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Spyvelo Long Weekend race report, 2-4 June 2017 – By Steve O’Grady 

This is the first year this event has been held over on the Isle of Wight and my first attempt at completing a middle distance race, (even if it was staged over three days) I hope that it will be the first of many for both the event and myself.

 FRIDAY swim day

I couldn't of hoped for a nicer day to swim, on the crossing over to the island the Solent was like glass and the sun was out. I signed in about 14:00 and was told that the briefing would be taking place at 16:45, so we had some time to kill, which was the only downside to the weekend as I was hanging around until 17:20 to get in the water, although I later found out that this was to account for the tide and current for the swim.

We had lots of support in the water with about 10 kayaks and 2 RIBS to help anyone that got in to trouble. By the time we got in the water the sea had got rougher, with the waves a little bigger then they looked from the shore. The swim was a mass start and an out and back loop of Totland bay. The swim went well and I soon got in to a rhythm.  When I got to the turn around point I could only see two people ahead of me and I thought in my head "OMG I'm 3rd" so I swam for my life with the two swimmers in my sights. I chased down one of them and was 5 secs behind the other and when exiting the water I was completely spent but elated to think I had come 3rd,  it was within seconds I realised there were a lot of swimmers stood around in their wetsuits chatting (10 to be precise) once I'd got over the fact that I wasn't 3rd, I was happy with being 11th overall.

SATURDAY bike day

 Saturday was an earlier start with a 7:30 briefing. We were set of in bib number order, the first rider went off at 8:30 and then we went off in 30 second intervals. The bike course was two laps, starting in Freshwater and heading to Black Gang Chine along the Military Road, then cutting in to Shorewell, Brighstone, Brook and back along the Middle Road to Freshwater.

For anyone that has cycled on the Isle of Wight, they will know that there isn't many parts of the Island that are flat, in fact I can't remember any part of the ride which was flat, but as the SpyVelo motto goes "Flat is boring"

I was overtaken by a few people on TT bikes, (and a few which weren't) it was a tough windy ride.. but I got my head down and kept peddling, I knew that I had to do a half marathon the next day so I was very conscious that I should save a little back, as this was still an unknown and I didn't know how my legs would hold up after a 100k bike ride, which in turn let me take in my surroundings, the ride took in some beautiful parts of the Island, I always forget how beautiful the lsle of Wight is....

SUNDAY run day

The run was part of the Needles XC half and full marathon which has a reputation for being one of the toughest half marathon in the Country, but i don't think it was any harder than the our Chichester half and certainly not as tough as the QE country park half.

With sore legs from the day before i set off, The run had a little bit of everything, we started running through fields, over streams, into woods along the seafront onto the beach running along the sand, then climbing up to the Needles and over Tennyson Down (which made my calfs burn) then back down in to Freshwater Bay, it was tough, but it was a really scenic run with some breathtaking views.(Well, that's what I put the shortness of breath down too)

All in all, I can't recommend this event enough, it was a well run friendly event, we were all thoroughly looked after all weekend, considering the long weekend race only cost £60 (the cost of some sprint triathlons), for that £60 price you could camp there in the race village, with free use of the sports centre swimming pool showers etc. we had free coffee, cakes, chocolate, sport drinks, fruit and much more all weekend. They even put on a movie on Saturday night on a big screen.

I just hope that this event stays the same as word spreads and stays being a well run, low price high fun weekend.