Shrewsbury Triathlon

Two of the TORQ Triathlon team raced the first staging of the Shrewsbury triathlon. The event included a river swim, an out and back bike leg and a looped run around the Shrewsbury show ground. With TORQ sponsoring the event the TORQ RV was in attendance, helping athletes with their nutritional needs before and after the race. Dave Mawhinney came 2nd in age group and I managed to finish 2md overall. With a number of first timers at this race, I have added a few tips to my report, so I hope you find them of use…

James: Well I took to the water with my wave (last of the day) and did a small warm-up before getting on the front-line ready for the off. On the gun I surged straight away with 2 others guys and got away from everybody else. With a downstream open water swim it was always going to be fast. Well I completed the 500m swim + run to transition in 6mins 52 sec and came out of my wave in 3rd place, behind fellow Shrewsbury athlete Ollie Russell (fastest junior overall).

Shrewsbury Swim start 2011

Tip – Always get out of your wetsuit as soon as you can. The water trapped inside helps it slide off much easier. You can start unzipping on exiting the water (just don’t impede anybody).

Into transition one, stomp the wetsuit off, race belt on, Limar glasses and helmet on – go.

Tip – Buy photochromic lens so your glasses can adjust to light conditions enabling you to see clearly at all times. Also an aero helmet is a relatively cheap method of cheating the air and riding more efficiently on the bike (just don’t keep looking down or it’ll stick up in the air and make a nice wind-break), the TORQ team use Limar.

Well, I beat the two swimmers out of transition who surfaced from the swim before me (2nd fastest transition) and started to put the hammer down, dialling in my power to maximise my bike leg.

Tip – Always race in good quality triathlon shoes, the TORQ team love Lake shoes. They can be clipped into your pedals and then held horizontal by elastic bands. Use the tabs at the back of the shoes and attach one band to the front mech and the other to the wheel quick release. All you need to do now is jump on your bike at the bike mount line and put your feet on top of the pedals and start pedalling. Once you have enough momentum you can then get your feet into your shoes (all in motion). A good triathlon shoe will have a large foot opening and large velcro strap that can be done up on the move.

James racing the bike leg of Shrewsbury tri

After about 10 minutes on the bike, I started reeling in the previous waves and continued to work hard throughout the ride. The course is very straight forward, cycle towards Baschurch and circle back again (out and back).

Tip – Get yourself a power meter (Powertaps are the most versatile system on the market); you can have predetermined zones set for you to work in to maximise your performance for the whole triathlon. Whilst heart rate is good indicator of effort, it takes time to react and is affected by race nervous etc. A power meter will provide a figure that is instantaneous and is not influenced by other factors. It can also provide accurate energy expenditure so you can ensure your nutrition plan is perfected for racing!

On returning to the show ground, I leapt off the bike at the dismount line and ran into transition again. Ditch the bike, helmet off, run shoes on, go…

Tip – The cheapest item to make you faster is elastic laces, pull your shoes straight on and run! Always practice your transitions, it is free speed.

James running at the Shrewsbury tri

Out on to the run, with the usual jelly legs, I found a good pace maker and got going straight away. The run course consisted of 3 laps of the show ground, which were all pretty flat, ensuring some good even paced efforts.

Well I finished 2nd overall, losing the top spot by 56 seconds, but did manage to collect fastest local athlete. I guess there is always next year, but congratulations to the winner, I certainly tried my hardest!

Dave’s: I was apprehensive about how I would get on doing a sprint triathlon in the middle of peak training for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, which were 5 weeks away. Having spent the last few weeks doing slower long distance endurance training, I was interested to see if there was any speed left in the legs.

It was nice to be doing a race that was in my home town without the need of an early start and long car ride. Race day dawned with perfect weather conditions – warm with barely any wind.

It was a case of racking the Merida and on with the 2XU V2 wetsuit then down to the swim start and into the river to warm up.

Dave at shrewsbury swim

It made a change swimming in the river, but at least it was downstream and only a 500m swim. I was in the second wave and luckily the waves only had a small number of people in, so getting open water wasn’t a problem. After a good swim, I exited the water in second place and into a quick transition. I was then out on the Merida for the 23km bike.  Despite the lack of speed work, I felt really strong on the bike and aided by my TORQ energy drink, I really pushed it despite the poor road conditions and soon started overtaking people from the first wave.

After the turn around, I pushed on harder and felt strong entering T2. It was on with the running shoes and out onto the thankfully flat run route. Pushing hard straight away, I passed a few people in front of me and luckily there were people in front of me to spur me on but even so I was starting to get very tired on the third lap but had saved enough energy to sprint towards the finish and crossed the line in a time of 1-06-18. I was a bit disappointed to have finished second in my age grou,p but pleased with my time.

Now it’s a case of back to the endurance work for 2 weeks before the 3 week taper for Kona. It’s then a case of looking forward to a few weeks rest (Dave actually went out and did another 3 hours on the bike after the event )!

The event website is:

Thank you to Stan Jones Cycles who supplied the photographs:

With thanks to our sponsors:

Delicious, natural and healthy nutrition:
Frames – Merida:
Cycle Shoes – Lake:
Helmets – Limar:
Glasses – Limar:
Cables – Jagwire:
Aerobars – USE:
Wetsuits – 2XU:
Wheels – Fast Forward:
Powermeters – Powertap: