Deva Triathlon 2015 – National Championships, European & World Qualifer

I have competed in the Deva Standard Distance Triathlon for the previous 2 years and both have been very well organised events with a high standard of competition. This year was no different and after a bit of mixed forecast for Sunday’s weather it turned out to be a nice day for racing and the size and organisation of the event didn’t disappoint.

This year the Deva Triathlon was to be the Triathlon England National Championships as well as a European and World Great Britain Age Group Qualifier, this meant the race was split into age group waves and I was in the second wave setting off at 7:30am, strangely getting up at 3:45am on race morning doesn’t seem too bad, think this is due to the adrenaline and excitement because I certainly don’t get out of bed so easy on a work day. Swim – (1500m river swim) The swim at Chester is normally a tough one, with it being approximately 900m up stream and 600m down stream to the swim exit, this normally is a bigger benefit to me than a usual lake swim but this year there was no current meaning the time gaps getting out of the swim was a little closer than I would of liked.

Leading into this race I had been doing some research into the best way to approach a river swim, in previous years I have just taken the shortest line but after some discussions i was aware that it could be more beneficial to hug the bank to keep out of the stronger flow in the river, with the river being so calm I decided to use the same tactics as previous years and take the racing line, this meant straight from the start I was cruising up the centre of the river on my own keeping tight to the buoys and there was a pack of strong swimmers to my right close to the bank, initially it looked like these swimmers had the edge but I kept to my plan and started to make way at the front of my wave.

The swim was going to plan but I was struggling to see with the glaring sun bouncing off the mirrored water, as I hit the turn around bouys and head back down stream I was to follow the red bouys which would lead me to the water exit, there was one problem and due to poor visibility I caught sight of a red bouy which was not one of the events and I found myself on the wrong side of some anchored boats still able to swim but having to go the long way round, this left me from being clear out front in my wave to having a group of 3 gold caps just in front of me, I didn’t dwell and made extra effort to get out of the water first in a time of 18:06.

After the waters exit at Chester you have a few hundred meters to run into transition to collect your bike, this included some steps but was kindly carpeted by the organisers Chester Triathon club. In my last race I had a couple of what I’d consider sloppy transitions, this isn’t like me so I was extra focused on being swift and smooth, looking back at the splits, I was within seconds of the best T1 times and was the fastest in T2. Bike – (40k) Having done this race twice before and doing a course recce the week before, I had a good picture of the route and how I should ride it, it’s a fast course with a bit of undulation and to ride it fast it commands you to be on top of your effort throughout with very little time to ease back on descents, I was fully aware that if I was going to be in the mix then I’d need to bike full on and hope I had a cushion to hold some of the very quick runners at bay.

I was passed by one person on the bike which ended up being the overall winner, he was motoring and probably helped get an extra percentage out of me trying to chase him through the athletes from the first wave. I knew I was up on last years bike time and with the fastest bike to run transition I set off on to a 10k run on a mix of gravely trail and flagstone paths. Run – (10k mixed trail) In the previous races this season I have been running really well off the bike, I was in need of the same in this fast race but having biked so hard I wasn’t sure if I’d have the legs.

I set off on the run in a clear 2nd in my age group but unaware of an overall position, I didn’t feel quite as sharp as in the last 2 races but that was to be expected as id done the super tough Slateman Triathlon and then 2 weeks before this race I did my first 70.3 (half ironman) race. The run is 3 loops of a mostly flat run course which passes both sides of the river, this makes for a great atmosphere with spectators lining the barriers and bridge, another good thing about it being loops is you can keep a check on position against chasing or to be chased athletes.

I finished the run as strong as I started it and was happy that I’d given my best and if anyone was better then full respect, I was aware if finish’d 2nd in my age group to claim a National silver age group medal but there was also the overall prizes to contend for and with it being cash prize money for the top 5, that was my target. Result 2nd 30-34yr AG – National, Euro Qualify 5th overall out of 1100 Splits – Results here swim – 18:06 T1 – 1:03 Bike – 01:00.06 T2 – 0:37 Run – 35:55 Finish – 1:56.09 Post race thoughts – I’m happy to be mixing it consistently with the top athletes at this level. I’ve made some good improvement throughout the 3 disciplines. Happy with how I’m biking but think I’ve got another gear to open up. Great race and the organisation is up with the best, well done Chester Triathlon Club. Big thanks goes out to my team ChampionSystem/VCUK and the friends and family who turned up to show support. Thanks to the team sponsors for helping me race well. ChampionSystem Clothing Base Bikes Club Roost Wheels Lake Shoes Limar Helmets Kenda Tyres KMC Chains Jagwire Cables Carter Rigging Mark Lomax Chartered Accountants

Photo’s Thanks to SportSunday Photography for some great photos and also friends and family for their snaps.