After years of wondering if I could manage a triathlon, Hythe Bay 2017 was my first real experience of the sport. It was tough but I loved every second of it. I soon joined Ashford Tri club and signed up to the 2018 race as soon as I could.
Having joined ATC and attending training sessions throughout the year, I was more prepared and even more excited for the 2018 Hythe Bay tri. I arrived at Hythe pool with an hour to go before my set swim time. Registration was quick and simple; goodie bag, t shirt, chip and race number sorted, I was ready to go. After quite a bit of faffing around setting up my transition space, I was free to cheer on lots of familiar faces as they set off on their run section.
Finally it was time to go into the pool. Nerves kicked in but after a thorough race brief and (quite) a few deep breaths, I was ready to go. Swimming is probably my strongest discipline, counting lengths however, is not. Thankfully it was a ‘up and down and under’ swim, taking all counting out of the equation and leaving me plenty of time to think about how steep the hill is that I was about to cycle. 10 lengths came and went pretty quickly and I was soon out of the pool and into transition.
I managed to remember where my bike was and get myself sorted for the ride, stopping for a couple of jelly babies to boost me along. Out onto the road and I not so gracefully hopped onto my bike and off I went. I found the ride tough at times, especially up Sandgate hill but all the marshals waving and shouting encouragement pushed me along. After a bumpy ride along Princes parade, it was time to flounder off my bike and get back through transition.
Bike dropped off and shoes changed, a quick stumble up the steps and I was out onto the sea front. The run section is a lovely flat out and back route, which I’d normally enjoy. However today those 1km markers felt miles apart and had it not been for the promise of jelly babies at the half way point, I may well have walked a good part of the first half. A swig of water and some encouragement from the marshals meant I was set for the last 2.5 km to the finish. I pushed myself on the way back to try and speed up a bit which I felt I achieved. About 1km away from the finish a ‘high five’ from a fellow club member gave me the oomph to pick it up another gear and make a strong finish.
Hythe bay triathlon is truly an amazing event, where total beginners and seasoned triathletes compete together in a friendly and supported atmosphere. Ashford Tri club has a great ethos of making everyone feel welcome no matter what their background, ability or goals are; I’d recommend joining a training session to anyone!