Fitbitch at the New Forest Triathlon

Our courses help start many women on the path to fitness and the fantastic feeling of achievement that you get when you take on an event that challenges your mind and body, such as the Race New Forest Olympic Triathlon…

It’s going to be freezing.’ That’s what you heard most of us worrying about as the New Forest Triathlon date got ever nearer. With a freak snow storm and photos of ice covered water in the New Forest area just four weeks before the race date, it scared the five of us who had entered into getting into the sea in April to try and get used to the cold. Alas, it was so freezing none of us lasted longer than 12 minutes or 400 metres before scarpering out.

Thankfully, on the weekend of the triathlon the weather was fantastic and we arrived down on a Friday so that we had the chance of a quick Saturday morning swim in Ellingham Water Park where the swim was taking part in a bid to get used to the cold. It was absolutely gorgeous. Still, with a 7am water start the following morning with the temperature hovering at 8 degrees, we all looked a bit pale and green around the gills as we listened to the race briefing and then entered the water.

The 1.1km swim was over for all of us in under 30 minutes and then it was a quick strip out of the wet suits and time to pull on trainers to run the 1km to transition. This is not usual for a triathlon as the water is usually located near the bike transition but with the weather heating up, it was the chance to get blood to the feet before hopping on the bike.

In triathlon, the advice is ALWAYS keep things simple at transition, don’t have lots of kit to put on – or worry about putting on. I ignored all of that and faffed about with wondering whether to put a jacket on, putting it on, then taking it off and adding arm sleeves and even putting on winter overshoes over my cycle shoes (I was the ONLY one wearing overshoes). But then I have history with footwear and triathlon. I once ran 10km after the bike leg with a full gel packet in my shoe. I thought it was a blister.

From there, it was on to one of the most beautiful bike legs of a triathlon I’ve ever done, up and over into the beautiful smooth roads of the New Forest, yellow gorse as far as the eye could see. It must be the only triathlon in which you ever have to stop for cows and horses who calmly wander into the road, totally unconcerned that you’re trying hard to keep to a certain FTP.

It is on the bike stage where you can make some big gains and it’s here where one of our members, Cath Bevan (almost zero bike training – gah!) steamed past on the bike like a pro athlete, leaving me panting and pounding the pedals behind her, feeling like a slow moving tractor.

One of the great things about a triathlon though is that there are usually lots of people taking part who are doing different distances so you have no idea where you stand in the ‘listings’ of the event. You only have yourself to challenge rather than worrying about whether you’re last.

From the bike, it was back to transition at the beautiful race based at a beautiful Georgian boarding school, off with all the kit, and into running trainers for a beautiful off-road out and back route. Thankfully, with temperatures reaching the mid 20s, it was largely shady. The great thing about racing a triathlon as a big group is that it’s on the run where we you get to see EVERYONE, and we all managed to encourage each other as we passed at different parts of the run before cheering each other over the line.

If you’re considering doing a triathlon this year (and don’t forget the Brighton and Hove Triathlon), Race New Forest are a fantastic company, offering a well organised event in a beautiful part¬† of the UK with great race t-shirts.

If you’re interested in joining our Fitbitch performance training group, join our FREE Facebook group here.¬† Our list of Dream Challenge events will include a triathlon, adventure race, open water swim and obstacle race.