On the 25th September 2011 Active outdoor sports put on their first middle distance triathlon, the event was run from Fritton lake and consisted of a 2500m (1.55 mile) swim in the lake, then onto a 4 lap bike course which according to my GPS was a total of 47. 7 miles, then into a 2 lap run totalling 12 .5 miles which was a mix of X country trails and tarmac roads.
The Rock Estate had Liam Gentry, Mark Drake, Mathew Thwaites and Honorary member and National Champion Joe Skipper taking part in the event.
An early start time of 7am was the order of the day with the weather prospects looking excellent with light winds and lotís of sunshine.
From the start gun Joe took the lead and didnít look back, exiting the water in an impressive 37.03 mins. Liam was 3rd out of the water in a time of 42.04, Mark was 6th in 44.32 and Mathew by his own admission had a terrible swim struggling to find a smooth rhythm coming out in 17th place in a time of 54.39, although this position wasnít to last long, once out onto the bike course Mathew got himself going and started picking off places and moving towards the front of the small field of 20 athletes, by the end of the bike section Mathew had achieved the 5th fastest time of the day posting 2hrs 11.08 which is an average speed of just under 22mph, Joe had extended his lead by another 5 mins on the bike leg averaging about 25 mph and Liam with the second quickest bike time of the day 2hrs 44 seconds had moved into second place overall and had a small time cushion over 3rd. Mark Had a solid bike leg picking up a couple of places and moving into 4th spot overall.
With the exception of Joe this was the first foray into middle distance racing for Matt, Liam and Mark so going into the run the boys were going into unknown areas as far as pacing, nutrition, mental and physical endurance go, cycling for 2 or 3 hours is generally a pleasurable pastime but following with a 12.5 mile run is not normal activity even for the rock estate, We all know that Liam has a screw loose somewhere up top and will keep going through pain barriers and push his own limits as far as possible for no apparent reason other than to do his best, I think I can probably say without causing too much offence that Mathew is not quite right up top either the never say die attitude is quite strong!
None of us had done what I would describe as specific training in order to attempt an event of this nature apart from last winterís brick sessions and a couple of Olympic distance races this year. The fact that all the boys finished the event in good style and took 4 of the top 6 places is testament to the training gains to be had from a Thursday night session and riding out with all the Rock Estate riders when the opportunity is there, that extra push required to hang on the back or not get dropped on a hill or the effort required to try and drop riders off your wheel really is working to your benefit if you can turn up without too much specific training and do well at an event like this.
Onto the run and legs did not feel good for about the first 2 miles then started to work properly for me and my pace went to about 7 min miles but unfortunately this only lasted for the first lap then the wheels came off and the fuel tank was empty, disappointingly I ended up walking the aid stations trying to get fluid and fuel on board to finish the event without having to walk the last 4 or 5 miles, this is I feel as much a mental battle as a physical one, Iím sure itís the same for everyone in the latter stages. Not a great run time for me and an area that I will work on harder this winter. The Rock Estate boys all did extremely well at a great event, Joe 1st place in 4hrs 03.14. Liam 2nd place in 4hrs 17.12, Mark 4th place 4hrs 38.46, and Mathew 4hrs 57.51
Lotís learned from a race distance that was certainly a challenge but achievable for all to attempt and do well, one to have a go at to test your own physical and mental strength.
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Sunday 4th September saw a small number of the Rock Estate elite race team competing in the North Norfolk Triathlon which is run from Wells Harbour. The 1500m swim takes place in the tidal harbour and is a reasonably technical swim trying to make the most of or avoid the tidal flow in the main channel of the out and back course and avoid swimming into moored boats, Then onto the 40k bike route that had changed this year and was a more technical course with some short sharp hills and tight corners to disrupt any sort of rhythm Liam Gentry didnít seem to have any problems on the course posting a time of 57.48 mins this was 1 minute 40 seconds quicker than anyone else racing. Then onto the 10k run which starts off on a nice flat tarmac path for the first 1500m then onto trails and then about 1000m on soft sand just to ensure already tired legs are completely drained of all enegy before attempting the last 1500m back on the tarmac to the finish.
Liam Gentry, Dale Gowen, Jim Keeble and Mark Drake were brave enough to attempt this event, Liam who is currently in the form of his life on a bike was hoping for a good result in the event and was slightly disappointed to finish in 4th place overall with a very respectable time of 2hrs03:58 which did get him onto the podium claiming an age group prize, this goes to show that some very good competitors attended the event including some GB age group athletes, Mark Drake had another solid rather than stunning result finishing in 10th place overall, 3rd in age group, with a time of 2hrs 10:30 a slightly better run time than the last couple of events but still not where he would like to be more training needed in the winter! Jim Keeble completing his first Olympic distance event since knee surgery had a solid race with a respectable time of 2:24:49 enough to achieve 40th place overall, the knee holding up to the rigours of running on soft sand.
Dale Gowen had a very successful event beating last years time by 24 mins. This was still only the second Olympic distance event Gaff has done in his illustrious career achieving a time of 2:27:13 sufficient to achieve 47th place overall producing good times through all 3 disciplines, this should be an encouraging result for Gaff who is working his way back to the elite level of fitness he was known for in previous years. Another very successful event for all with The Rock Estate team achieving good times and more podium positions against strong competition . With another winters training looming in the not too distant future and some of the newer athletes focusing on races next year could be even better.
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Rock Estate had three swimmers competing in the Lowestoft Pier to Pier race that took place on Sunday 14th August 2011. The 1km swim took place in near perfect sea conditions. The race started with a dash into the sea at the South Pier, then a swim to and around the Claremont Pier, finishing with a 50m run up the beach to the finish line.
Jim Drake was competing in the event for the first time and was talking down his chances at the start. However, he soon proved how quick he is in the water, finishing in a superb 10th place overall in a time of 16m 32 (4th in the open category).
Lee Bircham had a steady swim and finished 20th in a time of 19m 41s. This included a mad dash for the finish line which saw him throw himself over the line only to be beaten by the 19th placed swimmer by a few inches! His performance was good enough to pick up a trophy for coming 2nd in the veterans category.
Steve Barber was also swimming in the event for the first time. He also had a superb swim coming 26th overall in 22m 11s.
All the boys had good swims and demonstrated that the Rock Estate are a growing force in the water!
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Two Rock Estate Teams were up for a very early start on Sunday 10th July to make the trip down to Gosfield Lakes in Essex for the Eastern Region Relay event. The event consists of teams of three who all complete the 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run using the timing chip as the batten.
The teams were: Rock Estate- Bradley Tubby, Lee Cook and Chris Drake racing in the male open category and Jim Keeble, Dale Gowen and Mark Drake as Rock Racing competing in the Male Vet category.
The first members off in the mass swim start were Jim for the Rock Racing Team and Bradley for Rock Estate, ( some team names are quite amusing when put over the PA system such as Dixie Normous, Crouching woman hidden cucumber, Arson fire and Miss E Norma Stitz and Willy Feeler) Both boys had a rough time at the start of the swim which resembled a rugby scrum in the water arms and legs were everywhere all trying to gain position to round the first course marker, we hope the couple of people who tried to swim over Jim didnít come off to badly.
Once all members of the team had completed the swim it was onto the bike section where a testing route awaited, some of the hills on the course are quite steep allowing for speeds up to 40mph while descending but unfortunately somewhat slower going up the other side, with 87 teams competing there are always other people on the course to try and chase down so all members of the Rock estate teams put in impressive bike times, although Gaff did loose a few seconds when he missed a turn due to water streaming from his eyes after a particularly fast section and not having his goggles on.
The Bike leg was completed without any major incidents and both teams looking good as far as overall position goes, the run leg was again not an easy affair with a large part of the course across fields and tracks, Rock Racing started the Run section with a slight advantage over Rock Estate and managed to hold their lead through the Run section finishing with a combined time of 3:25:42 and 16th place overall. The team came 1st in the veteran's age group category.
Rock Estate finished in a time of 3:34:40 and 27th place overall, Well done to all members of the teams for putting in good performances on the day.
There was one other Rock Estate member racing in the event but had defected to the Human performance Unit Team in search of glory, this did pay off for Joe Skipper as racing with Oliver Milk and Matt Ellis they won the event in a very impressive 2:57:28 which was over five and a half minutes quicker than the 2nd place team. Iím not so sure they havenít been doing some serious training together as looking at the swim splits they all completed in exactly the same time 8.29 something strange going on there perhaps!
Rob Anderson finished the challenging Peaks 100 sportive in 6 hrs 40 mins.
Rock Estate had two competitors in the Fritton Lake Sprint Triathlon on Saturday 11th June. A high quality field of 194 competitors assembled for the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
Tim Earl finished 26th in 1hr 18m 02s. He put in a solid swim performance before making up many places with good bike and run legs. James Drake wasn't far behind and produced good times in all three disciplines and finished 39th in 1hr 20m 11s.
Sprint Results here
Rock Estate had seven competitors in the Fritton Lake Super Sprint Triathlon on Saturday 11th June. Conditions were almost perfect with a light breeze which enabled the Rock Estate to put in some fine performances.
Lee Cook showed that he is now a force to be reckoned with to finish in a superb 3rd place overall. He put in good performances in all three events finishing in 46m 03s. Gaff continued his good recent form, and again showed that he is nearing his best on the run. He finished 9th overall in 50m 19s and won his age group. Lee Bircham produced a good swim and was well placed comimg off the bike. He was passed by a few people on the run but finished in 12th place in 50m 51s also winning his age group.
Next up saw a superb tussle between Chris Drake and Bradley Tubby. Chris lead coming into the final few metres but was unable to stop a fast finishing Bradley who pipped him on the line by one second. Bradley came 19th in 52m 01s with Chris coming 21st in 52m 02s. Steve Barber was competing in his first triathlon and finished well coming 23rd in 52m 42s. He put in an awesome bike leg on his mountain bike complete with nobbly tyres. Two members of the Rock Estates Blundeston chapter, also doing their first triathlons, both put in good performances. Simon Lewis came 35th in 55m 41s and Shaun Sampson came 60th in 65m 17s.
The battle of the Catchpole's was a close fought affair. Andrew Catchpole finishing in 71m 08s closely followed by his sister Claire Drake in 73m 59s. Both were doing their first triathlons to raise money for the Mission for Deep Sea Fisherman in memory of their dad Peter Catchpole.
All in all it was a great day for the Rock Estate team.
Super Sprint Results here
It was another early start for the Rock Estate Elite race team on Sunday 8th May in preparation for the Tri Anglia organised Waveney Triathlon, the event consists of a 400m pool swim, 12 ish mile bike on an undulating course and a testing 2 mile run which is either up or down hills for the entirety of the route.
The 7 strong Rock Estate team were led off by Jimbo who put in a strong performance on the back of minimal training finishing in 23rd place in a time of 56.41. Setting off in the same wave five minutes later were Mark Drake and Lee Cook. This was looking like being a tight race between the two judging by the previous weeks results with the pair only seconds apart. Drakes inability to count up to 16 could have been his down fall as he did 2 extra lengths in the pool loosing about 50 seconds and giving Cook a reasonable head start on the bike leg. The idea of being beaten by a young upstart did not sit well with Drake and the humiliation and taunting that would be facing him in the pub was incentive to push hard a catch Lee by about mile 8-9. Unfortunately for Cook a puncture slowed him down on the fastest part of the course giving Drake a head start going into the run. Drake eventually finishing in a disappointing time of 52.41 and Cook an impressive 53.47 giving him 12th place overall. This has now given Drake a good kick up the arse and made him more aware that he needs to work harder in training if he wants to get anywhere near a podium in the future, true for other members of the team also. To coin a phrase from another famous Racer ďWe cannot encourage mediocrity, train hard race harderĒ
Legendary triathlete and transition expert Gaff was next into the water. Unfortunately past record breaking swim performance was missing today but Gaff was pleased not to have encountered previous near drowning experiences by not being able to breath while wearing a nose clip. With warmer conditions outside Gaff was also concerned this time about his swim goggles steaming up on the bike leg so elected to loose a valuable second and remove them on this occasion! He completed the course well under the hour in 58.45 including an average speed on the bike of over 20mph. Good to see Gaff working back to fitness again.
Tim Iron Earl was next up and again put in a consistent performance in an event usually considered a warm up at this distance. Winter marathon training and an impressive recent marathon performance have shown Tim to have an endurance background second to none, a total time of 55.30 and 15th place a good performance for the long distance specialist.
The two remaining Rock racers to go were Liam Gentry and Joe Skipper with both of these boys are currently on fire in training and racing. Liam winning TTís regularly and Joe Training and racing with elite level athletes.
This was set up to be a hard race from the off with both boys looking to perform well. Liam was aware that he would be chasing after the swim but was confident with his current bike performances. Joe looked comfortable and effortless throughout his 5.17 swim and emerged 33 seconds ahead of Liam, the race was then down to the bike leg. Liam was wearing his race face and looked fired up, the suspense of waiting to see who would return first was creating a talking point with various points of view and guess work being bantered. The first rider into sight was Joe who to use his words as he ran out for the run leg ďSmashed that bike legĒ. Joes average speed for the ride was around 25mph. Liam was only 1 min and 1 second behind showing good bike speed but having used more energy in the swim took longer to get up to speed and into a rhythm. Joe then followed up with the second quickest run time of the day of 11.58 to seal the win and beat the course record on the way. Liam finished with an equally impressive time of 48.52 giving him second place overall ahead of third place by over a minute, not bad for someone who has to work for a living,
A Rock Estate 1-2 and a move closer to world domination as laid out in the Rock estate mission statement.
By the way Joe your university lecturer sent a message to ask if you could possibly hand in the first assignment for your degree course. The excuse about having to go out on your bike to collect it from a mates house is wearing a little thin now!!
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Report by Mark Drake May 2011
On Sunday 1st May members of the Rock Estate Race team were competing in the East Coast Super Sprint triathlon in Gt. Yarmouth. Fine weather and a reasonably stiff easterly breeze greeted the competitors to what is the first local triathlon to be held in the year. This is a good season opener to see how winter training has gone and practice transition and a race pace effort.
For this event there were only 5 members of the Rock Racing team entered and Liam Gentry acting as a Guide for Ian Dawson who is a world and European champion triathlete.
Mark Potter and Mathew Thwaites were competing in their first triathlon. Mark coming from a running background was not confident of his swim ability but with the swim only being 250m both he and Mathew acquitted themselves well. However, it was commented that Mathewís swim style was a bit scruffy as there was more water in the air than in the pool. The 3 lap 16 km bike leg was made slightly more difficult by a cross wind that didnít do any favours in either direction of the route and although itís considered one of the more simple routes to follow Mathew decided to add on another little bit when he got lost.
This event is now in itís third year and the competition is getting stronger every year. Mark Drake was the first of the individual Rock estate team home in 46.00 mins, this was 5 seconds quicker than last year when he finished 2nd overall, but this year was only good enough for 7th place. Lee Cook was the 2nd placed member of the team finishing in 46.30 and 8th place overall. An impressive result for Lee at the start of the year and hopefully a sign of good results to come. See photo showing the face of a man putting in a good effort and hurting.
©Chris Drake Sports Photography Ltd
Matthew Finished in 50.14 and a creditable 18th place in his first event, this is hopefully a good introduction and lotís learned in preparation for his next race which in true Rock estate style will be the Olympic distance at Fritton Lake. Mark Potter finished in 52.36 giving 26th overall. A swim time of 5.41 was not bad for somebody who canít swim! A bit more brick training and trainers like Goochy to help avoid cramp off the bike and positions will be gained in future events.
Maria Adey, making another appearance for the Rock Estate, again showed her talent by coming 2nd in the ladies event in 53.41.
Liam and Ian achieved 4th place overall and achieved the quickest bike split of the day riding a tandem, this must have been quite a test for the two of them trying to duck under lane ropes during the swim and avoid traffic and the roundabout turn.
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Report by Mark Drake May 2011
Lisa Potter ran the london Marathon on Sunday 17th April 2011 and completed the course in just over 5 hrs. She raised a fantastic £1200 for Palliative Care East. Lisa ran it pretty steady, her last mile was same pace as first mile. Initially she said never again! But who knows. She would also like to thank everyone who sponsored her.
Well done to Joe Skipper on a fantastic 2nd place at Ironman UK. Joe had a good swim and then did a controlled 112 mile ride that kept him in contention for the run. Joe was clearly running well from the start and smashed out a 1hr 48 min marathon to run through much of the Pro field. This was Joe's best result in a Ironman race. Results Here