Well as a lot of people will know I have been doing this rather obsessive Triathlon sport for the last 10 years now and each year steadily improving with the help of improved equipment and advantages of older age, trophies and qualifications to represent Great Britain but also with many injury problems as we all do, in particular this year with increased Achilles problems which have plagued me for a few years now, so why I was doing another GB event I asked myself many times, but wearing a GB shirt it’s hard to refuse! After a painful Fishguard Half Ironman Triathlon I had to back off running, and did plenty of strength work.
Well this was my second time representing Great Britain in two consecutive years, however after last year in a very cold France and a forced Duathlon I took the option of a late season beach resort Triathlon this year in Mallorca in the resort of Pageura which was the ETU Triathlon Middle Distance European Championships and being October temperatures are normally a very British summer 23c. Well how wrong was I. Due to a mini heatwave it was 33c, of course this meant plenty of hydration of the Spanish San Miguel Beer!!!
Martin Williams jumped at the chance of a late summer holiday and I was more than happy for Martin to join me in a supporting role though he did not sit still much either, hiring a racing bike to cycle round the island!
We arrived on Wednesday and checked into our hotel, very central and close to the race , in fact so close that our room overlooked the start! After frantically unpacking my bike, making sure Ryanair had not sent the wrong bike, we built it.
Thursday we collected Martin’s booked hire bike and recceed the bike course: a great course with mountains, villages and the boozy antics of Maguluf!! Friday I registered and had a GB team manager race brief,whilst Martin went off for a 45 mile bike tour, I’m sure he got lost but thankfully he returned and had a great day !
Saturday and race day and race nerves arrived together with increased temperature of 33c, this of course meant the swim would be a NON wet suit swim which I’ve never done before and still don’t know why the organisers had a 12 noon start time ! Anyway High noon arrived and the gun went off for age groupers of 40 and above, all 200 of us were running into the sea to start a 1.9 KM swim. The water was a balmy 25c and crystal clear unlike Bodenham lake where I usually swim; after a few punches and holding on, I clawed my way through to the front group coming out in 18th place in a time of 32.34, very happy, now running 400m to transition, quick change and onto the bike; it was 56 miles of hills, descents, villages and resorts of Magaluf and Palma Nova and losing several litres of sweat with the temperature rising to 33c. I completed the bike in 2hrs 41, dropping to 24th place; now the run, this was new territory running in 33c heat. My Achilles was great, maybe the heat helped and I did a strong run along the beach fronts of Peguera, the support was brilliant and after 1hr 49 mins moving up to 15th place I crossed the finish line to finish overall in 18th place out of 60 in my age group in 5hrs and 14 mins.
Got to say due to the testing conditions this was the toughest race yet and I could not done it without the support of my family through all the training and of course Martin who was absolutely fantastic.
Time now for rest, junk food and beer !