Mid Sussex Sprint Triathlon – Sunday 11 June 2017
The 5am alarm clock was not welcome, but despite a restless night I spring out of bed. I presume that no-one manages to sleep well the night before a race, even though I had packed everything and checked it at least three times. Mid Sussex Sprint Triathlon today – 3rd event in three weeks. Methinks this is becoming an obsession.
The drive to Burgess Hill is one I know well as it’s my daily commute to work. At 5:30 though it’s an easy opportunity to beat my record commute time, so I’m racing before I even get there (although strictly within speed limits of course)!
Registration and set up happens between 06:00 and 06:45, which was all very smooth since many of the locals took the opportunity to do this the night before, and then we were treated to the friendliest and most entertaining pre-race briefing performed by Race Director Steve Mac. The hosts, Mid Sussex Triathlon Club have done a great job of organising this very friendly and efficient event, and are at pains to welcome feedback so that they continue to improve the event.
Facilities for competitors were ideal: Plenty of free parking right on the doorstep with lots of changing facilities and lockers. The Triangle Leisure Centre is modern and equipped with everything you need, in case of last minute “issues”.
Competitors were lucky to have almost ideal conditions: temperatures in late teens, minimal wind and a little cloud cover while remaining dry, which was particularly welcomed by those competitors to faced torrential rain last year.
The pool swim was relatively well organised, and only a few minutes delayed to allow some visually impaired competitors to start and clear the pool before everyone else. This was the first time I’d experienced a pool swim which saw swimmers move across the lanes every 2 lengths, and it worked pretty well, apart from those who gave a very different predicted swim time. Both Transitions were very easy, set up on tennis courts within about 60m from the pool exit.
The 25km bike course started on the main Burgess Hill ring road, but being before 8am on a Sunday was quiet, and then ventured out into the Sussex countryside. The potholes had been highlighted with spray paint, but there were actually few very of them, and the only potential issue on the ride was just one right hand turn, but it was well covered by Race Marshalls and didn’t seem to cause anyone to slow down. The course is scenic, flat and fast, and I was done in 52 minutes with the fastest competitors hammering it in just under 40.
The run course was pretty much out-and-back, with minimal undulation, so again a fast one. There were a couple of grassy sections, and some of the paths were very narrow when trying to accommodate competitors running in both directions, but it didn’t cause any problems.
At the finish line, which seemed to come far too quickly, we received a decent medal, substantial goody bag and water. The handful of fun size chocolates and little bag of Haribos in particular went down a treat. It’s a perfect event for a first-timer, definitely more suitable than East Grinstead which has a relatively tough bike section and less straightforward transitions.
I smiled all the way home and for the rest of the day. Despite timing being “old school” (no chips), the results for some 290 competitors were posted less than 5 hours later. I can’t wait for the next event, which may well yet be next Sunday, which will make me a rather unpopular Father, but somehow weekends otherwise just don’t feel the same…