This was the big race for Nick, in the most competitive field. With careful pacing and perfect race execution Nick placed 3rd overall in his age group and this is what he has to say…
This was the big one. This race had been in the back of my mind even before finishing the World championships in Edinburgh last year. In 2008 and 2010 my experiences at the Worlds showed me that the World championships had the highest calibre athletes in attendance. They tended to feature a tough course, super strong support from the home nation and athletes from all over the world dreaming of clinching a spot on the podium. This year the race was in Northern Spain (Gijon). The Spanish have a good tradition in multi-sport and the local factor was also to come into play on a bike course that featured everything from technical city centre corners, seafront drags and best of all hairpin ascents and descents. It was like a complete micro stage of the Tour de France spread out over 20k.
I also elected to choose the Sprint distance (5k/20k/2.5k) in Gijon and was genuinely excited by racing this faster distance especially having done it at the British Elite duathlon championships earlier in the year.
Well the gun went for the first 5k and two laps got underway at an incredible pace. Prior to the start of the race I had been concerned about how I might be leading and was hoping a lead bike would show the way (!). That proved to be false faith. Before I’d even left the stadium I was back in around 10th position and had to instantly reassess my view of the race and how to move up the field. Feeling that the pace was too quick for its own good I held back and came into T2 in around 9th position. I wasn’t overly concerned about this as I knew I could recoup up to 20 seconds with a swift transition. I did just that and instantly gained a number of places.
Out onto the course and I paced well and starting to pick off some competitors before the first hill which felt almost like a mini climb in the Alps. This suited me and although a large group formed at the bottom I managed to stay in contention and managed to drop one or two riders in my age group.
By the time I got to the top of the climb my confidence grew. I knew the 3k descent would be perfect for my aero helmet and my disc wheel. They are absolutely fantastic when the course speeds up downhill you soon start flying past those on more conventional set-ups.
With the last run to go, I knew I would have to be at the maximum to overhaul the guys in front of me. While it was an absolute stormer, the quickest of the entire Sprint field with 2.5 kilometres covered in only 7 minutes and 47 seconds! I also managed to clinch 3rd. To make the podium even sweeter I was also the first Brit home in the entire Sprint race.
Underpinning both my European and World bronze medals are our brilliant tri team sponsors that keep us glued to the podium. They are:
Delicious, natural and healthy nutrition: www.torqfitness.co.uk
Frames – Merida: www.merida-bikes.com
Cycle Shoes – Lake: www.lakecycling.co.uk
Helmets & Glasses – Limar: www.limarhelmets.com/eng/
Cables – Jagwire: www.jagwireusa.com
Aerobars – USE: www.use1.com
Wetsuits – 2XU: www.2xu.com
Wheels – Fast Forward: www.ffwdwheels.com
Powermeters – Powertap: www.cycleops.com
All pro snaps courtesy of Jolekha Shasha