I had originally though about doing the duathlon, aquathlon and long distance tri at the Multisport World Champs in Pontevedra, Spain. However I scaled this back to just defending the Aquathlon title won last year in Denmark, in part due to cost and in part due to availability of Guides.
Matt Floyd, a student at the University of East Anglia and also a member of the Beacon Tri team travelled out with me to make his Guiding debut.
It was strange being back in Pontevedra where I had competed in the Euro tri champs with Matt Ellis during 2014. On that occasion I had a suspected stress fracture in my foot and could only manage a bizarre run-hop technique. In the end it was academic as we had a mechanical issue on the bike when leading by about 4 minutes and never made it to the run.
Pontevedra perhaps isn't a place where I'm destined to win anything. Two weeks before the Aquathlon I badly sprained my ankle whilst out running. It was my own fault as I probably shouldn't have been running where I was and subsequently I totally missed a tree root...
The damage was done and to be honest I was lucky not to have fractured the ankle given the force with which I went over on it. Cue my own personal ice-bucket challenge twice a day in attempt to make the race and speed up recovery ahead of my other season goals...namely the small matter of Ironman Estonia in August.
I suceeded in that first challenge, although the ankle was still pretty bad. I decided not to run on it beforehand as I might only be able to run once before needing more recovery time, but I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it any worse!
We decided to try and push the 1km river swim and see if we could get a lead over the only other VI men's team entered before the 'run'. The Irish guys put in a good swim and actually came out 40 seconds ahead of us (damn it!). We had a faster transition clawing back some time (although it was funny to see both of the Guides faffing a bit in transition as the VI athletes waited patiently!). Out on the run and my ankle really wasn't happy, probably not helped by the decidedly chilly water temperature (13 degrees). I would say it only improved with about a quarter of the run left to go and by that point it was too late as Team Ireland had been running well and increased their lead.
It was disappointing to lose, but quite frankly It was an achievement to just get round. Whilst I know I can go a lot quicker you can't take anything away from the winners - just look at the effort in the video below!!
Massive thanks to Matt for coming our to race in Spain and for putting up with me winging about my sore ankle!