A small, fast and flat triathlon set at the iconic Eton-Dorney Lake. With multiple laps, it’s a bit repetitive but it’s great course for beginners or PB hunters.
Where: Dorney Lake, Berkshire, Southern England.
Organiser: Human Race Events
Distances: Olympic: 1.5km Swim, 42.4km Bike, 10km Run and ‘3Quarter’: 1000m Swim, 31.8km Bike, 7.5km Run
Size: Approx 250 triathletes
Official website here.
- Train for a flat, fast and probably windy race
- Use tri-bars if you have them for extra aero
- Use strips of tape on your handlebars to keep a track of the amount of laps you’ve done
- Read the instructions carefully because the lap system is different depending on distance
- Take it easy around the corners as they can be slippery if taken at speed
- Where a cap because the course is very exposed!
What’s the organisation and set up like?
Human Race Event Management are pros. They do tons of tris as well as running races every year and this one is well organised with all the pre-race preparation and paper work emailed and put onto the website as the weeks approach.
The event is quite small so you don’t have to worry about big queues and there are plenty of marshals on hand once the race has started. Overall it’s quite a laid-back style to organisation which came across when the race briefing was done as everyone was wadding in the water at the start! But nothing was lacking at all and once the race was started there were plenty of people out on the course if needed.
What is the course like?
The swim is really nice taking place in the clean and clear waters of the lake. Unusually the swim course is a 500m lap. Not sure why when they’ve got 2km of lake to spread out in but it is much less intimidating for beginners so maybe that’s why.
The bike course is also very contained. It stays on the roads around the lake and is lapped up to about 6 times to make up the mileage. The repetition can become a bit boring but because the roads are so smooth, straight and flat, it’ll be over in no time at all! Plus it’s quite a cool view looking down the whole stretch of the lake from the far ends.
The run is a 2.5km lap that you do 4 times for Olympic etc alongside the lake. It’s completely flat so, again, fast times can be achieved. There’s not a lot to look at though.
What’s the atmosphere like?
The atmosphere is quite disappointing with hardly any supporters and spectators on the course. Everything is set up around the finish line and transition to cater for a nice big crowd of spectators but it’s all pretty empty and you can hear a pin drop! This is probably because it’s quite a small field as triathletes so they bring in less spectators.
How difficult is Steelman Triathlon?
The course is fast and flat which makes it a great one for beginners and people aiming to get a PB. The roads are lovely and smooth so you can tuck right down into your bike and crack out a quick bike transition. The only difficulty comes from the lap system. Most triathlons are lapped on the bike and maybe the run but this one is lapped across all three and it can be confusing.
I witnessed marshals arguing with swimmers who exited the water very early and were accused of not doing enough laps which is a bit annoying and can add to the difficulty of things. The bike course is lapped too so it’s a job to keep count once fatigue sets in. The best thing to do is use strips of tape and peel them off as you complete your laps.
Overall this is quite an easy race as long as you read the instructions and make sure you count your laps.
What is there to do Apres Race?
There isn’t much to do after the race at the rowing lake and the closest town is Burnham which isn’t far but doesn’t have a lot going on.
Windsor is a short drive away though so best thing is to head there and take a look around the historic castle.
PRO TIP: just up the road from the lake there’s a brilliant little pub called The Pineapple that serves some amazing sandwiches for a post-race bite. Website here.
Other good races for chasing that Personal Best time…
Tri no.: 8
I was injured for this race with a ruined knee cap so I only turned up to see what the race was like and go through the registration, transition and swim for this website.
I really enjoyed the swim and came 7th in my wave with 17mins over 1000m. I look forward to getting another place at a race here and completing it!