Derby Triathlon Club

Bala ... My First Open Water Event by Rob Osborne


When Andy Thornton told me I was mad to enter Bala as my first open water event I thought maybe he's right but what’s the worst that can happen. Well I certainly never expected that the weather would be the biggest challenge of the day. On a daily basis on the run up to the event I was checking to see if the 10 day forecast had change from heavy rain and high winds to something a little more usual for June in the UK. We were all sat down at the camp site the night before and Simon Rolfs confirmed that it was definitely going to rain and he was right it rained and it rained.


The swim was great and after being told to expect cold water it didn't feel that bad, I felt at ease and swam at a comfortable pace. The training sessions at Barton Marina had really paid off and I was out of the water after just 43 mins. I was happy with this and felt strong and ready for the bike, my wet suit was off, my shoes were on, but where was my cycle jacket? The sudden realisation that I had left my cycle jacket inside with Andy Grigg just before the event sunk in and I was faced with a 52 mile ride in heavy rain and high winds with no jacket. Damn!


Within minutes of being on the bike I had taken my glasses off as I couldn't see a thing and was going at a good pace to try and catch Simon Rolfs, we had a little bet on who would get to T2 first, with a pint going to the winner. After a few corners near that start I was being told to slow down as a cyclist had come off his bike and was still in the road. As I slowed I realised it was Simon Lloyd, I looked back, he seemed OK and he had soon caught up and we seemed to be at the same pace for a while. We both caught Simon Rolfs at about mile 10 and we stayed together for around 20 miles with each of us managing to push to the front before the others gained again.


It was at around mile 30 that it all went wrong for me, I could no longer feel my fingers and I dropped my glasses that had been in my hand for the last 30 miles, at this point Naomi Warr flew past looking as strong as every with me stood by the side of the road looking beaten. I had to stop a further 2 or 3 times to change gear on the bike as I could no longer do it. I was just too cold and my fingers were locked, at mile 40 I had mentally given in and was just heading back to T2 to quit. I didn't see another DTC member again before I reach T2 at which point I sat down and had mentally given in, the marshal was running around taking people helmets off as most people were in the same situation and I managed to get my own shoes off after about 10 minutes!


Just as I was about to hand in my chip I heard my wife and kids cheering for me, I couldn't give in now and if I did then I would probably never enter an event like this again. So with the help of the marshals I was off again, the marshal pointed out that around a quarter of the competitor had dropped out and that they had never seen conditions like this at the event before. The run was fairly uneventful, for me it was a combination of walking and jogging, I had no energy left having only taken 1 gel (I just couldn't open them or the zip on the bike bag they were in). The two Simons and Naomi were looking good as we passed, me on the way out and them on the way back. When the finish line came it was great so see my wife, kids and Andy Grigg cheering me on.


I have the greatest respect for all those that finished that day and sympathise with Andy Thornton who after training hard for this event hit a pot hole towards the end of the ride and was unable to change his punctured tube with numb fingers and hands. If I found it hard to change gear then I can't imagine trying to change a tube.

Naomi Warr 05:11:24 00:41:08 02:19 02:46:59 02:22 01:38:34
Simon Lloyd 05:24:19 00:43:37 02:56 02:56:58 02:43 01:38:03
Simon Rolfs 05:37:31 00:39:36 03:52 02:57:00 02:43 01:54:09
Adrian Howlett 05:51:27 00:55:12 03:21 03:05:22 03:33 01:44:08
Paul Staley 06:02:55 00:50:25 06:14 03:08:22 05:08 01:52:44
Melanie Brigden 06:29:31 00:59:51 09:05 03:19:04 03:42 01:57:47
Zoe Sewter 06:34:11 00:59:53 05:07 03:14:18 02:32 02:12:18
Robert Osborne 06:34:16 00:43:25 03:29 03:04:07 12:27 02:30:36
Andy Thornton DNF
Steve Emerton DNF
Stuart Corden DNF
Jim Creswell DNF

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