Ah, Milton Keynes, that mecca of contemporary architecture, town planning and social engineering. Visions of clear avenues of fast moving, low dense traffic, peeling off into dormitory quarters defined by hubs of shopping malls and entertainment arenas.
Yes indeed, Milton Keynes is greatness in all things "city". Yeah right!
You want to break the mould? Then head out of the metropolis of Milton Keynes central to Emberton Park on 24th July - about 5 miles out of town. There you'll find triathlon almost at it's best. Lake swim, 2 laps on the bike and then 4 laps of the park in your racing flats. Nice.
Registration is the day before, but you don't need to rack your bike. Meet up with the rest of the club and arrange dinner. Last year, Bella Past (in one of the engineered entertainment arenas) on the evening before the race was where a few of us met up for some light R&R and carb loading. Spectating at the other local sport - teams of Saturday night hopefulls queuing at neon-lit doorways - while we sipped our lime and sodas was excellent fun too!
Emberton Park has a camping ground for the keen, and there are plenty of places to stay nearby. Out to Emberton Park early for racking and warm up. Don't forget your porridge though.
Now, point of note, and some might say I'm teaching my Grandmother to suck eggs, but.. The swim is the first leg, so your published wave time means that your swim starts at that time which also means you need to be ready at that time, Phil. Yes, Mr. GotAnyRaceEntriesYouDontWantCosIHaventEnteredAny decided that it would be ok to start in the wave 10 minutes after his own had gone! Needless to say he caught his wave up and still posted a time faster than mine even though the timing computer thought he'd been in the water 10 minutes longer!!!!!
Great swim course - it's a bit like a big M shape wrapped around a small island. The last turn is to head back around the island and if it's a clear morning you get the magic of the early sun gleaming off the water as you make the turn into the home stretch into T1
Transition is right on the shore of the lake, so it's straight onto your steed.
There's a hundred yards or so of winding park roads to negotiate and get your legs used to it, then it's out onto the main road for a flattish, fast 40k. There is only really one hill to worry about, which is short and sharp but sets up a beautiful descent back down to the park entrance and round for the second lap. This is fast. Plenty of bunches of drafters so be careful. you can easily get bunched on the short hill and get tied up with a group on the top flat if you're unlucky. The downhill to the park entrance is so nice, got to watch it though - at the end of the second lap you really are tanking along and you have to negotiate the entrance to the park at full tilt. 'Ave it!!
T2 is quick, you're literally straight out onto the lapped run course where it runs along the edge of the transition area. Some of the run is on hard (well it was hard lst year) grass, and some on the park roads, but it's flat flat flat all the way. This is a great run, you can really open up to max cruise speed and hold it there all the way. If you've got somebody to latch onto and really race then even better - Sue managed a 10k PB on this course!
Yes, the best part - boxes and boxes of fresh fruit at the finish line! A1.