2017 brings us two different competitions within the same Wednesday night aquathon race series. Competitors all set off together and are eligible for award in both formats.
The details are described below. For the price of the standard open water swim, you get all the benefits listed below.
Great race prep, great transition practice and the handicap final is worth qualifying for!
Hope to see you ALL there.
The handicap favours new athletes and improvers and we really want to encourage these people to come and join in.
You must complete 3 out of the 5 qualifiers to enter the handicap final on 23rd August. A miraculous algorithm is then applied based on your times through the season and intended to result in all abilities finishing very close together. It does work. We have had some incredible finish line battles. Great fun whatever your triathlon/aquathon ability!
For the competitive amongst you, we will have a time trial format. Any performance on any of the official aquathon nights listed above will count (qualifiers and final). Fastest individual aquathon for the summer wins. Simple.
NOTE FOR NON-MEMBERS: Speak to the race coordinator on the night if you wish to join in. It is entirely at their discretion whether non-members can race and will be based on the safety and enjoyment of our other non-aquathon swimmers. If non-members are given the go-ahead to race, your company will be most welcome but you will not qualify for either of the awards listed above.
All races are on Wednesday evenings at 7pm (except 17th June):
- 24th May
- 14th June
- 17th June SATURDAY 10am start
- 5th July
- 26th July
- 16th August
- 23rd August FINAL.
If you haven’t done the aquathon before then here is the format:
- 7pm in the water ready to start
- SWIM: Deep water start in line with the new MVH Tall Buoy
- Battle royale to the first corner buoy – no biting or gouging! There is the option to count to 3 and set off in a more civilised and structured way which is perfectly acceptable too. It doesn’t have to be a contact sport 😉
- 2 anticlockwise laps of the LP (approx 500m per lap and may turn BEFORE the island in 2017. Check at race brief.)
- Get out the water and soak up the abuse from the armchair racers who line the exit ramp to belittle and accuse.
- QUICK TRANSITION or expect more of the above (In seriousness, the training benefit is halved if you don’t make an effort in transition. Banter is good. Tactics are good. Cheating to get a better handicap advantage in the final is bad!).
- RUN out the farm track to main road, turn right, then run up the road until you get to Hoon Lane (also right). Run up the lane, over the A50 bridge and then to gates of Hoon Ridge and touch the wooden gate post as indicated below (collecting a wrist band if one is available). Mrs Heron may undertake some covert checks from her vantage point on Hoon Ridge so do NOT turn short of the post.
- Run back in to LP. The finish line is often marked with MVH flags but otherwise the official timer will be stood on the finish line (approximately where the access lane splits and the lane becomes gravelly)
- Congregate to congratulate all who have taken part. The armchair racers are often now more supportive than in the earlier transition and give you ‘helpful tips’ on where it all went wrong.
So why do it?
- Open water starts are – for many – the most daunting aspect of triathlon. A start line of 10-30 fellow club members is a far better way to acclimatise to this scenario than waiting for a mass start of 400 (e.g. Staffordshire 70.3/Outlaw half) or even 2000 people (Outlaw full!)
- Pacing at the start of a swim is crucial. The adrenaline can make you take bad choices! No-one wins a triathlon on the swim but you can lose a race or DNF on a swim by being under-prepared…..or over-zealous!
- Drafting in open water is worth up to 30% efficiency. Swim faster for the same effort or save yourself for the run.
- Sighting when swimming in amongst other swimmers in close proximity is a valuable skill. Swimming 10-15% further than you need to is not a good way to start a race. The tight turns and small buoys at LP make sighting tough but this does make it great practice. The low evening sun in the summer adds another challenge worth experiencing, as do some of the other recreational swimmers who make this event even more beneficial by just being there….some “in the way”….some “powering through” the pack themselves. This is good preperation for events with staggered “wave starts” where it is common to catch the wave in front if you are strong swimmer, or be caught from behind if this is not your best discipline!
- All multisport transitions are hard as you switch from one muscle set to another. That is why triathletes sequence “brick” sessions etc. The Swim-Run is maybe the hardest of them all as you move from a relative “weightless” and horizontal position to full weight bearing in seconds! This is compounded by the fact that most triathletes don’t kick in the water. The result is that your blood vessels are constricted, feet are cold, and oxygenated blood supply to your feet/calves is minimal. Kicking for the last 100m of the swim may help.
- Getting a wetsuit off is a skill to practice in itself. You can lose 2 minutes in a race without even knowing it.
- Heading out on the run and learning to pace and build into your stride as your legs “come back in” does not happen naturally – it occurs through conscious repetition. This training effect is also transferable to swim-bike transitions which many of us struggle to practice as swim-bike brick training is rare or difficult to practise. Again, adrenaline &” race-brain” can make us take bad choices like trying to run a 6 minute mile from a swim when your PB is slower than that!
As one race compere put it: “Race day turns intelligent, disciplined and driven people into slobbering, dysfunctional, morons”.
True that, so come on down and practice being intelligent and disciplined!