So back in May 2016 I headed to Copenhagen for the European Long Distance Duathlon Champs with Wendy in support and the rest of the GB Age Group Team. I was nervous of the expectation to perform and although training had been going well, I had only picked up my new Giant Trinity Advanced a couple of weeks before the event, thanks to Stophe and the team at Contour Cycles Stevenage and this was my first full race at the 10 km, 60km, 10km format.
We had a great weekend making new friends with many of the team especially the South London Harriers boys of Steve, Mark and Jamie.
The weather was fantastic and Copenhagen was such a beautiful and clean vibrant city to visit and race. The race itself went what I can describe as okay. I ran a PB for the first 10km, hit the bike okay but looking back could and should have pushed harder and suffered on the last 5km of the second run due to the heat. Although I finished in the top 20 in my Age Group (not too bad for my first European Championships), I know there was room for improvement and I think as athletes we are very critical of our own performances and always looking for ways to improve.
Two weeks later I headed off to Calella, just outside Barcelona for Ironman 70.3. Yes as a true Duathlete I ducked the swim and had chosen to join a Relay Team but took on the Bike and Run legs. As always the sun was beating down and after watching Stuart Hayes off on the start line in the Pro race went and took up position to watch my Swim relay partner head off then waited nervously in transition for her to come in. The Swim cut off time was 1 hour 5 minutes and she just made it in over the hour mark. I was afraid I wouldn’t even get on the bike but as i was the second but last rider in transition i headed out hard and fast on the Trinity and within 20 minutes i was already overtaking other riders. The mountain climb was tough on the TT but the down hill sweeping bends and flat village sections really gave me a chance to put the power down and hit some good speed.
Eventually hitting T2 and out on the run was a pleasure to see the run course lined along the town section and not normally one for Coca-Cola and Red Bull I found my self knocking back a few plastic cups of warm coke at the turn around point to give me a little boost. I finally headed towards the Red Carpet where I could see my relay partner and not wanting to change my now sprinting stride grabbed her hand and pulled her towards to the finish line as we crossed together. Two thoughts then crossed my mind, was my partner still standing as I’m not sure she’d ever run so fast in her life and secondly why didn’t I do the swim. In truth i never really had the time to put in the training but It’s something i really must channel some energy too, once the Duathlons have finished.
Father’s day was a real treat for all the family as we were lucky enough to win Hospitality to the Women’s Tour at Kettering and a chance to grab some photos with some famous faces and of course Yellow Jersey’s for the kids.
So what next? Well after a summer of training and family holidays, summer football tournaments and BBQ’s I joined a group of friends from The Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill for London to Paris for the British Heart Foundation over 3 days.
Although it wasn’t a race I decided to ride and push my limits on the 3 day sections, with some fantastic scenery, tough hills and strong winds and rain I’d have to say this was one of the toughest things I have done, throughout the weekend we had fantastic support from Ian our Team Manager, Support Driver and Baguette maker extrodinaire. His timely trips to the supermarkets and loading us up with ham and cheese filled full length baguettes, drinks and crisps at the official feed stops were the envy of all other riders.
Everyone was expecting me to be the first to finish on Day 3 and I must admit I didn’t fancy the chances myself with 90 or so miles to go but and for the first 26 miles I was out in front on my own as we left for Paris. After being joined and riding 40 miles together by another rider I eventually started to weaken and let him go up the road. I eventually punctured 3 miles from the finish and once I had repaired and saddled back up I came in 6th to a well deserved beer in front of the Palace of Versailles.
Ian is the Dude in the shades outside The Bell 🙂