Newsletter – June 2021

Chairman’s Update

Dear Tri2O’ers

I am not sure what happened to Spring? But we definitely appear to now be in Summer and how nice it is to have the sun on our backs while outside whether training or poodling!

Our Editor in Chief has curated another super Newsletter for us to enjoy with some great articles, thank you Sunil.

It is great to see the list below from Nicky Rumsey our Membership Secretary, of new Tri2O members joining the club over the past few weeks, a warm welcome to the “Orange Army” to you all and I personally look forward to meeting you soon.

You will find some wonderful words of wisdom from a very experienced Multi-Sport Athlete and our Head Coach Sean Stewart in Coaching Corner. Thank you Sean for sharing your own approach to getting back into racing, you have given me a reason to book a race or two this year!

I hope you enjoy the three very inspiring member stories below all of whom were racing at the recent Eton Dorney Sprint Weekend. 

  • Great to read about Iain Marsh’s first Triathlon experience, it took me back to my first Triathlon in 2013, some great photos too.
  • A brilliant Age Group Win for Nora Holford with what sounds like still room for improvement!
  • An inspiring story from Mark Stokes outlining his preparation, with support from his coach for his first Triathlon race.

Congratulations to you all and thank you for taking time to share your experiences.

Tri2O has a growing list of Podium places (see below) being claimed by our members, well done to all.

Our Reading Triathlon Sub Committee are making plans for another successful event on the 12th September, please do put this date in your diary if you can assist with Marshalling on the day. If you have never been involved behind the scenes in an event it is a lot of fun and a very satisfying experience.

Your committee is here to support you, so if you have any questions about club training or events please do reach out to either myself or any other Committee member. 

Enjoy the Summer and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes

Mike Nash

Reading Tri 2021

Update from Pete, Georgia & Neil

We are only 3 months away from the Reading Tri 2021. 50% of entries are already sold and we are likely to reach capacity well before this time, so if you know anyone thinking about entering tell them to get in there quick!

As with previous years we will be asking for help from club members both on race day, to set up before the race and on a few weekends leading up to race day for some course maintenance, all of which will help to make it a great event for all those taking part. We will be confirming roles and dates for help soon. As always of everyone can donate a day it would be a massive help. All of the monies raised from the triathlon go back in to supporting club sessions and we also make a substantial donation to our chosen charity Katie’s Legacy – part of the Triathlon Trust.

Georgia and Jenny are holding a Reading Triathlon training morning on Saturday 7th August. This is designed for those new to triathlon and is open to both club and non club members. For more information see the entry page

This year we are also looking for a couple of race photographers. The company that we have used previously have changed their business model, which doesn’t make using them viable for us any longer. We are wanting to provide some free memories to participants of their experience. If you know of anyone who might want to take photos and would be happy to share then with participants (perhaps charging for non watermarked photos) please ask then to get in touch with the race team at

Like everyone we have missed events over the past year or so! We look forward to seeing many of you there as we put on another great orange army Tri2O Reading Triathlon.

Membership Update

We would like to welcome the following new members to the club 🙂 

Amanda Gardiner
Iain Marsh
Kathleen Rexhepi
Mark Moffat
Murcel Rexhepi
Paul Schulz
Rachel Hiscox
Robert McQuaide
Roger Ganpatsingh
Thomas Bailey
Violet Dixon

We hope you enjoy training with us!

Reminder about renewals – these are not automatic!
When you are due to renew you will get an email from Tri2O Triathlon Club, 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 you have a joint membership, the system does not require the details of the additional member to be added, but again these are very helpful if they want to be on the mailing list etc.

Membership Secretary

Coaching Corner – P.Y.R : R.Y.P

For some of us racing is back on the menu and from a personal perspective I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the swing of things, and judging from the Facebook posts so have many other club members. But, and it’s a big but, my results have not been what my peers were expecting and I’ve had a couple of conversations with people who assumed I would do better! To borrow from Catherine Tate “am I bothered?”. To be honest, the answer is “No, I’m not” and here’s why:

For me, the few races that I’m doing this year (assuming they don’t get rolled over again) are all about process. If I can calmly set up my transition area, plan my routes from swim out to bike out, and bike in to run out, and then execute those transitions flawlessly I’ll be happy.

At the sprint distance race I did at Dorney a few weeks ago my swim plan was simply to be one of the first into the water and have a relaxed swim. It was a time trial format start so I made sure I was towards the front of the queue, thinking I would be able to follow on the feet of the swimmers in front. Turns out I swam a bit quicker than them, but I was soon being passed by faster swimmers from further back in the queue, but I did occasionally get a tow. Compared to swims at Dorney in previous years it was slower; but it was so much more enjoyable. I hope the speed will return as my swim fitness improves; but most importantly I was in control and I stuck to my plan.

My T1 was smooth and relatively quick, just a minor delay as my timing chip and wetsuit seemed to have become emotionally attached to one another and I had to prise them apart!

The bike was non-drafting so again was an opportunity to ride in a controlled manner with none of the usual seat of the pants, eyeballs out and occasionally terrifying antics associated with sprint distance draft-legal races. I broadly rode on feel, got some nutrition on board and made up a few places, so again my focus on the processes was paying dividends.

T2 went well and I was out on the run. Now this I knew was where my lack of focussed training throughout Lockdowns 2 and 3 would come back to haunt me. And sure enough my pace was not what I’m used to, but it was exactly what I was expecting; and I was content with that.

At the same race there were plenty of friends who had good races and some who had bad races; talking to those in the latter category they generally didn’t know what had “gone wrong” and often there were moans about helmet buckles, bike shoes not set up properly, run shoes that didn’t have enough talc’ in them and so the list went on. These people had come to the race ill-prepared, unpractised and were relying on the memories of two years ago to see them through…they had no processes to fall back on.

On the flip side, one of my friends had a good race despite a total wetsuit failure which required them, after they’d tried all the tricks they’ve learnt over the years, to actually rip the zip out of their wetsuit. Yes several minutes were lost in T1, but after that the bike and run legs were exactly where they were meant to be and an automatic qualification place for next year’s World Championship was the reward. The processes were there and this athlete had the mental fortitude to put the wetsuit failure behind them and focus on the rest of the race. Jump forward to Leeds last weekend and this super triathlete became GB Champion in their age group – the replacement wetsuit was obviously a good one.

If you are going to be racing this summer, perhaps more than any previous summer I think the most important thing you can focus on is how well you have raced your race, not where you’ve finished or who you’ve beaten, or been beaten by. I have a little saying which I might help you:   Plan you race : Race your plan (P.Y.R : R.Y.P)

Sean Stewart
Head Coach

Eton Sprint – 4 Seasons In One Day…

by Iain Marsh

The day had finally arrived for my First Triathlon experience. It was a cool spring afternoon with the rain absolutely pelting it down. Lucky for me I had requisitioned my partner’s dry robe. Wrapped up against the elements it was a gentle stroll down to the transition area.

Due to the current regulations we had to wait until being called into the transition area to get set-up. Well at least the weather had cleared up and the sun was starting to pop out. Our group were called through and a very orderly group of gents made their middle aged way across, I was in the 45-50 category.

I took careful note as to how things were set-up and duly copied the rest. Wow there sure was some kit on display. I was positively salivating over the bikes on display, if not a bit envious. My chariot might not be top of the line but hey, it looked sharp and Callum had adjusted it to fit the day before so I was quietly confident I wouldn’t be dropped too badly.

Wetsuits on and boy was it getting warm out, now this is what I signed up for a nice warm day swim in a lake, bit of a bike ride and a run – what more can a man ask for? Once in our corral and fully briefed we made an orderly line getting ready for our time trial style start. Off we marched, one by one into the water. The thoughts of how civilised this was which were wafting through my brain as I hit the water soon disappeared when the brain freeze took over.

After setting off at a sprightly pace I had a word with myself, this was just a trial run and just don’t screw the pooch so to say on the 1st leg. So I pulled it back and went to breast stroke for a couple of hundred meters or so. Keeping it steady I made it out the other side with no drama and into T1.

T1 was all very well organised. Off came the suit, on with the helmet and shoes, and off I went.  I had actually made up a couple of places along the way. I was certainly looking forward to warming up during the ride as I set off in the bright sunshine for 4 laps of the lake. I set off at what I thought was a sprightly pace and was soon getting passed as if I was standing still…. Well I wasn’t going to stand for that had a word with myself to get a wiggle on, alas that didn’t make much odds and I was still dropping down the field like a stone. To top off all the fun I was having it began to hail. That skimpy little tri-suit was just not built to withstand these elements. At least I was past the halfway point it is all ‘downhill’ from here. Last 5km of the cycle and it was drying up nicely.

My mood was swiftly lifting with every km done and after having a quiet word with myself that you can’t ride like Chris Froome unless you spend some time on the darn machine that you’re trying to propel forwards. Coming to the end of the ride and taking stock of everything I was in good shape, apart from a bit of a hamstring twinge that I had been carrying, so I was set for a good solid run.

Into T2 I dove with the brakes on the bike sounding off like a fog horn announcing my arrival.. Dismount and a gentle jog across towards my kit. I certainly hadn’t practiced running in my cleats, I must have looked like Bambi on ice making my way to the station. A quick change and I was off..

5km to go and no more thoughts of just making it around it was time to get a wiggle on, I certainly didn’t enjoy the 1st couple of hundred meters finding my land legs. Then I was off doing what I know best. It was dry but still fairly cool and I was soon in my stride and overtaking my fellow athletes. It is pretty much a flat out and back on yourself loop along the side of the lake.

On finishing a respectable run I got to pick up my medal, snack and a very refreshing well deserved Erdinger. All in all it is a fantastic venue and must be close to the perfect event to either cut your teeth on a triathlon or get a PB. We had it all – sun, rain, hail – all we were missing was the snow.

A mark has been set and many more races booked. You might say that I have been bitten by the bug.

Spring Sportives and Eton Sprints

by Nora Holford

My long-term aim is to compete in a full Ironman. Like many, having had my event postponed from 2020 I had another winter where I needed to keep the focus and to maintain, hopefully improve, my fitness. As bike remains my weakest leg, I entered a few spring sportives to ensure enough riding outside. This would augment my core bike training on the turbo and hopefully provide good bike handling training as well as endurance.

First up in mid-April was the New Forest Sportive – a reasonable spring day and always a lovely area to ride through. A strong head wind made it a little more challenging! Good start though with first 120+km ride completed.

Next up was Surrey Hills Classic, which definitely lived up to its name, with several long steep climbs … for a May ride the weather was awful, rainy pretty much all day and quite windy, saving grace was that the hedges and tree lined roads protected us from the worst of the weather. It did feel a long 127km! I found these UK Cycling Events sportives really well organised in a COVID secure way. Registration is well set out, with good route marking and well stocked regular feed stops. I would recommend them.

All good preparation for the Eton Sprint weekend. My slot was on Saturday, a postponed entry from 2020. Day dawned as wet and windy as forecast… The lake was cold (as many others in the club, who competed that weekend, will attest to!) … with the swim being individual start from the shore, getting going was a challenge. So my strategy was simply to get the swim done … once out my hands felt frozen, so my transition to bike was slow … once out on the bike the question was would all the training pay off?

I quickly got onto the tri bars and into a good tuck. Eton has a great bike course as it’s on closed roads but there are quite a few tight corners. With the poor weather, care was needed. Despite riding with caution at these key points, I was pleasantly surprised to complete the first 5 miles in under 15 minutes, that’s fast for me in any conditions! After completing the 4 laps, back into transition, my hands were no warmer so another slow transition. Out on the run, normally my strongest leg. It took a good mile to warm up then I was able to pick up the pace, finishing on 1 hour 33 minutes exactly. This was fast enough to earn me first place for F55-59. Very pleased with the bike leg, all that training really paid off however more work to be done on transitions …

My First Triathlon – Eton Sprints Weekend

by Mark Stokes

Going back to March 2020 when the pools closed, I needed to find new activities to keep fit and with Georgia’s excellent guidance I started running along with yoga and various bodyweight and band strength sessions to maintain fitness – who knew how long this new normal would remain? Being careful (I’m not a lightweight and have an artificial hip as well as other legacies of playing rugby and cricket, amongst other things), we built up my running slowly – there wasn’t an immediate rush and I’d never learnt how to run distance events as an entity in its own right. Following Keith Bateman’s Older Yet Faster process wasn’t as problematic for me as others may find it, as I didn’t have years of running form to unlearn/relearn, even so it has still taken time – it’s a whole body transformation and makes a lot of sense but does require persistence.

Next up in my conversion from swimmer to triathlete came the acquisition of a bike, thanks to Guy needing to free up some space in his bike roster! The last time I’d ridden a bike was at university, longer ago than I’d care to remember… As with running, I’ve never pursued cycling as a sport, only as a means of transportation, so I was starting from a low base (again!). A good few months of great coaching and decent effort meant I was doing OK.  This meant that at my annual review with Georgia in September we moved on quickly from the review of the last 12 months (none of the events I’d planned for ended up taking place, but I did transfer from a Thames Marathon place to the Henley Swim Festival ‘Suits vs Skins’ event because it did actually take place! ?), to talking about the future and becoming a triathlete for 2021.

After a winter of bike and run training I entered the Eton Sprint Weekend, a test event had been in my schedule for some time for the same date but Georgia managed to convince me to enter – I’m wondering if that was the plan all along… ? As a complete novice at this multi-event malarkey Georgia prepared me well, in the week leading up to the event there were rides & brick runs with a focus on familiarisation with T1 & T2 transitions, putting together a race plan, and mental preparation. Come Sunday morning I was ready, as ready as I was going to be for the unknown anyway…

Obviously with the constraints of COVID-19 life it was never going to be a ‘normal’ event, and I feel that as a novice the time trial style format helped me focus on running my race rather than getting caught up in how I was doing relative to everyone else – anyone passing me could be behind or ahead and the same for anyone I passed, I just had to do my own thing. That’s my key takeaway for the immediate future, perform to your own plan, you’ve trained and know your own pace from your tests so getting caught up in what others are doing will only negatively impact your race, at least until I have more experience and/or know my immediate competition better…

As for the event itself, I loved the experience and beat my dream time – the swim was just outside my dream time by a few seconds, T1 went really well and much better than expected, I smashed my bike dream time, and T2 went as well as T1. The run went OK, but that means there is room for improvement, for which I’m sure my torturer/coach has plans ?

Plans for the remainder of the season at this time are the Hydra Ride in July (90km sportive in Wiltshire), Padstow to Rock in August (1 mile estuary swim in Cornwall), and the Reading Triathlon (my ‘A’ race for the year). Now the first one is behind me I’m looking forward to training and improving every aspect – I’d never had thought I’d be here 15 months ago, it just goes to show that you never know where life will take you if you’re open to the unknown/unexpected.

Results & Achievements

  • Dinton Pastures 5km/10km Summer Series #1 (13th May)
    • Stephen Ridley – 1st overall
    • Sally Waterman – 1st in AG (F60-69)
  • Eton Sprints Weekend (15th May)
    • Nora Holford – 1st in AG (F55-59)
  • #51fiver Cotswold Standard Tri (16th May)
    • Heather Phillips – 2nd in AG 
  • Goring Gap 50K Ultra (16th May)
    • Leanne James – 2nd women overall / 1st in AG
  • 50 Miles TT (16th May)
    • Teresa Robbins – time 2:05:02  **Breaking the Reading Cycling Club 50 Mile TT club (women’s) record which stood for 54 years**
  • Gutbuster 10 Miles (23rd May)
    • Heather Phillips – 1st in AG (F50-59)
  • Gutbuster 10k (23rd May)
    • Martin Cook – 1st in AG (M60-69) & Top 10 finish
    • Richard Crampton – 2nd in AG (M40-49)
  • The Kempton Park Renaissance Half Marathon (30th May)
    • Edwina McDowall – 1st in AG (Ladies Vet 45-54)

If you want your names in the highlights, please email with your event and results details It is not a requirement to have a podium finish to shout out about your achievements.  

Dates for your diary

Updated Club Documents

The committee has recently discussed whether children accompanied by an adult should be permitted to attend Club swim sessions, runs or rides. Whilst there is support for encouraging young people to be active it was felt that as the minimum age for joining the Club is 14 years that this should also be the minimum age for attending these activities as the main reason for allowing non-members to attend was to help them decide whether to join the Club. The Club’s Constitution and Ride Code of Conduct have been amended to reflect this decision – the updated versions are available on our website.

We would love to hear from you

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