A ‘first race’ blog post by Alistair Bowden (champion!)…
Last year, the juniors’ Tristar series ended at Castle Howard – a beautiful venue, in beautiful sunshine. There were a number of families from the Club and we all had a wonderful day (apart perhaps from Wilf and his 14 chain malfunctions, but even he was stoic and seemed to have a good day). So, I made a vague promise to do this as my inaugural tri the following year to mark my 50th.
Twelve months come round faster as you grow older. Without half as much preparation as I’d have hoped for, and in horribly rainy conditions, I took on my first tri, the Castle Howard Sprint Plus, on Saturday 22 July 2023 (800m swim, 46km bike, 8km run). I set off too fast in the swim (rookie mistake) and, feeling decidedly dizzy, was surprised to find myself 4th as I exited the water. Those hours in the pool where my front crawl was gently and constructively deconstructed, then reconstructed, had paid off. The bike ride was a wash out, heavy showers and standing water, and I had problems with gears (should have had my bike serviced, another rookie mistake). Then finally onto the run. No more transition worries or mechanical distractions. All I had to do was run as hard as a dared and try to play catch up and, before I knew it, I was crossing the line with my family cheering me on.
An hour later, having put away my bike and soggy kit, I was busy trying to help my younger son prepare for his race. Much to my surprise, my name was called on the tannoy – I had won the over 50s category of the Sprint Plus race. I’d never stood on a podium before, and there was 50+ me getting a glass award in a silk-lined box!
All I can say is that the coaches at Richmond Tri Club have been tremendous. Partly, in helping with technique, but far more importantly in creating a positive, encouraging atmosphere in which – however incompetent I may feel – I have felt able to have a go. And beyond the coaches, all the families I’ve spent time with over the past couple of years have been super positive. It always feels like a team effort, though it’s quite an individual sport. As our children have taken part in triathlons, aquathlons and duathlons across the region, there has always been a camaraderie and esprit de corps that has made for a fine day out.