For almost 25 years, the Windsor Triathlon has been at the very heart of the UK multisporting scene. Starting life as part of the 220 Triathlon Series, the debut race in 1991 welcomed 250 athletes.
Today, with both sprint and Olympic distances on offer, and a roll call of Lycra-clad greats having swum, bike and run the iconic course, Windsor now attracts a sell-out field of 2,500.
The 2014 overall sprint and 2013 Olympic-distance champion Mark Yeoman regards Windsor as his all-time favourite race: “You’ll be hard-pushed to find another race with such a stunning backdrop and atmosphere.”
And with plenty of miles and medals notched up over the regal route, who better to provide top tips for completing Windsor? Over to Mark…
Besides London, Windsor has one of the biggest transitions in the country, so it’s easy to get lost and misplace your bike. Once you’ve racked on Saturday, walk your route from the swim exit to your bike and then from your bike to the bike exit.
Pick out a key feature near your bike, such as a tree or advertising sign. On the day, transition will be crowded, so having a fixed marker will help you locate your bike.
Make a note of the row to avoid getting confused. Use a permanent marker to write the row letter on the back of your hand so that, as you come out of the swim, you remember where to start looking. Knowing where you’re going will save you time.
2. The swim start
Swimming against the current can sap your energy, so reduce the resistance by swimming as close to the right side bank as you can as soon as possible. If you can’t touch the boats then you’re too far out in the middle.
Stay wide on the turn – and even swim a few metres beyond – so that you can swing across using the current. On the return back down the river, swim closer to the middle and allow the current to aid you.
3. Balance the bike
If you can, ride the course in the weeks before the race so that you’ll be able to understand its testing profile. The rolling course will take its toll, especially the famous drift road. This undulating section will give you speed but then takes it away, so balance your effort accordingly.
4. Measured run
The three laps up to Windsor Castle will hurt, so look to be respectful on the first lap, settle into your natural rhythm on the second lap and then give everything you have for the final lap. But always remember to save a little energy to smile as you run through the finish line for that all-important picture.
Are you racing at this year’s Windsor Triathlon? Let us know in the comments below!