Saturday, June 9, 2012
Who Are you?
Jenny Zaremba - A classic weekend warrior: I find getting the balance of traiming across the three disciplines and juggling the rest of life, work etc pretty challenging. So I sometimes feel like I turn up with more enthusiasm than preparation!
Why did I do this race?
I have done Blenheim 3x before and just love the scenery and the challenge of the course, and getting the full Tri season off to a good start! I always think that I will have done more training than I have, but this year I did manage to get a good number of lake swims in, plus some good miles in the saddle, building from a cross-country and the Marlow Duathlon in preparation. And the best news was that one of my friends was also competing in the same wave as me!
One anticlockwise half loop – from a start in the water (which was good as we could accilmatise to the very cold water – much colder than the other lakes I had practised in), out along the length of the lake and then doubling back to the boathouse, where there were fabulous helpers to pull you out of the water (and one even undid the back of my wetsuit for me, without me even reaching back or asking for help!)
3 laps of a hilly and twisty course – benefits confident descenders and people with good hill legs and gearing skills. Non-drafting for everyone other than the elites and needed to constantly shout ‘on your right’ to get past the very mixed ability field. A bit of wind too, but very well marshalled by the Air Cadets and this time I did not see any accidents at all (in previous years I have seen some spills where people have overcooked descending turns).
2 loops around the lake with a gel giveaway and 2 water stations! Beautiful scenery and again a bit undulating – really benefits if you have strong legs. My GPS showed 3.6mi (or about 5.8km), so do not beat yourself up – like my friend was if you do not get a good run time.
Transition is stunning – right in the main courtyard of the palace – beautiful – and also great for sighting pillars etc for where your bike is in this very large race. The 400m all uphill run from the lake is challenging – gets my heart racing! But amazing support up this stretch and Gatorade or water before you come into well-organised transition.
The race organisation is always good. The booklet sounds a bit scary and officious when you read it, but it really does work and there are a lot of people! The guy who briefs you at the start is a brilliant laugh (he always starts London Tri too). But he never says how many laps you have to do – and looking at the results there were lots of people who did not complete all of the bike laps!!
Top Triathlon Tips
- Get there early as there is loads to do in the ‘race village’area – and too many ways to spend your money!
- Bring the family and have a picnic afterwards, especially if you are the end of the day, as you can queue for 30-45 mins to get off the estate in your car – and it is an honour to be able to spend time on the Blenheim estate.
How did you do?
I did a PB by 11 mins, which I was thrilled about and was top 10 in my age category across the whole weekend of racing. I felt good this time and really enjoyed it – even though (of course, like every triathlon), there are things that I am working on improving. And best of all – the Brownlee brothers were both racing, plus Helen Jenkins was there. And great races from Jodie Stimpson and Sky Draper! Mixing with Triathlon Royalty!
I will do this race again and do recommend it to others – whether seasoned pro’s or people doing their first lake-based triathlon.
You can follow Jenny on twitter as @JennyAtoZ
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