by Chris & Lauren Brook
My horwich Tri experienced didn't get off to the best of starts first I found out that when I was checking my bike over I had a slight buckle in my rear wheel. I got up the morning of the race and when I was put in my tri-suit on I realised that the zip was faulty on it so needed to fix that too thankfully I managed to sort it. My start time for the race was 9:25 so I started to set off from my house at about 7:30 to make sure I got there in plenty of time the drive took roughly about 50 minutes and once in the area around the Horwich sports centre I found it was packed and I ended up parking about 5 minutes away down one of the side streets which there were plenty of. After parking my car up I went to the transition area to rack my bike which was in a car park across the road from the sports centre itself at the time I didn't think to much to it. I got to the poolside at about 9 a.m. for my briefing after about a 5 minute talk the guy doing the briefing warned us to keep an eye on the timer at the side of the pool as this was telling us what time we was due to be in the pool for and that corresponded with our timing chips if we didn't start at our own time that was our fault and we could possibly lose time. So after the briefing I had a bout a 20 minutes wait to get into the pool once this had passed the swim was pretty much straight forward (apart from me not putting my googles on right and stopping my watch on the lane rope ) with competitors starting 30 seconds apart. After my 500 metres I got out of the pool not knowing what time I'd done the swim in and this is where I encountered a downside to the race itself upon exiting the pool to run to T1 it was like I said before across the road from the sports centre and they have not laid down many mats to run across and the concrete surface was pretty stoney so my run turned into more of a quick walk/Hobble. The weather for the bike section was near enough perfect with very little wind or so I thought . Once in T1 I felt like I had a pretty quick turnaround I've got my bike and proceeded out of T1 and straight into the first hill and this is where the headwind hit me and seemed to stay with us for the entirety of the bike section the first hill seemed to go on for about 3 miles then there would be a small downhill section then straight into another hill and this seemed to be how it was round the whole bike section of the 40K there were very few flat parts to it. Just as we came to the end of the bike we was told in the briefing that there was a junction that road works were happening and that we had to get off our bikes and run pass these and then get back on again then after about 200 meters it was into T2. After quickly racking my bike and changing my foot wear it was off for a run up rivington pike and back up part of the first hill from the bike. After about half a mile we turned left and onto the trail path that lead up to the pike. About a mile an half up my run turned into a walk and upon passing a fellow runner I said "I didn't think it was this steep" were her reply was "oh don't worry about this it gets worse the more up go up" . I came to a flat part again were I was able to start running again and after about another mile I came to the bottom of the last climb which looked like Everest and at this point everone was walking to get up to the top, once I got to the top it was such a relief to finally see Richard Addison who was marshalling and I knew from this point it was all downhill. On the way down it was much easier apart from making sure I didn't go to fast and having to watch my footing with it being so uneven. Crossing the finish line was great with there being so much support there the only downside was the medals hadn't turned up for a day so they will be getting posted out to us. I finally finished the event in just under 2 hours 21 mins and finished 144 out of 421 which I was reasonably happy with considering I was using it as a warm-up race and just to try and fine tune a couple of things before my first 70.3. I would definitely consider this race again as abit of a novelty race but it's not one you can go PB hunting for.