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
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