Booking was pretty easy as was making sure I was in the same wave as my friend. All the info on the website was great as was the handy videos they posted prior to the event with tips in. The expo was good as were the free entry I got to the tri show and bike show in the months leading up to the even.
Getting to the excel was straightforward on bike, I'd imagine driving would be difficult though given lack of parking and extensive road closures. Once arrived getting bikes racked etc was pretty painless.
I did the ladies sprint which was a great atmosphere and a really nice dip of the toe into tri. The race briefing left a little to be desired as once all in the water the course was pretty unclear; after much pre klaxon chatter most of us worked it out. The swim was a nice enough setting with some good support and exiting the water was easy enough as was transition (well...as easy as transition can be!). A big tip is NOT to take the first bag on offer but move down the ramp a little and give yourself some space.
Trying to find your bike in the utter mass of bikes in the excel whilst full of adrenaline and soaking wet was interesting but amusing. Lots of different bikes adorned the excel, mostly road bikes but with a smattering of fancy tri ones and some brave soles on hybrids. The cycle route was pretty gutty around industrial docklands and it took some thinking to count laps and get transition right. The run wasn't much better - two laps of an up and down through the excel but the support was great and water in abundance.
The finish line was great inside the excel, the atmosphere was buzzing and being greeted by some non alcoholic beer at the end was a nice touch! The medal was nice enough but the photos and finish line video were extortionate, especially considering the cost of entry.
I've signed up again so clearly the pros outway the cons. It's easy to get too with a great atmosphere and many people just trying to better themselves in a variety of distances. It is a little on the expensive side so I've signed up early this year to get some discount! I'll be taking every benefit which gets offered too!...tri show entry etc I won't be paying £50 for photos though!