Joining Andover Tri Club and instant selection

My training for the VLT Triathlon on 9 September has been going well. Through a mixture of very early starts or evening sessions after work I have been managing to train 5 or 6 times a week.

Having found the organised events I ran in as part of my Marathon training so enjoyable I have been looking for a way to train in company over the last month. I found the answer at Andover Triathlon Club.

I had been undecided about asking to join, but while we were away on holiday I made up my mind to give it a go. I got the details from the web site and contacted them. I got a response within the day and it was clear from the start that they are a welcoming and friendly group of like-minded people.

I asked if I could “try before I buy” and they were very accommodating. Immediately I was invited out on an evening bike ride by Helen Hunter who is in charge of new membership. She is perfect for the role; warm, friendly and welcoming.  Six of us spent two and half hours winding round the country lanes of Hampshire covering about 35 miles. The atmosphere was great. Not too serious, lots of conversation, plenty of laughs and most important lots of advice.

This was followed by a session at the local athletics track – more a lesson in barefoot running than a track session but it was very interesting.

The really interesting session was the swim session held at Tidworth Leisure Centre where Andover Tri Club have a standing booking every Sunday at 5.00pm. It was interesting because it was so productive and because it had a sting in the tail. The session I went to was on a hot August day which meant many regulars stayed away. That was fine with me – anything that got me more time with a swim coach was great. I was met by one of the coaches, Dan Mason, a softly spoken Yorkshireman who explained how the session worked and got me straight into the pool doing drills. He was soon joined by Baz, a Glaswegian coach and Ironman who has a meticulous eye for the mechanics of a swim stroke. He soon had my legs tied together to make me kick straight and ran me through a series of drills to realign all the things that were out of whack in my stroke. I had no idea front crawl had so many moving parts. It was just what I wanted, a real master class in sorting out my technique. But the most significant event of the session happened after it had finished.

I changed with the handful of others swimmers and made my way out to reception to find Baz and settle up what I owed. I found him sitting by the front desk deep in conversation with Dan. I came in on the tail end of it: “……and I‘ll race twice on Saturday” Dan exclaimed.

Handing my money over, I casually asked Dan which race he was doing. No sooner was the question out of my mouth than Dan was shooting a conspiratorial look over at Baz. Something was afoot.

“It’s the Club Relay Championships on Saturday” Dan said with more than a hint of suggestion in his voice. “What are you doing on Saturday”? If I hadn’t guessed, I could now see where this was going.

To cut a long story short, I am now booked into the Andover Tri Club Open Team running in the relay championships on Saturday afternoon. Actually I didn’t take much persuading. I am keen to get more experience and I am keen to join Andover Tri Club. What better way to get know a few of them than to go to Nottingham and race with a crowd of them. I am quite excited. A full report next week.

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