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So after starting my first season relatively late in May with competing in my first Triathlon in Skegness, I decided back in July I needed another challenge before the end of the season so entered Derby Triathlon due to it having a pool swim.  As it happened I ended up entering AJ Bell London as a last minute entry so Derby actually turned out to be my third and final triathlon for this season.

For the first time ever it was only me competing, with Ian being my chauffeur and bag carrier for the day.

Although it is called Derby, the event is actually held in a small village called Etwall just off the A50, which was ideally placed.

With a mid morning start time of 10.06 it gave us plenty of time to find everything and set up.

Although there were over 450 people competing through the day the event run by PMA Racing had a nice small feel about it, and wasn’t as intimidating as some events can be.

My swim went well, although I went out too quickly of course which meant my pace dropped over the distance, but I was happy with my overall time.

The transition area sat in the middle of the shared school and leisure centres’ facilities which meant it was quite a trek over several levels between the pool, field and out onto the road, but at least that gave me time to try and sort my breathing out in between.

The bike course was certainly different terrain than what I am used to. With my very limited experience of riding, the “gentle hills” it mentioned in the course description were certainly a different challenge than riding near Boston. I couldn’t understand why my pace was so slow for the first two miles until I turned a corner to start free wheeling down a hill that the gradient had been so small on I hadn’t realised I had been climbing! The majority of the 18km course was through country lanes, and yes the climbs weren’t easy for me, but they weren’t too long and mostly there was a decent afterwards for me to rest the legs.

At last came the run, the end was in sight! That is after you’ve negotiated two very steep banks to get out of the transition field and up onto the road! The run course was mostly on a disused railway line in woodland, so perfect in the conditions we had on the day. The track wound it’s way down onto a level under the original path, and to a halfway loop that you came back on, so of course when you go down you have to come back up which was just what your legs didn’t need at that stage. With it being a looped course it gave plenty of opportunities for smiles, shared looks of anguish, and high fives with the other competitors I had started with!

There was no way to get down the two steep banks near the finish apart from letting your legs take you and hope you don’t start rolling down. I have to say that did make me feel like a kid again while I was screaming my way down, and a bonus was it got my my fastest ever recorded pace of 5.08 min/mile! 😊

All in all, it was a great event, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A good sign posted  and marshalled course, ideal for new starters and within a couple of hours from home.

Rachael Satchwell BTC course record holder 1hr27:56.

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