The triathlon team have been racing a number of preparations races for their ‘A-races’ (coming up soon)…
Elite Duathlon Championships 25th March 2012
Nick Shasha got an invite to this exclusive elite race and this is what he had to say.
‘With a £5,000 prize list the Elite champs have always been the pinnacle of the duathlon season and the prize that everyone wants to get. The course has remained unchanged for many years and is a super quick and pancake flat 2.5km circuit in Loughborough. Everything about the course is simply designed to get everyone going as quickly as possible both on the run and the bike. To add even more pace the course for the Seniors is sprint distance (5k/20k/2.5k) and manages to compress more intensity in 55 odd minutes of racing than you would ever expect!
So in uncharacteristically warm weather I started my 3rd elite champs and as predicted the pace was sharp from the gun. Running at only fractionally under my 5k PB pace I came through the first run in 16.09 and in some amount of oxygen debt. I spent the first 2 laps of the 8 lap 20k bike course staying in a pack of 5. About 2 or 3 attacks were put in on the bike, but I managed to respond to every one before coming back into transition for the final 2.5k run.
The first kilometre of the last run was tough, but I soon managed to get into my stride and managed to gain 3 places before coming through the line in 10th in the senior race. This was my highest ever finish in the elite champs. Work done and my first reflection was how intense and exciting Sprint distance racing is compared to Olympic distance.’
Gorrick Spring Series Mountain Bike race 22nd April 2012
Louise Bardsley raced the Gorrick mountain bike race and grabbed a podium spot. Not bad considering she focuses on racing road duathlon and triathlon events…
‘Having taken a few weeks easy training since my PB effort in Reading Half marathon, I decided to mix up my cross training by entering a Gorrick Spring Series mountain bike race. It would be a good bit of speedwork, but the main purpose was to test out my new TORQ team Whyte frame, and practise my skills in preparation for the off-road Triathlon championships in June.
I was a bit apprehensive over how technical the course was going to be, since all my regular training is done on the road. Apart from a mountain bike weekend every couple of months I don’t get much practise on my technical skills – time to bite the bullet! I was assured I would have no problems on any triathlon course if I could get round the bomb-holes and log jumps today!
I also had no idea what to expect in terms of competition, as this was about my 7th mountain bike race in 7 years – and first time I’ve been ‘mature’ enough to race in the Masters category! I may have looked like a pro from the ankles up in my new team kit, only the fact I was wearing trainers gave the game away… From the gun a couple of the specialist ladies sped off in a sprint start; I found myself settling into 3rd place, and to my surprise I managed to hold this position throughout the 2-lap course. My first podium on the mountain bike for TORQ!
I have to admit I chickened out on a couple of the more daunting bomb-holes, but it was a chance to put my cross-country running background to good use and didn’t seem to lose much time. Something to work on in time for the Triathlon… and I’m hoping a few more mountain bike events in the meantime.’
Ribble Hall Triathlon 22nd April 2012
Ian focused on his 2nd triathlon in as many weeks at the Ribble Hall sprint event…
‘Ribby Hall Sprint triathlon is the first in a series of the Trilogy Series taking part in Lancashire and the Fylde Coast. The race consisted of a 400m pool swim, a 10.5 mile bike leg and a 5k twisting run around the holiday village grounds.
With 260 athletes registered, I was excited at the prospect of some close racing and was hopeful of a performance that would give me a podium placing for TORQ.
I started in the final wave, with some very fast swimmers posting under 5 minutes for 400m, as a result I aimed for damage limitation in the water to ensure a chance of a podium place by the end of the race. I exited the water in a steady 5:52 (10th place).
With the bike leg being a shorter 10.5 miles, I was conscious of there being less time to catch the leaders so attempted to raise the intensity as if it were a 10 mile time trial. The early stages of the bike leg were very eventful as we raced through the small village of Wrea Green which was very busy with Sunday morning traffic, so I could only really get going and start chasing hard once out onto the country roads. Throughout the bike leg I caught and passed many of the faster swimmers and found myself in a dual with another athlete until 8 miles where I managed to gain a lead and push towards T2.
I entered T2 in 4th place and knew that I had to work hard from the onset of the 5km run. The run was a 2 lap course, unfortunately due to the effort on the bike, it took a little time to find my running legs, but with the 3 dead turns on the course I could monitor the progress of the athletes in front. I caught and passed 3rd place to gain a podium spot after about 3km, I then focussed on the 2nd placed athlete and was gaining quickly as we entered the last kilometre. Unfortunately I ran out of time and finished 3rd overall. A positive result for me and the team and it seems that things are going in the right direction as we aim towards the national championships in June.
Cambridge Duathlon 22nd April 2012
Again Nick was toeing the line at a World Championship qualifing event in Cambridge…
‘With the European Duathlon Championships rapidly approaching I needed to make up for some lost time at the start of the season where two of my races were cancelled and get some more duathlon specific miles in the legs. Coming 2 weeks before I head off to Holland I thought Cambridge would offer a mix of talent and a flat and fast course that should get me set up well.
I was also more than keen to get on the new TORQ bike for 2012 (the Wilier twinfoil), both to put it through its paces and tweak the bike post-race to ensure my position was one I would be comfortable and fast with for when it really matters.
Out onto the first run and Cambridge treated us to clear and bright conditions but with sharp winds. This didn’t affect me much on the run coming into the first transition second in my age group.
Out onto the bike and the wind possibly won the battle against my 64kg body and I was buffeted from side to side though despite this the bike stayed true and fast! The 2 and half lap course is super flat, but also super exposed, so was comfortable most of the time, but with some typically harsh time trial type drags that were made harsher still by the conditions.
On the second run I managed to recapture some of those that had passed me earlier on and dug in deep enough to finish 17th overall and 7th in age group. This was a large improvement on my first Olympic distance race of the year (the Dambuster) and I think the bike had a large part to play in this.
With my 2012 form developing well, I’m really looking forward to the Europeans where I’ll be tackling the Sprint distance which is my favoured duathlon distance. Watch this space!’
Harlech Triathlon 29th April 2012
Lastly two of the team (Ian Roberts and myself) went to the quiet little Welsh town of Harlech to race in the 11th edition of the race. However the weather transpired against us… Apparently the Police don’t think that +150 flood warnings across the UK, high winds, driving rain and 4°C temperatures, are suitable for racing a triathlon… That’s a relief!!!
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