Hever Castle Triathlon is part of the prolific Castle Triathlon Series and is one of the biggest triathlons in the country with over 6,000 competitors taking part and 8,000 spectators expected to be in attendance each year. Sundried ambassador Davina Greenwell tells us what it's like to take part in this historic event.
2nd Place Was More Than I Could Have Hoped For
Last year I did my first ever triathlon at the Castle Series at Hever: it was a starter sprint - 200m swim, 15k Bike & 2k run. I loved it and caught the bug!
So, 12 months later, I returned to take on The Gauntlet which is half iron distance (1.9k Swim 90k Bike & 21k Run). It was quite a step up and the past few months have been a steep learning curve. It is safe to say that without the help of my coach Perry Agass, of TriSutto (www. trisutto.com), and a couple of training camps with ETE Tricamps, I would certainly be nowhere near where I am now!
The swim at Hever consists of a loop of their lake, then a blast down the adjoining river. A fantastic setting, and as you make your way down the river you can hear supporters on the bridges above you. I am certainly not what you would describe as a natural swimmer: more cat in a bath…. This does have its advantages though! Both my boyfriend Iain and coach Perry could spot me. The swim went really well except for one minor navigational issue when I ended up in some rather shallow water. I came out the water 9th lady in about 34 minutes. A ran up to T1 where I did a fair bit of faffing and decided not to put my socks on.
The bike at Hever is best described as undulating and scenic but the strict instructions were that I was not out for a day’s sight seeing! The night before, Iain and I drove the course and my ears popped five times. Despite this, I thought it looked tough but fun. I am not overly brave on the bike so some of the downhill bits looked quite intimidating. Being from Suffolk, I don’t get a lot of practise on hills, so it was a bit of a gamble. Before I started, I was told to put everything I could into the bike. I felt really strong going up the hills but was giving the brakes a fair bit of work on the downhill sections. I knew things were going well though, as by the time I had completed the first lap no one had passed me. I saw Iain and Perry at the end of lap one and they told me not to slack off! I kept working and came in off the bike 3rd lady. Into T2 where again I decided against putting socks on!
The run is where I feel most confident, but after working hard on the bike, an undulating XC run was always going to be tough ask. I decided in my head not to look at my watch and just keep on running even if I felt really slow. I saw Iain and Perry half way round the 1st lap: they told me I looked strong (lies) and that I was making ground on the girls ahead of me. I just kept on plodding and trying to enjoy the flats and the downhill bits. When I got to the last water stop the guys were waiting for me and told me I was 40 seconds off the 1st lady…. get a move on!…. so I duly stopped and had some water and High 5. I dug deep and just as I turned to the finish I saw the leading girl! I tried my hardest to sprint….probably a fast jog….but I had left it too late. She finished 11 seconds in front of me. Apparently I need to run and drink in future!
2nd place was more than I could have ever hoped for and I was even lucky enough to win a pair of swanky wheels from Wheel Science for the fastest bike split! I seem to be recovering well, except for my poor feet….maybe socks would have been a good idea.... I will learn one day!