Hello OxfordTri Family!
I hope that you are all going well and that you have had a great week so far. I’ll keep this bit short as there’s a lot of notices in this one. Firstly a warm welcome to a number of new members who have joined the club over the past week or so. It’s so great to have you onboard and please do feel free to make yourself known to coaches and members when you are attending sessions. We want to make sure you are welcomed as best as possible.
Secondly, I just wanted to do a little shoutout for our Coached Swim Session at Radley on Wednesday nights. Numbers have not quite reached their peak yet and I just wanted to encourage members who might have been put off with the session being 90min that there is no requirement to swim for the full allotted time. I would still ask that if you do plan on joining us that you arrive for the session start at 7:30pm. I have dropped the sign up link for next weeks session HERE.
Finally, just a heads up to say that due to our End of Season Dinner next Friday there will be no evening sessions provided by the club.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Oxford Tri Updated Constitution
Last week as a club we voted to adopt the new constitution as proposed by the committee at our AGM. This has resulted in a number of changes, so please do check out our current constitution here.
I just wanted to highlight two of those, one of which is the updating of our Aims and Objectives as a club. This had already been unofficially done through out 2025 Strategy Document which we published at the start of the year however this is a great chance to share them again with you all so please see them below.
- Seeking to welcome and include all individuals within our club community.
- Aspiring to reduce barriers to participation in triathlon and multi-sport events.
- Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in our own club and the wider sport of triathlon.
- Being transparent about the leadership and management of Oxford Tri.
- Providing a mixture of coached and non-coached sessions which support our community in improving their physical and mental health.
- Supporting the personal development of individuals seeking to progress into coaching or additional roles within Oxford Tri.
- Listening to our membership community as we seek to continuously develop and improve the positive impact of Oxford Tri.
To do it Together;
- As a community we actively support, encourage and care for our fellow club members.
- Actively partnering with other sports clubs and organisations within Oxford, with the aim of improving the sporting experience for all.
- Seeking to support our wider Oxford community through club-based initiatives.
- Celebrating all forms of achievements with our club community.
Secondly, and as highlighted on the evening. For a large club we still really struggle when it comes to encouraging members of our community to volunteer to support the running of the club.
We hope that you would feel that being part of this club is about much more than just paying a membership fee and signing up for sessions. With this in mind we have written into our constitution an expectation that members give back to the club through volunteering at least once a year in a number of different roles.
3.2 In becoming a member, individuals agree in principle to volunteer at least once a year at an event or club session which supports the running of the club. These events or club sessions will be decided upon by the Club Management Committee and communicated relevantly.
2023 AGM Minutes
Please find below the Minutes from our AGM last week this also includes the financial documents/report. If you have any thoughts or feedback from the evening please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the committee.
Meet the Committee
With some new members joining the committee we thought that this would be a great opportunity to do a little Q+A so that you can get to know them all a little better. So first up we have our Club Captains Jack and Jane.
Kona Queens – Race Report
The club was incredibly proud to have two of our amazing ladies racing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Cathy and Fiona did an amazing job and have have captured their adventures magnificently in the following race reports. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy. Well Done Ladies from everyone at Oxford Tri.
The Highs and the not so highs
Having the opportunity to be part of the first all female Kona event, inspirational and empowering, a positive effect on women’s sport, well done IM.
Meeting Fiona and working as a proper little team, supporting each other before, during and after the event. A special time for both of us.
I don’t particularly like the sea urchins now though. I kicked one while swimming a few days before the race, it obviously wanted to be an IM because embedded in my foot it’s barbs became.
In the face of this painful and possibly race changing situation I found my positive head, and the local pharmacy now armed with pain meds and moleskin.
IM know how to put on a show in Kona, the attention to detail and shear number and willingness of volunteers was incredible.
The morning ritual of a swim out to the coffee boat followed by typical American breakfast.
Pre race Ho’āla swim, great practice and a chance to mingle with the PRO’s and swim in a tropical fish tank called the Pacific Ocean. Swim skin chaff lessons learned.
Meeting the Feisty media crew, a great podcast for athletic women.
Being personally announced by Joanne Murphy entering bike drop.
The swim start, drums rolling, surfers holding the line, then sharp turn to set you off at the sound of the horn.
Being in age group waves so that you can get a good swim draft.
The funny jaws mouth on the second turn boat.
Being bashed to pieces when swam over by the young girls behind you.
Having to run a long T1 all around the pier in your cleats because you can’t run barefoot with sea urchin barbs in your foot.
Seeing your supporters around the town on the bike on the first section.
The heat, especially with little wind. It was so hot.
With little wind an easier ride home back to Kona, normally a headwind.
The support out on the bike from fellow competitors and IM mechanical, medical and aid stations.
The heat melting just about all nutrition and boiling the rest.
The rediscovered taste of on course Gatorade was bad, but coke was good.
Seeing LCB out in front, bemusing the Americans around me with my over enthusiasm.
Counting the gap that she had over the “runners” and realising she had a chance.
Pretending that my power meter was malfunctioning, not admitting to the heat getting to me that much.
Riding through lava fields and realising just how lucky I was.
The sunscreen on course not being effective, right leg sunburn for nearly 2000 women – ouch. Quite funny airport viewing though.
Not having a mechanical especially when you realise that you have somewhere lost on course your tool kit and tubes.
Learning in T2 that LCB has won, so pleased for her.
Discovering that moleskin doesn’t stick to wet and sticky feet.
The feeling of relief running when pain meds kicks in with barbs in your foot.
The luxurious cooling feel of small hand towel with ice wrapped in tucked around your neck.
Watching the sunset as you run along the Queen K towards the energy lab. They are truly magical.
Coming out of the notorious energy lab relatively unscathed, phew.
Then realising it’s still 12km back to town, it’s super dark, you have serious head torch envy, feeling super lonely and you left the last set of paracetamol in your special needs bag in the energy lab.
Looking up at the magical twinkly stars for inspiration to get you through a really dark moment.
Discovering that 20 walk steps to 80 run works for you for now.
Hearing the finish line.
The dream that you never knew you had has just come true.
The support and encouragement from family, friends, coach, Tri club members, both before and after.
I came to Kona with one plan in mind, to get that medal. I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity and that I was fortunate enough to be able to take it, especially in this iconic year for women. I had the best fun, made a special new friend and finished with a big smile on my face, plus did I mention sea urchin barbs in my foot – they weren’t going to stop me.
Oh my word – where to start – I will try and keep this short (it’s not!)
A lot of you will know that I completed my first Ironman event in Italy last year. For me this was a very personal challenge to see if (1) I could do it and (2) to celebrate my 50th birthday. Well, I did finish it and to my surprise it wasn’t too shabby. Sean Nicolle then got me over excited and encouraged me to sign up for Ironman Kalmer in August 2023 as a 100 Kona slots where on offer for female athletes. So I thought what the heck. Over Christmas 2022 my annual foot issue reared it’s ugly head. This causes my right foot to lock and I spent 10 days limping without the ability to flex my foot. This impacted heavily on my winter run training and I gingerly started to walk 1 min /run 1min in early February. Fast forward to June and I looked at the start list for Sweden – 67 women in my age group with the first 20 having either a Gold, Silver or Bronze in the AWA (All World Athlete) programme. Well, that brought me back to earth with a bump and I firmly put Kona back out of reach where it belonged and started concentrating on what a brilliant road trip Phil and I would have to Sweden instead.
You can imagine my surprise at 3 weeks out from Sweden I received an email say ‘you have been awarded a post qualification race slot for Kona (based on my Italy result) – you have 48 hours to accept – hit this button and pay’!!! No way – this was definitely spam! A flurry of messages between me and Sean happened – ‘does this email address look official?’ (yes said Sean), an email to Ironman who confirmed it wasn’t a scam so I hit the button, shut my eyes and paid! Ironman Sweden was now a ‘long training day’.
I arrived in Kona on the 4th October still pinching myself I was going to compete in the race of all races. Me in Kona!! OMG! Reading Iron War in Kona was truly inspiring and a stark reminder at how difficult the conditions would be on race day. It was brilliant being in Kona and seeing the names of the places that we all know, swimming at Dig Me Beach, swimming out to the infamous coffee boat, walking down Alli’i Drive to where I was staying, seeing how steep Palini Drive was, getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the occasion and the breathtaking views along the Queen K on a bike reccie (I cried!) and noting where the dreaded Energy Lab was!
Race week was exhilarating! The ‘vibe’ in town was electric and you were constantly falling into easy conversations with other women athletes from all over the globe. The training swim was a chance to take in the delights of the Pacific Ocean. During the week other swimmers were posting their experiences of seeing Manta Rays, Dolphins and Green turtles in the bay (I nearly swam into one testing out a panic purchase of tinted goggles which I did not use – nothing new on race day!). Then the race paraphernalia starting appearing – with the merchandise tent up first (of course $$$$), followed by the expo, the signage and finally on Thursday our transition.
You felt like a pro racking on Friday afternoon. There was a long walk past the pro’s racking, hundreds of people milling around, people high fiving you, photo’s being taken, timing chips being handed out, athletes being weighed (for medical purposes in case you got into a pickle), names being announced and an infinite number of volunteers helping you with your every need, and a shed load of bike pumps. So bike racked, bike shoes on bike, helmet strapped on the bike (mandatory) and finally for the T1 & T2 bag drop. Now this was my only worry as there would be no access to these on race day morning. So the bags where checked, double checked, tripled checked and then checked once again! I was going to miss my pre race faff, because lets face it who doesn’t like a pre race faff!
Race day was here! Prior to this I knew I had to safely secure that little devil on my shoulder who would have swim/bike/run splits in mind during the race; but this was not going to be any ordinary race. I knew I had to be very strict with myself, manage MY body and have absolutely no expectations. I wanted to enjoy the day and get my body round in one piece, or as close to one piece as possible.
The morning of race day was mad. Hundreds of athletes and supporters milling around. My air BNB host Mike was super excited to drop me off as I was 2.5 miles out of town. He very much wanted to be in town for the start as well, as he had been on other years. So back to the bike, fluids and half of my nutrition added with one final check of the bike. Bag drop done and then the only thing left was to line up in the swim pens. Even with all the people milling around I managed to see Cathy Roberts and her husband Jeff and we gave each other good luck hugs and wished each other to have the best day with us both hoping Madame Pele would be kind to us.
Hearing the pre race Hawaiian ceremony from afar really started the adrenaline pumping and then the canon for the pro’s went and we were off.
I was in the third from last wave and my strategy was to stay on feet as much as possible. Also to start of steady as I have a tendency to loose feet on the second half of any swim because I go off to fast. I started to the left away from the chaos and executed my race plan – Swim time 1:20 – happy with that as I pretty much had feet all the way around. Out of the Pacific Ocean, up the steps, volunteers on hand to help undo swim skins, quick rinse then off to collect the T1 back and to change.
Rooky error – NEVER EVER leave your T1 bag unattended when there are volunteers sweeping up finished T1 bags to rehang for collection later. Because of our deep water start 100m from shore I missed having my pre race wee in the water. So into the changing tent, bag on chair, into the loo, wee done, out of loo – my bag was MISSING! Panic quickly set in. I spoke to as many volunteers as possible so they could help me find my bag. Racing through my mind was what to do if time clicked on. Well I had my helmet and shoes and most of my nutrition on the bike, so potentially biking in my swim skin so I wouldn’t get burnt (tri shorts already on – phew). I think I lost 5 mins but the bag was retrieved pretty quickly considering how many people were racing around the changing tents. A quick flustered change, and then to the bike. Wow – the course was amazing. The road surface, the support in town and the excitement of it all. I had decided to work off my heart race and PACE the bike so I would have enough in the tank for the run. I really pulled back, I felt great on the Queen K, strong up to Hawi (the turnaround point) then spinning out and letting gravity play its part on the decent back down. But goodness that heat was sapping. The last 40k was hard. A lot of spinning up the inclines to keep the heart rate down but we were lucky to have light winds. I was sticking to my race plan, I was keeping my nutrition down and drinking and drenching myself with lots of water to keep cool as possible. The aid stations were well place and the volunteers were brilliant and really skilled at passing you what you needed.
Coming back along the Queen K on the bike there was lots of shouting by all the age groupers, including myself at the pro ladies – Lucy Charles Barclay was motoring – it was amazing to witness. During the bike I hardly saw any drafting, but there was some and offending athletes where seen in penalty tents. When it got hard on the bike I just reminded myself where I was and I made sure to glance over at the crystal clear blue waters of the ocean. 5k out from the bike finish I got light headed and eased off to make sure I could get back to T2 with out falling off my bike.
Bike done (6:33), no back stiffness and I power walked back to racking to stretch my legs. I took time in T2 to calm my heartrate down and to make sure I had everything I needed; more salt tablets, energy stuff, headtorch, hat, sunscreen.
Now off on the run. Well it was 28 degrees, feels like 37 they said in the weather forecast and they were not kidding. My aim was to keep the heartrate down and to finish with a smile on my face. So the aim was to Holomua (keep moving forward). Step by step and very slowly I got around the run (5:39)– the sunset along the Queen K was stunning and when it did cool off it was a welcome relief, so running in the energy lab was not too bad as I had no sun to contend with. Lampposts and cones became my friends on my journey back into town. Then elation on arriving back on Alli’i Drive was indescribable. You could hear the crowds along the finishing chute and as I rounded the final corner it was magical to see the banyan trees all lit up in fairy lights.
As I milked the finish and played the crowds a lady in front of me fell over. I helped her up, made sure she was OK and then I finished. I welled up – I had just completed the most iconic race in the triathlon world. My body had held together – or that is what I had thought when I crossed the finishing line. Less than 20 minutes later, after seeing Cathy in the post race zone I puked, felt really faint and ended up in the medical tent on a drip with low sodium. I had not lost any significant weight as I was weighed twice, once in a wheelchair and once standing. I am still not sure if the low sodium was because I did not take enough salts (I took a shedload), or whether I drank too much water or if it was the above combined with sun stroke. Cathy and Jeff were life savers. After dropping Cathy back to their Condo Jeff came back and got me home. I quickly recovered on Sunday morning after a breakfast of pasta and Gatorade – not a combination I wish to repeat in a hurry.
So there was a bit of licking my wounds Sunday morning on how my body had reacted at finishing. But I certainly wasn’t the first for this to happen to and I certainly will not be the last. Wounds quickly licked and a debrief over a pina colada and food with Cathy and Jeff was just what was needed. Cathy and I were IronWoman’s.
Meeting Cathy and having a fellow Oxford Tri bod in Kona really made the experience over and above what I had expected, we had such fun, lots of smiles and laughter – a friend and Kona twin for life. Cathy was calm and cool headed with her own adversity – did Cathy mention the sea urchin?!
A huge thank you to Gracee Gilbert who gave me so much advice– I did listen! Also to Sean and Richard Dunbabin for their wise words (and Richard’s rear bottle cage!). To Noe Orozco Segoviano for getting me into the best shape possible after a chaotic seasons of very mixed distances (From a sprint relay – to x2 ironman distances) and helping me being on a run catch up fitness plan again. Last but by no means least Phil who was just as excited as I was when I got my Kona place. Now it’s your turn to shine.
A few stats (if you have got this far) 100% of women finished the swim and 98% of women finished the course. The highest % of finishers in any Ironman World Championships. It truly was a privilege to race in the inaugural women only Ironman World Championships. Us ladies will we smashed it!
So whatever inspirations you may have either tri related or not – just put yourself in the mix, as you never know where this will take you, In the words of Ironman ‘Anything is Possible’.
See the official calendar for full info and sign up links.
Saturday 28th October: Oxford Tri Does Parkrun – Various @ 09:00
Monday 30th October: Coached Swim – Leys Pool @ 20:00
Tuesday 31st October: Member Lead Social Run – Headington Hill @ 19:00
Tuesday 31st October: Coached Spin – Oxsrad @ 19:00
Tuesday 31st October: Coached Swim – Thame Pool @ 20:00
Wednesday 1st November: Coached Swim – Radley Pool @ 19:30
Thursday 2nd November: Coached Run – Horspath Track @ 19:00
Friday 3rd November: Strength and Conditioning Online @ 07:15