Newsletter – Apr 2021

Chairman’s Update

Dear Tri2O’ers

I hope this newsletter finds you fit and well and raring to get back into your own multi-sport activities now that Spring is with us and the restrictions are gradually being relaxed.

In my February update I did say to look out for some announcements regarding club activities and….. Boom!

A big thanks to our Head Coach Sean and all Tri2O coaches who have been busy plotting the upcoming return of the clubs ever popular coached swimming sessions plus re-commencing of our Thursday evening Run Club, details of these and other training initiatives below in “Coaching Corner”.

A massive thank you to our Club Captain Neil (with no doubt help and encouragement from his wonderful fiance Clare) who has put in a lot of time and effort launching club activities and events for all of us to enjoy both competitive and for fun The best way we can thank him for his efforts is to get involved – see your “Club Captain’s Report” below….

Now that training “together” is slowly opening up, if you have recently joined Tri2O or are a long standing member, I really encourage you to sign up for a club activity, it is such a thrill to share time with like minded individuals no matter where you are in your Triathlon journey.

Having been locked away for so many months, now is the time to meet up (safely of course) and cheer each other on, compare race entries, running shoes or that new bike computer, we all need the human interaction and Tri2O members are a great bunch of people to hang out and spend some time with.

Well done to all who took part in the recent Super League Triathlon Zwift races, especially the Tri2O ladies for their magnificent 2nd place overall in the Rotterdam series.The short but full effort bike races I took part in were brutal but great fun, although I am still trying to identify the member who introduced the Crit race challenge of “who can lap the Chairman”!?

Before I leave you to enjoy the rest of your newsletter I must congratulate all members who have been quick off the blocks and racing over the past few weeks, some terrific results from many – see some inspiring podium photos below – well done to all !!

Thanks to all contributors to this Newsletter and to our “Editor in Chief” Sunil Fernades for pulling together your inspirational and entertaining stories.

See you very soon I hope…

Best wishes

Mike Nash

Membership Update

We would like to welcome 3 new members to the club

  • Christopher Webber
  • Dominic Truslove
  • Samantha Johnson

We hope you enjoy training with us!

I’m expecting an influx of members once we get back to training again and the weather improves, we are seeing a lot of enquiries 🙂

Reminder about renewals – these are not automatic!
When you are due to renew you will get an email from Tri2O Triathlon Club, so please look out for that. The actual renewal process is easy although if you are a BTF member you need to use the blue button that says “Sign in with your British Triathlon Account” rather than using your email and password in the ClubSpark boxes underneath.

We have also noticed two issues where fields should be mandatory but are not. It does not require you to put in emergency contact details, although we should have them for any issues that might arise during a coached session, so can you please check that you have entered these. Also if have a joint membership, it does not require the details of the additional member, but again these are very helpful if they want to be on the mailing list etc.

Membership Secretary

Coaching Corner

It’s been quite a while since we were able to meet up and train together but by the time you read this the first Thursday Run Club, led by me, and the new Tuesday evening rides, led by Neil, should have taken place and enabled us to again experience the joy of being with a Tri2O group. Some members have continued to swim in open water throughout lockdown and others have been dipping their toes in lidos since they opened in March. Those of us who are less hardy have been looking forward to the pools reopening in leisure centres and gyms and to getting back to the coached swim sessions.

In the last newsletter your coaches shared their favourite motivational tips, which I hope you found helpful in the last few weeks of a fairly bleak winter. In this edition, I want to take you through the club coaching sessions, so you know what to expect if you’ve not been to them before. As we are a triathlon club you will not be surprised at the order in which I deal with the offerings. But before I do, I just want to reiterate we have all been through a strange year and we’ve coped in our own way; it is therefore highly improbable that you will be at the same level of fitness, or technical competence that you were pre-COVID-19; so be kind to yourself and others if things don’t click immediately.

Swimming (from 17th May). The club will be running three pool-based sessions per week as follows, all to be booked via Team App:

  • Monday evenings. 21-22:00 at Crosfields School, RG2 9BL. This is a 5 lane, 25 m pool.
  • Wednesday morning. 06:30-07:30 at Willink Leisure Centre, RG7 3XP. This is a 4 lane, 25 m pool.
  • Friday mornings. 05:55-06:55 at Bradfield College, RG7 6BZ. This is a 6 lane, 25 m pool.

In the summer we hope to re-introduce a Sunday evening (19:15-20:15) swim at Leighton Park School, once they have completed their extensive repairs and refurbishment programme.

We don’t organise dedicated open water sessions for Club members, but you will inevitably bump into someone from the Orange Army if you go to any of the local lakes. If you want to meet other Club members at one of the lakes, you can always post on Facebook to ask if anyone else is planning to be there – remember to socially distance when you do meet. If you want a 1-2-1 or small group introduction to open water swimming, or specific triathlon open water training, several of our coaches can provide sessions so get in touch with them to find out what they offer and the cost.

Cycling (from 13th April): The new Tuesday evening Club training rides organised by our Club Captain start at the Wee Waif Inn, RG10 9RJ, for an 18:30 departure. There will be two distances, 23k and 40k, as for the swim sessions, places must be booked via Team App. The rides will follow the same routes each week and groups of up to six cyclists will set off at intervals. These rides are designed to help people get used to riding in groups and hopefully see an improvement in their cycling fitness as the weeks go by. They are not social rides but hopefully riding with others will be motivational.

Throughout the spring and summer there are multiple opportunities for club members to participate in Time Trials organised by local cycling clubs. Neil has selected several events as ones at which Club members will be present so we can enjoy a bit of intra-Club competition. If you haven’t participated in a TT before, come along to one of these events so you to ask other Club members for their advice and tips before you set-off. All the TTs need to be booked in advance (at least while we still have C-19 restrictions in place) with the organising club.

Running (from 15th April). Thursday Run Club has been providing members a chance to run together once a week for the last five years. We depart from Costa Caversham at 19:00 come rain or shine and run for an hour. Whilst COVID-19 restrictions are in place you will need to book a place on Team App rather than just turning up as in the past. We will run for an hour with the route determined by me and the pace dictated by the group. Smaller groups sometimes run ahead at a faster pace, but we try to stick together. During the winter months we run on well-lit streets, but during the summer we try to explore a little and see what green spaces and country lanes we can find. And I feel I should advise you, there is almost always a hill to tackle – sometimes more than once!

The Club coaches are all looking forward to seeing everyone again and will do our best to help you get back into the shape you want to be in as quickly as possible, so please download Team App and start booking some swim, bike and run sessions.

Sean Stewart
Head Coach

Club Captain’s Report

I was going to sit down and write this with the title, “nothing much to report, but lots to look forward to”, then I remembered all that has happened since the last newsletter in February. We have got over the new year and lockdown hump. It was great to see all the discussion and camaraderie following each round of the SLT Zwift races, of which the stand out performances were Leanne James on all three runs and Ellie Gosling on the TT, but everybody out there was giving it their best, which is what it was all about, participation, and the women were rewarded with 2nd place. Zwift has also provided a great platform for club rides and it has been great to join other club members for virtual rides, friendly competition and good laughs.

Then there has been Edwina’s Virtual Run Club which has provided weekly motivation as well as expertise and running tips to help us all get better! Simon Barbour also led an extremely insightful sport and mental health chat which led onto some interesting and in depth discussion, with members supporting each other.

The moment we have all been waiting for arrived over Easter with the return of Real Life events, with the TrailX Duathlon, Southern XC mountain bike race and the Mortimer 10k. I for one enjoyed being back and seeing people even if it was socially distant.

Then this week we have had announcements of the return of club activities, giving plenty to look forward to.

  • Tuesday Club rides
  • Run Club
  • Captains Challenge
  • Time trials
  • Swimming
  • Snowdonia – April 2022

We look forward to seeing you all out there supporting each other for training and at real events, so don’t forget to let us know what you are planning or have done, we all love a good selfie and photo of cake!

Neil Harris
Club Captain

SLT Arena Games Club Championships Report #1

Jodie – “Check out the Tri2O post on the Super League Triathlon races!!” Once again Leanne is reeling me in for some more club fun – what would I do without her!

Leanne – “I saw Neil’s post and thought, yes… this sounds like a bit of fun to mix up training whilst still in Lockdown 3!”

The races were set, Zwift running and cycling on Mondays and Fridays for 3 weeks, with just gender categories. Each race was slightly different, giving some of us novices a chance to experience something new, and all of us a chance to showcase how hard we’d been working over the last few months.

The TURBO – By Jodie

Friday nights were not ideal for me, I work a long day on a Friday and the last thing I wanted to do was jump on the bike at 7.30pm, but what I’ve been missing over lockdown is that team comradery and that far outweighed the negative of feeling tired! Race 1 was a standard race, jump on the bike, work hard.. I loved it, I saw my fellow Tri2O girls along the way and was pushed on to make that final sprint with Clare and Liz in my pack. I was buzzing!!! But where were our points? Sally and I weren’t on the race board… after lots of emails we were told our points couldn’t be added, we were all pretty gutted.

The second Friday night race was far harder, I’d never experienced a Crit race and wow, those women set off at a rate of knots! I couldn’t hold the pace of the pack I’d started with so fell back, my dinner wanting to make a reappearance at that point, I worked really hard and managed a PB for my 20 minutes of effort which I was really pleased about. Once again some of our points didn’t make the results board but this time quite a few entries were affected, and the race organisers had to take action. Miraculously they went from being unable to manually add our points to being able to.. whatever magic that took, we were very relieved!

Race 3 was a time trial, we were sitting in joint second place thanks to Leanne’s awesome wins on the treadmill, the other club had almost twice as many entries as us, so action was needed! After a call to arms our team of 6 grew to 11 for the final race, and Ellie “the machine” Gosling smashed it coming 1st, giving us those extra points to push us into second place.

It was a great event, I loved the banter on Facebook, the buzz we all got from being part of such a brilliant team. Clare literally puking her way across the line with Neil egging her on made my weekend 🙂 

The TREADMILL – By Leanne

Well it sounded like a good idea and then the first Monday came round. I am 100% a morning person, so by 5pm I was knackered and still had 2.5 hours until the race start. I gave myself a talking too and got ready for my first ever treadmill race, not knowing what to expect.

With the tunes and disco light on (and the kiddies giving me extra motivation), Race 1 was underway. It was quite a long race @ 11.8km. Nora Holford and I were representing the Tri2O women’s team. I decided to go off hard from the start and took an early lead, but had a couple of runners on my heels which meant I had to keep going at quite a pace to hold them off. After about 6km they had dropped back, so I maintained the pace until the finish line and actually really enjoyed it! It was good knowing that the Tri2O men were suffering just as much taking on their bike legs at the same time!

The run in Week 2 was a much shorter at just over 8k. In the starting pen there were a number of familiar names from the first week. I had a plan, but as the race started – the woman who came second in Week 1 set off way quicker than I had planned. My plan went out the window and I found myself speeding to a 5k PB and Nora and I earned a further 16 points for the women, which meant we were still in a podium position at the halfway point.

The final race was another long one at just over 11k. By now I had the bug and knew what to expect. The Facebook support was great and it was fun lining up for Week 3 of the run series (how Monday nights had changed!). As the race started there was a name I didn’t recognise who challenged from the get go. It became a bit of a game to see how long I could keep the pace (again much quicker than planned). But like the first race after about 6/7k they had dropped back allowing Tri2O to secure a further 16 points and keeping us in a strong position leading into the final bike race.

Thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the team support, but nothing can beat actual racing and I am most definitely looking forward to some real racing in the not too distant future.

TrailX Easter Duathlon – Checkendon, Oxon

by Jason Barrett

A year on from Lockdown 1 and here I find myself in a farmer’s field early on a cold Easter Saturday morning wondering why I feel so nervous and why I hadn’t stayed in my warm bed instead.

Then I see a group of orange clad bobble hats and hoodies and remember it’s all about the team – Team Tri2O.

Neil Harris and Clare Fox (the instigators), along with Martin Jeffrey; Nick Lees and Kate Ryan; Nicky Rumsey; Sunil Fernandes; Steve Ridley; Callum Hughes and myself. 

We all arrived at 9am in plenty of time for a practice lap of the bike course before the race briefing and race start at 11am.

The race start was socially distanced in roughly age and gender category but the relatively small field allowed everyone to spread out on the course.

The Duathlon was either full or half distance – full being 3k run (1 lap) and 16k (4 laps) followed by final 3k run lap.

For a novice at MTB and Duathlons it was a good distance and pan flat (apart from tree roots and the occasional ramps and table tops).

My race as a 50+ vet mean’t that I started near the back in the penultimate wave. I felt nervous but seeing the greyer hair around me, I thought I’d be able to gain some places straight away. How wrong I was – as the grey brigade and Nick left me for dust! I kept Nick in sight and even managed to overtake him at the first transition (as I was only wearing trainers). However that was short-lived as he passed me on the bike entering the wooded section.

I spotted Sunil ahead as we looped back and forth between the trees and I aimed my sights on the sub-50 year olds instead. It took a couple of laps but finally caught Sunil as he slid and bounced off the tree roots (he later learned that tyre pressure is key when off-road!).

I tried to distance myself as I know Sunil has been running his way through lockdown and would catch me up as I’m carrying a little extra lockdown lard at the moment!

And that was what happened as halfway around the final run lap, as my old running adversary Sunil overtook me. I hung on for dear life but just couldn’t catch him to the line.

They say its all about the taking part and I was just glad to complete the race and collect the environmentally friendly bling that was a wooden medal. However most importantly I beat Sunil to 48th place by 40 seconds. Thanks to the staggered start 😉

I should probably mention the more accomplished Tri2O competitors with congratulations going to Callum in 3rd place overall and Clare making it onto the podium in the category positions. Steve Ridley also made the top 10 in 9th place overall. Further back there was a nice little battle between Neil and Nick with the veteran pipping Neil by a minute. In the half distance race Nicky and Kate made 4th and 5th place with only seconds between them.

Altogether a great start to 2021 race calendar and already in my diary for next year.

Mortimer 10k

by Martin Cook

Given the uncertainty of racing this year I decided that any event raced needed to be given an A status just in case it turns out to be the only race this year. So I had a nice easy day on the eve of the race although I have to admit that two days previous to that it had been Christmas day in the Cook household due to Covid so much champagne and wine had been consumed plus there was a 4 hour ride on the Saturday. Luckily I’m self-coached so I didn’t get too annoyed with my lack of focus.

The weather forecast for my start time was a 31% chance of snow and about 3°C with a wind chill. This was not what I was anticipating for an Easter 10k. I’ve done warmer Gutbusters!

I decided to run the 4k to get there as a warm up and to assess how many layers I’d need to survive. As it turned out it didn’t seem as bad as I’d anticipated from the forecast so I stripped down to shorts and long-sleeved base layer.

The start was very well organised in groups of 5 lining up at the spaced cones. Callum was in the first group and I just had time to issue an idle threat that he’d need to be aware that I was off 3 minutes after him and he didn’t want the embarrassment of being caught by a pensioner. Strangely he didn’t seem too concerned.

Matt was the official starter. Couldn’t fault his performance, 5 star effort.

Off I went in my group of 4 (one person having dropped back to race with his friend) and the other 3 promptly, and rather rudely I thought, ran away from me. Youngsters need to learn some respect for their elders. At least the two young women came first and second so I suppose they couldn’t hang around.

I’d been reading a book about being “in the moment”. I’ve never really understood how this works and still don’t. My mindset is pretty much, x minutes gone, it’s hurting a lot and there’s a lot more suffering to come which as I understand it is just about the worst psychological way of racing. Not too bad in a short race but how I ever got through an Ironman thinking like that is beyond me.

The course itself is really good. Although it’s mostly off road it’s pretty much on hard trails so road shoes were fine. Two laps + an out and back beginning and end. Quite undulating with a couple of nasty little hills. Venessa was on duty to make sure that no-one had an excuse for missing the turn for the second lap. Good to see a friendly face half way round.

It’s actually 9.67k so if you’re on for a 10k PB you’ll need to do what Elsa did and cross the line, collect your medal and biscuits then carry on around the field for the extra 330m. Good commitment and a great example to their children.

Talking of medals they are the heaviest I’ve ever come across. Might take mine down the A4 scrap recycling and see how much they’ll give me for it. Might be enough to enter next year’s race.

Crossed the line in 44.03. First in the over 60’s shuffle and 28th overall out of 176 so a good morning’s suffering. Andy delivered my prize mug personally.

Great to catch up in person with a number of people from the club there racing and marshalling and thanks to Sally and Sean lending their support during their morning ride.

The 4k return home run was not much fun.

I’d recommend it as an event to enter next year – they say it will be on Easter Bank Holiday Monday each year now.

SLT Arena Games Club Championships Report #2

by Liz Ganpatsingh

When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020 and we were limited to one outdoor exercise session per day, I joined the masses, bought a turbo trainer and signed up to Zwift. Keeping my four children fit and healthy whilst complying with the strict rules on exercise meant that my own fitness would suffer, so I ran or walked daily with my children and tried my very hardest to enjoy cycling on Zwift. As soon as exercise became unlimited, I cancelled my Zwift subscription, took my bike off the turbo and started happily riding outside again.

Fast forward to January 2021 and the once-a-day rule came back in. I restarted Zwift and did a few group rides but never really felt I was getting the most out of my subscription. That changed when Neil announced the SLT Arena Games – a Zwift running and cycling event for triathlon clubs. I was keen to try a Zwift race, a three-week series of events felt like an achievable commitment, and when Leanne James and Nora Holford propelled the Tri2O women into first place with their performances in the run, I signed up.

My nerves before my first Zwift race were as bad as before any real-life race. Worries about forgetting essential pieces of kit and puncturing were replaced by worries over connecting successfully to Zwift and unexpected software updates. Successfully joining the event and seeing myself and others in matching yellow kit felt like a huge achievement and as I knew that I would only ever score one point, I felt that the hard work was over – all I need to do was pootle round the course and finish.

I watched the clock count down with excitement and as soon as it hit zero, I was off. All thoughts of pootling were gone and as with every other race I have ever run or cycled, I flew off the starting blocks. I felt a strange mixture of club camaraderie and rivalry seeing the names of club mates Sally and Nora cycling near me, and my competitive side quickly took over. Down the escalators and out into the Surrey hills I flew, trying to benefit from drafting whist working out how I could catch up with the group ahead. I whooped with excitement when I saw Clare and Jodie on Box Hill and vowed to do everything I could to stick with them. We battled together up the hill but both were too quick for me on the descents and my over-enthusiastic start had caught up with me. My legs were in tatters and the finish line was very welcome.

A week later, it was more of the same – a flatter course of many laps – and the final week was a time trial. By this point, the Tri2O women were tied in second place and Sean put out a request for reinforcements. Leanne’s amazing first place and 15 points in every running event had given us a huge score but our rival team had more club members signed up for the final ride and would therefore knock us down to third. Every point would count so having more riders was essential. The women answered the call and with the addition of Ellie Gosling, Harriet Pepper, Cindy Goslar, Andi Goodall and Cliodhna Kennedy, we went into the final with a fighting chance. The time trial format meant than riders started in staggered intervals and as I had an early start time, my aim was to avoid being overtaken by anyone I knew for as long as possible. Watching Ellie leapfrogging other riders and closing in on me, I peddled my hardest but could only look on in awe as she raced past me. Despite having had a foot operation less than two weeks before the race, Ellie took the top spot, scoring 15 points for the team. Ellie’s win plus the vital points from all those who took part put us safely into second place and silver medal position.

Well done to all the Tri2O women who took part and scored for the team, every point really did count. Special mentions must go to Leanne, who won all three running events, Nora, who competed in and scored in all 3 running and all 3 cycling events, Ellie, who won the time trial cycling event and Clare, who worked so hard on the bike that she vomited.

Congratulations to the Tri2O men’s team, who finished in 22nd place, with a special mention for Nick Lees who also competed in all 6 events. Thank you, Neil, for entering us for the event – it was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had on the turbo.

Results & Achievements

  • TrailX Easter Off Road Duathlon  (3rd Apr)
    • Callum Hughes – 3rd overall
    • Clare Fox – 3rd Female Senior
  • Mortimer 10k (5th Apr)
    • Tim Giles – 3rd overall
    • Tim Giles – 1st Male Vet 40-49
    • Cook Martin – 1st Male Vet 60+
  • Super League Triathlon Arena Games London, Club Championship
    • Tri2O Women’s Team – 2nd place 
    • Tri2O Men’s Team – 22nd place

from left to right ->  Callum, Tim, Clare

Dates for your diary

  • 17-May-2021 : Back to coached swimming
  • 12-Sep-2021 : Reading Triathlon 2021
  • 22-Apr-2022 : Club Trip to North Wales (Apr 22nd – 24th 2022)

We would love to hear from you

The next newsletter will be in June 2021, please send your contribution to before 10th June 2021.

We would love to hear from you, particularly if you have taken on a new challenge or are new to triathlon.

You can also download a pdf copy of the newsletter here.

Categories: blog, newsletter