Deva World Qualifier

Wow, the team had a brilliant outing at the Chester triathlon, which also doubled as a World Championship qualifying event for the prestigious Hyde Park event (on the 2012 Olympic course). As the name implies, the World championships attract the best in the World and changes location yearly. As it is being held on home soil, everybody wants a piece of the action; whether they are ultra-long distance athletes or sprint specialists. Only 4 athletes per age group can qualify for this event, so we are very proud to have two age group winners, both of whom were on the podium overall too…

Chris’ Race Report: With the World Olympic/Sprint Distance Champs in London this year, it has massively grown the amount of interest in people trying to qualify. Deva normally holds approx. 600 people each year, but with the race filling up in literally hours, the organisers had to try and seek out extra places and eventually managed to get the race up to 1200 people. The race is run by Chester tri Club (my local club) so I have raced this event a number of times coming 2nd last year. However this year was going to be a lot more challenging with it being the first World Qualifier and the massive increase in numbers.

10 days out from the race, the water temperature was still hovering around 10 degrees and was in great risk of being cancelled, or at least shortened, but a week’s worth of warmer weather improved the temperature up to 14 degrees creating no problems for the swim leg. Due to the numbers, the race formed a number of age group waves, so I found myself in the 2nd wave in the 30-34 age group.

The swim had the extra challenge of being 850m against the current and then 650m back with the current. Being one of the stronger swimmers I decided I was going to push the swim really hard and take full advantage of the difficult conditions, and quickly found myself out front. I had pulled right over against the bank (where the current is slowest) and made my way up to the half way mark, before turning round and coming back down the middle taking full advantage of the current. Onto the bike and I was on my own, so just tried to concentrate on keeping the pace high so that I didn’t get caught, but was also thinking about my overall position. With my last race being a half ironman 3 weeks prior, the bike leg seemed to be over pretty quick in comparison so before I knew it I was on to the run. There were a few points on the course where you could see if anybody was near, but it looked as though I had a couple of minutes on 2nd, so was able to relax a bit knowing I had got my slot for London and was about to win my age group. In this position, you don’t know how you are doing overall, but it’s hard to push yourself to the limit with nobody to chase, so it was going to be a case of waiting for the overall results.

As it happened, 2 lads had gone quicker in the 25-29 age group, so I got 3rd overall. Still very pleased with the result with the amount of competition there was and having my slot early means I can afford a mid-season break for a week to enable me to keep the momentum going through to September (That is after I have done Bala Middle the week after!)

Eleanor recap: Having raced at Barcelona ETU Middle Distance Champs only two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure how my body would pull up for this highly competitive race at Chester, with everyone gunning for an age group place at London in September. Nonetheless, I was the defending winner from last year’s event here and was keen to race well on the revised course which took me right past my parent’s old house. I knew that I would have to race hard from the gun, because half the competition at the pointy end of the race was in a different wave start and I wouldn’t know where they were until afterwards.

Despite everyone saying it was tough swimming into the sun, after the Barcelona experience I thought it was pretty straightforward (i.e. you could see land at all times and the water was flat). After a snappy T1, I was soon whizzing along on the Wilier TT bike and using my Limar aero helmet for the first time! I had a total blast round the bike course, because my legs felt strong and it was great doing the bike some justice (no back trouble this time!) and I was just loving whizzing around the roads. It felt like bombing about on my bike as a kid in the summer holidays – it just put a big grin on my face! Towards the end of the bike leg, I caught the wave leader, Rhian, and used my local knowledge to get past before a tight section where it would have been impossible to overtake. Coming off the bike, my feet were still numb and I made a right mess of getting my foot into my run shoe. By the time I was out on the run, Rhian had gotten back into the lead. I put the hammer down early to get her back in sights and psyched myself up to a head-to-head for the next 40 minutes.  However, once the heart rate had settled a bit, I decided to push on and open up a gap.  After that, I was running scared and summoned up a sprint finish from the Old Dee Bridge along the Groves.

Turns out that was a good idea as I held off 3rd place overall (a girl from the other wave start) by only 7 seconds, to hang on to 2nd and take the win in my age group. London here I come! Next up I will be doing some local races in Yorkshire, at Newby Hall then Castle Howard in July.

Dave’s experience: Two weeks after Ironman Lanzarote, it was back down to earth with a need to increase speed to take on the Deva Olympic triathlon. The event was well organised and all the age group waves started the swim 15 minutes apart, which kept the numbers in each wave manageable. For my age group, the swim wave had just under 100 people and after a deep water start we headed upstream. With the first 850m swum up stream, it was tough to make headway against the current and after what seemed like an eternity I had reached the turnaround buoy and was heading down stream. It was a relief to exit the water and head towards transition after a very tiring swim.

Onto the bike and it was a pleasure to be cycling in warm sunny conditions for a change. I tried to push hard on the undulating course and was soon catching the faster swimmers from my wave and some of the people from the previous wave. Despite my legs feeling heavy due to still having the post ironman feeling, I continued to push and headed towards transition.

Starting the run, I knew I would be short of pace due to the longer aerobic training (required for Ironman racing) and so it proved as I found it hard to push a faster pace especially on the second lap of the run and reaching the finishing line I crossed in 21st place in my age group. Finishing the race I realised that I would have a lot of speed work to do to be able to qualify for London at my next qualifying race, which is the Liverpool Olympic distance triathlon. But with 6 weeks to go, I feel doing this race has helped me to focus on the task ahead and by this time the speed should be returning to my tired legs.

As ever, thanks to the help of all our fantastic sponsors: – Triathlon Frames – Wetsuits – Helmets & Glasses – Cycling Footwear – Cables & Housing – Groupsets – Team PR – Transition Bags – Tyres – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages – Lubrication – Chamois cream, clothing – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic)