Ludlow triathlon 2016 was blessed with fine weather, warm but not too hot, with a bit of blustery wind adding interest to the bike stage. As always, the marshals & helpers were excellent, friendly, helpful & encouraging and very visible in their fluorescent yellow event T-shirts. The race has grown in popularity over the last 20 years & 351 competitors started, of which 342 finished the race. Last year extra car parking was added behind the leisure centre & transition moved further from the pool. This year the pattern was repeated, so even more car parking meant transition was in the tennis courts, a 40-50 seconds run from the pool.
The event consists of 400 m swim in the pool, 26 km on the bike & then a 6.25 km run. The bike ride is mainly on quiet country roads, or left turns apart from out of the leisure centre & back in again at the end. The run is on the pavement by the A49 going north, not ideal in terms of being by traffic, but no roads to cross.
For a few years I had been trying to break 1 hour 40, which I achieved last year, clocking 1 hour 38.59. This year I finished 108th, in a new PB of 1h 34.58, despite the extra transition distance. My transition 1 time remained ludicrously slow, my swim & my run were both a few seconds slower than last year, so the difference was all down to a new bike. Instead of trundling round on a hack bike or modified cyclocross machine, I rode a time trial cycle. I knocked 10% off my previous cycle time, covering the approximately 16 miles in 50 min 15 secs. I was 4th in the MV 60 category, but looking at just cycle & run times, I was comfortably 2nd. Satisfying.
I bumped into Simon Norwood just before his race. Although he was still troubled by his calf injury, he still managed to finish 22nd in 1h 22.40. Other Croft competitors included Nicola Turvey (89, 1.33.05), Neil Taylor (14th 1.36.32), Mick Ligema (153rd, 1.39.59 & Bryan Markham (308th, 2.08.23). Bryan picked up a trophy, I think for the oldest finisher.