Report from Howard Jeffrey:
This race was a qualifier for the European championships in 2017 at a venue yet to be decided and also for the World championships in Aviles in June this year. Having dug deep last week and made the cut for the Aviles sprint it was going to be hard to raise my game again less than a week later. I also trained normally again during the week, so no ‘saving it for the weekend’. I looked at the competitors again and there was less competition for places at this race, so if I had a reasonable day I should get the place required to qualify. Even a category win if it all came good. Clumber Park is a beautiful place and I have done a few races here so knew the course. Steady away for the first 10K (44.04) and I was feeling OK with a known rival (Graham) following until we approached transition where he pulled away slightly. I was however first out of transition (in my age group as it turned out) as it was decision time about what to wear for the 40K bike stretch. I pulled on a windproof suggesting the wind chill on the bike was going to be bad. He decided to do the same and was doing that as I hit the bike. I have normally been a couple of minutes faster on the bike and had a reasonable first 30K. The wind then seemed to get very strong and cold and I could feel myself losing it. Graham caught up at about 37K and went past quite strongly. I cycled in slow motion to the transition and was not too far behind not to be able to catch up on the last 5K run stage on the right day. Not the right day however as another in the age group who I can usually beat went past out of transition. I could not even keep up, let alone catch up and pass, as my legs felt heavy, cold and powerless. Had to remember all the hard races I have ever done to keep from being swamped in the last few kilometres and managed to hold station and finish third in the age group (24.33). The rest of them were not far behind but I can now decide long or short in Aviles and look forward to hearing the venue for the Euro standard in 2017. Wouldn’t it be good if it were Leeds?