Amateur Age Group Triathlete
Amateur Age Group Triathlete

Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action

roborobby roborobJun 29th 2013
Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action
The last 3 months have been not much else other than racing, recovering, quick bursts of training, then tapering, travelling, and racing again, and repeat. My club, Crystal Palace Triathletes, has been focused on getting results in the Triathlon London League, which with only a few races left to go is paying off nicely, as we are topping both the overall league and the "Mob Match". The aim of the league is to promote the events hosted by clubs in London, and foster some friendly rivalry between the clubs. The races vary a lot to one another, with a mix of aquathlons, duathlons and one triathlon, but all share in having a fantastic atmosphere given that the marshals and directors are usually mostly club members, and the local clubs usually put out good turnouts.

London League & Nottingham Sprint Triathlon

Despite being a lot of fun, the first batch of league races came in fairly close succession this year, and there was barely a moment to rest before the onslaught of the World champ qually races and European champs in June. I was feeling fresh and eager going into the first qually race at Nottingham, but left there feeling like i'd had the schooling of my tri career after coming in a lowly 19th in my AG (needed top 7 to qualify), despite clocking a sprint PB of 1:01.50. The quality of the field was immense, and it was clear that a lot of the very best age groupers in the country were looking for a spot at London! A 2nd place at the aquathlon the next day helped to restore confidence a little, but the fatigue was starting to kick in from the previous two months.

Alanya ETU European Championships

Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action
Turkey was a fantastic experience. Great weather, great GB crowd, and a nice straightforward race course with easily the most enjoyable swim leg of any race I have done to date, given that the Med was about 26 degrees meaning that wetsuits were banned, but so salty that the bouyancy felt like you had a wetsuit on. We were so spread out across the pontoon (pic below, although we started from in the water with one hand on the pontoon) that the swim was very calm, with none of the underwater fighting i was getting used to. So calm in fact that i think my mind must have wandered, as my swim split was pretty slow! The competition was equally high here as it had been at Nottingham, so I was pleased with 9th AG, and another sprint PB of 1:00.13 despite the slow swim.

We had only arrived in Tureky the day before the race, which ended up being plenty of time to register, recce and relax, and had the added bonus of being able to avoid the heat. For the World Champs in Auckland last October, I had landed a whole week beforehand in order to battle the jetlag, which meant a lot of loafing around. With Turkey, we were able to get in, get the race done, and then get some serious Vitamin D absorption and nutrition loading (the latter thanks to the all-inclusive Turkish buffet in the hotel!)
Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action
Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action

Bristol Harbourside Sprint Triathlon

Alanya ETU Euro Champs; Qualifying for the GB AG team for the London World Champs; and London League Action
Back in the UK, and I was down to two last chances to qualify for London: Bristol, and Llandudno the following weekend. Fatigue have left my immune system in pieces, and a nasty virus was doing its worse. It was touch and go as to whether I would bother with Bristol, but decided it was best to get out there and give it everything, and hope that I could do enough to qualify and therefore not have to race again the week after. The swim was a tight course with three sharp turns, and there was a fair amount of argy-bargy (although nothing like the smash-fest that was Nottingham). Having a chesty cough meant I could hardly breathe, and had to stop twice. I thought about throwing in the towel, which got me moving again just from being annoyed with myself for being so defeatist! The bike was a double out and back on a flat dual carriageway, with an interesting twisty section up and down a slip road. There was a lot of drafting which is very irritating and completely avoidable even though the course was fairly congested. Luckily the refs were hot on this (perhaps a little too hot, as i know a few honest racers who got caught up in other people drafting and penalised as well), and 40+ time penalties and even DQs were issued. I made an effort to keep the power at an uncomfortable level (thanks to all the Wattbike training my coach has had me doing), and managed to stay ahead of the drafting pack. The run was an off-road out and back, with a few ups and downs to negotiate. The legs felt fine, but the lungs had gone, as i deposited disgusting amounts of snotty phlegm along the route (apologies for the details but i couldn't think of a nicer way of putting it!). With 500m to go, a couple of guys edged past me. I had no idea which AG they were in, but had to assume they were in mine, so i held onto them, and waited until i had 300m to go before hitting the afterburners (luckily I had recced the entire run course as part of the warm-up so knew where the finish was). The two guys responded, but i managed to hold them off. Crossed the line, hit stop on the watch, and looked down to see 1:05.22. First thought was that i'd completely screwed it, given that Nottingham was a failure with 1:01.50, Turkey was 1:00.13 which was only good for 9th, and i needed a top 5 here to qualify!

My poor wife Emily had to deal with a husband acting like a 2 year old having a sulk, as i despaired over how i could possible get healthy and race fit in time for yet another race in 6 days. Tragedy turned to elation when the provisional results put me in 5th AG (later amended to 3rd after a DQ and a penalty above me). The guys that i had raced to the line had therefore provisionally not qualified, and had to wait 48hrs before finding out they had made the cut. I felt like i had been on an emotional rollercoaster during those 20 or so minutes, so i can only imagine what it had been like for them!

It later transpired that both the bike and run were over distance, which accounted for the longer times at Bristol. It's surprising that such a focus event can get the distance of the run so wrong, especially when considering the turn point on the run was just a mark on the path.

Race Results April - June:

Jun 23rd Bristol Sprint (ITU World Champs Qually; 3rd M30-34)
Jun 15th Alanya ETU Triathlon European Championships Sprint (In Turkey - 9th M30-34)
Jun 9th Thorpe Sprint Southeast Series - Race 2 (6th overall)
Jun 2nd Windrush Aquathlon (London League -2nd overall)
Jun 1st Nottingham Sprint (ITU World Champs Qually; 19th M30-34; 80th overall!))
May 21st J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship (In New York; 5.6k; 19m:54s 36th)
May 19th Crystal Palace Triathlon (London League - 2nd overall)
May 12th Norwood Paragon 25mile Time Trial (1h:02m:29s)
May 11th Dulwich Parkrun 5k (PB 16m:59s)
Apr 28th Ful-On Duathlon (London League - 11th overall)
Apr 21st Kingfisher Aquathlon (London League - 13th overall)
Apr 14th Dragon Slayer Duathlon (London League - 1st overall)
Apr 1st Thames Turbo Sprint race 1 (London League - 9th overall)

Next Steps

So that was it; job done. Qualified for London; no need to race Llandudno (a shame in a way as the venue looks stunning in the pictures); a full week to rest up; and now over 2 months of hard graft to make London my best sprint tri yet. I'll give you 5 words to sum up how i'm feeling:

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