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Top ten at Challenge Roth

Challenge Roth was my planned ‘A’ race for this season, based around my usual busy months of May and July coaching Triathlon training weeks in the French Alps. Spencer and I worked together during May on the two triathlon training weeks, which ensured a lot of laughs and a number of long days on the bike climbing cols featured in Stages 8 and 9 of this year’s TdF. Check out training camp photos here

I rode the new Nanolight road bike over every Col in the area, and it definitely didn’t disappoint! Light and responsive to climb with, reliably stiff when you need to knife it into hairpin bends descending at speed! It proved perfect on every hilly training ride where we measured altitude climbed for the day in 1000’s of metres.
I’d been fairly happy with my preparation for Roth, confirmed by a solid 8th place in a strong Pro field at the Tri Grand Prix race put on by Team Outrageous in Kent. The course profile proved more suitable for a road bike with clip on tri bars, so the Nanolight really came into its own!
See my splits here

I had put in a good training block since returning to the UK and had been refining my time trial set up on the trusty Stealth after a Retul bike fitting with Andy at Bike Science in Bristol. I had noticed improved power from the slightly tweaked position over a few months and decided to test it out with a 50m time trial 3 weeks before Roth. I won the WCC (Great Missenden H50/4 course) event comfortably in a new PB of 2:09, and the changes to my position and power didn’t have an adverse affect on my long run afterward in terms of pacing, HR or perceived effort. So with this final effort in the bag I was looking forward to seeing what I could do at Roth!

Sunday 18th July 2010

The race panned out well from the start. My swim in the calm waters of the canal felt comfortably strong and I exited the water in just over an hour, after a little tussle with two girls swimming straight over me at the final turnaround!

Once onto the bike I gradually warmed into the first 15 miles, found a good rhythm and built momentum to carry me through the 112 mile bike course. I felt very confident putting the power down on the first lap of the undulating course. When I reached the famous ‘Solar hill’ I was literally carried up and over by the corridor of humanity that lined the route, providing the narrowest of gaps to ride through! I looked forward to that section on the second lap, it was a real ‘Tour de France’ moment. Off the bike and onto the run where I started ticking off the miles until the first turnaround point at 13km. At this point I could gauge that a top ten finish was likely, if I could sustain my usual sub 3:30 marathon pace off the bike.

The run course along the canal was mostly shaded and fairly flat, with great aid stations and enthusiastic supporters. The last 2km takes you through the cobbled streets of Roth where you’re treated like a rock star, so it’s hard not to maintain a smile and loads of painful energy to the finish!

I completed in a new PB of 9:54:19 and 10th place overall, on a remarkable day where a new world record for the distance was set by Chrissie Wellington. Amazing!
See results here

22 July 2010

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