Tom Bishop wins British Elite Triathlon Championship at Windsor
I like getting up early, but perhaps 4.30 is a bit extreme. Nevertheless, I woke and set off on my pre race run on a Sunday morning, in preparation for the Windsor Triathlon and the British Elite Triathlon Championships. The depart was at 9.20 in the Thames and it was never going to be easy with Richard Stannard setting the early pace, however I exited the water with the leaders.
The transition is another story. I never run well after a swim and the long run into T1 did some damage, a group of 4 riders got away including ex-world champions and 3-time Olympian Tim Don.
The chase was hard in the early stages, especially as we lost some valuable riders (my brother and my house mate) to a crash (I may have caused it, I couldn't say it happened so fast - My house mate clipped my wheel and he and my brother came down very unfortunately). We eventually caught the four leaders after about 10k of chasing, it was tough to keep the group motivated but we got there in the end. Once the catch was made, the pace slowed considerably which thus allowed other chase groups to catch on. The weather was terrible; wet and windy, this made riding a very unpleasant experience. The pace was so slow that everyone froze, I had to shake my arms and thighs to keep the blood flowing; changing gear was a very tricky task!
Before entering T2 there was a tricky technical section on the bike made hazardous by the wet conditions, Tim led the way and I was close on his wheel- he is an experienced rider and a safe one to follow!
Dismounting was an experience in the cold especially when the whole of your lower body was numb! I headed off onto the run not being able to feel my legs, maybe that was a good thing with three hills to tackle. After about 600m I hit the front and ran as hard as possible dropping everyone apart from Tim Don and Aaron Harris. After the 1st lap I had a small gap with Aaron not far off and Tim (suffering in the cold) fading. The last two laps myself and Aaron shared the pace, I found it quite comfortable, my winter miles showing their worth. This allowed me to kick with 500m to go and Aaron had no answer. I am happy because that is two out of two sprint finishes I have won so far (the previous being a battle for second place at Blenheim the week prior); I have only ever won one previously and that was against my brother in a schools cross country 5 years ago at John Port school.
My main aim coming into this race was to qualify for European u23, which I did, I never expected to become British champion at the same time, never mind beating Tim Don (albeit a half frozen Tim), to be fair to him, he trained in South Africa over the winter so didn't experience the lovely snow we did, plus he has a very important race this weekend at Kitzbuhel so it is understandable that he was not in full fighting form. He is still a fantastic athlete, watch out for him and the rest of the British team race Kitzbuhel World Championship Series on the BBC red button Saturday and Sunday at 1.30pm (sat) and 2.30pm (sun).
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