OWS Safety Volunteering, Oxfordshire Tri, Parking and a Swimrun Race Report – Oxford Tri Newsletter

Good Evening Oxford Tri Family, 

I hope that this finds you all well, what another glorious week! I Big welcome to four new members this week we are delighted that you have joined us and look forward to seeing you at a session very soon!. Please do make yourself known to the coaches or fellow members I’d like to think that we are a friendly bunch. 

I’m sure some of you will be aware of this chap but for those who are not Sean Conway is currently on day 68 of 102 of a mad triathlon challenge. He is doing an Iron Man every day for 102 day… yes I’ll let that sink in. That’s a 2.4 Mile Swim, 112 Mile Bike and a casual marathon every day. What an incredible feat of human endurance, do check him out. 

Finally, a little plea from me. If you have swam twice or more times at the lake and have yet to cover safety, can I please gently encourage you to think about taking a turn. Sadly, were back into a system where the same amazing people seem to be covering it with some people not having done it at all. Again, as I said a few weeks ago if everyone took one slot on safety, we’d be covered absolutely no problems at all. If you have any questions about what it involved done hesitate to reach out too. I am currently trying to re-draft our guide for this which will be available very soon. 

That’s all from me, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

God Bless 



Oxfordshire Triathlon Series – Club Champs 2nd July

A final shout out for the next event in our Club Champs it is the closest one of the year The Oxfordshire Triathlon Series at Queenford Lake. It’s a 1km open water swim, a scenic, fast yet challenging 35km bike route and a flat 7.5km run on Sunday the 2nd of July.

In 2019 Abingdon Vale Triathletes had 20 members racing. Not that were competitive but we think we can beat that! Thanks to our club captain Sarah we have also managed to secure a 10% discount which makes it a really reasonable price considering the distance. Use the code ‘OXTRIDISC’ when signing up. I have already signed up myself along with a number of members, will you be joining us?

As we are so local this time I thought it might be nice to host the lunch myself. This will probably take the form of a BBQ. I’m just working times out just now

Entries can be found here – https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/Oxfordshire-Triathlon-Series_14118

Saturday Parking at the Lake

Again a big thanks to everyone who has been following our parking request. For the last time and for those who didn’t catch this our hosts they have asked that on Saturday mornings if we could park in the designated open water swimmers carpark.

This parking can be accessed from Drayton Rd. I have included a google maps link here and included a picture below. If you are parking on gravel on Saturday mornings you are in the wrong place and will most likely be politely asked to move (unless you have a valid reason for parking there i.e. Blue Badge). Please, please, please follow this. We have a really good relationship with the lake and would like to keep it this way. They are more than happy for us to park in the gravel car park on the Wednesday nights.

The Great North Swimrun – Race Report – Kelly

On 10th June, the hottest day of the year, I was unable to achieve my targeted time for the Great North Swimrun; undoubtedly due to the excessive heat.

The Great North Swimrun took place over a 12.6km course with ~150m of ascent and was made up of 3 runs (10.4km) and 3 swims (2.2km) around the northern end of Lake Windemere as shown below.

 I had allowed 10 minutes per km plus 20 minutes for each swim. Unfortunately, I had not allowed any time for 5 mini-transitions.

Before going any further – and for the benefit of new club members – let me explain that the first act of preparing for any event is to assemble your excuses reasons for sub-optimal performance (RSOP’s).

RSOP’s aggregate into three broad categories; Environmental, Physical and Psychological. Examples are given in the table below …… and I have ticked those applicable to the Swimrun.

It’s pouring down Not able to train Too much else going on 
It’s too hot / cold / windyBad ankle / knee / hip Don’t feel up for it today 
A pollen bomb explodedBest bike is unusable  The cat ate the budgerigar 

Swimrun rules are simple. Everything that you have on the start line has to be carried to the finish line. This means that most participants swim in their running shoes and run in their wetsuits; though swim fins and hand paddles are also allowed.

To get to the start we took a boat ride across Lake Windemere from Brockhole to Low Wray Bay, on the Lake’s west bank, where the race started at 10:45. 

From the lakeside, the only way was up and most of the ascent was in this first 6.4km run ….. it was horrible. I was soon vying for position amongst the last three and, though I broke away (whilst the others were chattering) one of them caught me after about 5.5km. The  other caught me up at 6.4km …. as I was swapping sunglasses for a swim goggles. He then strapped on a pair of swim paddles, the size of dustbin lids, and was gone. I never saw either of them again.

For this race, I had invested £25 in a shorty wetsuit from Go Outdoors (with a zip in the back) and another £10 so that Lizzie could also put a zip in the front. 

As the water temperature was 20c, both zips were left fully open and the first 800m swim from Fishery How to Brock Crag was delightful.

The second run was a gentle 1.5km cross country up to Brathay Hall and down again to just north of Brathay Rocks. The views from Brathay Hall were almost worth the effort. The only downside to this run was that (immediately on exiting the first swim) squadrons of huge Cumbrian horseflies were assembling in attack formations, ready to bite great chunks out of passing runners.

The second swim was about 700m starting in a ‘cove’; between Brathay Rocks and Gale Naze Crag. Getting out of the cove against a gentle breeze and a seemingly south to north current was quite difficult. Once out into the main Lake the swim turned eastwards, through the moored boats, to Waterhead.

The third run was disappointing. It was 2.5km that broadly followed the A591 – although there were some bits along the coast and the promenade where much encouragement was received from the holiday makers. At this point I felt that I had a mouth full of Pritt Stick. This was remedied by a quick visit to the Public Convenience south of Low Wood Bay. I felt much better after a quick drink and a splash of water ….. now I was ready for the third swim back to Brockhole.

For the last 700m swim, I dug into my tow float and got out my hand paddles (much smaller than dustbin lids) as I thought they would help me swim against the previously mentioned northerly current.  During this leg, the Great North SwimRunners merged with the Great North Swimmers (about 4,000 swimmers took place in swims of varying distances) so it got a bit busy – and the use of a ‘Passage Clearing Elbow’ was sometimes necessary.

The race stopped immediately on exiting the water where the final (and usual) disappointment was waiting ….. no T-shirts were left in my size. Just for the record, I was the fastest ‘Big old Bloke’ on the only segment included in Strava and overall was “Not fast but Not Last”. Other competitors in earlier heats were even slower than me – though I’m sure they also had fun.

Note for any future competitors. Whilst the Race is enjoyable, this venue is entirely unsuitable for spectators. They are not allowed at the Start or the Finish and they cannot get to the lakeside in any sort of viewpoint. Instead, they have to make do with a big screen in a field (without any view of the lake). The screen, ,when it worked, had views of swimming caps bobbing across  the finish line. Lizzie was not happy; though we had a nice weekend in The Lake District.

Training Calendar 

See the official calendar for full info and sign up links. 

Saturday 17th June: Open Water Swim – Queensford Lake @ 08:00

Monday 20th June: Coached Swim – Abingdon @ 20:30

Tuesday 21st June: Member Lead Social Run – Headington Hill @ 19:00

Tuesday 21st June: Coached Swim – Thame Pool @ 20:00

Wednesday 22nd  June: Open Water Swim – Queensford Lake @ 19:00

Thursday 23nd June: Coached Run Session – Horspath Athletic Track @ 19:00

Friday 24th June: Strength and Conditioning Online @ 07:15

Friday 24th June: Coached Swim – Kidlington Pool @ 19:00

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