The following newsletter went out to all Cotswold 113 and Cotswold Classic 2021 competitors today :
Cotswold 113 & Cotswold Classic 2021 Newsletter
Good afternoon all
Happy new year, and I hope everyone’s well ?
It’s approaching the start of race season now, so in a departure to normal format, I’ve put together an update newsletter for all Cotswold 113 and Cotswold Classic 2021 competitors this year together just to bring you all up to speed on this summer’s events, and what to expect from us over the next few months in the run up to the races.
After this newsletter, we’ll send out 113 and Classic newsletters separately, so this is a generic one for both events.
For those of you that haven’t raced with us before, I tend to waffle on a bit in my emails as you will see as we get closer to the events as I think it’s important to get every bit of info out without leaving any doubts in your mind, but I’ll try and keep this one reasonably short.
Like the rest of you all, we have no idea how this summer is likely to pan out in terms of the impact of Covid. Things appear to be pointing in the right direction in some ways, but I think it’s safe to assume that we won’t be entirely out of the woods by the summer and we’ll have some level of social distancing restrictions in place.
Some of the more eagle eyed amongst you will have seen that for 2021, we have restricted entries to 1000 sign ups for each event, when we typically run with 1,250-1,300.
The reason for this is that, having run two ‘Covid Safe’ races at the end of the summer last year, we are totally confident that we can run it in a completely safe manner with 1000 sign ups, but not with 1,300.
Whilst I appreciate many other races are opening this year based on their traditional entry numbers on the assumption that things will be normal again, we want to be able to provide you all with a completely safe racing environment should we still have some form of restrictions in place, and although it might cost us the shirts off our backs, we want to be able to look back at the end of this pandemic and be able to hold our heads up high knowing that we did the right thing.
If, it looks like the summer might be going back to normal again, we will review whether or not to increase the numbers back to the normal level. I know that many of you have entered the now sold out June 113 and have friends that want to race with you that are now on the waiting list, and please be rest assured, that if we can increase the numbers to accommodate them, we will. However, we will want to be 100% sure that it’s safe to do so before we consider reviewing the entry numbers.
If, however, you want to guarantee you can race with them, the July 11th Cotswold Classic still has around 300 of 1000 slots remaining, and I can transfer you over to that race should the alternative date work for you also.
Course Familiarisation days
Normally, around 3-6weeks out from each race, we hold a free of charge familiarisation day. On these days, all competitors are welcome to come down to the Lake we race in completely free of charge, and we’ll offer a guided lap of the Swim, bike and run courses (They’re 1,2 and 3 laps on race day respectively, so this will not be even close to full distance)
The emphasis on these days are just about seeing and feeling the courses, getting a taste for the lake(not literally I hope) meeting other competitors, and meeting the 113 team so you can ask any questions you might have. They’re a nice sedate pace, and no one gets left behind.
We’re very much hoping we can do these this year, as from a purely selfish point of view, they’re a great chance for us to meet many of you in a relaxed environment as you don’t tend to get much interaction with competitors on race weekend beyond a nervous grunt or nod. The ability to run these days is going to be based purely on what’s happening with Covid restrictions/Group exercising, and we’ll email out as soon as we know what we can and can’t do with them. We don’t tend to fix the dates until nearer the time either as we have to fit around all the other stuff that the lake owners get booked in over the summer, but generally they’re 3-6weeks out from the two race days respectively.
We’re very aware that UK pools and open water Swim venues are currently closed.
Hopefully, team Boris will be reviewing things next month, and it will hopefully go back to a situation where pools, gyms and leisure facilities (ie open water Swimming) can happen again. I’m quite conscious that this will mean a reduced Swim block for many of you, and that lots of you are new to Middle Distance racing, so will naturally be quite nervous.
If it looks like Swimming won’t be happening again for some time, we have the option to offer up for everyone the swim options that we did for last August and Sept’s races:
What this means is that you will get an option to either start on the bike, or if you still want to Swim, we’ll put out a shorter (Approx 400m) course alongside the traditional 1,900m course that you can do as an alternative.
We’re very lucky that the lake is also very clear (it’s a Sand Stone quarry pit, which is a natural filter) and that there are a few places around the swim lap where you can actually stand up and take a break, so it suits the less confident swimmer well.
We’ll continue to review the information on pools re-opening, and guidance from the DCMS and decide on whether these options are going to be required, and perhaps put out a straw poll option for you all to get some feedback if it’s needed or not in a couple of months when we know more about how things are panning out.
If it looks like things are going to be normal-ish in the summer, I’ll also email out a questionnaire to you all and give you all the chance to vote on whether you would prefer the rolling start that we did last year where a competitors goes off every X seconds, or the traditional 113 way of 6 waves at 10 minute intervals, so effectively 6 mass starts.
Our races are very much for you guys, so we will try and include you in the decision making processes in these strange times as much as possible.
Waves and race numbers
About 4-6 weeks out from each race, you will get an email from me asking you if you would like to choose a specific race number (or a group of race numbers so you can be racked with your club/mates/family), and also a wave number should we not do a rolling start (see above)
Please can I ask that you await this email before requesting either as in the interest of fairness to everyone, it’ll be first come first served after that email, and until I get the start list completely fixed and frozen as an excel doc on my laptop, I can’t allocate waves or numbers yet anyway, so you’ll need to be patient please
With the reduced numbers that we ran with last summer, we tried an amended version of our bike course which changed around 20% of the loop. Like we do with everything at our races: post event, we debriefed with competitors, our team, councils, Police, BTF officials and local resident committees on how it went for all parties.
Parts of the change worked well, and parts less well.
Subsequently, we will have an adjusted version of this course in place for this year.
This V3.1 course will be available to roll out nearer to the event as there’s bits of road that we need commitment to resurface from the councils and various other stakeholder sign off on, but as soon as it’s fixed, I’ll let you all know and we’ll have maps and .gpx files available
I’ve ridden it a few times recently (the benefit of being local means I can ride there from home as part of my daily allowed exercise – For you Strava users, you won’t find it there as I didn’t upload it, sorry) and it’s decent and flows well.
One thing definitely remains though, and it’s still pancake flat
Right, that’s it for my waffle today.
We’re here to help, so if any of you get any questions or want any advice in the run up to the races, please just ask
The next newsletters that will be coming out will be event specific and in another 6 weeks or so.
In the meantime, please take good care of yourself, your families and see you all soon
Graeme, Nicci and the 113 Events team