Dorney Lake, the venue for the 2012 Olympic rowing events, is ideally suited to fast racing with its long, flat straights. Or at least, when the weather is fair it is ideally suited to fast racing. When it is cold, wet and windy the flatness and lack of shelter can make Dorney a very difficult venue to race in. Unfortunately for the trio of Gade Valley Harriers who took on the Dorney Lake Triathlon on Sunday 23rd May, they had to endure the cold, wet, windy version.
Ashleigh Taylor, Susie Ivin and Angeline Cottrill were all entered in the sprint triathlon which, despite its name, is not really a sprint in any standard definition of the word, it consisting of a 750m swim (in the freezing cold lake), 20km bike ride and 5km run.
The drama started early for Susie Ivin as she rose just after 5:00AM to drive to Dorney only to find her car was unable to start. Unlike Charles Leclerc in the Monaco Grand Prix later in the day, Susie did manage to make it to the start line though, thanks to the help of “her wonderful boyfriend Lewis” who sacrificed his own plans (and his lie in) to get her to Dorney on time. Susie is a veteran of many multi sports events and she wasn’t going to be deterred by something as trivial as a broken down car. She managed to finish 28th female and 4th in her category in an overall time of 1:33:15.
Ashleigh Taylor is a relative newcomer to Gade Valley Harriers and has been gradually building her fitness levels up to those that she enjoyed before her time as a Harrier. The club has seen her times steadily improve and she was the quickest of the Harriers around the Dorney course. She finished 77th overall, 11th female and 3rd in her age category in a time of 1:22:25.
As Spring had not yet sprung in the UK (keeping its powder well and truly dry until the first week of June) the competitors at Dorney were met with freezing conditions under a miserable sky. Angeline emerged, slightly blue, from the lake with her “my ‘goodness me it’s cold’ face”. She also confessed to having worn gloves for the swim which, had this been observed and the rules strictly applied, could have resulted in her disqualification. She gamely dealt with the cold, the blustery conditions and her general guilt at having broken the rules, to finish the race 11th in her category in an overall time of 1:45:21.