N.W. Sprint Champs

Alex proudly supported this local race again and maintained his winning streak at the North West Sprint Championships…

The North West Sprint Champs was the final race of the 2015 Senior Series and after my earlier wins in both the Duathlon and Standard Distance events, I was looking to complete the set and take a win again. The race is a great event and is organised and run by the Manchester Tri club. The event also gave me the opportunity to race against some familiar faces.

Amongst those faces were a couple of particularly strong swimmers, so I knew the race would primarily be a case of limiting the losses here, before making up the ground on the bike and the run. But not for the first time this year, race week was spent trying to get over some sort of injury or illness. This time it was a strange issue around the hip & groin area, generating some quite sharp pain – even during an easy jog. Once again thanks should be given to Andy Chalmers, for fitting me in for a session at short notice, and for the trigger point work which proved to be very successful (despite it being 5 mins of some of the most intense agony you could wish for). Things didn’t heal overnight, but I decided to race anyway, and sometimes these niggles can disappear or fade into the background on race day.

After a miserable bit of early morning weather, things had brightened up ready for the 10:30 start. The swim went as well as could be hoped, I was on someone’s feet after the 1st buoy, but things felt a bit too easy, so I moved in front and ended up putting some space between us. I came out of the water in 4th place, a few seconds behind 3rd, 30s behind second and a minute down on Peter Gaskell in 1st. I got away quickly on the bike and within the 1st few kms I’d moved up into 2nd. But some of the hard work to catch Pete was undone, as the narrow lanes, earlier racers and Sunday morning traffic resulted in some congestion and maybe 30-60s at snail’s pace.

It wasn’t until I was coming into transition (at the end of the bike), that I saw Pete already heading out onto the run, leaving me with what must have been a 2 minute margin to overcome. 2 minutes translates it quite a big distance, but the run incorporated 2 loops before heading into the finish and I could see that I had slowly made up the ground. Fortunately the niggle with the hip seemed to disappear on the day and the legs felt good.

In the final stages of the race, I found that I’d managed to gain some ground, but that I was rapidly running out of distance to the line. So I knew it was going to be a close call, as to whether I would make it to the line in time – to take the win. At the final turnaround point, the gap had narrowed more so than in the previous laps, and it wasn’t too long before I was in touching distance and confident that I was going to make it. I passed Pete with maybe 400m to go and ran a 16:15 for the final 5k, to win the NW Champs for the 3rd year running, and retain the NW Senior Series title.

Times – with transitions in there somewhere too
Swim – 11:13 (4th overall)
Bike – 34:37 (2nd overall)
Run – 16:15 (1st overall)
Total – 01:02:06

A big thank you to our Sponsors for making it happen:

Wilier – Triathlon Frames
FFWD Wheels – Race Wheels
Huub – Wetsuits
Schwalbe – Cycle Tyres
ISM – Saddles
Lezyne – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
Altura – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel
Fenwicks – Lubrication
Camelbak – Bottles
Tifosi – Sunglasses
Limar – Helmets
Lake – Cycling Footwear
Jagwire – Cables & Housing
Swans – goggles
Shimano – Groupsets
Amphibia – Transition Bags
Stages – Power Meters
Race Ware Direct – Custom Garmin Mounts
Zero Point Compression – Compression wear
Speedfil – Speedfil Hydration Systems