European Championships Eilat Israel

European Championships Eilat Israel

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Where do i begin? When i first got the email informing me that i had been selected to represent GB i just could not believe it! So i sent the BTF an email asking if they had made a mistake!! NO they said we haven't!!

I arrived in Eilat via Tel Aviv on Weds. 18.4.12. On the coach between airports in Tel Aviv i saw a sign for Jerusalem, it made me think of all those thousands of years of biblical history.

Wednesday was basically a free day after putting my bike together and setting it up. There was a swim recce at 17.00 and most people swam without a wetsuit as the water temperature was 21c. Most people after the swim were discussing the pros and cons of wearing a wetsuit.

Thursday and it's my BIRTHDAY!! Up early and out on the road at 06.00 to recce the bike course. Good road surface but very windy and open, lots of steep inclines on the way out. On the way back the traffic was starting to build up, luckily on race day the roads will be closed. Once back at the hotel it was out again to walk and jog 1 x lap of the run course. Only one incline which was on the way out of T2 against the wind, otherwise a flat course mainly on tarmac surface and gravel track. Then it was back to the hotel again for breakfast. At 09.00 it was registration time, then at 16.00 it was the race briefing and team photo. 17.00 it was bike, helmet and race kit check and racking of the bike in T1. I let some air out the tyres so that they didn't explode in the heat overnight!

It was all sinking in now, the enormity of what 1 would be taking part in. It was time then for the evening meal, plenty of pasta!!

It's Friday RACE DAY!!! Up at 05.00 and had two pots of porridge that i had taken out with me [good old Tesco ] At 06.00 i made my way to transition, luckily i was staying in the Team Hotel which was only 5 mins. walk.

Once in T1 pumped up my tyres and laid out my kit. By now i had made the decision to wear a wetsuit for the swim. Obviously NOT for the BIKE and RUN!!!! 
The majority of the age groupers had also decided on a wetsuit as the water temperature had dropped a few degrees. The organisers were very strict about what you could leave in transition, any excess clothes, track pump etc. had to be placed in a bag in an adjacent hotel. We had to leave transition by 07.00 with our wetsuits half on and make our way to the swim area approximately 400m away.

At the swim start there were huge crowds and music playing over the loud speakers, great atmosphere. At 07.50 our wave was called forward and you had to line up on this long matting that was laid out on the beach. Suddenly the music stopped and all you could hear was this really LOUD heartbeat over the speakers. As if i wasn't nervous enough!! Then on your MARKS and then the claxon. We're off!!!

We had been advised before the swim that there was a strong current moving from left to right so kept to the left side of the pack. I managed to keep a pretty good line out to the turn around buoys even though the water was a bit choppy and then it was back to the beach and the swim exit. The run from there to T1 was hard on the feet even though they had put matting down covering most of the tarmac surface.

My T1 time was a bit slow due to the run from swim exit and taking off the wetsuit. It was another 50m run with the bike to the mount line, then it was down on the tri-bars and go!!!

The ride out to the turnround point was extremely hard against a very strong wind and undulating inclines, average speed out was between 14 and 16 mph!!! The return leg was fantastic with the wind behind and averaging 30mph. Heading towards the finish of the bike i removed my feet from my shoes and performed a good dismount!!  [ i had been practising at home in the local school playground !!! ]

Into T2 a quick turnaround and out on the run, the first 500m was up an incline against the wind and then settled into my pace.The run was 4 x laps and by now the it was pretty hot but i dug in and even managed a faster last lap. 
What an amazing feeling as you run up the blue carpet towards the finish gantry and you hear your name called out over the loud speakers and the crowds are cheering!! I've got a lump in my throat just writing about it!!!

I may not have won a medal but i did bust a gut trying!!!

Swim  : 1500m              39 mins 42secs [ a PB my previous time was 47mins 23 sec !!]

T1      :   4 mins 42secs

Bike    :  40k                    1 hr. 22mins 50secs

T2      :   1 min

Run    : 10k                     57 minsOverall:  3hrs 4mins 14secs

Overall Position : 10th