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

The Bastion Iron Distance Triathlon is a full distance triathlon and is part of the Castle Triathlon Series. It takes place at Hever Castle in Surrey, UK. Sundried ambassador Matt Leeman achieved a fantastic win at the 2017 event and gives us his account of the race.

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!

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