Well here we are 2016 season is now in full swing. Race reports coming in from all directions and everyone cramming in those extra training hours as ‘A’ races swiftly approach. For me this post race brief comes after my second high priority race of season for the European Triathlon Championships in Lisbon. Although winter may have been difficult with not being able to enjoy doing the training I wanted to do. My first couple of races hadn’t gone as bad as I was anticipating..particularly to note a medal in the Duathlon Europeans. In the weeks upto Lisbon I had began to put a good spell of training together. Granted I wasn’t feeling in as great shape as Geneva last year where I got the bronze medal. But it was a level better than at any point in the last 9months. Arriving trouble free in Lisbon a week prior to the race I could get cracking on with some exploring. Which to be honest is the main reason I do these events as it combines two of the things I enjoy in travel and racing.
Fellow Britcon race team mate Ben Baugh was racing on the Friday with myself on the Sunday. Which he proved great company as he had similar plans to myself in the days prior with hitting a few swim sets and the odd run to keep ticking over towards race day. Ben’s race came first with a solid 6th position in his age group. With next up the Elites with 5x World Champion Javier Gomez winning the title. It as ever seemed a age before my race came but by Sunday I was finally ready to go! The usual 4 am wake up call was a kind one this time, my body was in race mode and knew what was coming in the next few hours. Fortunately my hotel was only short walk across to the race to join the long 30min pointless wait stood in a start pen with 80 other athletes in the 1st wave. All mentally preparing for the chaos which would begin in the water as soon as the start horn blasts out.
With minutes to go we all entered the water- a sea water swim with multiple turn buoys (the point you can soon receive a kick to the face). The horn sounds after several minutes chorus of ‘two steps from hell’ (have a listen, it’s the perfect prerace start build up). For whichever reason my plan of a quiet swim start went to plan. Maybe not the quickest line to swim but I wasn’t having to fight 80 other athletes!
Exiting a comfortable/quiet swim avoiding drinking too much salt water I was happy with how the first discipline had gone. Onto the bike we were to be hitting the fast out & back up the motorway for 2x laps with only a dragging incline to contend (26.3miles rather than the usual 40k). During the 1hr 5mins on the bike I was more than happy with my progress, coming across names who I had never been close to in previous races….things must be going well went through my mind. With the second lap to the turn looking positive as I had put time into some good level athletes in the race. Yet most importantly I felt in control. Then question time came, off the bike into transition for the run. I had no idea how well I would be able to run but knew it’d be more difficult than last year’s best races. Onto the first lap, yes I didn’t feel my fastest but it was proving faster than most people. I’d quickly take maybe 5? positions in the opening 2.5k, encouraged on once passing GB athlete Angus Smith that I was in good position it was time to hunt down the podium! The 4 lap run didn’t pay much favours to me once waves behind entered the laps, you just couldn’t figure out where the competition was. All I knew was nobody had came past me and I was running past pretty much all in front of me.
The final time entering the MEO Arena for the finish I saw a 1.59.?? Damn it the sub 2hrs wasn’t happening on this course but it was great knowing I’m still close to that level of fitness. It took sometime before we knew finishing positions, but once posted it was confirmed that I’d have repeated the Bronze medal from last year. Which makes a not too bad record at these age group races with hopefully more progress to come. It was once again another great event with the GBR team in Lisbon and as always I’ve enjoyed meeting up with people you only see at these events 2-3 times a year. Now having pre qualified for Kitzbuhel-Austria 2017 (now that’s a location to race) I look forward to seeing you all again there. For any of you aiming to represent GB at these races – GO FOR IT. The whole build up and big race feel at these events is worth working for. Some races also seem to have the added location bonus too.
A special mention to Britcon as a new sponsor for me this year I hope this European Bronze medal goes some way to rewarding them for the support they have shown in me.