Tuesday 2 August 2011

London Junior Elite Triathlon 2011

Last weekend I travelled over to London to compete in the Junior Mens Elite race at the Virgin Active London Triathlon, the largest triathlon in the world, it is just a constant flow of athletes all Saturday and Sunday. It is really an amazing sight with unbelievable organisation required.

The Junior Elite race was a sprint distance with a bit of a difference; it had a slightly longer bike leg, 30km instead of the usual 20km. It was draft legal with a strong field consisting of the top Juniors in Britain.

This season hasn’t exactly gone to plan; as it has been a bit of a struggle getting my running up to scratch after missing out on all of the winter training due to a stress fractures. In hind sight I wasn’t ready for the two Junior Elite races that I have done this season (European Championships and Echternach Junior European Cup) because I was trying to bring my running back up and that wasn’t there yet and the extra training load was affecting the other two disciplines. In both those races I got my hydration and nutrition before and during both the races very wrong resulting in very disappointing outcomes.

I am pleased to say that going into the race on Sunday I was feeling really good in all three disciplines and went into the race with a lot of confidence. As the saying goes ‘third time lucky’ I managed to find my perfect medium of fluid intake as well and it paid off.

The swim went really well and I felt really comfortable and strong swimming in a lead pack of 5 in my Sailfish G-Range suit which feels really natural to swim in.

I exited the water joint 1st with the small pack of five guys with a small gap until the rest of the field. The pack was down to four going onto the bike after losing one guy in T1, and later another guy at the very start of the bike leg.

For the first 8km I was in a breakaway of three, we were working well together but it just wasn’t possible to stay away as we were being chased down by a much larger chasing pack. We took our foot off the pedal and allowed ourselves to be caught by this larger pack to save energy. Once caught the pace dramatically slowed down as nobody wanted to work as most of the main contenders were all now in the front pack.

Prior to the race my aim was to finish on the podium, when I got onto the run , I was in 3rd , a medal was within my grasp, but so was leaving with nothing as the other boys were breathing down my neck. I was determined to achieve what Id set out to do, and I concentrated on closing the gap on the two in front of me.

The big difference at the London Tri compared to many Elite races is that it goes on at the same time as multiple age-group races so it is a constant battle to run though the competitors running in the other races. After the first 2.5km lap I had realised I was running well and gaining on the two in front of me. For the first time all season my running felt really strong , I knew I was capeable of closing the gap and running past the boys, they would have to lift their pace to keep up with me. At the final turn around point I was able to see that I had put distance between myself and second , at this stage wanting to hold on to first place so badly I just continued lifting the pace and In doing so managed to go over 40secs faster on the second lap of the run than I had on the first. I crossed the line first, 20 seconds ahead of my nearest competitor.

I was so happy I had won my first Elite Junior Triathlon, and I couldn’t believe that I had managed to do it on the run leg, I am just so pleased that everything is starting to fall into place for the latter part of the season, hopefully this will be first of many

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