A small, off-road triathlon taking around a hundred runners along tough little bridle ways, foot paths and fields of the south Manchester water park. A laid back event good for trial runners and mountain bikers.
Organised by Uber fit events.
Where: Chorlton water park, South Manchester
Size: Approx 100 triathletes
Sprint distance only: 750m swim, 16km mountain bike, 7.7km off road run
Official race website here.
- Arrive early as the transition area is a bit chaotic and you might not get a space to rack your bike.
- Train for a hilly, muddy bike and run preferably in a field!
- Make sure you have thick, off-road tyres for your bike and that the rest of the bike is in good working order – disc brakes are preferable to V.
- Take it easy on the corners especially as the day goes on as it’ll get very muddy.
- Bear in mind that the run is slightly longer than a standard sprint distance (7km).
- Get yourself out into Manchester afterwards for a celebratry curry at East Z East (oh yes!)
On the positive side, the course was easy to follow and there were plenty of stewards giving directions and encouragement around the course. The transition area was a bit of a mess, but having got there early I managed to rack up at the end of a line making finding my spot in T1 easy. This was complicated as when I returned for T2 as the two people either side had not left me room to re-rack my bike and some precious time was wasted moving other people’s bikes around.
No race pack was sent out before the race but an email was sent out a few days before with a link to a pack.
Another area which let the race down was that there had been a logistical error and there was no silver wear to hand out to the winners, rendering the prize giving ceremony without prizes, hence no giving, making it just a ceremony.
What’s the course like?
The course was great. The swim was a straight out and back totaling 750m, which made citing the halfway point a bit tricky, but there were plenty of canoes to help you out if you went off course.
The ride was a bit different, it was an off-road course, making a fast time difficult to achieve, and much more fatiguing than a normal on road course.
There were 3 laps of a course resulting in just under 16k. The course consisted of bridle ways, foot paths and fields. The first time round I made a few mistakes in gearing on the hills, and going too fast into tight corners. The second and third laps were better, although by the third lap it was pretty muddy and I actually fell on a corner at the bottom of a fast hill.
The run was pretty standard, although slightly further than a normal sprint distance at 7km. Again, being of road was a bit different but soft on the legs which was a gift after the challenging ride.
How’s the atmosphere?
The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. Great for first timers like myself as everything was explained quite clearly. For a relatively small tri (about 100 people taking part) there were a lot of supporters. Quite a few locals turned up to cheer as well which was great.
The swim was tricky to sight at all 100 competitors started at once.
The ride was off road and technical making it difficult to get your head down and zone out the pain.
The run was longer than a normal sprint distance although the off road element was softer on the legs.
What is there to do apres-tri?
Manchester has something for everyone and Chorlton is a charming area with plenty of chilled out cafes. Head into nearby Didsbury for a nice evening dinner and local bars or a short bus ride into the city centre for a more lively jaunt.
Great Flikr gallery of photos here from Paul and Nigel Events Photography here.
My Race Diary
Triathlon No. 1 (!)
Position: 8th in Age category, 64th overall.
It had been a wet week in Manchester so I was expecting the worst for the off-road Chorton triathlon. I felt nervous and ill-prepared but looking at the winning times from last year I was hoping for a sub- 2 hour time.
Not ever having competed in any sort of running, cycling or swimming event before but having kept fit on and off for the last couple of years from training for mountaineering with bike rides and runs my training really focused on swimming. This consisted of going along to open water swim sessions in the delightful Salford Quays. With some internet research and tips from friends I discovered my breathing was all wrong, and a few sessions later I had improved dramatically, but by this stage the race was 4 days away…..
The morning of the race was great, my girlfriend was a great support team and drove me there with all the kit and help me get set up, whilst simultaneously keeping nerves at bay.
All 100 competitors start at the same time so we linned up along the start line and I was in the middle. Once the swim was off I managed to hold my own in the initial mêlée, and even took some people over. The water was lovely and cool, and tasted clean so a swallowed some to stay hydrated (although I’m sure this isn’t recommended!).
I came out the water middle of the pack and felt good. T1 was a bit of a shambles, having a niggling case of the shin splints I realy wanted to get some compression socks on before the ride and this seemed to take forever but I got there.
Then came the ride which I wasn’t looking forward to what with my 7 year old bike! It starts in the wood and is muddy and hilly with many tight corners. Having done all my training on the road, and most of it on a road bike, I found it very difficult to get int ay sort of rhythm.
At one point I fell off from not being stable enough on the saddle at the bottom of a hill going into some mud.
It was a lonely place mentally racking my bike in T2 seeing so many others already there but I strode out and concentrated on my breathing for the run. I have a fast pace naturally running and was probably what I had done the most training for so felt good and over took quite a few people which was a big moral boost for me, not so much for them I guess.
Finishing was great, and seeing my girlfriend at the finish line inspired me to a sprint finish, although this inspiration did not result in any increase in speed, just facial expression.
I’m looking forward to the next one!