I cannot believe I have just completed challenge number 3, the Wirral Sprint Triathlon! There was a nice gap between challenges 2 and 3, which was glorious because it allowed me more time to prepare for my first triathlon of the 12 in 12. With this race, you got a race number for your race belt, a number sticker for your bike, a timing chip, a t-shirt, and obviously a medal at the end. A reasonably priced race at £49 per entry. I was ready to do this!
Wirral Sprint Triathlon
I had been training at my open water swimming venue, RG Active Holme Pierrepont for all my open water swimming sessions, and luckily the week before the race they hosted an Aquathlon. A super small scale ‘try it out’ style event which allowed me to do a race-style event and have some transition training before Wirral Sprint Triathlon. It was a great little event and totally boosted my confidence for race day! I got the chance to try out my kit, see how it felt, and make sure I was happy with everything. It just gave me the opportunity to change or tweak anything if I needed to. An Aquathlon is a swim to run, and obviously, a triathlon is a swim, bike, run, so I had no prior race training when it came to the bike. Unfortunately, the bike part of a triathlon is actually my struggle point, I’m not the best on a bike and therefore need more training. I didn’t get to cycle as much as I’d hoped before the race, so I was entering into the Wirral Sprint Triathlon a tad nervous about how the bike might go.
As race day emerged, I got all my kit packed in the car and we left the house at a delightful 4.30am as we made our way to the big event. It was still dark and I was attempting to drink my overheated coffee whilst frantically digging through my bag in a random panic that I’d perhaps forgotten something! I hadn’t thankfully! We parked up in the car park close to the West Kirby Marina and took my bike over as I got registered. It was super busy and often quite tricky to figure out how to get across to where you needed to be mainly because the space was quite small too.
In the transition area during setup, it was pretty easy to get your bike racked but the gangways were crowded, so at this point, I was a little bothered how I’d get through to my bike. One thing I always do after getting my bike and kit ready in transition is stand at entry points of completing the swim and bike, then look where my kit is. That, in theory, would make it easier for me to find it as I run in. After my bike was happily in its place, I left transition to find Nick and Winnie waiting with my wetsuit. I was wearing my QSW Genesis for this race, which would be the first time I’d raced in it! I was confident it would be the perfect choice for my seawater swim. After getting my wetsuit on and kissing Nick goodbye, I entered back into transition for the race briefing. This was a little difficult because we had to stand around the bikes in transition trying to hear the race details. As soon as it was done it was basically, off you go to the start!
The Swim | Wirral Sprint Triathlon
Blue swim caps went in first, followed by the pinks and finally the reds. I was in the pink wave. I love to swim so I was really looking forward to this part as it was 750m of swimming around the Marina. Well, I was in for a small shock! So many people. This was the first time I had been open water swimming in a race and had so many people kick, slap or swim on top of me. It was certainly an experience! I just pushed on and if I saw anyone cutting over me, I either held back, changed my swim path or swam quicker to avoid it. Great training for future races and situations, so I’m taking it as a good thing because not all swims are easy either because of people or the water.
The Bike | Wirral Sprint Triathlon
After completing the swim I was into transition and off on the bike. This was the first time I was racing with proper cycle shoes, so whereas previously I’ve had a super quick transition time as I’d be in trainers, this time it was cycling shoes. It was a long run to where you could mount your bike, and boy, it is hard to run and look comfortable in cycle shoes!! Regardless I managed it. I was off. A great course of both hills and speedy sections, it was a good 21.4km route. It had a long ride out uphill to a spot where we did two laps, then cycled back. Once I did the first lap I tried to step it up to do a faster second lap. Cycling back I was excited to get into transition to start the run.
The Run | Wirral Sprint Triathlon
The run was 2 laps around the Marina where we had been swimming not so long ago. At this point, it was beginning to get hot so I made sure I powered on without flooring it too soon! I figured if we had 2 laps, I could always take it up a notch for the second time around. It was weird actually because I felt strong on the run, Nick saw me to take photos and said how great my form and speed was. Then finally on the last bit to the finish, I could see Nick at the side with Winnie waiting for me to high five on the way back in. I crossed the finish line. Number 3 of my 12 in 12 was done!!
What a whirlwind it was, but just so much fun and a race I smiled the entire way around! I would highly recommend the race, even though it’s a bit crowd at the start, it spreads out pretty quick and you can find your own space to race. Marshall and organisers of the Wirral Sprint Triathlon were amazing, and the course was absolutely spot on. I will 100% be doing this next year!
So… Challenge 4!