Rhyl Sprint Triathlon

We love a good Sprint Triathlon, when every ounce of effort is given for approximately an hour. In this report Hamish, Shaw recants on his Open Water Sprint Triathlon at Rhyl, in North Wales, where he won the race with a well-controlled swim, a solid bike, a fast run and perfect some transitions between all three disciplines…

Rhyl sprint triathlon is a 750m marine lake swim, followed by a 21.7k bike and 5k run. The bike course was a 7 lap course, which comprised of 13 dead turns. The course was flat, but the dead turns meant scrubbing off most of the speed to then accelerate up again. A definite leg sapper was in order!

I was aware that Phil Lynes (a speedy triathlete with a rapid run), was racing and knew that it would be close between us, as it was at both Salford and Geneva’s Triathlons.

The marine lake was a slightly chilly 15-16 degrees, and I was quite glad I only had 750m to swim in this murky, salty lake. At the start, two swimmers shot off ahead and I left them to it, settling into a good rhythm. The swim passed without incident and I exited the water in 3rd place.

Setting a T1 personal best for a wetsuit swim, of 31 seconds, I leapt onto the bike and set about catching the two athletes ahead of me. The beauty of a multi lap out and back course is that it is very easy to judge your distance from whom is in front, or behind you. At the first dead turn, I had closed the gap significantly to the two leaders and by the end of the first lap, I had taken the lead. Phil was reasonably close behind and I knew I’d need to put some more distance between him and me to stay ahead of him on the run.

I made sure that I paced myself well and didn’t accelerate too hard out of each dead turn. I wanted to keep the legs reasonably fresh for the run. I paced it so well, that my lap splits only varied by 7 seconds across the laps. As each lap passed I pulled out a few more seconds from Phil. On lap 5, I noticed an athlete moving at speed on the bike and progressing up the field. I knew that this athlete, Scott, was a threat. I monitored his position on the remaining laps and on the last lap he overtook Phil to put himself in 2nd place. I knew there wasn’t enough distance remaining for him to catch me on the bike, so it was going to be a running race.

On the last kilometer into transition, I eased off just a fraction and focused on a speedy T2, which I achieved in 23 seconds – indeed the fastest transition of the day. The run was also an out and back route, with the last kilometre finishing in a run around the marine lake. I told myself not to shoot off in the first kilometre and to let myself settle into a rhythm. The plan was to pick up the pace at the turn point. I forced myself not to look back in the first 2.5k, to see where Scott and Phil were. My legs felt good, and I was soon into a nice rhythm.

I soon hit the turn point, and this would be my first sight of where Scott and Phil were. As I turned, Scott was about 100m to the turn and Phil another 50m behind him. Now was the time to pick the pace up. My legs responded well. I knew that if I could get onto the lake perimeter path with the same gap, it was in the bag. I pushed on and as I took the turn onto the lake path, I had a quick glance behind. I didn’t know what sort of speed Scott or Phil had left, so I picked up the pace again. On each corner of the lake, I glanced back and noticed that the gap had increased. I didn’t ease off; I pushed on for the line and took the win by 30 seconds from Scott. Phil took 3rd place, a mere 7 seconds further back.

It was great to be back and firing on all cylinders, and to have a good run to finish off the race. Well done to Scott and Phil for pushing me all the way. I looked at the splits afterwards and noted that my combined transition times were 38 seconds faster than Scott’s. That just shows the importance of working on your transitions folks!

Thanks to Tim Waterworth Photography for the snaps!

A big thank you to our Sponsors for making it happen:

Wilier – Triathlon Frames
FFWD Wheels – Race Wheels
Huub – Wetsuits
Schwalbe – Cycle Tyres
ISM – Saddles
Lezyne – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
Altura – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel
Fenwicks – Lubrication
Camelbak – Bottles
Tifosi – Sunglasses
Limar – Helmets
Lake – Cycling Footwear
Jagwire – Cables & Housing
Swans – goggles
Shimano – Groupsets
Amphibia – Transition Bags
Stages – Power Meters
Race Ware Direct – Custom Garmin Mounts
Zero Point Compression – Compression wear
Speedfil – Speedfil Hydration Systems