September, the last month of racing for me. I had two quality domestic british races planned: Bala Olympic on the 7th and Hever Castle 70.3 on the 27th.
My body had started to show signs of tiredness and end of season fatigue, after a packed schedule of over 15 triathlons including 4 70.3's and around 10 Olympic distance races.
Following the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Austria I took a couple of days easy leading into Bala. Not knowing what to expect from my body I went there relaxed and with an open mind. Bala was going to be the perfect test of progress since last year when I did the same race.
The field at Bala was stacked. I just went out and raced hard, coming out of the water 5 mins down on the leaders. Over the duration of the bike, a fast out and back course, I closed down this gap and put a good 30-40 seconds into a few of the guys who were first out of the water. This put me in about 10th as some strong riders had held the advantage they'd gained out of the swim. I ran myself up to 7th over the 10km foot race. I was really pleased with the result and had completed the race in 6 mins 30 secs quicker than the previous year, showing good progression in the swim and on the bike.
My new race bike from Cervelo
Hever Castle, my last race and 4th 70.3. Hever was also the last race in the Caste Triathlon series. It had attracted some very good names including Darren Jenkins, Will Cowen and Matt Dewis. We started with a rather brisk 1.9km swim, followed by an undulating 90km on the bike and finished with an off-road, long half marathon.
After a tough swim I rode up though the field into 5th place, with 8mins to bridge to the leader. On the first lap I ran up into 2nd place and bought back 2mins of his lead. On the second lap I picked up the pace and bought the gap back down to 50 seconds at the finish line, I just needed a couple more kilometres and I would have had the win. I was really pleased to take 2nd though and get to stand on the podium again. The race will be shown on Channel 4 towards the end of October.
I've had a long tough season with up's and down's. Its been a huge learning experience and I've figured out exactly what I want to do and the direction I want to go in within triathlon. Next season I'll be racing in the long distance Pro field, with a number of 70.3's already targeted and in the plan. This year wouldn't have been possible without the huge amount of coaching and support I've had from Luke Watson, and my fantastic sponsors Aske Bikes, Pedal Potential, Le Col, Cervelo, HUUB, OTE, Lane 1 coaching, and the Jeremy Willson CT.
I'm going to take a couple of weeks off to recover from the season now, then I'll be getting back into winter training in preparation for next year. There's lots of exciting plans and sponsors that il keep you posted on in the next couple of months, but for now its feet up, and……..relax.