Review: Juliana Strega

It was certainly odd jumping onto the Strega. You know the familiarity you get from jumping onto your own bike – how it will respond and where to put your weight. Despite having never ridden the Strega before, or any Juliana bike for that matter, I felt comfortable and confident on it.

The Rockshox Lyrik fork & Super Deluxe shock were set up for my weight, so it felt good to not be battling with a coil over various terrain. Air suspension is definitely one of my favourite developments in mountain bikes as I’ve never been able to put the weight behind coil suspension and use it to it fullest.

The SRAM Eagle drivetrain was something to get use to. I’m so use to being able to change up and down the cassette quickly, that I needed to remember I only had a single chain ring on the front and a big cassette to go through on the rear. The Eagle did however help get up the long climb Lundy took us up on our demo ride. 

The Rockshox Reverb dropper post was another thing to get use to, since I’ve not got one on my own mountain bike. I’d be going down descents with the seat still up, but the bike was still easy to handle. Granted, it was much easier to handle when the seat was down. There was enough space to move my weight around and the geometry only made this easier. It made the bike playful and this will have helped with its confidence boosting handling of the terrain. I did find the bike hard to get back onto on that long climb though if the seat was still up! (Short leg problems…)

After having a few dramas with SRAM brakes in the past (being a nightmare to maintain) I wasn’t sure how I would get on with them. I’ll admit, since changing to Shimano XT’s on my downhill bike I’ve been able to one finger brake. With my old Avid’s I couldn’t, and with the SRAM Code brakes on the Juliana I had the same issue. I just don’t seem to get on with the big levers on the SRAM brakes. Saying that, they were extremely powerful brakes. It was just the levers I couldn’t get on with.

As I said in my previous blog post, part of the ride was on terrain that was almost like a patchwork of slippy and grippy conditions. If by chance the bike was close to sliding out, it would soon bounce back onto the line you had chosen. It put the same smile on my face as my downhill bike does. The only difference was, this was a bike that would feel comfortable in a bike park as much as on a trail. With a bike this light, either was possible. 

I just wanted to keep riding it. 

The Strega just felt right. I’ve never previously got onto a bike that just seems to fit straight away. Even the handlebar width was spot on. The Strega I rode was at 770mm. I’ve always had to mess around with my bikes to get them to fit. I did a lot one Winter to my downhill bike to set it up right. I don’t think I’d need to change anything on the Strega.

Juliana Demo Day with Alf Jones Cycles

I’ve rarely heard of women-only demo days, but this is the approach Alf Jones Cycles have taken to allow their customers to try the vibrant Juliana range. With the new Strega on the list of bikes to demo, it was going to be one of the first chances to try out their 170mm travel bike. Yoga, food and coaching was also on the cards so it was definitely going to be a jam-packed day.

With the day based at One Giant Leap Llangollen, all of the bikes were racked at the top of the finish field on what was a gloomy start to the day. All of the women got set up with the bike they wished to demo and the day kicked off with some coaching off Ally from Campbell Coaching. 

I was lucky enough to get one of two small Strega’s, which was launched recently. However, having spent a lot more time on the road bike than mountain bike, I was unsure how I’d get on through the day. I was definitely happy to not be riding my hardtail with everyone on full suspension bikes. 

The Strega however became a real confidence booster. 

At half ten we made our way over to the skills area, which is hidden away in the woods at One Giant Leap, Llangollen. Ally started from the bottom up by making sure everyone’s feet were level when descending on trail with a slight gradient. She highlighted where to put your weight in different situations as well as going off small drops with ease. Her main focus was ensuring everyone was in control of the bike they were riding and not the bike being in control of them. 

Everyone was making their way down the trail multiple times to try and get better each time, so much so we were nearly late for the uplift. 

Now hands up who is the worst for faffing? I most certainly am guilty for that and that there was plenty going on before our ride out on the Juliana’s. I had to pick up a bag as I didn’t put a bottle cage onto the Juliana. Making sure I had enough bug spray on. Checking a million times my bag was shut. Ha!

The ride I’m talking about is a guided route from Andy Lund alongside Ally Campbell on the bridelways near the Llangollen downhill tracks. I couldn’t tell you exactly where we went, purely due to the fact of me not knowing, but I can tell you there were some descents that came as a surprise. You would turn off country lanes and all of a sudden find yourself on crazy descents that you could possibly find at Revolution Bike Park (just slightly less gnarly). I just seemed to get on with it on board the Strega. No second guessing something. I focussed on a line and the Strega stuck to it. Every time I thought it was going to spin out, the Strega would bounce back straight to keep me on my line. 

The Strega was a confidence booster and made it feel like I’d been regularly riding mountain bikes for weeks, which I’d definitely not been doing.

The route popped out into various villages, even on part of the Chirk Triathlon route, then swerve off onto dirt tracks that would soon become almost singletrack. Small rock slabs turning the trail into a patchwork of slippy and grippy conditions. You had to play poker in terms of where you put your tyres. 

Then there was a rather large climb.

And I mean large.

The Strega had been getting up previous climbs fine, especially as I had the use of a dropper post. A dropper post I kept forgetting to drop mind thanks to not having one on my mountain bike. It’s just something I’ve never had to think about! I still managed to get down the odd descent ok with the seat still up. 

The long climb was like a rain damaged fire road up onto some moors, with baby pheasants running round everywhere. I never really thought there was a difference between mountain bike fitness and road bike fitness. There’s definitely a difference. So the rather long climb and my struggles to conquer it were more down to my lack of mountain bike fitness.

So I survived and managed to get to the top of the hill. Lundy informed me the Strega is more of a bike you have to just power up to the top on. Short climbs it still felt incredibly efficient, but I was struggling up that extremely long climb! I suppose using it to go up familiar climbs, I would maybe see the difference.  

Thankfully the long climb made way for a long descent. I got arm pump on the descent, but I didn’t feel like I was battling with the bike at all. The benefits of air suspension I guess! And a carbon bike. And an up to date bike…ha!

We made our way back to the finish field of the downhill tracks with stomach’s rumbling due to it being past 3 o’clock, so food was first on the cards before anything else. Very good food at that. No BBQ in site, but lots of pasta and wraps containing food all colours of the rainbow. I ate way too much, but I was just so hungry!

There was a chance to go up the hill on the uplift, but I was way to tired to try out the Strega on the downhill tracks. Some of the girls tried the final drops, but I knew I needed to stop riding. 

There was still yoga off Bodhi Movements to finish off the day. Doing which, I realised I needed to do yoga more often.

Thankfully the day turned from a gloomy start to a sunny Sunday evening where yoga on mats in a field just felt good to do. 

I was so tired at the end of the day, but had finally got the chance to see what the Juliana hype was all about. Thank you to everyone who was helping out on the day! I’d recommend any future demo days by Alf Jones Cycles in the future!

Why not drop them a vote in the Cycling Weekly ‘Britain’s Best Bike Shop‘ poll?

British National TT Championships, Isle of Man

It’s sometimes the shorter the trip is, the more you remember. You still try to squeeze as much in, but you’re still determined to go back.

No sooner was I being thrown back into my seat at the start of the runway at Liverpool Airport, I was landing in the Isle of Man. That little island in the middle of the Irish Sea. The sea water as blue as anything, and country lanes winding through the rolling fields. It takes us 20 minutes to get from one side of the island to the other. Specifically to … where the British National TT Championships were being held. Ryan was racing and I was just there to wander around with my camera.


Waiting for his race slot was tense. He was helping the now National TT Champion, Claire Rose, by going in her team car at midday. But he still had the rest of the day to try and occupy himself because it wasn’t like he could even go and ride his bike.

I was stupidly in the Isle of Man without my bike, which is the worst mistake anyone could make by the way! The U23 girls were set up on Turbo-Trainers to warm-up. The women were sorting their race kit. It took me back to when I raced downhill. It made me miss racing…a lot. Maybe I’ll find some Time-Trials that aren’t on Dual Carriageways to try…

The day passed with the results racking up:

Women’s National Champion: Claire Rose

Claire 2.jpg

U23 Women’s National Champion: Anna Christian

U23 Men’s National Champion: Scott Davies

There was only the men’s race left now.

With part of the course going along the coast, that’s where I decided to head. I couldn’t really do much at race HQ so I thought I may as well go and take some photos when Ryan is racing. There was the small task of the 4 mile walk there though. I suppose I could have ran it but without running trainers and a camera in my bag…that wouldn’t have been the best idea!

I’d walked quite away when I asked one of the marshals which was the quickest way to the coast road. They pointed me in the right direction, but then offered to drive me there. Lifesavers! So at the coast much quicker than anticipated, I just needed to find a decent spot to photograph the riders. A tip to myself for next time I’m doing this? Wear more appropriate shoes/clothes. Shorts weren’t the best idea for walking through long grass…

I may also end up on TV in my bright yellow Timberland jacket…o dear!

I managed to find a good spot on a bend called ‘Devil’s Elbow’ and was waiting for Ryan to come past. For some random reason I’d got it in my head his start time was 19.07. It was actually 18.54, so you can imagine me trying to rush to press the shutter when he came past earlier than I’d expected! Thankfully I still managed to get some photos.


The hour he was racing was possibly the most tense I had been for a while. The two times he came past (they were doing two laps of the one lap course the women did) I couldn’t figure out whether he felt good on the bike or was struggling.


It was a good while before I knew how he’d got on as well with the signal being touch and go on the island. Once he’d come past the second time, I made my way back to the race HQ, which I had to walk this time. It was a pretty long walk with a camera in my bag, but surprisingly I didn’t get lost. My memory of certain roads must be getting better!

When I finally got back to the race HQ I found he’d finished the course in 1 hour 4 minutes, which was exactly the time he wanted to achieve. What a relief! Steve Cummings became the National Champion with a time of 57 minutes and 18 seconds.

We then had the task of finding food at 9 o’clock at night, which isn’t as easy as it sounds! Even the chip shops were shut, but thankfully a Chinese was still open. We clearly have strong athlete diets…ha!

Look out for my next blog post where we explored Peel before having to head back on the ferry (boo!).

Where did all of the trees go?

So those bikes with spongy forks and knobbly tyres do still exist. Those things called mountain bikes! With my exams out the way I can finally have my life back. 

Saturday morning was the first time I’d got out of a car at Llandegla to be hit by hot and not cold temperatures, and there was a fairly big group of us to get to the top!

A steady climb to the top was followed by a few surprised faces. The trees had gone! No longer is there a tree lined start to the descent, but instead open hillside scattered with tree stumps. With it being such a clear day, it opened up a new view from the top that was pretty special. It did mess with my head though…I couldn’t figure out which part of the trail I was on .

It was such a relaxed ride where I could catch up with everyone. There were new faces on the ride and familiar faces I had a lot of catching up to do with! I always feel guilty for not seeing them more, but nothing ever changes when I do see them! Apart from the fact one has a super cute baby, who I hope is enjoying their first Father’s Day. And the loveliest couple ever having lots of holidays planned. With one of those holidays being Whistler…I’m a little jealous!

We would sometimes spilt up to do different sections of trail, but meeting up at the cafe to have burgers meant we could re-group again. For £6.95, the BBQ is a bargain as not only is there quality meat (I’m sure there’s veggie options too!) you can pile your plate with salad. On busy weekend days, there’s less waiting for your food too. It’s a no brainer really. 

This is only a short post, but how can you not write about such a beautiful day? I could catch up with friends and my brother. It was just overall a good day and what mountain biking should be. Friends and fun times. However, Ryan’s morning ride wasn’t so stress free after breaking a spoke. Luckily it happened in Llandegla village, so I could give home a lift home!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and didn’t get some rather dodgy tan lines like me! Including some elbow pads tan lines and a white X on my back. For the places I did remember to put sun cream on though, the Nivea Protect and Refresh sun spray worked really well. And it was only Factor 20!

Cafe’s worth stopping at this weekend…

Since being introduced to the world of road rides and cafe stops, I’ve slowly developed a list of fool-proof places to visit and refuel when out on a ride. With the weather supposedly on its way this weekend, why not visit one and let me know if you love them too! After all, a sunny ride out isn’t complete without a cafe stop!

1.T.H. Roberts Coffee Shop, Dolgellau

Espresso brownies – for that extra kick in the morning, get them here #megqueenofcakes #throberts #coffeetime #brownies #yumminess #good

A post shared by T H Roberts coffee shop (@t.h_roberts_siopcoffi) on

If you’re looking for a good breakfast to fuel your day on the bike, then this is the place to be. You get so much food!! The coffee is amazing and the hot chocolates come with all of the cream and marshmallows you could ask for. With a quirky interior and relaxed atmosphere, it will definitely be a place we revisit.

2. Ty Coffi, Bala


The ‘Seven Gates’ route we took near Bala was definitely not a forgiving one, so finding this little gem of a coffee shop was a relief. Be warned to not let your eyes convince you into eating everything. The food was perfect, but the ride back was tough on a full stomach. Located on the high street in Bala, the multiple tables outside (and in) easily fill up, but it’s certainly worth a visit!

3. Jemoley’s, Penyffordd

If you have children to occupy (whether out on the bikes or not), this little cafe is perfect! Like with all of the cafe’s in this post, I can say the food & coffee is great. Ryan goes for the Eggs Benedict every time! The quirky part to this cafe is that it’s also a Ceramic’s Studio. They can paint anything from mugs and plates to little ornaments of animals.

4. The Old Fire Station Cafe, Malpas

On the main street in Malpas, this would be a perfect stop if you’re making your way through the Cheshire country lanes. The staff were lovely and their sausage butties and cake will be what drag me and Ryan back there. It is worth noting however that they’re closed on Sundays, so maybe pay a visit on a Saturday or mid-week ride out.

5. La Reina Tea Shop, Rhos on Sea

The most recent addition to my list, this hidden little coffee shop is a great stop if you’re cycling along the North Wales Coastal Path. Although, be warned, the many gifts and quirky house decor items in there are rather tempting to buy! With it being a little hidden, it’s great for a quiet cup of tea. If you do pay a visit, I’d recommend trying the bacon sandwiches! There’s none of these tiny pieces of bacon you get from the supermarket, but really thick medallions of it.

6. Chocks Away Diner, Hawarden

Now, warning, cheesy sentence coming your way! This was actually the first cafe me and Ryan rode out to. It’s somewhere I’d always wanted to visit, and he knew the way ha! We did take a little while to get out on the bikes together, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to keep up ha! By the photo, you might be thinking this cafe isn’t exactly like any other cafe. That’s because it isn’t. It’s on the end of a runway! You have to go past security guards (who are kind by the way!) to get to it. Located at Hawarden Airport, it’s great if you want great food and a cafe that’s a little different. It’s fairly large too, so great for group rides.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whether bikes are involved or not. 

Running into the Irish Sea

Half 6 was rather an early time to be woken up on the Sunday morning, but Ryan had the start line of a TT to be on for his race slot at 8.45. 

I waited for the first 15 minutes while he covered the 10 mile TT course in St Asaph. The last 5 minutes were me anxiously waiting to see if he’d get a sub 20 minute finish time or not. He did…just…at 19 minutes 52 seconds. The fastest he’s ever been on the course despite the strong winds. 

Averaging 30 mph isn’t exactly an easy task I guess.

An early start did mean we still had most of the day left to fill, which we’d do cycling along the coastal path.

The sea going from a dull blue rippled by the wind to a rich emerald every time the sun popped out from behind the clouds.

Seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves or flapping like crazy against the sea breeze and getting nowhere. 

The path twisting and turning along the coast with a new view around the corner. The odd steep piece of path with the potential to catch you out if you were in the wrong gear. 

Waves crashing against the rocks. The sounds of which I could listen to all day.

The rhythmic splashing as the waves go back and to.

Countless amounts of dogs dragging their owners to every new smell they pick up with wagging tails to match. 

A main road not too far away, but we were to pre-occupied with the sight of the sea.

Taking a break in a quaint coastal tea shop, full of unique & detailed gifts you’d struggle to find anything similar anywhere else.

Nautical scarves, photo frames and little trinkets with seaside quotes on the side like,

“Love anchors the soul.”

Filling ourselves with bacon butties and pots of tea.

Not those pathetic thin pieces of bacon, but the type you’d only find in a local butchers.

A tailwind pushing us back to the point at which we started.

Only to finish by running barefoot into the crashing waves as they crawled further and further up the pebbled beach.

Sand trickling between our toes and waiting with anticipation to see how big the next wave was going to be.

Our spontaneous trip into the sea was without spare clothes and towels after all…

And we’d be silly to expect the Irish Sea to be anything but cold. 

Just doing without a care for the consequences.

Every laugh and crashing wave making any worry, no matter how small, become insignificant. 

The pebbles warm as we walked back to the car park, but sharp at times against my wet and sandy feet meaning I had a piggy back to the van.

The seaside now bustling with people compared to the ghost town it appeared to be when we’d first arrived earlier that day. 

Fords and Lamb Tails

I’ve not written on here for a while and I’m really sorry about that! Being in the middle of exams my mind has been on other things, but I couldn’t leave it any longer.

I was still unsure on whether to go out when I woke up this morning. Surely I should get some more revision done? Yet waking up to more awful news, it only highlighted how important it is to find the balance between working and living is.

So I was off with the plan of going to Llangollen and back, although my legs were not a huge fan of my decision! It was clear I’d not ridden up any big hills for a while.

Thankfully it was sunny. I doubt I would have got very far if it was raining, especially with my legs aching minutes in.

It felt almost alien being on my bike with the amount of swimming I’ve been doing lately. It’s mad how the tables of turned. I’ve always loved cycling and running with swimming being ok. I could swim, but for all of one length. Now I’d say my swimming is stronger than my run!

I’ve always had an issue with one side of my body being stronger than the other, particularly my core. However, I think swimming is slowly sorting this out. Thanks to a Swim2Fit session at Total Fitness, where he coach got me breathing on both sides. 

This was one of the things that felt alien on the bike, my core seemed to be working differently than normal. Or maybe all of what I’ve just said is some random theory I’ve made up and it’s just absence from cycling being the issue! 

So I’m cycling along, legs hurting, but it was just nice to be outside. That’s the only thing with revision, it never really works outside.

It was a quiet Sunday morning and it was becoming a pleasant solo ride. Sometimes solo rides and time to yourself become rather enjoyable, whether you think you need time away from everything or not. I could change route whenever and explore places I’d not seen yet. I was crossing my fingers however that I wouldn’t get lost!

That’s why I’ve been swimming so much lately. It doesn’t require a lot of thinking. I can completely switch off in the pool. I did the same on my bike. All that was on my mind was what turning to take next! Not Airframe materials or the construction of aircrafts. I love those topics, but sometimes you just need a break! 

I was meandering through the moors towards World’s End, which isn’t all that far from Llandegla. The further I got into the hills, the quieter it became. Little fluffy lambs and their full tummies still with fur that’s crystal white. Some would dart off into the heather, others would stare at me in horror having no idea where to run. My legs were already dead at this point, so it’s not like I was going very fast!

I would have loved to take some photos of them, but I think it was a better idea to keep my legs turning the pedals…

It was soon time to start the descent towards Llangollen, but there was the tackling of a Ford to get across first…which thankfully happened with no dramas! So I could relax and carry on down the country lanes with scrag rock dominating the skyline on one side, and tall trees on the other.

The temptation to take photos was too much! I wish I could find a small enough DSLR to carry round with me on my bike though. iPhone photos never really do Wales justice!

Getting towards Crow Castle in Llangollen, I wanted to visit a cafe Ryan’s mentioned in the past. It was a lovely cafe, but didn’t take cards. And my card is all I had. So I had to cope with a banana and a Cliff Bar I’d thankfully packed instead. The kettle would be going on as soon as I got home however!

Rather than head to the Horseshoe Pass like I’d originally planned, I decided to stick to the country lanes to make my way back towards home. I just wish I could have navigated my route a bit better so I could stay on the country lanes longer. 

The route ended up being 38 miles, which is the longest route I’ve done for a while. I got home eventually…

Fields of Gold

A pootle around some country lanes to loosen up Ryan’s legs for the following day, Saturday night’s ride was by no means a training ride. It was more of a bike ride I guess. The kind you went on as kids and just generally fooling around.

After picking up some ASSOS shorts from Alf Jones Cycles to demo, it was good to be able to ride in a jersey and not a jacket. Granted arms and knee warms were also worn, but it was fairly mild for an evening of cycling. It’s the first time I’ve tried ASSOS shorts, and our 18 mile loop was by no means a ‘hardcore’ test, but I was impressed. On the majority of cycling shorts and leggings I’ve used previously there’s been a seam down the outside of the leg, which I find can restrict me during each pedal stroke. The material can’t stretch very well. With the ASSOS shorts the seam goes almost around the legs, so where I’ve been restricted before, I wasn’t. It was a much more comfortable ride.

Once I’d figured out a good position for my knee warmers, I didn’t need to worry about my shorts rising up. 

With them being bib shorts, I didn’t have to worry about my jersey rising up and getting a cold back. Since using my Mavic bib longs, I’ve got rather use to this feature when out on my bike!

Ryan got on with his shorts too:

“On putting on the shorts I noticed that the cut was slightly different from anything I’ve worn before (and I’ve worn a lot of cycling shorts) The front of shorts is a little lower than normal and the bibs attach at a wider point. This felt a little odd at first, but once I got on the bike it all made sense. The lower front means that once you’re bent over in a riding position nothing digs in and the wider bibs sit nicely on the side of your waist rather than straight up your chest like normal. The rest of the short was faultless; the shorts were well fitted, but not too tight and gave a nice compression feel. The minimalistic leg grippers were spot on and there was no worry of the shorts riding up. And saving the best until last, the chamois (pad) is incredible! Like nothing else I’ve ever ridden in. It sits nicely in the shorts and hugs the body really well (in fact there is areas of the chamois that are left unstitched to the shorts to allow it to fit the contours of your body better) Comfy but not bulky, ASSOS have found the perfect happy medium. Even without using chamois cream (which I usually wouldn’t ride without) the shorts felt mega comfy and are just asking for you to do more miles!” – Ryan

The rest of the ride consisted of rapeseed fields, trying not to swallow flies and trying to out sprint each other. I lost count of how many times I had to stop after getting a fly in my eyes! 

I’m feeling a bit lost after my Triathlon since I don’t really have anything to train for. Yet, quiet rides on Saturday evenings when most are on the sofa are fun and relaxed to do. 

​Free next weekend?

Fancy trying out some ASSOS kit or fancy road bikes?
Why not come down to Alf Jones Cycles and join in the fun on their demo weekend!

Review: Speedo Tri-Suit


Speedo Tri-Suit Review, courtesy of Simply Swim

Going into my first Triathlon was a bit like going into the unknown. I had no clue how my body would react to it or if there was any special kit I needed. It was a sprint distance Tri in a swimming pool, so thankfully I didn’t need to splurge out on a wetsuit! However, I did need a Tri-Suit.

I was looking around on the Internet and trying to figure out what size and brand I should go for, then the opportunity arose to review one for swim shop, Simply Swim. Looking through their website it felt like I’d struck gold. A reasonably priced Tri-Suit by Speedo. It looked great online and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to the pink stripes on it! I knew I wanted a predominantly black suit, but I like to keep things a bit colourful too!

When it arrived I was surprised how well it fitted my athletic body shape. I’m forever struggling with sizing due to my broad shoulders and chunky cyclist quads. The only query I did have was how I would deal with the thin padding on the bike. The padding can’t obviously be as bulky as normal cycling shorts, or it would just fill with water!

On the morning of the Tri, I was eager to get into my Tri-Suit and race. Luckily I was one of the first off so I was soon in the pool. I’d only trained in the pool in a normal swimming costume, so I was surprised how comfy and non-restricting swimming in the Tri-Suit was. Due to the wide panel that goes between the shoulders, I thought this may restrict my shoulders. However, the more you look at it, the outer parts of that panel are mesh, meaning the main section sit right in between my shoulder. Hence, little restriction whilst swimming.

There is also another mesh section a bit further down the back and in the centre. I felt this also aided the swim, allowed me to get into my normal position on the bike, as well as accommodating the slight twisting of the upper body on the run.

Riding through the Glyn Ceiriog Valley and out on the run, I was expecting the legs of the Tri-Suit to rise a fair bit. I have this dilemma with my cycling shorts quite a bit! But I can genuinely say I had no issues with the Tri-Suit legs rising up, which is most likely thanks to the grips on the inside of the legs. With some women complaining about discomfort in their suits, I’d obviously chosen my Tri-Suit well!

All of the seaming is overlocked meant I had no issue with discomfort from the suit rubbing on my skin as I put all my effort into getting round. The thin padding I mentioned previously did its job particularly well too. Granted it was only around 14 miles on the bike, but the majority of that was sitting down.

For the £80 it was being sold for, you are definitely getting a lot for your money. It’s clearly designed around the task in hand as well as comfort for the athlete using it. I’m even considering getting a swim suit to train in, as I was much more comfortable swimming in my Tri-Suit than my normal swim suit.

For a newbie to Sprint Triathlon’s like me, this suit was perfect to get me round my first Triathlon, and most importantly make me want to do another one!

Find out how I got on during the Triathlon through the link below, as well as my first thoughts on the Tri-Suit when it arrived and its detailing…

Chirk Tri

First Thoughts on a Speedo Tri-Suit

Chirk Tri – Fuelled by Easter Eggs

It finally came around, the race that I’ve been gambling on about for months…

My first Triathlon.

And…drumroll… I completed it, which when I could barely swim 25m last October, was all I ever wanted to do.

Going into it I genuinely had no idea how it would turn out. I was doing a typical me and overthinking and over planning everything. In my head, I wanted to wear socks for the bike and run. I needed gloves and a jacket for the ride so I didn’t get cold. I was going to put a Buff on to stop my wet hair dripping down my back.

What happened in the transition from swim to bike?

I left transition with no socks, no jacket, no Buff and no gloves. I was venturing out into the valley to Glyn Ceiriog in a wet Tri-Suit. Nice one Lucy…nice one…ha!

Off out on the bike there was a long drag uphill to the half way point. A climb which looks less steep than it actually is, so it’s easy for it to play with your mind. You feel like you’re struggling a lot more than you should be. I felt a lot stronger than I thought I would be and on the descent I would only feel stronger as the climb was now a descent. It was such a great road to race on. There was a final kick up a hill heading back up to Chirk, where I was expecting my legs to hurt a fair bit, but I somehow just breezed up it. I think I was on such a high after the swim my legs just kept going!

The swim isn’t actually something I’ve spoken about first, despite it coming first in the Tri! So how did that go?

Interesting to say the least.

I may have misheard, but I’m sure someone said the pool was shallow at both ends, but it wasn’t. I push off for my first length and get to the other side of hot pool. It reach for a bar and go to put my feet on the bottom of the pool. The floor was nowhere to be seen along with the bar. Well done Lucy, you’ve nearly drowned and you’ve done one length. Ha! Thankfully I managed to grab onto the side and carry on!

But after a few lengths another swimmer past me and as I went to breath, rather a lot of water went into my mouth. Thankfully I was still in a shallow part of the pool when that happened, or god knows how that would have ended. After that point, all the swimming techniques went out the window and I just wanted to get out on my bike. Next minute, a sign with the lovely number 2 on meant I had two lengths left. I quickly sped up and was soon out of the pool!

The biggest hurdle of the Triathlon for me was done. After what was always going to be the strongest parts for me, the bike, it was back into transition for the run. It did involve me stopping dead at the dismount line though after forgetting about it!

Transition from bike to run was interesting. Despite me feeling strong on the bike, I was freezing cold! The downhills on the way back meant in transition I could barely feel my hands or feet. Have you ever tried to put running shoes onto your wet feet that you no longer have any feeling in? Don’t. It’s near damn impossible. I apologise to anyone who was around me at that point in transition…ha!

Being as cold as I was, I picked up my cycling jacket (to run…I know I’m mad), my gloves and a Buff. The first part of the run felt rather odd because it felt like all of the blood was rushing back to my legs. I still couldn’t warm myself up though.

At this point I put on my Buff as a headband. From my training runs I normally put a Buff on now to stop my hair going in my face, but I also found it raised my body temperature quite a bit  if I put it over my ears. So my Buff became invaluable during the run on my Tri. My body temperature quickly warmed up and I could get round the 2.6 mile run to the finish.

Running took a back seat in training vernthe past few weeks. My swimming was important and I’d spent a lot of time at Crit races and a TT. The time had past and it dawned on me how little I’d been out running. Yet, when my Garmin bleeped showing my first mile was a 8:22 my pace wasn’t as bad as I’d thought.

Similarly to a Duathlon I did last October, when I realised I could possibly get a sub hour and a half time, I made sure I picked up the back on the last downward stretch to the finish. I was in nowhere near of a state as I was for the Duathlon at the finish either. I was just on a massive high from the whole thing. Something that had been on my Bucket List for so long was now ticked off. And I think I may even do another one…

My family have been amazing since I booked onto the Tri. Thinking I’m mad when I’ve come back from a long run or a tough swim session. I’m just glad I managed to finish it to make all of the training worthwhile. I may have splashed and struggled at times, but I kept my race face mentality with the only thing on my mind being the finish. Ryan’s been the biggest support and I definitely couldn’t have done it without him. Not letting me have too many lazy days and taking me on long days out on the bike.

Everyone at Chirk Tri did amazingly today from the competitors to those involved in running the event. We can’t forget the Marshals either! Their smiling faces were a big encouragement on the way round.

I was so nervous at the start, but the women who were swimming at the same time as me were full of encouragement. It definitely helped when the whistle went to start swimming.

The way I’ve rambled on, anyone would think I’d done a marathon! To everyone doing the London Marathon or anything active, whatever your reason behind doing it, keep it up & well done!

Finishing in 1 hour 26 minutes? I’m happy with that.

I just need to find something else to train for now…but look out for future blog posts where I review the kit that got me through my first Triathlon: