Transition Talk – Ian Knowles

To start off our winter season, we have a race report and transition talk with one of our newer members, Ian Knowles, who we first met at the Westfield aquathon series last winter:

‘After my first sprint triathlon in April and the club relays in August, I decided I needed a second sprint to end the season. East Leake at Loughborough fitted the bill, and it was also a chance to try out the new bike. I was fortunate in that the new bike actually fitted across the back seat of my car so no need to hire a van! My training had not been as consistent as I would like but I was ready for another competition.

The drive to Loughborough was in pouring rain and I was seriously expecting that the event might be called off!  When I arrived, the rain was still coming down but when asked, the organisers said it was going ahead. Thankfully by the time it came to my swim start the rain had stopped and the sun was out. I was now looking forward to my second individual event.

Ian exiting T1 at Lincoln sprint distance triathlon in April.

The swim went reasonably well but the distance from the pool to transition was quite a long way so I knew the time would not be great. Then, onto the bike and I was feeling good. As I approached the first roundabout I realised I hadn’t seen any signage and was unsure which exit to take. My speed was designed for straight on and I realised it was actually a right turn. Needless to say my late attempts to change my direction led to a meeting with the kerb and my sprawling across the footpath. My first fall from the bike and it had to be with the new bike. I picked my self up and checked over the bike, everything seemed ok apart from a graze in the palm of my hand. So back on the bike and see if I could catch anyone.

The gearing on the new bike was different and I made some gear change that were too late which made the ride harder than it should have been. But the rest of the ride was incident free and whilst I was passed by a few I did also pass a few people myself so hoped for a reasonable time.

The run was three circuits of an off road route which was muddy and wet. I found the repeat circuit a bit disheartening and realised I prefer a single full 5k circuit, but I persevered. I came into the finish line pleased the rain had held off and I once again finished a triathlon sprint.

My overall time was 10 minutes better than my first ever sprint triathlon, mainly due to the new bike but I was happy with that. I’m now looking forward to training over the winter and entering the club aquathlons in January, February and March to see how I do compared with this year.

STC: Thanks for writing in with your race results Ian, it’s always good to hear how people are getting on, and hearing about your progress brings back a lot of memories for those of us who have been in it for several seasons now! But what made you start down the triathlon road?

Ian: I played football until about 20 years ago, but once I couldn’t keep up with that, I started putting on weight. I decided I wanted to change that; I lost 4 st. through a program with Prime Mover. Once I had done that, I realised I needed a purpose to staying active. I had tried windsurfing a couple of years ago, but unless I was prepared to travel more it was going to get boring traversing Rother Valley. Triathlon seemed like a better match to what I was looking for.

STC: Triathlon presents different challenges though: How have you managed to fit in training for three disciplines?

Ian: Yes, it can be difficult, but sometimes I can combine things, like travelling to visit my parents by bike instead of driving.

STC: By the sounds of things, your cycling is on an upward curve now you’ve got a new bike!

Ian: I started out with a very heavy hybrid bike. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t confident to take the wheels off and so I couldn’t fit it in to my car to get to races. I now have a road bike and, while I’m sure that with time I’ll be happier taking wheels on & off, it fits in to my car anyway. Hopefully I’ll now be able to make some of the group rides this winter!

STC: So which club sessions have you been attending so far?

Ian: I’ve been going to the swimming at Graves. The coaching has been really helpful as this is where I need the most work on technique. I’ve always been confident in water and consider myself a strong swimmer in that sense. However, I was swimming with my head out of the water and so working on my technique will bring some big improvements in my speed. I also did the club aquathons last winter, which were great for building some racing experience and for meeting people.

STC: We know you’re looking forward to seeing how you progress over a second season – What else are you looking forward to?

Ian: Before I started doing triathlon, I was talking with a friend about how inconceivable an Ironman was. More recently, I saw a clip on tv about Louise Minchin doing the Norseman and it meant a lot more to me. I now have some understanding of why people do these longer races and the kind of training it takes to be able to do it. I don’t know if I’ll do an Ironman in the future; for now, I’d like to think that I could do a Middle Distance (half Ironman) in the next couple of years.

STC: Finally Ian, what’s been the best part of your first year of doing triathlons?

Ian: I don’t know. Actually I do – it was the incredible high I felt after completing my first race, Lincoln Sprint Distance. It was an amazing experience and I ran my 5k faster than any I’d previously done at parkrun!

STC: But you didn’t have to belong to STC to do that race? What do you feel you have gained from belonging to the club?

Ian: Being part of STC has put me in touch with people who have experience and are willing to share that experience to help others. The access to coaching and practice opportunities also makes the training easier to achieve. STC has been a great launch pad for my first foray into the world of triathlons.

STC: Ian, we hope you have many more moments like you did at Lincoln, and thank you for talking with us.

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