Blog: A windy and tough day out at the Vitruvian Triathlon

Fighting against injury and windy weather, age-grouper Joe Wilson writes about his experience at this year's race, where he met the infamous 'Rutland ripple'

Athletes swimming at Vitruvian 2014

Now in its twelfth year, the renowned Vitruvian Triathlon took place on the last weekend of August, fortunately making the most of a break in the unseasonably cool weather that hit this summer.

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Over 1,000 athletes descended on Rutland Water for one of the UK’s oldest middle distance triathlons, and I was amongst them in the first wave to set off at the early (even for triathletes) start time of 6:30am.

In the swim, I managed to get a good start, forming part of the front pack of swimmers heading out towards the first buoy and into the Rutland sunrise. However, the pack soon started stringing out and the lead two swimmers shot off into the chop. The two-loop swim was fairly uneventful, even with the challenge of navigating through the slower swimmers in the next wave.

On the bike, fairly strong winds made the course tough going for all, with the cyclists having to concentrate hard, rather than taking in the spectacular views around Rutland and the reservoir. The main feature of each lap is the infamous ‘Rutland ripple’: a succession of three short, sharp hills which are fairly tame in isolation, but most definitely are not when combined and ridden at race pace – especially the second time around.

The times were quite slow this year given the conditions, and despite the boost of hearing that I’d arrived in transition in fifth place, my legs definitely knew they had worked hard on the bike.

The run also consists of two laps – a simple out and back following the edge of the reservoir to the turn point at the stunning Normanton church is completed twice. Though fairly flat, the wind more than made up for the lack of major hills on the run. The section across the dam, situated at the eastern edge of the reservoir, was completely exposed to the winds whipping across the water – creating some fairly comical running postures as the runners leant into the wind!

Thankfully the section of the course from the church back to the dam was wind assisted, allowing for some free speed, and the chance to take in the stunning views across the water, back towards the dam and the finish.

Unfortunately for me, a trapped nerve in my foot made the second half of the run tough, and I walked/hobbled to a disappointing finish in 30th place. But as is so often the case in our sport, the support and camaraderie from the other athletes helped me, and many others I’m sure, back to the finish and incredible sense of achievement that comes from completing such an iconic race.

For Vitruvian Triathlon results head here.

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Were you racing the Vitruvian? Let us know in the comments below!