The first major European championship of the year and Derek was up for action amongst the Goalspecific athletes. Racing in a super competitive field in the ETU European Sprint Duathlon Championships in Soria, Spain, Dereks consistent hard work on the bike meant he produced a stunning bike split performance which was the foundation of his success. A first run of 22 min 28 sec for 5km followed by a blistering 42 min bike meant that he was off the bike in gold medal position. Unfortunately a combination of a Spanish dude in what can only be described as a transition hurry and Derek’s insistence on doing things quite properly and in the right order meant that by the time he left transition for the second 2.5km run he was in a battle for 2nd/3rd/4th place and in fairness to the aforementioned Spanish dude, he was pretty swift on his pegs and ran away from the rest of the field. Nip and tuck between Derek and a French chap ended in the French chap showing off his sprint finish to take silver but Derek nailed down the bronze finishing first Brit and ahead of the the chap who beat him recently at Clumber Park. An awesome performance and a well deserved medal for Derek who has performed so consistently and has really nailed his sessions this year. Looking forward to speeding up those T1 and T2 times ready for the next major competition in a few months!
Back in the UK Goalspecific Nigel Cowler, Clodie and myself were in action in the Ashbridge Duathlon – an excellent race. The field was strong in all events and Clodie’s return to the fray in the sprint turned out to be an excellent performance finishing 4th in her age group just pipped for 3rd on the last few metres of the second run – A great result, and an excellent display of determination and focus after a challenging year. Nige continues to go from strength to strength, with a pb on the first 10km run and finishing in a shade over 3 hours. Not bad when he only picked this Triathlon game up in January! So much more to come as well. Finally, for me, needless to say I was very nervous and apprehensive as I was going up a distance again to test out the strength and endurance of the ankle, and it was the first time to run 10k without stopping, so I was glad of the lap layout as it gave small targets to consistently hit! Very pleased to get back in after the first 10km, and whilst it was not a fast 10km it was solid and consistent which was our pre race plan BUT it did leave me 3 min behind the lead (still cant quite leave that competitive head at home!). Due to a mechanical issue and a stroll rather than ride up the the hill on the first lap, I failed to make inroads into 2nd and 3rd place. Therefore the new challenge was can I close the gap in 3 laps rather than 4? ….Just about. By the end of the bike I was first into transition with a 1-2 min lead. Not quite enough though (and we are talking..by seconds!) as I was caught by a very fast running Rebecca Nkoane with seconds to spare. Great race from Rebeccca. So, for me, pleased again to see that this ankle is going in the right direction and is getting stronger all the time. Not perfect yet, still struggling to get the ankle working at the start or runs whether fresh or off the bike. Combination of strength, flexibility maybe and possibly even psychological, as I am so worried about damaging it! However, each race is a big step in the right direction and more importantly, its great to be back on that start line!
Up a distance again in 2 weeks for Aix 70:3 and Ray will be up in the not so warm Middle in the New Forest. Brrrr…..Looking forward to seeing how he goes, if his bike TTs are anything to go by and his half marathon splits, he is going to fly!!!