Prior to my official membership I felt like an ‘honorary’ member. Chairman Garry Curley, after hearing that I had entered my first marathon, took me under his wing and helped me with a training plan. I joined the long Saturday runs and enjoyed the company, encouragement and invaluable advice from several long standing members of the club as the distances increased weekly.
After completing Brighton Marathon in 2013 and saying never again, I was soon persuaded to enter a 50 mile ultra – NDW50. Garry established a solid training and made sure I stuck to it. On the day we crossed the finish line in just under 12 hours and was crewed by Joey Chasseaud, who’s support was invaluable. I took some time out and re-emerged in October to complete Beachy Head Marathon and decided it was high time I started paying a membership.
Now a full member of Ashford Tri Club, I thought I should perhaps consider entering a triathlon. I could only swim breaststroke and didn’t even own a bike, so how was I going to make it happen? I entered East Grinstead Sprint Tri in 2015 which was the club championship. Unable to make the club’s coached swim sessions on Tuesday due to family commitments, I decided it was best for me to stick to breaststroke and just to work on distance and speed. I purchased a bike, had a fitting and started getting the miles in. I was well looked after on my first club ride – the Warehorne brunch ride, given plenty of advice, encouragement and I was moved safely to the middle of the pack when I was fatigued.
The whole concept of a triathlon, including kit, equipment and transitions was completely alien to me. I decided on a two piece Tri suit which I am really pleased with and felt a ‘mock triathlon’ would be good practice to see how I get on with my kit. Fellow club member Joey took me through the process and stuck with me on the bike and on the run. I was on such a high by the time I had finished and completely confident for race day.
As I arrived at East Grinstead, help was on hand to get me set up and ready to go. Some laughs were had as we queued for the swim, which eased my nerves. I felt strong on the swim and took a little too much time in transition. After setting off on my bike ‘Bez’ I enjoyed the scenic ride on the wide roads. Some of the hills were really tough, with time for recovery on some pleasant stretches in between, I managed confidently. After a much quicker transition, And heading off for a steady run, I managed a final sprint finish as I saw many club members cheering me on and I completed my first Sprint Tri in 1:57:40.
By the end of the year I had completed a second Sprint Tri at Canterbury and turned my attention back to marathon running during the winter months.
I completed my first Duathlon last weekend at Gravesend, at the club championship. I had a lot of fun and felt inspired by the impressive performances and results. The support was again fantastic.
I am looking forward to my first Sprint Triathlon of 2016 at Cranbrook in June.
I am very proud to be a member of such a friendly and supportive club. If you have ever considered triathlon, ATC can offer coaching to suit all abilities and you will be made very welcome.