Tell me about triathlons…

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  • Tell me about triathlons…
  • johndoh

    It did, though given the reputation of the students I imagine it was used for drowning kittens as often as swimming.

    I had no idea! Weird though as I have been all over the district with my two sporty 10 yr olds doing all sorts of competitions, classes, courses etc and have never come across it.

    Premier Icon Daffy

    This all sound like a really good way to spoil a good ride, run or swim by introducing a load of faff and gear bullshit into all of them?

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain

    This all sound like a really good way to spoil a good ride, run or swim by introducing a load of faff and gear bullshit into all of them?

    You’ve never ridden with other people before have you?


    You’ve never ridden with other people before have you?

    He said he wasn’t into triathlons.

    So chances are he has ridden with other people and probably even outsjde-outside of races

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain

    Sorry, trying to be funny, I was suggesting

    introducing a load of faff and gear bullshit into all of them?

    Sounds very much like a group mtb ride.


    I wasn’t there to see it as I was up the road but a tale that caused much amusement at the time was a guy coming second from last out of the water then getting on a state-of-the-art triathlon bike (aerobars, carbon aero frame, disc wheels, bottles behind bum, aero lid, inverted seat post – all things rare at the time) then someone shouted something to the effect of “you need to spend your money on swimming lessons not your flash bike”. Cruel but true.

    If you can swim and you’re at the right hand end of the normal distibution curve in terms of watts/kilo you’ll finish well in a Decathlon wetsuit riding a racer bought on Gumtree for £100.


    When I was road racing there were the occasional triathletes who turned up; they were great to sit behind until there was a corner…


    I used to train with a road club, I’d turn up on a hack with mudguards and a sachs super 7 hub gear and still drop them all if the climb was longer than a few minutes. One of them who was “bien chargé” found this annyoing and tried to drop me on a descent, running out of road and exploring the undergrowth in the local woodland. I did a few road races and was eventually accepted as one of the gang, I knew I wasn’t quick enough in a sprint to win anything and was happy to work for any mates that were in with a chance.

    Thezre are as many shit bike handlers in a roadie peloton as in a triathlon. Not so many in an MTB race though.


    I found it hard to relate to the new hipster recruits; some are utter dicks in the pool so I gave up swimming in club sessions and as it’s the swim sessions that hold triathlon clubs together I just drifted away.

    I’m in a tri club and it’s nothing like what you say – we use 3 lanes in the pool, with the slower guys in lane 1 and the fastest in lane 3… No dicks afaik.


    As I said, find a cool club, you have, Mogrim. We had two lanes at best. I knew it was time to go when a normally calm old hand got so wound up with being hit with paddles that he grabbed the newbie culprit and held his head under water for long enough to cause distress then tried again to explain line etiquette. No change. The club president resigned, mainly over pool behaviour, one person required stitches to their face after being hit by a paddle in a stupid overtake.

    It was the same in events, the swimming got more and more aggressive, especially at sprint and olympic distance races. You expect to get hit a few times in a swim but you don’t expect people to deliberately push you under in their attempt to push through. We’re pretty sure that one club member was deliberately brought down and seriously injured on the bike leg of a race. More amusing, another club member (and notorious cheat/drafter) got a full water bottle thrown at her by the rider she was drafting.

    I’ve done a lot of triathlons and these incidents became more and more frequent.


    GB Age Group triathlonist

    Not dissing your missus but I think the whole GB age group thing is a bit of a con.


    GB age group thing is a bit of a con.

    There’s a chap in work who parades around in his GB age group track top.

    He “qualified” for a sprint in Oz !! … lol

    Other side of the world for a one hour and 20 minute event (yep, he’s that good) …. berk.

    Premier Icon oikeith

    I’d just start off with some tri-shorts rather than a full suit (DHB ones from Wiggle are fine). Cheaper, and you can add on a top if you like the sport. Just pop a cycle top or t-shirt on in T1.

    Tri shorts worked fine for me for my first/only sprint tri, I just got out of the pool and jogged to the racking where my bike and gear was and chucked on some clothes and went out on the bike. Then returned to same spot on rack as thats where I left my stuff.

    I used bin bags for my cycling and running clothes, one with my cycling top, socks and shoes in, another with my running top and shoes. Hindsight I wouldnt have put socks on, but it only took like 20 seconds!

    When I left my bike in the rack I had already turned on my garmin so it would acquire GPS.

    Swimming wise, I signed up thinking I could swim, one visit to the pool proved that granny break stroke or drowning man freestyle wouldnt cut 16 lengths, I watched a couple of youtube videos about breathing techniques for freestyle then visited the pool twice a week for the 5 weeks leading up to it, once I had cracked the breathing I then started building up the lengths so one visit I would do 4 x 2 lengths then next visit do 8 total, following week would be 6 x 2 and then 12 and so on. I actually did this till I swam a mile!


    I can see where the GB Age group is a bit suspect, but as a national marker it is pretty good mainly because it is competitive – people genuinely want to fight for championship qualification.

    GB are the only nation to always take a full team to the Euros (100s of athletes), the management even give lectures to other nation teams on how to build the interest within their country. It does mean that invariably GB make up over 60% of the top ten finishers in most age groups at the ETU championships. But to consistently qualify for the GB squad and then be competitive at the Euros or worlds takes a lot of training (Mrs S trains 6 times a week, races all year round in other events and has raced in GB Age group team at the last 5 or ETUs and the 2 ITUs that took place in continental Europe. She has to work two or three ETU qualifying triathlons (olympic standard distance, not sprint) into a season of competitions which might also include the UK champs (not usually an ETU or ITU qualifier) and in some years the ITU qualifier. And then come in top three in the vast majority of them in order to compete in the championships for the following year.

    Yes qualifying for a GB age group sprint place at World champs on the other side of the planet is a lot easier – who the hell wants to fly for 50 hrs for a 1hr race? Its not competitive. But making the cut for the ETU standard distance is usually much harder.

    The ITU was held at Lausanne this year. A very competitive race to get into and to compete in – the home of the Olympics, all the European nations having big squads and non-European nations having a big turn out too due to the higher profile of Lausanne/Switzerland than in other years.

    The “Con” I suppose is in the cost of the kit, team hotel, bike shipping and travel. None of which is supported by GB Tri. Mrs S has been doing it long enough to know how to minimise costs, and we often arrange a family holiday around the European champs so we can drive her race bike out with us, and we can be flexible camping, rather than pay the huge premium of staying in the team hotel. Also, national kit up to 3 yrs old can be re-worn, but after that you have to get a newer design to stay current.

    (PS Mrs S only ever wears GB kit at the championships where she is required to, as otherwise its like having a bullseye on your back when out training with the riffraff 😉 )

    Premier Icon pocpoc

    I really wish you hadn’t started this thread. Now I want to do the York Triathlon. It’s only 30 mins from home and looks amateur/friendly enough that I won’t be trailing off the back.
    I did the Stokesley duathlon about 6yrs ago 5km run – 35km bike – 5km run and enjoyed it despite coming about 3rd from last, nearly giving up in the 40mph headwinds on the bike and walking most of the second “run”! I think it was long enough ago that I’ve forgotten enough of it to want to try again.
    My only issue with triathlon is that I’ve barely swum properly since having children. Being in a pool these days mainly consists of bobbing around in the shallow end getting cold while they all play.

    I’ve just entered the Great North Run ballot. If I don’t get in to that then York tri may become a serious consideration.


    The “Con” I suppose is in the cost of the kit, team hotel, bike shipping and travel. None of which is supported by GB Tri.

    That’s because despite its name, the way some talk about it and the way it’s marketed by British Triathlon it’s absolutely nothing like being part of a national team or representing your country in any other sport.

    Normally a place on a national team would suggest you’re one of the best in the country at your age/distance but all the age group qualification requires (as I understand it) is to finish within a certain % (or is it placing?) of the winner in a chosen event.

    Depending on age group, gender, distance and the qualifying event you choose qualification can be relatively hard or easy. My wife pretty much qualified by accident!

    you dont need a tri suit or tri laces at all, yes its easier but for a first attempt at what i assume will be a sprint distance just go for it and get changed at transition to cycling kit, i did, didnt ruin me for life.

    tips though… super bright towel on the floor of your area (if its not raining of course) so you can see where you are as you enter.

    meticulously lay said kit onto your mat in preparation of arrival.

    if its even vaguely wet plastic box with lid for your kit.

    fill, and i mean literally fill, your road bike shoes and your trainers with talc so your feet slip in when wet.

    in the last mile of the bike get into a really low gear and spin your legs, really spin them to loosen them up because when you start running you will not believe how badly your legs will not want to work.

    long and short, dont overthink it, do it with what you have got, if you love it then buy kit.

    to prove my opening point though, the club i’m in used to do an annual tri. one year a guy entered who upon completing the swim went into the showers, had a full soap and hair clean, did his hair under the drier, dressed, then mounted a gents upright complete with a picnic box on the back containing lunch. lets just say the medals were all presented by the time he finished. but he did it!

    Premier Icon Wally

    Decathlon. Get down there now.
    Tri suit £13
    Shoes £17
    Chaff stick £4
    Tri belt £8
    and it’s a great fun.

    On my first Tri in open water (London docks) I used antibac gel all over my hands and then downed 330ml of coke (kills bugs) then wondered why I was unable to put my shoes on due to no grip with the gel. What a Wally.
    My fave is the swim, just love the pump of the start and the getting a groove on,
    My hate is the run.
    That’s why I am running the marathon this year…


    Spin, no that’s not entirely how qualification works.

    You have to win or place 2nd or 3rd in one of the three qualifying races in the UK. i.e. be one of the best in the country for your age. A couple of places below those automatic qualification are on a performance (%) count back from the group winner. Generally the top 6 or 7 in the team are the best 6 or 7 in the country at that age grade. You very rarely see a winner of a qualifying race not take up their place in the European Championships.

    As to competitiveness, last years ETU champs for Mrs S age grade, Team GB placed 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th in Europe (31 starters). In 2018 it was 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th in a weaker field because it was held in Estonia, a bit of a git of a place to get to for most Europeans.
    Conversely in this year’s worlds in Lausanne, GBR placed 4-7th (+more) behind two Americans and a Suisse in a field of 80+. That suggests that at least when compared to other nations the Brit selection process must be doing something right.

    Mrs S did “unintentionally” qualify for the world duathlon championships last year by winning her group in an off-season, shitz’n’giggles qualifier the year before, but that’s mainly because Duathlon is not a very competitive discipline. Standard Tri distance is the hardest to qualify for because it’s the original Olympic discipline. Other less “prestigious” disciplines like Aquathlon, Aquabike, Duathlon (Long, Standard and sprint), Triathlon (Middle and Sprint) distance, Cross Triathlon etc all exist if you fancy an easier ticket!


    You have to win or place 2nd or 3rd in one of the three qualifying races in the UK

    Just asked my wife and it was a % when she did it. There were no named qualifying races you just submitted a race and it had to meet certain criteria (numbers in group etc). This was long distance though and apparently that’s different.


    This was long distance though

    qualifying places are issued in cornflake packets.

    Obvs most of my comments above are in the context of standard Olympic Distance Tri.

    Premier Icon convert

    Stoner, you are making it sound slighter harder than it can be. Emphasis on the can as some categories are pretty tough and highly prized. I know a lady in late middle age who qualified by beating the one other competitor in her category. The other lady was doing her first ever triathlon and had only progressed from breaststroke to crawl a few months before and was wearing a wetsuit for the first time on race day. My friend was slightly embarrassed but took the slot and loved the experience.

    There was talk years ago of adding a time limit too – so you would have to be in the top 3 AND get an age group adjusted time of X hrs XX mins or better to qualify. Did that ever go through?

    I qualified for standard and then later long distance (and also for the IM 70.3 worlds in Clearwater and full in Kona) and as said the ITU/ETU stuff was to be in the first whatever in a given race for standard and the long distance was just a submit a CV job.


    there’s obviously a lot of variation in the competition for places. Its daft that there are the same number of team slots for every age grade and for lots of different distances/disciplines.

    The qualification policy for most of the team places is simply:

    “To qualify athletes must;

    Register their intent to qualify for the championship race by 5pm Friday prior to the qualifying event.

    Complete the qualification race within 120% of the winner in their age group.

    Be one of the first four finishers in the race who have registered their intent to qualify before the deadline.
    – Athletes finishing in the first 4 places per age group but outside 120% of the winner of that age group will only be offered a place at the Team Manager’s discretion.

    – Athletes finishing outside the first 4 places per age group but inside 120% of the winner of that age group may still be able to qualify with a Rolldown Place. Details of Rolldown Places can be found here. ”

    But that looks very different when you have 3 registered to qualify in the 75-80 AG Long distance Aquathlon…. compared to 40+ registrations attempting to qualify for the AG 35-40 Olympic distance Tri.

    So yes, some qualifications are cornflake freebies, others are very competitive to get a top slot in.

    I did it for a few years – everything from sprint to Ironman and even a couple of off road tris. To be honest, mountain biking is more fun.

    It’s good for overall fitness, but it’s really a sport that’s designed for people who have no family or are recently divorced; you can easily spend 20 hours a week training if you want to get anywhere in the longer distance races.



    Does it really matter how hard it is to qualify, convert? Jeez. I did loads of stuff before you had to qualify for anything, did that make it worthless? No, it was great fun being there. We, madame and I, found we’d qulified for the French olympic distance champs one year, so we did it. I qualified for the Winter triathlon world championships twice with a couple of reasonable results on world cup rounds (top ten). It was great being able to race with all the big names in the sport, it felt a bit sureal overtaking Olivier Marceau (world ITU champ and 7th Sydney Olympics) on the MTB leg of a Winter triathlon – I supsect it was the first time he’d ridden an MTB on snow in his life.

    So don’t worry about it, Stoner and Madame Stoner, you don’t need to justify anything to anybody. Just enjoy the buzz of being part of the international triathon scene while you can. At least competing at a high level there’s less a problem with the dicks I alluded to above.


    I did my first couple of triathlons last year. Someone suggested tri shorts to me, but when I actually looked for some, they were all pretty expensive and I ended up getting a discounted trisuit for less. I suspect that trishorts are mostly quite good quality so tend to cost more.
    Those decathlon suits are supposedly great even at full price, and wiggle often have their own brand with big reductions.

    Oh, and if you want to avoid too much wobbling when trying to get going on the bike, you can always do what I did and put spds on – running out of T1 in mtb shoes was a lot easier than learning how to get feet into road shoes on the go.


    Apologies but I have to jump on this BS, as soon as I spot it:

    “330ml of coke (kills bugs)”

    Please try and stop ‘educating’ people about this nonsense (and try a bit of critical thinking yourself):

    Triathlon/open-water swimming: do things really go better with Coke?

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