• Guest Post: Tenby Long Course Weekend Race Report

    The Long Course Weekend Tenby Pembrokeshire Wales

    The Long Course Weekend is a unique race in which athletes complete a full iron distance triathlon but split over 3 days, with the 2.4-mile Wales Swim on the first day, the 112-mile Wales Sportive on the second day, and finishing with the Wales Marathon 26.2-mile run on the final day. The Long Course Weekend takes place in Tenby, Pembrokeshire (south west Wales).

    As the three disciplines are split over 3 days, athletes have the option to just complete one as an individual race or to do all 3 as a full iron distance triathlon. Sundried ambassador Jim Doughty gives us a race report.

    Day 1 - The Swim

    I arrive at the beach nervous. The thoughts running through my head are 'I don't feel like I belong here' 'I probably haven't done enough training' and 'I am anxious about the swim.' I see hundreds of athletes all getting ready and think to myself 'it's now or never' so I start to pull on my wetsuit. I head out into the water to get accustomed to it and once in realise I have nothing to worry about. The sea is flat, calm, and warm compared to the lochs in Scotland where I do my training.

    We are shouted into the start pens to listen to the race briefing. It's 6:45 pm and the air is electric as we stand listening to the last minute instructions. The swim consists of 2 laps, each 1.2 miles long with an Australian run along the beach between the laps. We are told to watch out for jellyfish as they can sting. 7pm and the fireworks are set off; it's time, we all enter the water and start swimming.

    There is a slight pull by the tide which makes hard work of the first leg of the lap to the turn buoy. I get squashed against the buoy as I take a tight line around it but find some clean water once around and onto the back straight. The rest of the 1st  lap passes by fast as the current helps us along the way. I exit the water after the first lap in 45:12 and run along the beach for the second lap with a smile on my face. I now know I will complete the swim within the time limit.

    The 2nd lap is a re-run of the 1st lap and I exit the water for the final run up the beach and cross the finish in a time of 1:26:42, I guess my swim training is paying off. I collect my medal and quickly make my way back to my hotel, by the time I arrive it's 9 pm and time to start recovery before the 112-mile bike tomorrow.

    Day 2 - The Bike

    I awake at 5 am and have my usual breakfast of porridge and a banana with a coffee. I arrive at the car park at the leisure centre and cycle the last mile to the start of the Sportive just before 7 am.

    The countdown is on and I am nice and relaxed about the Welsh Sportive. The weather is being very kind, the sun is out and there is virtually no wind.

    We wind our way out of Tenby and head towards Pembroke via some spectacular countryside and some rather impressive hills towards the Pembrokeshire coastline.

    After Pembroke, we head to a place called Wiseman's Bridge and a climb that's about a mile long and at 16%. It's tough going but I muster up some hidden strength and dig deep. As I crest the summit I hear some of the other competitors talking about how hard it is on the second lap, I can't wait for that. We head over to Saundersfoot to the famous timed hill climb, I'm happy just to get over it and head back into Tenby, we have covered 66 miles and are now heading out onto the second 46-mile lap.

    As I approach Wiseman's Bridge for the 2nd time and the climb back up from it I realise that there are around 50 people all off their bikes and walking up the 16% climb. I use all of my training along with some of my mental willpower to stay on my bike throughout the whole climb. I realise I only have one major climb left before the final run into Tenby. For the second ascent of Saundersfoot, I soon realise we are not racing anymore and it's more about survival. I reach Tenby in a time of 08:15:19 which feels slow but given the amount of climbing done I decide I'm happy with my time and am now thinking about my recovery for the rest of today and head over to the massage area and wait my turn for a full leg massage to give me the best possible start to my marathon tomorrow.

    The Long Course Weekend Tenby Full Iron Distance Triathlon

    Day 3 - The Run

    The marathon starts at 10 am so I have some 4 hours before the gun starts us off. I have some breakfast and head into Tenby for the start. I can't believe the atmosphere at the start line already; it's like there has been an all-night party and it's still going on, I love it and it really helps to motivate me.

    At 10 am the start of the final event of the weekend is underway, a mere 26.2 miles of running and The Long Course Weekend will be over for another year. I start strong and while away the miles by thinking about how much I have missed my family while I've been away racing and how much they sacrifice for me to be able to do this all year long.

    I reach the halfway point in Pembroke, the sun is hot now and I'm on schedule for a 5-hour marathon, which I consider to be ok given what else I've completed this weekend. My phone beeps with a text message and I read it, it's my wife telling me to stay strong as she has seen my splits on live tracker and has also realised I am going to beat my previous overall Ironman time. I feel some tears start to form and use the emotions to push me on. I reach the finish in a time of 05:04:42 and an overall time of 14:46:44 which is just under 11 minutes faster than my previous Ironman time.

    I am ecstatic and have a wide grin on my face as I collect my 4th medal from the Mayor of Tenby. Now for the next endurance event: the 8-hour drive back to Scotland.

    Jim Doughty Athlete Ambassador Sundried

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Guest Post: Winning The Bastion Triathlon by Matt Leeman

    Matt Leeman Sundried Ambassador Winner Castle Triathlon Series Bastion Full Iron Distance

    Heat and Hills at The Bastion Full Iron Distance Triathlon

    This was only my second full iron distance triathlon, so I'm very much still finding my feet when it comes to racing events this long. However, I've spent a good block of training away in Cyprus over the winter and more recently at altitude at the Trisutto base in St. Moritz, Switzerland. This has put me in the best possible position to break into the pro triathlon ranks as you have to fully commit or you'll fall short.

    The swim start was the most picturesque I've raced, taking place at the end of the Hever Castle estate's Italian garden, with mist floating across the water's surface. The race organiser delayed the start so the mist could clear and then we were off. I lead the swim as this is my strength and something I like to capitalise on and to put others under pressure early on. It was a technical swim, consisting of a fair few turns coming back along a river section created to naturally fill the lake. I completed the 2.4-mile (3.86km) swim in a time of 50:27, taking the swim course record.

    Sundried Ambassador Matt Leeman Open Water Swimming Hever Castle

    I had looked into the bike course profile before the race and knew it was going to be hilly. Luckily I favour the hills and got to work early and began putting time into my competitors, with the gap increasing each of the three laps. I enjoyed the bike and finished the 112 miles (180.25km) in a time of 05:29:55 (Including getting sent the wrong way but luckily realising the mistake after a couple of minutes!).

    Back into the castle grounds and it was off on the run, the midday sun was fully beating down now, and similar to the bike, the run was going to be pretty hilly. I ran a conservative marathon distance (26.2 miles/42.16km) as I am racing again in two weeks time at the Outlaw in Nottingham, therefore had to be sensible to be able to back this performance up in a relatively short amount of time.

    These days the trend for long course racing is to wear a skin suit rather than the conventional sleeveless tri-suit. I have tested both and I'm in agreement that the skinsuit is the best option for long distance. It is faster on the bike and keeps you cool on the run. The only place the sleeveless suit has an advantage is the swim, but this is relatively small and when you consider proportionately a lot longer time is spent on the bike and run than the swim, it is a very wise investment to make. I also got a lot of comments on how good the Sundried tri-suit looks!

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Harrison Smith Triathlete

    Harrison Smith Southend Triathlon Winner Sundried

    Harrison is a bright, intelligent, promising young athlete who already has some impressive titles under his belt. After winning the Sundried Southend Triathlon, we had to invite him on board the team. He tells us more.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, it has been a key part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I mainly ran and played rugby, dabbling unsuccessfully in football and golf before choosing to focus on triathlon in year 10 (age 15).

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I went down to the local triathlon club (East Essex Tri) initially just to improve my running. However, after they encouraged me to try swimming and I’d got to the point where I could swim 400m without drowning, I borrowed my dad’s bike and entered my first triathlon.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    I won the World Duathlon Championships for the Under 20 age group in 2016; the race went perfectly, a rare occurrence in multisport.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Probably winning the recent Sundried Southend Triathlon; there’s nothing quite like winning your home race by over two minutes in front of a huge crowd.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    A couple of years ago I won the Great Notley Duathlon... at least I thought I won the Great Notley Duathlon until I crossed the line to find I’d been disqualified for improper racking.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    By returning to Great Notley the next year and winning it by the biggest ever margin.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    To get my swimming stroke sorted before I started doing regular swimming sessions; it took Gill and Dawn at Tri ‘n’ Swim Well months to fix all the bad habits I had developed.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    2017 has, so far, had to be painstakingly quiet because I’m doing my A-level exams. That said, I have already achieved a few of my targets; I won the European Duathlon Championships and captained the Essex Cross Country team at the English Schools, both targets of mine for a couple of years now. I want to test myself over an Olympic distance triathlon at some point, break the 1-hour mark for a 25-mile time trial, run a sub-4 minute 1500m and swim a sub-4 minute 400m.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Jan Frodeno, Alistair Brownlee, and my grandfather, who, at 82, still cycles every day.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    I really like the fact that a brand so local to me is so radical and progressive in its vision. My favourite bit of kit is the Olperer t-shirt; it looks great, fits perfectly, and – because it’s made from coffee it stops you from overheating on your long summer runs.

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    Instagram:  @harrisonsmith99

    Twitter: @harrisons_smith

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Shaun Wood Triathlete

    Shaun Wood Triathlete Cycling

    Shaun Wood is a young triathlete who went from zero to hero in only a few years. He talks racing highs and lows and discusses his goals for the future.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes. I always enjoyed sport at school and generally just being outside as a child. I also played football and cricket up until leaving university. I had slowly been finding both of these a bit of a chore for the final few years so leaving university was the natural break I needed to say 'enough is enough.'

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I did my first triathlon in 2010 as a bet with a friend from school. At that point, I had never swum, didn't own a bike, and hadn't run more than a mile. I wouldn't say I started doing triathlon properly until 2014 when I started to train all year and with a bit more structure.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    To be honest, no one race stands out to me. I still don't feel I have achieved a result in a big race that I am capable of. I've had a few Age Group top 10s in Ironman races and a lot of top 5s in some of the smaller domestic races but hopefully in these next 18 months I'll be able to step it up.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Finishing third in my age group at Ironman Malaysia. This wasn't the result I was hoping for, but after leading for the majority of the bike leg my body decided it had had enough, so simply getting to the finish line at all is something of which I am incredibly proud.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    My toughest race yet has to be Ironman Malaysia. Biggest disaster or disappointment has to be at the Outlaw Half in Nottingham. After getting onto the bike in the top 20, I punctured twice in the first 10km. I only carry 1 set of spares so I was slowly trudging back towards the race village to drop out. Thankfully and unbelievably, a spectator who lived nearby saw me and ran home to grab a spare wheel so I could at least finish. This ultimately cost me about 25 minutes so that's race over. I then went on to post one of the quickest run splits which made the disappointment all the greater. Hopefully that's my share of bad luck for the season.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Ultimately you have to remember we do this for fun. Yes, I'm incredibly competitive but I do triathlon because I enjoy it and that's something I try never to lose sight of.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Don't rush it! When I first started training, I was always looking for the magic session that would immediately take minutes off my time. Everyone who has ever trained for triathlon knows no such thing exists and results are born from consistent hard work and there really are no shortcuts.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    My overriding goal is just to continue to improve and build for 2018. I was aiming to win the Blenheim Palace Triathlon Weekend Warrior race which I was lucky enough to do and I even managed to equal the course record. My next big race is Ironman France where I hope to perform well. I'm trying to go in without aiming for a particular result and just focussing on having the best race possible and see where that takes me.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    As much as following the pros provides motivation, I think the real inspiration comes from the age groupers who are juggling work and family commitments with an insane amount of training. Seeing what they are able to do really pushes me and makes me question my excuses when I can't be bothered to hop on my bike or go to the pool.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    My favourite thing about Sundried is just the obvious quality of the clothing. The motto 'you get what you pay for' is certainly true here! I would really struggle to pick a favourite product, everything I have had has been excellent.

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    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Guest Post: 5 Sporting Events In California To Check Out

    5 Sporting Events In California To Check Out Cycling USA Sundried

    While California is stunning all year long, there’s no better time than summer to get outside and get active! These five events all across the state will get your blood flowing in no time.

    San Diego Triathlon Classic

    Saturday, September 9, 2017

    NTC Park in Liberty Station San Diego, CA 92106

    You’ve worked. You’ve trained. You’ve sweated. Now watch it all pay off! Choose from the Sprint Course or the more challenging Olympic Course. The swimming will take you into the San Diego Bay, while the cycling course runs through the Point Loma Naval Base and the running portion finishes the afternoon with the beautiful course through NTC Park.

    Never competed in a triathlon before? It’s a great way to get your fitness up and get involved before taking the big jump. Best of all, the proceeds go to support research, education, and support for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. What’s better than helping your body and helping others at the same time?

    San Diego Triathlon Classic Swimming Wetsuit

    Beachmania

    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    Bayshore at 5415 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA  90803

    Beaches aren’t just for surfing anymore! Take it easy with a 5k or 10k race on some of Southern California’s most iconic coastline, or opt for a traditional marathon or half-marathon. Instead of following a linear course, runners go back and forth along a section of designated beach area. Stay cool with the ocean breeze, plenty of water fountains, and of course, the beautiful scenic views. All finishers receive a medal.

    Windmill Century

    Saturday, July 15, 2017

    1150 W Foster Road Orcutt, CA 93455

    Not only is this great exercise and a fundraiser for a great cause, it’s also a stunning trip through the open roads of Wine Country. Not up for a full century? No worries: metric centuries and quarter centuries are also part of the event. Registration fee includes a commemorative t-shirt, maps, routes markings, rest stops, and barbecue at the route’s end! That’s right…barbecue! Choose from beef, chicken, or vegetable, and enjoy a tasty reward for a job well done.  Net proceeds from the Windmill Century are donated to bike safety initiatives in local elementary schools.

    Pier To Peak Half Marathon

    Sunday, September 3, 2017

    State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    Billed as “the world’s toughest half marathon,” this run isn’t for the faint of heart due to a course that takes runners to an elevation of 3996 feet. The trail starts at Stearns Wharf and carries on through the city of Santa Barbara all the way into Los Padres National Forest with some truly stunning views of the South Coast along the way. Perfect for experienced runners hungry for something outside the ordinary! All finishers get a finisher's t-shirt and a commemorative coin.

    Diablo Trail Run

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton CA 94517

    Diablo offers something for athletes at all levels: choose from the 4-mile course, the 10-mile course, a half-marathon, a full marathon, and the 50k run, all through Diablo State Park in Clayton, California. The 4-mile course keeps a relatively steady elevation in Mitchell Canyon though the longer courses do get mountainous. Runners will take in the park atmosphere and savour unique views of the San Francisco Bay and the surrounding valleys. Pre-registration includes a t-shirt; finishers will receive a custom medal and 50k finishers will also receive a custom coaster.

    California’s vast and varied landscapes make it a state like no other. What better way to experience it than by getting out and seeing it for yourself? Trust us, it’s good for the body and the soul.

    About the author: JT Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his single speed Huffy. Some time in between falling in love with his Huffy and the 200+ triathlons he's competed in, JT created the San Diego Triathlon Classic. Find out more on their website.

    Posted by Guest Reviewer