Sunday 1st May 2016 saw OUTriC head over to St Mary’s School, Calne with a small but determined contingent of athletes, including many first time triathletes, and even Tomek Dobrzycki’s unrelenting barrage of Maroon 5 on the minibus couldn’t dampen their enthusiasm. After last year’s downpours, fingers were crossed that the rain would hold off for this year’s race, and thankfully it did. A blustery wind made for some difficult conditions out on the bike, but nothing the OUTriathletes couldn’t handle. The day got off to a great start with novice Nick Turner blitzing the swim to lead the first wave of the day out of the pool. He was followed in subsequent waves by a few others competing in their first OUTriC triathlon, including Fergus Cumming, whose strong showing saw him leading the race overall until well into the afternoon.
The afternoon saw conditions become more difficult as some of the club’s more experienced athletes took to the course. On the women’s side, Renee Haver was looking to add to her first Full Blue last year with a strong performance, and an excellent bike leg put her right in contention. Veterans of the National Junior Elite triathlon scene Laura Fenwick and Lucy Farquhar followed suit with very solid performances to make for nervy final few waves as the girls waited to see where they would place. It was all worth it in the end as Renee (10th), Laura (12th) and Lucy (16th) secured team Bronze for OUTriC, beaten only by triathlon powerhouses Leeds and Loughborough and leaving the Tabs a lowly 13th. All three of the girls also achieved top 10% individual finishes to give them a shot at a Full Blue come Varsity Sprint.
The men’s race was equally competitive. Having spent a proportion of term honing his cycling abilities in the forests of Florida, OUTriC stalwart Tom Lewin was hoping to impress in an extremely strong field, while fresher David Pearson was looking to burst onto the BUCS triathlon scene with a bang. In the end, only 0.6 seconds separated the two, with Tom finishing 38th and David 39th – round two of this race at Varsity is not one to be missed. James Walker completed the men’s Blues team with a strong all round performance to show he’ll be well in contention for a Half Blue on 15th May; all of this despite the best efforts of the officials miscounting his lengths on the swim, and his own forgetfulness when searching for his bike in an expletive-filled dash around the maze of T1. The icing on the cake for OUTriC in the men’s competition was seeing both the Blues (13th overall) and seconds (34th) beat the best effort from the Light Blues (36th).
Overall, a fantastic day for OUTriC and one that bodes extremely well looking ahead to Varsity in 2 weeks’ time.