2016 Leeds Standard

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2016 Leeds Standard

Postby King Sad » 15 Jun 2016 13:44

Where: Leeds
When: 12 June 2016
Organiser: ???? Was there one? Allegedly the Ironman Corp
Course details: lake swim Roundhay Park, Split Transition, bike closed roads, run closed roads
Distance(s): 1.5km swim; 40 km bike; 10 km run
Marshalling: Lots of very friendly, smiley volunteers who were poorly let down by complete absence of direction.
Facilities: Portaloos (not enough) free parking at T1, trade stands
Technical: Chip timing, live tracker
Freebies: finisher medal

When the competitor information was published I read it several times and thought WTF. Frantic emails/messaging with friends confirmed we were all confused. There was no option other than to register Saturday and I firmly believe the underlying premise was that all the competitors were staying in city centre hotels with car parking.

Saturday, met up with friends and registered. We required bags for dry kit, run kit and bike kit only we couldn't have them at registration. Silly me thought if we had the bags we could pack at leisure and then drop off, no we had to collect them from each designated point carrying around our stuff to dump them in to hand back. I prepacked anyway in my own bags and then would put these in the bags at the designated points, what an arse and faff.

Run bag T2, 10 minute walk from Registration, we did that on Saturday.

I am getting really worked up writing this so will try to keep it short and try to give a flavour of the experience.

Drove from my cheap n cheerful but clean motel to the south of Leeds outside Wakefield. Driving through Wakefield at 5.30 and all the clubbers were packing out the kebab shops. Some nice totty so lifted the mood somewhat.

Dry bag; put my kit in the dry bag, saw numbered bins, asked volunteers 'do we put them in here?' No they were instructed to collect them, they were all dumped in a pile, presumably they would then have to sort them out later for transportation back to the city centre.

Racked bike in T1, got my Bike bag, which was then used for wetsuit after swim.

Weather was almost perfect; dry, no wind, just on the cusp of chilly/OK. I wore a compression top cos of me shoulders and felt OK even during the run.

Pre-race portaloo visits were fraught as there were not enough and 15+ minute queues were the order of the day, I gave up after 10 minutes and managed to hold it until the swim.

SWIM
1500m lake swim. well organised. Called forward in waves, I was held back for wave 8 for some reason but no probs. We were told on the pontoon ‘remember 4 laps on the run’, I’ll come back to that. It went quite well and dare say almost enjoyed it.
32.53 as a poor swimmer I am happy with that.
Exit and 400m run to T1. Some were moaning about the distance to T1 but I thought it was no problem T1 was only logical place.

T1
Wetsuit off, bike kit on ... now here is the fun bit. We were not allowed to leave the bag in T1 even though our space would not be used again. We were told if we did the bag would be moved anyway and have 2 minute time penalty. The only logical thing of course is ... to run 400m with bike in one hand, heavy bag with wetsuit in the other, down a hill (including some cobbles) with those in cleats skidding all over the place, drop the bags at a collection point at the bottom of the hill then straight to the mount point at the start of another hill. The group I was with were falling off/about as we tried to clip in push off on an incline, we either had to laugh or cry so we laughed and ran about 50m to the top of the hill to clip in. It was about this point I realised I had left my GPS watch in my wet bag, tool! That would cost me dearly later.

BIKE
40km undulating 2 loop circuit on closed roads, 300m of ascent. Good fun, climbs were enough to be testing but not enough to be a bugger. Great support from volunteers and crowds. A bit tight at times but I really enjoyed the bike. Got a great cheer from the Lincoln Tri massiv as I came into Leeds for the turn around. Some fantastic, fun, long descents; not steep enough to be head down, buttocks clenched but fast active pedal pedal ones, maxxed 55.4kph.
At one point there were riders 2 abreast at a narrow section with just enough room to overtake, I was overtaking and another rider was in front, going very damn quick so just escaped drafting as he was off and away within 30s, from behind some knob then shouted at me ‘on your right’, 2 rows of slower riders to my left that I am overtaking, bollards about a foot from my right handlebars, what a twat. As I overtook the inside riders I swung in to the left ‘twat’ came past shouting ‘you held me up’ think I called him a knob.
Had a silly moment at the northern turnaround point, I didn’t see the marker board at the last minute and had been hammering down and embarrassingly had to do the 180 in my 10 gear, then dropped a chain ... Silly boy.
Into Leeds to the dismount ... 200m from T2!! A long straight street .. why?
1.16.48

T2
Into T2 or as I called it the Kona lava T2. Picture a city centre car park, not a tarmac one but rocky with black cinders (and some reports of broken glass). I ran a long way round to use the carpet that was available and daintily minced to the bike picking up a cinder underneath my toenail, spent a minute digging that out, forgot to put socks on in T1, silly boy. Bike kit off, run kit on and off.

RUN
This was basically a leap into the almost unknown as the website on one page had 7 laps ## EDIT ## another 5 laps and and at the swim start we were told 4 laps, All very confusing but we reckoned that what they meant was the lap started either where the run streams merged or on the blue mat which meant 4 times on the blue mat and then the 5th time on the blue mat (after 4 laps) was the finish chute. There was no race briefing and seemingly nobody you could ask. Chalk it up to experience.## End EDIT##
There was mass confusion where the laps started and there were constant conversations and chatter such as 'where do these f### laps start?' 'is it 4 times on the blue mat and then the 5th in the chute?' Runners were asking the volunteers who didn't know, and why should they? It was chaos.
The run out from T2 took us to the Town Hall where the run out merged with those on the run circuit coming from the right on Headrow. Up to Millenium Sqaure to the grandstand/blue carpet, the finish chute being on the south side of the square, the circuit followed some wibbly wobbly bits and a couple of 180s to come back to the Town Hall. As the finish was in Millenium square we agreed (beforehand and on the run - couldn’t find an official to confirm) that the run laps started on the blue carpet so four laps meant going across the blue carpet 4 times and then the 5th time into the chute.
Great support from the crowds. 4 times across the blue carpet, 5th into the chute 4 laps done.

Post race
The post race experience consisted on a quarter of a dry bagel, bottle of water, orange slices and banana halves. I had to get one of the nice Erdinger ladies to open my bottle as at times my arthritis hits me and I don't have any strength in my hands, that's my excuse. Had a glass of Erdinger to thank her.

Image

Then to collect my bags. I was fortunate I got my dry bag straight away but my friends didn't; Lucy was freezing but I was able to give her a T shirt from my bag. After 45 minutes my wetsuit appeared.
Lucy and Steve eventually got their dry bags but best estimate for the wetbags i.e. guess based on no evidence whatsoever, was that it would be another couple of hours.
The race instructions were quite clear that the best way to get back to T1 was to cycle, only about 4 miles - ha ha! We decided to cycle back to Roundhay Park, pick up the cars, get changed and come back to watch the Elites. Now did the organisers think about asking local cycle/tri clubs to provide escorts? No. How about at least putting up direction signs? No. We knew the directions but trying to cycle TT bikes in traffic with bags slung over your shoulders and thin cord cutting into the carotid artery was not the highlight of the day. Met up with other groups and after an hour of dicing with death on a dual carriageway, annoying taxis (who were actually quite patient) and contemplating going on a motorway we got back to Roundhay.
'Well what a load of arse that was' I said, Lucy and Steve offered similar opinions.

Saw the women elite swim and then set off for home.

Lucy and Steve packed up their cars and drove back then waited another couple of hours before their bags turned up (including Lucy's grandstand seat ticket for the elite mens race which she missed - why she packed in there? Yeah that's Lucy).

Results
I got my results which then disappeared, then came back, disappeared then came back as DNF! WTF! Failed to complete run! Checking through the splits I had quite clearly completed the 4 laps but failed to complete the 5th ... 5th??? Lap. Chatter is that it was indeed a 5 lap race! It seems many were confused and did the ‘extra’ lap either because their GPS said so, were told to do the 5th lap by other runners, other thought it seemed a bit short and did the extra lap just to make sure ##EDIT## and others said they were not told at the swim start it is 4 laps - later waves? Did this mean they realised that was wrong? If so why didn't they announce it, try to broadcast this? ##End of EDIT## .
I must admit it did seem quick but it never occurred to me to question what we were told at the swim start. ##EDIT## The run route was slightly different to that in the instructions and included some deviations down side streets with 180s to bring us back onto the main route and figured the extra distance was the reason why it was 4 laps##End of EDIT## I know looking back that was extremely stupid of me and I should have trusted my gut instinct but my friend Lucy also short ran and she is mega experienced and represents GB every year in triathlon and duathlon AG. If I had my GPS watch the alarm bells would have rung so my mistake.

Would I recommend this to anyone? Hell no.
For a Standard Distance it was expensive but expected a good course, facilities and organisation.
Good course, zip by way of facilities and organisation? To call it shambolic would suggest that there was at least a level of organisation.

The volunteers were badly let down. They were very enthusiastic, some had been on station from 6am on race day and promised food and water not supplied. There were no food stalls that I could see at Roundhay and a member of our club who was a volunteer there said that spectators were giving them food and water as did the local authority. They didn’t have any official direction and the experienced volunteers were taking over keeping things ticking along.

If you will be staying in a city centre hotel with parking, go for it. If you will have friends/family acting as driver/support go for it. If you will be on your own forget it, you will be so stressed out before and after you will think that a £90 odd, entry fee, hiked up hotel price and 2days of your life could have been spent better.
Last edited by King Sad on 15 Jun 2016 14:34, edited 5 times in total.
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .



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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby Jack Hughes » 15 Jun 2016 13:57

Oh no!


I almost came out to watch too...
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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby King Sad » 15 Jun 2016 14:23

I reckon the spectator experience would have been great. You would have seen some fast bikes coming into the centre for the turnaround and of course the run

Now I must also add, and I will do an edit, on the run instructions were given that is 7 laps, 5 laps and 4 laps and at the swim start we were told 4 laps. All very confusing but we reckoned that what they meant was the lap started either where the run streams merged or on the blue mat which meant 4 times on the blue mat and then the 5th time on the blue mat (after 4 laps) was the finish chute. There was no race briefing and seemingly nobody you could ask. Chalk it up to experience.
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .



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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby SickBoy » 15 Jun 2016 19:31

Heard lots of horror stories about this. Well done despite the terrible organisation.

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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby Jack Hughes » 15 Jun 2016 20:13

Looks like most complaints were about bag collections.

http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/n ... -1-7961813
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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby SickBoy » 16 Jun 2016 00:17

I saw that 7 hour wait for kit bag. Sounds like a nightmare. If you're there competing on your own then you've got no food, clothes, money phone etc. Just amazed it could take 7 hours to sort that out. I would be so pissed. It's not what you expect from a race of that stature!

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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby jonathon.e » 16 Jun 2016 10:55

Such a shame your race and others were ruined by inept organisational skills :(
I think the link has a photo of your lava field of transition, :o
Good to see you still racing, and all the best for Woodhall :D
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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby ris » 16 Jun 2016 12:20

sounds like you had a challenging day, kingsad! really disappointing that the organisation wasn't up to the standards it should have been, particularly as it was under the IM structure and so they should know all there is to know about road closures, split transitions, moving bags, looking after their competitors. someone has dropped a big ball on this and i hope they can find a suitable way to make it up to those who's races/days they have mucked up.
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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby Lead Balloon » 16 Jun 2016 21:26

Sounds like an absolute 'mare Kingsad. Such potential with racing the same course as the Elites as well
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Re: 2016 Leeds Standard

Postby King Sad » 16 Jun 2016 23:19

It was such a great shame. The weather was OK for me, no rain, no wind, good visibility. Good lake swim, closed roads for bike and run. Loads of volunteers, great support from the crowds. It really did deserve to be a great day. If it goes ahead next year, which I hope it does, there will have to be cast iron assurances as to the issues raised otherwise people will just stay away.

Anyway, I enjoyed the race and the bike in particular, such great fun racing on closed roads.

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