For those not in the “know” – LCW stands for Long Course Weekend, which, if you do the full event, means a 2.4 mile sea swim on Friday, 112 mile bike ride on Saturday and a full 26.2 mile marathon on the Sunday – basically an IronMan distance spread over a weekend.
For me, however, LCW meant Ladies Caravan Weekend – an 8 berth caravan with one sole male; apparently I was allowed to join the ladies as the caravan site wouldn’t allow a potential “hen party” – think I was more worried about the caravan than the event.
11 Chippenham Tri Club members competed in the event, although there are a few shorter alternative distances other than the full amount.
So, the first event – the sea swim. Either a one lap or two lap event (1.2 or 2.4 miles). Fortunately the weather was perfect, the sea was flat as a mill pond and the rumours of a jellyfish invasion were unfounded. The mass start of 1600+ swimmers was something to behold including a firework display (which you ended up breathing in); passing the buoys was also a great new experience fighting for position trying to make sure you didn’t lose your goggles.
The second event on the Saturday was the bike ride; distances varied from 45m, 66m or the full 112 miles. Riders set off in waves of approximately 200 from 07:00am, the swim leaders got to roll-out Tour de France style. The full route takes riders around the stunning Pembroke coastline and then on the first of 2 loops around the famous (or infamous) hills of Wisemans Bridge and Saundersfoot. The course is undulating to say the least, very little flat and not to be underestimated.
The third and final (thankfully) event is the run on the Sunday, the hardy LCW competitors have a full marathon to complete, others complete the half marathon, 10km or 5 km. The weather was again hot with little or no wind – not the best of conditions on a route that is “hilly” to say the least.
From the Chippenham Tri Club athletes who participated, super efforts from Belinda Stephenson and David Walker who completed the full LCW and (for the bling chasers) got the fabled 4th medal. Lynsey Carpenter managed the fastest 2.4 m swim and 112m bike ride and topped it off with a 1:53 half marathon. Nicola James, Nikki Capp, Nicola Toddy, Liz Laird, Sukie Headley, Lucy Rees, Lucy Williams, Julie Trudgeon all performed fantastically but the effort of the weekend must go to Maggie “Tri-mum” Blacker (59) who managed her furthest ever swim / bike /run (2.4m/112m/13.1m) PB’s all round. For my own achievement, well I didn’t make the full distances on the LCW, got beaten by Lynsey in the swim, bike & run but I was the Chippenham Tri King of the Hill!
After a weekend like that a visit to The Treatment Rooms for some sports massage therapy in Corsham was essential! Deep soft tissue treatment eased sore muscles and helped me to keep on top of running injuries to prepare me for my next big event, Ironman Wales!