Paweł ChalacisPaweł Chalacis

Back in December, when I decided to do triathlon, it looked like a long journey. I have just signed up for Virgin Active London Triathlon ballot, couldn't swim more than 50 meters and didn't actually know anything about the sport. Week ago, as a preparation for above (I got the spot after all) I finished my first triathlon! It was not easy nor pretty, but I have done it. Officially a triathlete. Here is my race report for Mumbles Triathlon 2013.

Getting there!

I had never been to Wales before, so when I found open spots for Mumbles tri and a hotel that accepts dogs, I just went for it. It turned out to be quite an adventure. First things first. Packing. Usually I do not stress about that, but this time I knew that if I forget one little thing, it might be problematic. Actually, it turned out that someone forgot his helmet. Anyway, to help with that I've made a simple web app - Triathlon Checklist. Use it at will!

We had to took train to Cannon Street Station first, then G. had take tube to the Paddington station while I cycled there (it is not allowed to bring full sized bikes to the tube).

I was little stressed about the bike, since it had to be left in a separate carriage and couldn't be locked. In theory everyone received two tickets for the bike transport - one to keep, one to attach to the bike, yet there was no one in the carriage to actually check it. My bike is insured, but still - that would be the worst thing if someone took it. Thankfully it arrived safely.

My dog, on the other hand, could stay with us all the time. And surprisingly was quite happy.

After almost three hours we've arrived at Swansea. Quite nice place, it had the feel of small town, even being the second largest city in Wales. One thing that I haven't checked was the transportation from Swansea to Mumbles. In the end, once again I cycled, while G. took a public transportation with the dog.

I cycled alongside the bay and the beach and shortly arrived at the hotel. Nothing fancy, I would say it was “ok”. I went for event registration, eat dinner, and went to sleep quite quickly.

Pre race

I woke up around 5am, drunk shitty coffee (read: Nescafe, sorry, it shouldn't be called coffee at all), and went to set up my transition.

I looked with envy on bikes with shoes attached. One day I will learn how to jump on my bike and put on shoes while cycling. There were lots of ordinary bikes, but I've seen few high end tri bikes as well, most of them being Trek Speed Concept actually.

I put on my wetsuit, hanged around for a while and then we were asked to join the briefing. Note to myself - get disposable flip flops for the next race!

Yes, everyone was listening, I was cleaning my goggles (didn't help that much anyway).

They gave us few minutes in the water to acclimatise before the start. I was actually surprised how warm the water was, considering the weather outside. And salty - haven't swam in a sea before.

I tried to warm up and calm down my heart rate and breathing and I was quite sure that it worked. Yeah, sure!


Off we went for a 750 meters swim. Simply put, I started too fast, with no regular breathing on stroke. After about 100 meters I started to hyperventilate and had to stop completely.

FYI - this is not how you should swim.

After few minutes I've managed to calm down and started again, yet it was a disaster at that point. I ended up at the end, only handful of people were slower.

Yet, I've done it. Few people couldn't finish, but I have.

Transition went surprisingly well, and I was on my bike in no time. It's little hard and uncomfortable to run in shoes with Look cleats, but that's the thing on my TODO list for future.


Now we are talking. I was flying on that 32 km course. I know that I was at the end of the race, and all fast guys were at the front, but overtaking so many people was a good feeling, especially after the swim failure.

Talking about no drafting ;).

That was also the first time I raced on this bike outside of turbo trainer. Because of that, I was not that confident about going fast on downhills. On the other hand, weeks of turbo trainer workouts paid off as I overtook many people on the hills.

During bike course I lost my carbohydrates bar as it simply fell off my tri suit pocket. I had carbohydrate rich drink and it was short course, so I was not worried about that. But for future I need to get it attached to the bike frame somehow (tape or box).

My bike time was 39th overall and I was very pleased with it. Second transition was fast as well, and I haven't forgotten about anything. Small success.


That was only 5km run, so I knew it won't be any problem to finish it, yet at the same time I knew that I'm not the fastest runner out there. Once again - fast guys were at the front, but not that many overtook me during run. Not bad at all.

Always fight till the end!

The best thing you can get after an event. This and a beer later!


256 athletes started the race, 250 finished. Despite the disappointing swim, I am very pleased with the results:

Swim: 17:28.8
Swim pos: 247
T1: 00:02:21.15
T1 pos: 69
Bike: 01:02:17.15
Bike pos: 39
T2: 00:01:22.70
T2 pos: 90
Run: 00:23:57.55
Run pos: 93

Finish time: 01:47:27.35
Finish pos: 88

What's next?

First of all - that was a great event. Yes, roads were open and it was not by any means a “tier one race”, but that's not what that sport is all about. I loved it!

I have Olympic Distance Triathlon in the end of July and another event in October (soon to be described). My plan for next weeks is to sort out swimming and do lots of interval training like this one.

Till the next one!