri’s Graeme Kay by securing a place in the GB sprint triathlon age group team. It was all about speed through the 750m lake swim, 20k bike and 5k run, which included lengthy transitions, as Tim raced his way up the field and into contention. Posting the third fastest run on the day, it is now up to the selectors to see if his fourth age group finish is enough to earn a GB call up. Having already secured selection, Graeme was also in action.
Tim Watson 1.11.53 Graeme Kay 1.31.31
Dartmoor Classic Sportive
Leaving the wetsuits and running shoes behind, it was all about the bike as Torbay Tri members pulled on their club colours for the 10th anniversary of the Dartmoor Classic Sportive. With a reputation as one of, if not, the toughest cycle challenges in the country, it’s undoubtedly the largest in the South West of England with thousands taking part. Torbay Tri tested themselves on the demanding hills that Dartmoor is famed and for which all the training clearly paid off with many medals awarded for achieving calculated age category award times. Special praise goes to Dr Ben Hearne and Rich Carus who witnessed a serious accident and sacrificed their times to help the casualty and control traffic.
Tri Results :-
Grande Route (107 miles) – Gold Frank Reay (6.33)- Rich Carus (6.51), Silver Ben Hearne (6.51)- Wendy Urban (7.31)
Medio Route (67 miles) – Gold Andrew Gunther (3.53)-Nigel Fenn (4.01) -Glynn Hughes (4.04)- Cathy Parkinson (4.40) Silver Jonathan Cowling (5.19), Bronze Graham Reynolds (5.14)- Lucy Goldsmith (5.14)- Cassandra Harrison (5.36)- Emma Stevenson (5.38)
Piccolo Route (35 miles) – Gold Manuela Austin (2.24)- Eve Bates (2.28)- Sarah Addis (2.57)
Last night’s Abbrook Time Trial saw six Torbay Tri compete (out of a total of 28 riders. the organisers were impressed with the turn out. Eric Barber was after a sub 40 minute ride and got it. Rob Pressling learned a lot about short distance time trials (and will return with his aero-bike next time. I queried Jon Parkinson’s time after the results put me 22 seconds in front of him (and he had caught me. Instead of putting his time two minutes faster they checked my time and added two minutes – so much for honesty. The winner did the 10 miles in 22:44.
Jon Parkinson 26:50
Dave Pressley 28:22
Rob Pressling 32:34
Debra Pressley 32.41
Emma Stevenson 34:05
Eric Barber 39.28
Not a bad evening for £3.00 entry fee.
South Hams Triathlon
Torbay Tri were out in big numbers for the short trip to Blackpool Sands and some challenging sprint distance action. A quick dip in the deep but clear waters was followed by an energy sapping jog up the beach before the hills started straight away on the bike section. With some speedy action along Slapton, there was still plenty more climbing before the final descent and a run course that stretched the legs on numerous laps beside the sea.
Leading the team home in 6th place overall was Lee Turner, followed by Andrew Longthorpe, Jon Parkinson and Jason Mann who all made the top ten. In total Torbay Tri was represented by 13 triathlete s covering the 750m sea swim, 20k bike and 5k run. Finishing 6th was Lee Turner 1.16.18, 7th Andrew Longthorpe 1.19.23 (1st V40), 8th Jon Parkinson 1.19.57 (2nd V40), 9th Jason Mann 1.21.09 (1st V50), 29th Frank Reay 1.28.54, 47th Peter Coish 1.34.15, 69th Lucy Goldsmith1.39.11, 70th Wendy Urban 1.40.00 (3rd WV50), 72nd Gary Brenton1.40.20, 104th Rachel Longthorpe 1.46.07, Katharina Roberts 1.48.27, Julia Gow-Smith 1.51.16,Jo Coish 2.18.53
Going well at the Cotswold 113 Middle Distance Triathlon was Rich Carus and Ben Hearne. Both triathlete s have impressed with fast times over the distance on previous outings and continued their fine form despite Carus describing the conditions as the “worst I’ve ever raced in” he still claimed bragging rights on the swim and bike for a sub 5 hour overall finish, Hearne closed the gap with a strong run to finish just minutes behind. Both claimed personal best times for the distance.
Rich Carus 4.56.45, Ben Hearne 5.04.43
World Triathlon Leeds
Competing on the same course as the world’s best triathlete s, Graham Reynolds and Alix Reynolds headed north for the inaugural World Triathlon Leeds race. With many spectators lining the Olympic distance course, both got to experience the 1500m, 40k bike and 10k run before the Brownlee brothers were in action later in the day. Inspired by the crowds and despite the technical course the pair put in solid performances around Leeds city centre. Alix Reynolds 3.04.01, Graham Reynolds 3.12.27
Nottingham was a hub of triathlon activity as it played host to both the Outlaw Half and Emergency Services National Championships.
First in action was Graeme Kay at the Emergency Services National Championships aiming for a good enough performance to represent GB in Dusseldorf, Germany next year. Despite not having the best of swims by his own admission, Kay put this behind him concentrating his efforts on a strong performance in the 20k bike and a strong 5k run to finish 3rd in his age group, with a time of 1.12.45 successfully qualifying for the GB Age Group team at next years European Sprint Championships. A man of little words, Graeme was understandably “chuffed” at the fantastic news.
Going much longer over the Outlaw middle distance was Jamie Stevenson, who continues to show why he’s one of the clubs strongest all-round triathlete s. Recording a PB 33min swim, then those hours spent training on two wheels clearly paid dividends as he recorded a speedy 2hr 35min on the 56 mile bike leg with still enough energy to complete the half marathon, Stevenson narrowly missed out on going sub 5hrs with a very impressive 5.02.37 finish.
Ryan Rudge continued his European tour with a trip to Ironman 70.3 in Switzerland. Having not got to swim at his previous 70.3 in France due to poor weather, Ryan made the most of the chilly but crystal-clear lake waters this time, before experiencing light showers around the scenic two-lap bike course. Staying strong on the final half marathon through medieval parts of the old town and beside the lake, Ryan crossed the line with a personal best time of 5.25.58