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Elliot Smales at Windsor Tri

This Sunday, sponsored rider Elliot Smales competed in the Windsor Triathlon, his first draft-legal Olympic distance race. Here's what he had to say:

After a few weeks of inconsistent racing with a podium, a top 10 and a bike crash, this weekend I travelled down to Windsor for the second round of the British Triathlon Super Series. On Saturday I attended the mandatory briefing, racked my bike and went for some Lebanese food, while avoiding the belly dancer. Nothing like doing something new the day before a race!

Race day began with a leisurely rise at 6:30 before a short walk down to the race area to finish off transition. Things were great until the warm up. As I ran along the river I watched some of the age groupers racing and they were struggling to make the last turn. I realised the current was that strong they physically couldn't swim around the buoy. I had heard of the current but expected nothing like what I saw. I got ready apprehensively and jumped in for a warm up to get used to it.

The race itself began with the usual mass start/beating and everyone quickly headed for the bank where the current was weakest. I swam quite well and found myself hanging onto the back of what I knew would be the front pack. As I ran through transition, the announcer provided a time gap of 40 seconds to the leaders. I concentrated on a swift transition in order to make the pack and as usual my Carnac tri shoes worked a treat. It took me a while to settle in but eventually my group caught the two leaders, and I felt a lot better. For the rest of the 40km cycle there were a lot of attacks, some I chased down and some I joined, but nothing stuck.

So onto the 10k run with the iconic backdrop of Windsor castle. The course is made up of 3 laps, each with 3 out and backs. I had a count of the runners in front as they passed me on their way back from the turn and I was close to top ten. On the third and final lap I pushed on and took 2 places, putting me in to 9th at the finish. Very happy for my first drafting Olympic distance race.

Next week takes me to Larache in Morocco for my first ATU continental cup race. After this it's back to a training block, starting with a crack at a 10 mile bike TT aboard the Exocet to get a new PB before heading back to Leeds and back to the routine.

16 June 2014

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