After completing my first triathlon at the Brackley Mark Tanton Memorial Triathlon, I was keen to get into the sport properly and commit myself to more events the following year. Unfortunately, I had started my triathlon journey at the end of the triathlon season so there were no more local races to take part in until March next year.
I had started looking at joining a local triathlon club, I was disappointed to find that my town didn’t have a club so my options were the Banbury-based – Team Cherwell or Bicester based – Bicester Tri. In late February, I headed to a training session at Bloxham school’s pool organised by Team Cherwell. Richard the swimming coach was very friendly and the session was great. Fellow club members were welcoming and the atmosphere was relaxed. It was also reassuring to see lots of different ability levels. Richard told me about other sessions that the club did which included: Athletics Track session at a local school, use of the 50m outdoor pool in the summer and use of a lake!
I joined Team Cherwell in early spring to take advantage of the coaching and training sessions on offer. I was also hoping to make some new friends and I wasn’t disappointed.
In early May the open-air 50m pool was open for wetsuit swimming sessions. The Team had organised a day for new club members and novice triathletes at the pool. We had the chance to try on wetsuits from a Zone 3 rep and experience swimming in cold water. Then there was some advice and tips on bike handling skills, some advice on nutrition, strength and conditioning, finally finishing with lunch and a Q&A session. I was very excited about this and signed up straight away.
The day was really enjoyable and I loved meeting some fellow novice triathletes. The pool was freezing cold but we had such a laugh that it didn’t matter. I highly recommend the Novice Training Day to all new members.
As summer drew closer, the club managed to secure a deal with Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire. We are allowed to swim in their 11 Acre lake every Saturday morning 9-11am. I was very excited about this as I have never swum in open water before and certainly not in any lakes. I had become friends with a lovely lady called Hannah and she was also excited about going to the lake. It was a great experience swimming in open water and although nervous at first I was soon feeling relaxed and confident as the coaches were on hand to give tips and advice. Swimming round with Hannah was great as I felt reassured to have someone with me and we enjoyed a warm cup of tea and a piece of cake afterwards.
I would recommend joining Team Cherwell, not just for the great training and coaching that’s on offer but also for the social side.
The nicest thing about triathlon is sharing the training and racing experience with others. Hannah and I have signed up to the Blenheim Sprint Distance Triathlon and the AJ Bell London Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2016.
Photo: My first open water swim at Stowe lake with Hannah.