After my close 2nd in the Maidstone Sprint Tri I took part in the old faithful Cranbrook in early June. A clash of fixtures i.e. having to get to Gatwick early PM, the organisers kindly let me start early. A good swim and bike but a typically slow run through the woods including a flat on my face tumble in the mud. Played havoc with my nice white suit! However, I can’t blame that for my rival beating me yet again but this time by over a minute.
Undeterred, I entered the Leeds Castle Sprint which took place on 25th June. This year it incorporated the English National Sprint Championships, so there was a goal to aim for. It was a pleasant day in the most beautiful surroundings. The swim in the moat was an experience especially grounding on some submerged ancient steps as we swam through the arches. The bike was good, as I knew the course down the A20 to Charing which is our TT course. The run, however, was hard. Undulating paths through the castle grounds. Fortunately, I had a practice run on the Wed before so I knew what to expect.
As a result I managed to get a silver medal in my first ever national podium position so well chuffed. Only a handful in my age group, but I’ll live with that!
The following week I travelled up to Derbyshire, stayed with my old Fire Brigade mate Bill and then took part in the Peak District Sprint Tri. Why did I go? Well this was a qualifier for next year’s European Championships in Dusseldorf. I couldn’t get to the other qualifiers so this was my one chance. I had to make the top 4 to qualify for Team GB and there were 19 in my age group. This turned out to be one of the loveliest venues ever at Chatsworth House, it was also probably the hardest in my short career, even though it was only a sprint.
We had to register on the Saturday and have our wetsuits dipped in disinfectant as we had to be clean entering the River Derwent. First time I have experienced that. Plenty of rain on Saturday but Sunday was lovely. Bill and step son Josh came to watch as did my sister Viv and hubby Steve. The swim was crowded in the narrow river and only 13 degrees. However, with the pandemonium in the washing machine we soon warmed up. Leaving the river there was a 300 m run to T1 where I found I was first one out in my age group. A great feeling to see all the bikes still in place. After about a mile on the bike we had a 2 mile climb up onto the moors. Average gradient about 8% so a steady plod. Viv was at the top waiting to take a picture but wasn’t watching when I went past! Across the moors and back to Chatsworth. A good ride and I came into T2 together with a guy from my age group. We were still leading. Unfortunately, we then ran up a steep zig zag hill behind the house and then down again. I struggled and was overtaken by what I thought were several of my AG. I km from the end I had a groin strain and limped over the finish line. At least I finished.
The result was that I had finished 3rd in my AG which I was thrilled about and was very surprised. As I move up an AG next year my result was moved up to 2nd in that new AG and so I had clearly qualified for Team GB and off to Dusseldorf next June. I have even booked a hotel and Sue and I will drive over and make a holiday of it. Well that’s the plan anyway, we shall see.
So unless I squeeze in another local event that’s my lot for this year. I’ll keep training and just the moment my back is not causing me problems with these short runs, so I am keeping everything in moderation.