The 2016 Gauntlet Half-Iron-distance triathlon is once again enlivening the Kent countryside around Hever Castle. This year there are two Gauntlets on 10 July 2016 and 25th September 2016. The 10th of July also sees the full Iron distance.
This is a tough little course. Train for the hills on your bike with vigour.
There is a mass start in front of the Italian Loggia and a complete lap of the lake followed by a simple-looking river section (aka recently dredged moat-cum-canal). However there is vegetation and other swimmers to avoid. It’s best to stay in the middle but everyone else will be following the same strategy so get there as quickly as you can ahead of everyone else!
The 1.9km swim is therefore fairly straightforward If you can do the distance you will be fresh and know you can do it. Other than lilies the other thing to be aware of is sighting the buoys if there is fog/mist. Several people accidentally missed one of the further buoys but there were no DQs on that basis that I knew of.
Onto the roads. The hard work begins with 2 loops of approximately 45km per loop. the loop is slightly different and longer to the Olympic distance road route. No navigational device is required – you won’t get lost. (They’re called marshals).
You traverse the weald of Kent and the Ashdown forest. If the weather is nice then so is the view. You best bet here is to rein yourself in with judicious use of the power meter. Maybe have a look at bestbikesplit.com for a more measured approach to pacing. If you are doing 2 laps you might want to tell bestbikesplit.com that you are doing 3 or 4 laps so that the run is taken into account when it delivers your pacing strategy for the bike. Failing that the best tactic is to get a big ring at the back and a little one at the front – even the better cyclists will need them. Combine that advice with an alert on your power levels and you should be suitably forced to slow down up those looooong hills – they are 6-7% on the whole, at their worst, so not too bad. Most people will benefit from staying in the saddle IMO.
You’ll have your hydration strategy and fuel strategy worked out. Stick to it. Some of the more advanced watches like the 920XT can be set to give you time-based alerts to remind you to feed/drink.
Coming on to the run you will have plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful countryside. Whilst this is not a cross country HM as such, there are plenty of fields. If it’s been raining a lot then I’ve no idea what the conditions underfoot will turn to. I dread the thought!
If you have any twinges of cramp on the bike then approach the run with caution. you’ve trained for this, so you should be fine. Perhaps start with a walk until your legs get accustomed to the new action if you are aiming to finish rather than PB.
Your HM time will probably be 15-30 minutes slower than your normal HM-at-the-end-of-a-HIM time. So pace accordingly. That extra energy to climb the hills will NOT appear by magic on the day. Again, slow down up the uphill bits.
Make judicious use of the coke and water at the aid stations. I will probably bring my STRYD running power meter along ‘for a laugh’ to slow me down further.
There is a competition <here> to win 2x free places. Closes soon. No catches.