Monday 15 August 2011

Tiszaujvaros Junior European Cup, Hungary.

Last weekend the race organisers messed about with the format of the junior race and used it as a test event for future races. Instead of the usual junior sprint distance of 750m swim, 20km bike, and 5km run, this race was made up of a heat and a final and added up to the full sprint distance.

So the heat consisted of a 500m swim, 13.2km bike, 3.2km run. And the final was 250m swim, 6.8 bike, 1.8 run. There were two heats of approx 35 guys in each and the top ten in each heat progressed to the final as well as the 5 fasted losers. So 25 in total in the final.

In the heat I had a really good swim exiting 4th and on the bike in the lead pack, my group was working really well, as there was only 7 or 8 of us we knew if we worked together we would all make the final. We managed not to get caught going into T2.

Coming up to the dismount line I was in a good position and about to get off as smoothly as possible and on to the run and I knew I was in a good position for qualifying for the final later in the day. But I thought I might just make things I wee bit more dramatic … no it was definitely not intentional, I ended up crashing off the bike at the dismount line. I was dismounting as normal with my feet on top of the bike shoes, only when I swung my right leg over my saddle my left shoe unclipped from the pedal and I was just thrown over the handle bars landing hard on my head and right shoulder. Thank goodness for my helmet it saved me losing a lot of skin on my face and protecting my head. I was up on my feet as soon as I hit the ground and just had to grab my bike and run in to transition I knew I had lost positions so I needed a good run to make sure I was in that final. If anything the adrenaline helped a lot, and I managed to finish in a solid 6th. In the final – main objective achieved, not quite as planned but I still did it.

I then had just over two hours until the final. I got cleaned up got food into me and thanks to Bryan he got my bike fixed up and ready for final.

The final was a pontoon start and you choose your spots according to your start number, I thought I was going to get an awful position because my start number was the second last. Fortunately there was one spot at the far left, similar to where I had started in the heats, it was perfect, I had a good dive and got clean water - another really good swim exiting in 6th. Thankfully I am starting to do my swimming a bit of justice.

Running towards transition Gav shouted that there was a gap behind me so I knew I couldn’t afford to lose the front pack after doing the hard work in the swim, got a good T1 and got away with the lead pack. It was the fastest bike leg I had ever been on, with a few race favourites missing in the pack the pressure was on to try and stay away but unfortunately as the swim was only 250m the gap was not huge and the larger chase pack worked well and closed the gap.

Into T2 I was a bit nervous because of the earlier crash and probably didn’t go in as fast as usual, but this time much more safely. I managed to have a good solid run and finished in 9th.

I was incredibly happy with my performance as I am really lacking in run speed at the minute due to being out for so long and only just building my running up not focusing on speed so I really surprised myself with a very respectful 1.8km run which I thought would have been my downfall.

The whole weekend was an awesome experience and I learnt so much from Gavin, Bryan and Aileen, and really appreciated their help.

Super happy to have achieved a top 10 finish in a Junior European Cup and I am really glad to have started to hit a bit of form at this latter part of the season.

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