Going for Gold – Richard Stannard update 3

Topic: Esendex news
Richard’s Bay World Cup May 2008
It always seems odd to tell your friends you are off to Africa on a Thursday and will be back on Monday, but such is the pace of the triathlon circuit you hardly have time to unpack your bike before moving on. This time however, I have arrived back form Africa with out a bike and have to leave to race the European Championships one day later. As you can imagine this has caused all sorts of fun and games with a trip to Sigma Sport, who support me with everything bike related, coming up trumps with spares of all the bits and pieces lost in the middle of Africa. 
Travelling with all our race kit is a difficult business but something you get used to the more you race abroad, but some trips do present more challenges than others. The Richard’s Bay race however, has been interesting from start to finish. At least the race went smoothly unlike New Zealand where the bike timing chip put on my bike by a mechanic without my knowledge before the start caused my front wheel skewer to fall out! I continued the race with nothing holding in my front wheel but eventually this caught up with me as I crashed coming into the second transition. Going out virtually last onto the run I ran through the field of 60 to finish 32nd not the result I was looking for, but a finish none the less.
Richard’s Bay was thankfully with out incident in the race and after a rough start I exited the water up the front and was in the lead pack for the start of the bike. Attacks came thick and fast on the bike and as we came around for the end of the second lap I seized my opportunity and jumped off the front to claim the first bike prime. The lead pack of thirty athletes remained twitchy for the rest of the bike with three of us managing to just get a few seconds lead into the second transition. I went out onto the run 3 seconds clear of the large chasing pack and seconds off the leader. As the run progressed I lead the second small group just behind the front group with the rest of the field strung out behind us. On the final lap the leader was caught by the first small group and the second small group was strung out a few seconds back. In the end it was a line of athletes crossing the finish one every few seconds I managed to hang on to 12th spot with a 31 minute 10km and my best finish of the year so far.
With the European Championships on Saturday 10th May this leaves only five days recovery between the races much short than usual. I hope the legs recovery and my bike finds its way home.
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Paul Smith