The BBC weather app showed bright sunshine for Basildon – how wrong could they be!!!!!!
Then there was the frustrations of rubber neckers on the M25 looking at a 5 car crash on the other side of the road which nearly caused Mackenzie Holt not to make it in time for registration (East Essex Triathlon Club had kindly agreed to hold registration open for her).
In the end the club were represented by only 9 members with 4 having to pull out for various reasons, however our 2 injured entrants Naomi Holt (hairdresser to the girls)
and Sophie Mabbs (photographer and vocal encouragement) did turn up to support their siblings.
While all the other competitors waited patiently for the delayed race briefing, some of the Tri-Force Juniors decided it was time to bring out the rugby ball and do a warm up.
It was vital to listen to the race briefing as they had changed the course quite considerably from previous years, with transition now in the middle of the running track and the run course being alongside the bike course. It was then time for the race and the Youths to go first in the snake swim with a 30 second gap being left between each competitor.
Just as the Youths came out onto the bike course it began to rain which caused absolute havoc for the older cyclists. The bike course had obviously been cut recently but was still quite long and worst still the grass cuttings had been left along the whole route.
Consequently the youths ended up collecting all the grass in their bikes by their brakes and even more seriously in the gearing mechanism, whereas for the younger competitors who were cycling in dry conditions and with the grass cuttings removed by the youths they had no such problems.
As a result of all the grass accumulating on the bikes, most of the youths had to keep stopping to clear all the grass from the front and back wheels or if they continued they ended up either running with their bike (one boy ran for over a lap with his) or retiring with bike failures which included our boys captain Adam Hughes who didn’t even make it round the first lap of the course!!!! Very bad luck Adam.
In the Youth girls race Hannah Trotman had the advantage in that being a slower swimmer she came out onto the bike course when the rain had relented and the grass cuttings had started to be removed from the course by the earlier cyclists. Having started the cycle in last place, Hannah quickly moved past a number of competitors with her strong 3rd place in the bike to be in 4th place coming on to the run. A superb 2nd place on the run then put her onto the podium for the first time in the youth category finishing a superb 3rd overall. Hannah was actually the quickest combined cyclist and runner by nearly a minute.
Our other competitor, Alannah Mabbs, the girls captain, has decided that Basildon has a jinx over her. After a good 5th place swim the race unfortunately went downhill from then on. Not only was she having to continually stop to clear the bike from grass she also found that the grass cuttings were causing the skin on her legs to irritate and so was using her water bottle to wash her legs. Despite all these problems she was still 7th on the bike discipline and then had a 6th place run again having issues with both her achilles and collapsing in a heap for the second time in as many months on the Basildon running track at the finish. I think the guys in the ambulance are getting sick and tired of seeing her!!!! Alannah to her surprise found out she came 6th overall.
In the Tristar 3 category we were represented by Christy Durbin and Jess Thorn who had both come off a successful Tristar 2 campaign the previous year with normally Jess having the slight edge. This time Christy took the initiative from the off and was in 8th place on the swim 4 seconds ahead of Jess in 9th. Christy has been doing a lot of cycling and running over the winter months and a 7th place on the bike moved her up to 5th overall. Unfortunately despite an immense 3rd place on the run she was unable to move up any more places – missing 4th by just 2 seconds. Jess meanwhile lost ground to Christy in both the bike where she was 9th and her 8th place run, but still came 8th overall again missing a higher position by only 2 seconds. I am sure that this will spur Jess on to get the better of Christy again later in the season. We all look forward to the battle.
On to the Tristar 2 girls race and with Sara Laitner missing it meant that Antonia Jubb was our sole competitor out of a field of 25. Antonia came into the event full of confidence having won the previous East Region aquathlon and started with an excellent 2nd place on the swim only 2 seconds behind the leader. Although she looked to be riding very quickly and passed the leader almost immediately, it transpired that she was only 6th on the bike and found herself 5th overall 23 seconds behind the leader at the start of the run. Antonia stormed back through the field with the fastest run of all the girls, in fact only 2 boys were quicker than her, to win the event with 8 seconds to spare. What a superb achievement, especially as this was her first triathlon in this age category.
In the Tristar 2 boys race we again only had a single competitor out of the 34 starters, William Hughes. William came out of the swim lying in 10th place and moved up 2 places with a 9th place bike ride before starting on his favourite discipline, the run. An excellent 4th place run unfortunately was not enough to move him further up the overall ranking so he remained in 8th place overall. Yet again only 2 seconds behind the competitor immediately in front of him and only 12 seconds off 5th place.
Our youngest competitors were Mackenzie Holt and Tom Pruett both competing in the very competitive and large fields in the Tristar 1 category.
For Mackenzie this was her first ever East Region triathlon in this age category, which has a huge step up in distance from the Tristart category she raced in last year. Mackenzie was 18th in the swim and followed that with a 21st place on the bike and a great 14th place on the run to finish 21st out of the 30 competitors in her race. A really excellent effort and one she can now build on for the rest of the season.
Although Tom raced as a Tristar 1 last season he has very little experience racing in East Region races. He started off with a superb 4th place swim, but sadly struggled more on the bike and run with a 22nd place on the former and 28th place on the latter. As a result Tom was eventually placed 20th out of a field of 34 competitors, however he has learnt a lot from the experience which he can take into his next race at Walden.
Once all the racing had finished the competitors were allowed to collect their bikes and swimming kit from the transition area. In the end one bike remained with the organizers wondering where was the owner – Alannah was actually eating her lunch in the leisure centre café having spent 30 minutes in the queue to order chips (very healthy!!!!). She did eventually go and collect it!!!!
Most of the Tri-Force members did stay for the results at the end but they did take an eternity to be announced as can be seen by who else stayed in the grandstand!!!!!!!!!