This was a first for me - a double weekend!
I was a little apprehensive as the British Parariathlon event was originally scheduled for a different weekend and was then moved to the day after the National Relays which I had already agreed to race.
This meant I had two teams that could be let down if things went wrong...HPU and Iain Dawson.
As you would have read the weeks leading up to this weekend had been riddled with injury
With a really strong field at the Nat Relays this was always going to be a tough race. We knew that as a team we had quality athletes but with the likes of TFN and Durham university among a few of the team names we knew there were some very strong individuals ready to race.
The event itself is and has always been (for the time Ive been there) an awesome event. Described by some as Glastonbury for triathletes (this year mainly because of the mud!) the atmosphere did it's best to keep the rain away but it was always going to be a losing battle.
With the HPU girls putting in a sterling performance in the morning it was left to Oli, Matt L Taz and I to try and better things in the afternoon.
After the Regional Relays I said that I would go last but knew that I would be up against some quick boys, especially on the run; with this in mind it was imperative that we all had strong swims and made the best out of the bike we could. I was expecting similar swim and run times with Oli Milk being the fastest on his feet and I was hoping to get the most out of my bike leg.
With the first swimmer starting in the water and not having to exchange the best way of evaluating your swim was to look at the others in your wave. I was disappointed to be about 36s off the fastest 4th leg swimmer (Ben Newman I think) but performed well in the team with the quickest swim (bar the 1st athlete whose times were about 1min quicker across the event compared to the rest of the athletes) 6:09 with a running entry/exit for the '400m' course.
The bike was where Oli and I would be the strongest and hoped to be able to pull back some places that we had dropped on the swim. I was hoping to go sub 20 but had problems getting my feet in to the pedals at the very beginning which probably cost me this achievement. I paced with a 20:12 for the 20k route and had a very strong battle with Ben Howard of Durham Uni who recently medalled at the Wchamps and placed highly at the National Champs. I was 6th in wave on the bike and fastest in team but also knew my weakest discipline was coming next.
The first and final run legs were the longest and the heavens opened up for both of them, in fact I think it was even hailing! Oli smashed the run with 17:24 and I was pretty happy with my 18:00 dead but only managed to pick up 1 place on the way in. I knew that there were some very quick runners in my leg and just could not keep with Tom Vickery who posted a 17:01.
We placed 13th overall which wasn't quite where we wanted to be; the top 6 were in a competition of their own with Ceepo TFn winning by almost 2 minutes, with the quality in their team through and through it was hard to see them being beaten - they have held it for the last 6 years or something....maybe next year!!!
For me, I had a race the next day as a Guide for Iain Dawson - report to follow.
After the race I managed to get a very good massage on my calfs (always sore!) and some very good stretching advice on trying to combat the problem, it was then off to the Holiday Inn for what I hoped to be a good nights sleep - however this was not to be with a group of idjiots playing football in the corridor until 2am. Im not quite sure what a bunch of wanna be gangsters wanted to keep shouting "what.....WHAT" for unless they were expressing their love for a small measure of electricity.
- As an ex-National League Basketball player I took up triathlon as a development from cross training. I won my first Sprint distance race and placed second in my first Olympic distance. Since then I have raced the UK Elite Superseries coming 24th in the National Elite Champs, raced Vegas 70.3 WChamps and helped Paratriathlete Iain Dawson to World, European and National Titles. In 2011 I obtained Pro authorisation from the BTF and am pushing my development by stepping up to top level competition in 2012. Aside from this I am a L1 Swim and Tri coach and Professional Lloyds Broker.