We popped down to West Kirby on The Wirral last week for the Wirral Triathlon which I have to say was very well run and organised by Epic Events and the members of Mersey Tri Club.
Tipping up the night before in the motorhome there was parking a plenty on the sea (or infact more like lake front) which offered beautiful views of the North Wales Coast.
A 6 am start for registration had seen the back of the overnight thunder and lightning and the day dawned bright but overcast. Great conditions for Triathlon and especially as there was no wind :-) Registration before hand was easy on the Epic Events website which is a great resource and is always easy booking for many of Tri events we do.
Mersey Tri Club members hosting the event had turned out in numbers and hats off to them they all had a big smile for you at registration. At 6 am on a Sunday morning most ’normal’ people would be at home snuggled up in bed. But not the Triathletes who are definitely a different breed ! They had turned out in their hundreds to swim, bike and run their way to glory and medals!
Registration was a simple process and racking our gear and bikes in transition was quick and easy. You are provided race two numbers ( You will only use one if you have a race belt) and a sticker for your bike. In fairness it was a bit damp but the bike stickers could be a little more robust next year? Mine lasted about 5 minutes and wouldn’t stick no matter what I tried.
Transition was large and well marshalled. One thing if you are new to Triathlon that seems to get everyone confused is racking your bike and this event was no different. Bikes should be racked by the saddle on the bar where your corresponding numer is. If you walked up an aisle to find your number your bike front wheel should be pointing into the aisle facing you. Simples! But it can be confusing and other participants will be always willing to help you out if you are unsure
‘ This just became my favourite triathlon’
Sara - one of the Sprockettes
After a light hearted race briefing at 7.45 am three of the Doctor Sprockets Tri Team lined up for the start of the 750 metre swim in West Kirby Marine Lake along with a host of triathletes of all ages and abilities. It was no surprise that nearly 50% of the entrants were about to start the first ever triathlon as this is the fastest growing sport in the UK.
I met Barry who was very nervous about the swim as this was his first open water event in a wetsuit. That said the Marine Lake is about 4 feet deep and you can stand up at any point. Barry was worried about getting stuck in the mele at the start but as with many people I advised him the hang at the back and stay to the side. Although a little nervous Barry was raring to go by the start!
Three waves ( based on your estimated swim time) started a minute apart in surprisingly warm water. The event requires at wetsuit for the 750m swim which is one anti-clockwise loop around the lake.
Exiting from the lake and into transition was seamless across the timing mat and in for a lightning quick change ( Not!) into my bike gear. I’m no speed snake so I put my shoes on whilst off the bike. Helmet and glasses come next before you toch your bike! It’s the rules
;-) Then off for a 21.4km (13.3 Miles in old money) bike around the picturesque lanes of Caldy and Thurstaston villages.
The cycle route is an undulating ride out to a two loop section and then riding back in the way you went out. Looks a bit like a lollipop and can be found on Strava In essence the ride out is generally a gentle uphill incline through Caldy Village and on to the roundabout at Thurstaton.
Turning right and passing Caldy Rugby Club is the beginning of the two loop section. Telegraph Lane is a gentle ( ish !) hill for which most people just sat and ground it out. A few of the racing snakes flew past me like they were being chased by a banshee! I always smile and wish I could climb like that!
Atop of the hill and you bare left and begin the fun part .. Head down and off you go for a flat or mostly downhill ride around the outer edges of Royden Park before ending up again back to the roundabout where the loop starts.
Now you should go around twice ! But there was clearly some confusion at this point as I later found out quite a few riders missed the second loop heading back to the lake thinking they then had to do it all again. Although the instructions were easy to understand for first timers it may be still confusing. The motto is ask if you are unsure! Maybe next year the (far too happy at 6am :-) ) announcer chappy may be able to clarify it before the start?
Around the second loop, legs burning, and giving it my all ! My Dolan Scala performing flawlessly after I finally got to service my own bike for a change ! I have to say great roads too with little traffic ! but I guess that is why it’s an early start!
Loop 2 complete and with a little undulation on the way back through Caldy Village and it’s all downhill looking like a pro into the finish and transition.
Into transition on the bike was well marshalled and there was some great support from a crowd of people gathered to cheer everyone on. Seemlessly into rack my bike and a quick change into running shoes and I was off like a fleeting gazelle! Well not quite but in my dreams I can run like the wind :-)
Two loops of the Marine Lake adds up to 5 kilometres or tad over 3 miles ( 3.1) in old money. It’s perfectly flat and with the sun shining and the crowds cheering 5k flew by really quickly. Passing the model sailing boat convention at the head of the lake was funny as I rememeber thinking to myself… why on earth would anyone want to do that! Funny as the looks from people coming my way were probably saying the same thing!
Leaving the ‘admiring’ glances and the ‘must have a screw loose’ comments behind I powered my way down to the finish to a rousing welcome and great appaluse from the fantastic supporters.
A huge thank you to the people of West Kirby, Caldy and Thurstaston who let us take over their roads and of course to Mersey Tri Club and all their members for putting on a such great event! Doctor Sprockets tri team turned out three this time around but we will be there in force next year! If you are looking for a great triathlon or a first triathlon this one rocks and I promise you won’t find a better event in this category. Hats off to Mersey Tri .. you nailed this one!
'The Doc’ is a keen triathlete and lifetime cyclist who runs Doctor Sprockets Workshop servicing and repairing Race, Tri and Road bikes in Wallasey, Wirral. He is a fully qualified cycle technician and also certified as an Iron distance coach.
The Doc offers professional bike fitting services for Triathlon and Road cyclists. If you are looking for a bike mechanic for any of your family bikes on the Wirral look him up on social media or contact him here.