“GO TRI events are the grassroots of multi-sports. They are the Park Run of the multi-sport world, a place where everyone from the community can come together and participate in a sport they love – regardless of the fitness levels. When the race finishes, regardless of wether you finished first or last, everyone is together in the carpark with the same sense of tiredness and achievement. The field contains everyone from first timers on a borrowed mountain bike, through to UCI pro cyclists and every level in between.
Having competed at triathlon for a couple of years, I have slowly worked up from being in the “I want to complete” to the “I want to compete” category, which means that my view on the GO TRI events has changed slightly.
The GO TRI events have taken on a new, but just as important role within my race calendar.
As the events are low cost and low pressure, they serve as a great way to get some ‘race intensity’ in a really friendly environment. I use the events to warm up and practice for key races throughout the year. The races are an ideal chance to test new clothing, new equipment or alternative strategies. If it goes well, then you’ve learnt that this is something you can carry forward through the season. If it goes badly? Well you can laugh it off at the end over a coffee.
If you have bigger ‘A-Races’ later in the year, you don’t want that to be the time you realise that your shoes rub with no socks, or if you go over X amount of watts on the bike, your legs will feel like jelly on the run. If you’re anything like me, then you tend to learn from your (many) mistakes. It makes sense to make those mistakes in a friendly race, which only cost you <£20 to enter, rather than discovering those errors in your £400 Ironman event.
I’ve made some cracking mistakes in the McA events, which have stuck with me and helped me further down the line. The first of which was after buying a new aero helmet, I had a tendency to not look as far forward as I should be. This became pretty apparent when I missed the first turning on the Manchester Airport Duathlon bike course, went 4 miles past the turning and knew something was wrong when I was heading down the slip road onto the motorway. Ever since then, I’ve always been terrified of going the wrong way, so ride in a position that offers much better visibility and is safer. I’ve not made the same mistake again!
At the most recent event, I discovered that my snazzy new super fast nike shoes are great…until you take 2 minutes fumbling to put them on. Since then, I have changed the way I laced them and have practiced putting them on in a hurry. These are both two mistakes that would have certainly ruined my day in a more important (and expensive!) race.
Alongside the races being a platform to practice the skill of actually racing, they make for a great training session. You’ll never push as hard in practice as you will in a race. It’s a brilliant way to fit in some ‘race intensity’ and get your body to remember what its like to push into those darker areas. As the race takes anywhere from 50 minutes through to 90 minutes, the duration is relatively short. This means that it won’t cause a huge amount of stress on the body, the likes of which would see you having to rest for a week afterwards.
The way the events are structured and planned, you can be certain that there is one of them within a couple of weeks at any point through the summer. As such, they serve as great ‘tune-up’ races prior to a big race. If you’ve not raced in a few months, the first one back can always be a shock to the system. The McA events are a perfect way to dust off the cobwebs and assess your form prior to another race. Theres nothing better than heading into your ‘A-Race’ off the back of a great performance and feeling like a machine!
But the most important thing that keeps bringing me back? It’s just great to take to the road with my family (my Brother and Dad both enter too!) in a relaxed environment. We turn up, give it our all for an hour, then can sit and tell the war stories over a breakfast afterwards. Seeing first timers, from all backgrounds, crossing the finish line in front of their cheering family is a reminder to us all that however good we think we are, it’s the feeling of looking at the other competitors and knowing you’ve all put in the same graft that makes this a great sport.
Oh and if you’re at an event and see me head off in the wrong direction…give me a shout yeah?”
If you’ve every wondered if there are “duathlons near me” the answer is yes. Head on over to our events page and take a look. Come and Give it a GO TRI (See what we did there????)