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Dan Bradshaw wins Blithfield Triathlon!

This weekend, sponsored Triathlete Dan Bradshaw took part in the Blithfield triathlon Olympic distance race. Here's how he got on...

I finally got my first overall win over Olympic distance on Sunday, at the Blithfield triathlon! After a delayed start to the season because of illness and a disastrous first race at the Bournemouth triathlon 4 weeks ago, I'm thrilled that I've bounced straight back to form.

I've also dragged my brother into triathlons, and he was doing the Sprint distance at Blithfield as his first tri. Having checked the start times, I'd worked out that if he was having a good race I wouldn't see him on the course, as he'd be finished whilst I was still on the bike. So I hoped I wouldn't see him!

Dan and his brother pre-race

Being a strong swimmer and biker, the only way I know how to race is to lead out the swim and the bike and try to hold on during the run. So far this has been unsuccessful! At multiple races I've been caught on the run - even as late as less than 1km to go - and I've had to settle for 2nd place (i.e. 1st loser!). But I've worked hard on my run technique this year, as well as my bike strength so that I've got more left in the legs for the run.

The Blithfield swim this year was a bit choppy due to the wind, and this, combined with the low sun, made sighting the turn buoys difficult. I stuck to my plan and started out fast but soon realised there was another strong swimmer in the Olympic wave. The two of us swam stroke for stroke, navigated through the back markers of the sprint wave and exited the water together. Very strong swimmers aren't that common in tri and he very sportingly offered me a low five and his congratulations as we entered T1.

The two lap bike course is rolling and fast, so I was determined to push hard to maximise my advantage over any seriously quick runners that would be chasing me; so I took the lead straight out of T1. The wind picked up during the bike leg, but continuously moving past athletes from the sprint wave gave me something to chase and kept me pushing. I allowed myself a check over the shoulder on one of the straights and couldn't see anyone chasing me, so was confident that I'd put some distance between myself and 2nd place. As the first full test of my Planet X Stealth, I'm extremely happy with it. I was comfortable holding the TT position for almost all of the bike leg and found out after the race I had the fastest bike split and was the only person to go under 60mins for the 40km bike.

It's blurry because he's going so fast!

Passing through T2 onto the run I felt good, and having the lead motorbike to follow always makes me feel like a pro! The run alongside the reservoir is 2 laps of a 5km out and back loop, so after the turn at 2.5km I could check who was chasing me and how hard! But it looked like I had a couple of minutes so I was happy to run at my pace. However, just after the 5km turnaround (exactly where I got caught last year), a lad in Birmingham Uni kit absolutely flew past me out of nowhere and the lead motorbike went with him, dropping me into 2nd place. I was beginning to slow up as my legs tired and felt pretty rubbish for a several minutes; but approaching the final turn at 7.5km the lead biker dropped back to me and apologised, the Birmingham lad was on his fist lap and I was still leading! I gulped an energy gel, pushed as hard as I could for the last leg and finally took my first Olympic win!

It was a great result for both the Bradshaws, as my brother came 1st in his age group (25-29, same as me) and 12th overall in the sprint distance event! I hadn't seen him on the course so knew he must be going well, and I'm so happy for him.

My confidence in my fitness has been boosted by the win, and I'm already psyched for my next race in a fortnight. It's the UK Triathlon Ultimate Half, which is a half iron distance that I'm using as a dry run/warm up for Kona. This will be a proper test of my running over a longer distance and a good opportunity to practice the nutrition strategy I'll use at the World Championships. Bring it on!

Keep training!

Congratulations to Dan on his win at Blithfield and good luck for the UK Triathlon Ultimate Half later in the month! We'll keep you posted with all his news by why not follow his blog as well?

6 August 2014