2012 European Duathlon Champs

Last September Nick came 3rd in the World Championships, this time in the European Championships he went one better to finish 2nd. A tremendous result for Nick and fully deserved. This is his account of the race…

For 2012, the European Duathlon Championships moved to the long established Powerman venue of Horst, Holland. A unique collaboration between Powerman and the European Triathlon Union saw Horst play host to both long-distance and sprint championships for the first time ever (note: Powerman operate a global league of professional duathlons).

Preferring the pure speed of sprint racing, I opted to compete for Great Britain in the 5k / 20k / 2.8k distance. Although I’ve raced all over Europe, Holland was a first for me and the land of the bike and flat rolling countryside proved to be an unforgettable venue. The Euros this year would only be my 4th duathlon since the start of the season, so I was somewhat anxious that I hadn’t quite yet developed the form needed to put the run/bike/run combination together successfully. Thankfully 2 weeks of focusing on developing my bike speed off hard running paid dividends and I managed to get my best ever result in a continental championship.

Nick racing his bike at the ETU 2012 champs

The course itself conformed to the dutch cliché of super-flat though and was extremely technical, which made for exciting and dynamic racing. The first 5k run consisted of two tight and twisty laps of the city centre, which flew by in exactly 16 minutes. By the time I reached transition, I was in 4th place overall.

Out onto the bike and the work I’d put in adjusting my position on the new Wilier Twinfoil seemed to play dividends as I managed to hold off any attacks from behind for around half of the bike course. On the 2nd lap I started to tire somewhat and several riders passed me by, but not at a pace that had me particularly worried as I always seem to have enough left over for a strong 2nd run.

Coming into the transition from bike to run, what could have been a race ending disaster struck!  The two riders in front of me misplaced the exact entry to the transition zone due to poor placement of transition flags. I naturally followed them in before all three of us realised our mistake and quickly had to backtrack correctly into transition. Fortunately I remedied this mistake before they did so leapfrogged into transition before them. Nevertheless three other riders saw our mistake and managed to nip past us all into transition leaving me with an entirely different set of athletes to chase down on the last 2.8k run!

Nick running at the 2012 ETU champs

I now had 3 athletes to try and pass on the last 2.8k run, all colour-coded in the national kit of Germany, Holland and Ireland respectively. Initially my progress was hampered by extreme calf cramp, but this receded by about 1k in and I managed to reel in all three athletes and get the silver in the 35-39 age group. Both results represent my best finishes yet in a continental championship and I’m now looking forward to the World Championships in Nancy, France in September.’

All pro snaps courtesy of Jolekha Shasha.

Many thanks to our fantastic sponsors:

www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
www.ffwdwheels.com – Aero Wheels
www.ritcheylogic.com – Aerobars, Saddles and Finishing Kit
www.cycleops.com – Power Meters
www.racezone3.com – Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.scott-sports.com – Running Footwear
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.triathlonspecific.com/Sable/Sable.html – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic)
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages
www.champ-sys.com – Custom Trisuits and Cycle Wear