Northumberland Festival of Sport Triathlon, 4th June 2023

Sonam Wangdi is not just a good runner, but he swims and cycles too!. He sends this report of his latest triathlon:

The Northumberland Festival of Sport took place at Druridge Bay Country Park, and hosted a number of different events including swimming, aquabike (swim, bike), aquathon(swim, run), and triathlon (swim, bike, run), with different distances catering to different abilities. I had signed up for the “standard” distance triathlon that comprises a 1500m swim, followed by a 38 km bike, and 11.5 km run.

On the morning of the event, the sky was overcast which made it a bit cool but ideal for racing. After collecting my race number and t-shirt from the registration desk, I headed down to the bike pen to set up my equipment. One of the things that I have learned over the last year is that there is a lot of planning and logistics involved in triathlon apart from the actual racing bits. The “transitions” between getting out of the water, and on to the bike, and then from the bike to the run need to be considered and planned for, and there are numerous articles and videos that go into the best strategies starting from beginner to expert level. A training buddy recently disclosed a trick they use which involves strategically applying lubricant to the elbows and knees so that the wetsuit can be taken off more easily after the swim. I had decided to keep things simple for this race and went without.

After getting everything ready, I put on the wetsuit and headed to the start line beside Ladyburn Lake, and the competitors were soon in the water and after a couple of laps around the buoys we had finished the swim portion, and exited towards the transition area to get on our bikes. Getting the wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap off, and the bike helmet, socks, cycling shoes, and race number on requires a bit of practice, and there’s also the hydration and energy gels to think about, thankfully I didn’t forget anything this time. After getting on the bike, we exited the park for the bike portion which was a couple of laps on the A1068 road just outside. Although the road wasn’t closed to traffic, it was being controlled so that it was not getting in the way of the cyclists. The bike course was flat and fast and I really enjoyed this leg of the race in the Northumberland countryside. After a couple of laps it was back to the park and transition area one final time to park the bike and change into running shoes. I find the run section of a triathlon easier to get through mentally, and I treat is as a reward for getting through the swim and bike sections, so it was a quick 4 laps around lake and on to the finish line to finish. 

I found the race to be fun and well organised, and there were many supporters cheering the participants on and creating a good atmosphere. I’m likely going to be back to do the race again next year.

Tom Tinsley -