Report from Howard Jeffrey:
Liverpool triathlon was a qualifier for the European standard triathlon championships in Kitzbuhl, Austria next year so I had entered a long time ago. The sprint distances are usually at the same venue but for some reason (money making?) next year the sprint is in Dusseldorf and I have already made the cut for that one. Sunday’s race was also the British championships so there were many more in my age group than usual so I held out little hope of a qualification place unless everything clicked on the day. That was scuppered the day before because my TT bike rear valve decided to leak so I had to take my reserve bike which is three or four minutes slower and harder work so affects the run speed after. Another 3.00 a.m. start to get to park the car before the congestion due to closed roads. The conditions were nigh on perfect for racing the dock water was 19 degrees and calm if a bit salty and teeming with jelly fish. A bit disconcerting but they were not the stinging variety thankfully. At the start I had a chance to warm up and the wide dock area allowed another trouble free swim which I did quite solidly and had last years’ British age group champion clipping my feet for the second half of the swim, so I was well up. Leeds would do well to note how Liverpool organise their event as you exit the water put your wetsuit in a bag then carry it to transition where you leave it where your bike was racked, simples! The bike route was four laps along the Mersey frontage along a closed dual carriageway. There were a number of pinch points and I witnessed at least seven injury causing crashes due to the congestion and I guess mixing out and out racers with the newbies who don’t know the protocols. The bike leg completed as fast as I reasonably could nearly ended in disaster when the guy in front lost a shoe as he dismounted and turned back into the oncoming bike traffic to retrieve it. I had to swerve to avoid him and fell into the barrier at the side, not on the deck fortunately but ended up doing a tango with my bike till I got sorted. Narrowly avoided injury but lost another 25 seconds or so. The hard work on the bike meant my legs were stiff and took some mobilisation which we were able to do running with the bike back to transition. On with the running shoes and away for two laps of the run. Felt comfortable if not particularly speedy 44.54 minutes for the 10K and managed to slam my hip into an anti-car bollard which did not trouble me at the time but has been swollen and stiff ever since. I gained four age group place on the run and lost one so was 10th in the age group but 6th of the potential qualifiers and you have to be in the top four to auto qualify. Had the valve not failed I think I would have made it but there is still a slim chance of a fastest loser place after the next and final qualifying race at Worthing on 28th. It takes a long time for the dust to settle on the places so I won’t know till much later. Not unduly worried as I usually chose sprint or standard so the choice may already have been made for me.