2012 ETU Cross Tri Euro Champs. The Hague, Netherlands – 15th July 2012
1000m Swim – 26km off road bike – 9km beach run
In a quiet year for CWTC representing GB age groups I added to Andy Roberson’s European Triathlon Championships in Eilat by qualifying for the Cross Triathlon European Championships in The Hague, Netherlands.
The race consisted of a 1km swim in the North Sea, 26km mountain bike route on the beach and sand dunes and a 9km run, also on the beach. GB was represented by 26 GB athletes across the age groups and two in the Elite under 23’s.
In contrast to Andy’s “I was standing on the beach looking out towards the Red Sea, Jordan on the left, Egypt on the right and in the distance Saudi Arabia’’ I had to stand on the shore of the North Sea looking out towards a couple of oil tankers and an eight foot swell. The water was warm enough but a strong tide meant some thought was required if I was going to make the first buoy, unfortunately I compensated too much and ended up about 100m upstream. At least I would make the turn, many swimmers headed straight for the first turn and got swept down stream and then were unable to swim back against the tide. My supporters, Liz and Aidy, having had a longer than expected wait for me to exit the swim approx 4 mins behind the leaders were at this point very helpful in informing me that two old ladies and the fattest man the race were already in transition.
At least the swim was done, now for a quick dunk in my washing up bowl to remove as much sand as possible from my feet and it was out for three laps of an 8km loop. The route consisted of sections along the beach and gravel trails in the sand dunes and was made more interesting with the inclusion of two flights of stairs to get on to the beach. The toughest part was riding approx 2k of beach on each lap, this was very draining on the legs particularly having to push the bike across the dry dusty areas. The bike was uneventful apart from a minor tumble in the dunes where I also took down a rather upset Austrian rider, I managed to push my way up through the field and completed the bike in good shape.
The run was again three laps half in the soft dust dunes and half along the water line on firmer sand, both areas were again very draining. With so many other GB team members racing there was always a team mate in view or spur each other on when we passed.
This was a great fun race, very different to anything I have done before, a real challenge and I can totally recommend it if any one fancies a race with a twist. Although the sand and sea water have made a bit of a mess with the drive chain and brakes on my bike, maybe a cross triathlon in some South Downs woodland would be a better idea. The World Cross triathlon will be held on the same course in 2013 so if anyone likes the sand, there is still time to enter.
I have attached a link to a You Tube clip of the 2011 race.
|Age Group Pos.||Name||Total||Swim 1K||T1||Cycle 26k||T2||Run 9K|
Report by Mike P