Jack Peasgood and I travelled to Madrid for last ITU World Paratriathlon Event of the season on the 21st September. It would be my last serious event of 2014 too having started racing way back in March at the National Duathlon Championships. I was hoping for a good result following my non-selection for the World Championships, although it probably wouldn’t change my world ranking even if we’d won given the way the points system works.
We were lucky enough to be offered an extended test drive of a new Toyota Verso by local dealer Dingles in Attleborough, Norfolk who Jill has used for a number of years when buying cars. This allowed us to transport the tandem in it’s box ready for air travel without having the cost and hassle of hiring a van or arranging a taxi to Gatwick and back – a massive bonus so a big thank you to the kind people at Dingles for you’re support!!
The flight out with Easyjet from Gatwick was unusually, err, easy. No massive cues, no major drama’s getting the tandem on board – nice one Easyjet! We arrived into Madrid on Friday afternoon and transferred to our hotel again without difficulty. The hotel was about 10 miles from the race venue across the city which maybe wash’t ideal, but allowed the whole team to stay together. We were quite a large group too as we made up about a third of the over-all field. Some athletes were there to score hard-to-come-by points, others to get a few more on the board to boost there chances of getting race starts next season whilst a few lucky individual’s could relax a bit and try out new things without the pressure of needing a specific result.
On Saturday we built the tandem and headed over to the race venue for the bike and swim recce as well as race briefing. The bike course looked good. It would be 3 laps of a hilly and technical circuit totalling almost 24km’s – i.e. good for a cyclist. The swim course recce was less successful as our route hadn’t been marked out for the session, but we had a nice swim anyway. I felt really good so was looking forward to the following morning’s race, even if it would be a very early start.
4:45am (3:45 UK time) came and it was time to get up, eat breakfast and get over to the race. I felt OK when I woke but once at the race venue I didn’t feel quite so hot. I ignored this as I thought it might just be nerves, although I didn’t actually feel nervous in the slightest…I was mentally ready to kick ass! This is how it panned out: –
Swim – We were swimming quite well, but got slowed/stopped a few times as Jack got pushed across me once or twice. With one of the Spanish team’s on my right who were going strongly and Jack on my left I had no where to go and got a bit squashed then smacked in the face a few times – by Jack!. These things happen…we came out about 30 seconds down on Chris Goodwin (GBR and further behind Dave Ellis and his new guide Nick Beer. The three B1 (Blind) athletes entered were also still ahead having started the usual 3:43 beforehand.
T1 – We had a fast transition putting us back in contention having overtaking Chris and his guide Ben on the bike mount line. The chase was then on to catch Daniel Lambrach (Spain), Dave and Nick and the B1’s.
Bike – We didn’t go badly topping out at 45mph on the decent with Jack piloting the tandem expertly through the technical sections at speed. However it seems we didn’t go uphill quite fast enough and ended up with the 3rd fastest split. I had tried not to annihilate myself on the bike and save my legs a little for the run so maybe this was a factor…We ended the bike in 4thover-all so not a terrible position by any means.
T2 – A super fast T2 saw us take the fastest split for this section (does that count as a win?). I’ve been pleased with my transitions this year and Jack was right on pace too. Nice!
Run – ‘you’re running like my granny’ came the shout from Jack. Presumably she’s not a 15 minute 5k runner. so that was probably a bad sign. I didn’t feel great. The whole run felt like a real struggle. I kept trying to up the pace, especially when Daniel, then Chris andfinally Dave passed us, but had nothing to offer on the day. We dropped from 4th to 7th place by the finish. Quite disappointing to be honest but nothing I could do about it. I felt pretty ropey afterwards and in the days that followed i’ve continued to be less than 100% so maybe I wasn’t quite right.
The full results for my category are here.
So that’s it, no more triathlons for this year. Time for to rest, reassess and refocus I guess!