Report from Howard:
No pressure today as I had already qualified for the events for which this would have been a qualifier. The dilemma was either to take it easy and risk free or go for a rapid sharpener. There were many permutations of races during the day and mine started at 1.00pm. The air was cool but the sky was almost cloudless and even at midday it was not exactly hot, in fact, quite cool for racing at about 7 degrees again although there was heat in the sunshine. I opted for a short sleeved T shirt under the tri suit and it proved to be about the right choice. I had done a park run again yesterday, this time with Mick (remember him?) at Bramley which is quite hilly, as it is in the Leeds race series which I have entered. While warming up at Stockton I felt OK, if a little flat and when the gun went I had decided to go hard but not overly. The route and numbers made for a sensible pace for the start of the 10K which I did in 45.38. I don’t know how accurate the route was measured as I felt it was more like 43 pace. Felt robust enough to maintain the pace back to first transition which I did exactly the same time as last year (as was second transition). This year I had taken the TT bike (road bike last year) and I was straight into a good rhythm. I was trying faster cadence in lower gears to see what effect that would have. There were 6 laps of mildly undulating roads with a few straight bits but quite a few turns to negotiate. There were a couple of stretches of open textured tarmac which made for a bone shaking few minutes each lap and I was also conscious of the breeze along some of the straights. Felt pretty good till lap 6 when it just seemed to be getting a bit tough. I got through the final 5K reasonably well after a few hundred metres of getting back into running mode. 22.30 for the last leg which although a bit slow it was at least consistent pacing and no mishaps prior to next week’s Euro champs in Spain (unlike some other GB team-mates, crashing and sore Achilles etc.). Even finished second in the rather limited age group considering it was a multi qualifier and got a nice shiny trophy.