Challenge Walschee European Middle Distance age group championships  – 4th September 2016

This was my third  consecutive trip as an Age Group athlete with GBR and the experience gets better every year. Add to that the venue was the most stunning scenery I have ever competed at and it had all the markings of a good week ahead.

After a few recee’s to get a feeling for what lay ahead, race day arrived  and a contingent of 260 Brits  [dwarfing the Austrian and German entries] entered the water to represent GBR, finishing the day with 4 golds, 8 silvers, and 8 Bronze

Race day began with an eerie mist  on lake fed by fresh water from the mountains surrounding Walschee and saw a water temp of 21 degrees followed by a 34 degree ride and run so to say it was warm was an understatement.

For me personally I had a reasonable swim in 35:12, slower than my PB of 32:00  but happy with the time on the day.  Progressed to the bike and was overwhelmed by the number of spectators and particular the large number of Brits on the roadside which made the hairs stand up on your neck at times and made you proud to wear the badge J.

As every corner passed I was expecting to see Julie Andrews dance across a  field as the scenery was jaw dropping.  I managed a 2:54:49 ride on a typically hilly Austrian course with over a 1000 metres of climbing over the 56 miles including a couple of long leg sapping drags and an interesting series of downhill switchbacks that we covered twice.

Bike complete and onto what felt like a long and hard run in hot conditions, although it did cool down for the last of the 4 laps. Managed or should I say struggled to a 2:00:32 finished with a final time of  5:39:10.  My best time for my GBR squads but 7 mins down on a flatter Cotswold Classic two weeks earlier

So the outcome of my journey to the land of Edelweiss was  I have an ETU ranking at middle distance of 16th for my age group in Europe and  3rdin Britain.

Not a bad season, but could be better, bring on 2017 !!