On September 28th I took part in the Velobants CX In The City Cyclocross race in Cambwell Park, Milton Keynes. My friend Laura encouraged me to do so as Velobants – a cycling club who host the event – were trying to break a record and get 100 women on the start line. So I signed up! Turns out so did over 160 other women and the record was well and truly beaten.
I have only ever entered a few events before so I felt slightly intimidated. I had only ever taken part in one other cyclocross race on my mountain bike on a small course with a handful on entrants. However, the CX In The City Event was very friendly – there were women of all levels and abilities from pro riders to women entering their first ever race. It was a great experience and everyone was so encouraging.
This year for me has been about trying new things; taking part in my first triathlon which has got me hooked, time trialling and putting in some serious work for training. Cyclocross is a great way to start racing and once you get going you can set the goal to complete a certain number of laps or make sure you tackle an obstacle correctly.
It is so friendly and you don’t need a top spec bike. All you need is a mountain bike, comfortable cycling kit, and the ability to have a laugh and get stuck in.
I had tons of fun and it’d be great to see more women on the start line again.
About the author: Courtney Granger is a keen cyclist and Sundried ambassador.
Having caught the duathlon bug back in October last year I’ve been taking part in the winter duathlons hosted at the Lee Valley VeloPark, the most recent being the East London Triathletes Winter Warmer.
The day started, as it usually does, with my two children waking me up at around 6:30am asking for breakfast so once I’d served them it was a hearty bowl of porridge with mixed fruit and a strong cup of coffee for me.
I’m an organised person and so my bag had been packed, unpacked to check I’d packed everything, and re-packed the night before as well as my TT bike being checked and double-checked to avoid any mechanicals so all I needed to do was get everything into the car and get on my way from Southend to East London.
On arriving at the venue the conditions looked perfect, a gentle breeze and sunshine, so I racked my bike and headed to the changing rooms. On race days I always wear my Sundried men's trisuit and race belt and I’d recently treated myself to some Sundried running socks – there's nothing quite like the simple joy of fresh socks – so once I was changed into my race kit and wrapped-up warm I headed to the registration area to sign in and collect my numbers.
With numbers applied to bike, helmet and race belt it was time to warm-up, take in the race briefing and then get to the start line for the first run. The race format was two laps, ten laps, one lap, with each lap being one mile, so I knew I could go out quite fast and was pleased to be near the sharp end once we reached the first transition.
Onto the TT bike and the conditions were so good I knew I’d take a fair chunk of time out of previous races on this course and I was happy to complete the ten laps in 27:32, nearly two and a half minutes better than my previous best – all that winter training must be paying off!
The last run was a flat out sprint to the line for one lap, leaving nothing behind. At the line I had no idea where I’d finished but was quietly confident I’d do well in my age-group. After collecting my bike and kit from transition and getting changed it was time for the medals to be handed out. I was delighted to hear my name called for the silver medal in my age group and later discovering that I’d finished 17th out of a field of 87.
After the awards it was time for a quick coffee in the Velodrome and some reflection on the race. I’m really pleased with how my fitness and race technique has improved since my first duathlon and it can only bode well for the bigger events I have planned later in the year. My Sundried kit performed brilliantly on the day and I can’t wait to get back into race kit for my next duathlon.
About the author: Dan Walsh is a duathlete and Sundried ambassador.
It was just getting light when I woke up on Sunday morning. I woke up before my alarm which is always a nice surprise to me. It looked like it was going to be a sunny day which was great news for my duathlon!
I started the day with three slices of fruit toast and a big glass of water. Then I packed my bags and bike into the car and started the short journey to the Lee Valley Velo Park in Stratford, London.
I was excited to test out my new Sundried race suit for the first time. It felt super comfortable and I loved the way it fitted. I racked my bike, warmed up, and headed to the start line. The day wasn’t as warm as I had hoped and I was jumping around to keep warm, however the start noise went off soon enough and we were on our way.
This was a sprint duathlon. I started with a 2 mile run where I found myself the leading lady and within the first group of men. A good start! I kept the lead feeling comfortable and then hopped onto my bike.
Now I started the 10 mile bike course. The course at Lee Valley is fun. Constant hills, however where there was an uphill there was always a downhill! The men started to pull away from me at this point however I remained first lady. My bike is not as strong as my run but I powered through.
Finally, I reached the end of the bike, still ahead of all the other females. I racked my bike and dived into my running shoes as quick as I could. All I had to do was keep a good pace and I could win! The final run was only 1 mile so I gave it all I had. The final 100m to the finish line was the best bit! I gave a glance around and not another female runner in sight! There was lots of cheering and people saying I was ‘first lady!’.
My mum met me at the finish line and handed me a much needed bottle of water. Then I got some warm clothes on and did a nice cool down. Later in the awards ceremony I was happy to take first in age group and first overall female. Many thanks to Sundried for the fantastic race suit!
About the author: Holly Dixon is a Team GB triathlete and Sundried ambassador.
Southend Triathlon is returning for its third year on Sunday 16th June 2019. The route is reverting back to that of the 2017 race with an open road bike course around the quiet country lanes of Great Wakering and Barling.
For 2019, Southend Triathlon will be capped at 400 competitors and the race will be set off in waves of 50 competitors according to ability with the faster athletes starting first. Registration will be available the day before, Saturday 15th June, as well as on the day. The first swim wave will start the race at 10:30am and all competitors are expected to have finished by 2pm.
The swim is a 750m route in the open water of the Thames Estuary. Wetsuits may not be mandatory but they are very strongly advised as wearing one aids with buoyancy and could increase your speed! The swim starts at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Shoeburyness and is an out-and-back route parallel to the shoreline.
The bike is a 20km cycle out from Shoeburyness and into Great Wakering and Barling. All participants must adhere to the highway code. There will be marshals on route and anyone caught flouting these rules will be instantly disqualified.
There is a set of traffic lights on the bike course which will be marshaled throughout the race. If you are stuck at a red light, don't worry, you will be awarded a time bonus at the end of the race.
The run follows the same route as the 2018 race and is 3 laps of Gunner's Park on the Garrison. A beautiful, traffic-free run will take you to the finish line back by Uncle Tom's Cabin.
For more information and a full FAQ please visit www.southendtriathlon.com
Date: 14th April 2019
Location: Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Hillfields, Reading Rd, Burghfield Common near Reading, Berkshire
Event Type and Distance: Cycle Sportive - 41.5km Fun Ride / 84km Classic / 125km Epic
Amenities: Medical staff, toilets, aid stations, refreshments, bag drop, post-race sports massage
Entry Price: £18.20 for the Fun Ride, £23.20 for the Classic, £27.20 for the Epic
The cycle course takes cyclists through the beautiful Berkshire countryside, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Here you will pass through the traditional villages of West Berkshire, negotiate a selection of short punchy climbs and experience the stunning scenery and quiet country lanes of the Royal County of Berkshire. With so many places to visit in Berkshire, you can easily forget you're right on London’s doorstep. A wealth of towns, villages and countryside to explore make West Berkshire the perfect antidote to city life. Hillfields is situated close to both Reading and Newbury. There are many lively cafes and restaurants for you to enjoy a cup of tea or a bite to eat. The surrounding countryside is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the cycle ride crosses the wonderful Kennet and Avon Canal which runs right through West Berkshire from the outskirts of Reading to Hungerford.