European Age-Group Triathlon Champs 2016 – Review

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The site of the 1998 World Exposition in Lisbon Portugal provides an ideal venue for a major Triathlon Championships and after a successful competition 2008, the Championships returned to the same venue in May 2016. Six Hartree Bike Craft JETS athletes were competing, with Gill Hislop, Joe Tomaney and Mike Goddard first up in the sprint distance race.

Joe was first off and smashed the swim sitting in the lead pack and exiting the water within 10secs of the lead. He was barely out of the water before it was Mike’s turn to tackle the 750m gauntlet that is the open water swim. Finding clear water and holding an even pace, Mike had one of his best swims ever to hit the exit ramp 10th out of 26 in his age-group. Gill was next and much like Mike put everything we’ve worked on in training into practice to hold a place in the 2nd pack exiting just 60sec behind some of the strongest girls in her AG. By this point Joe was on the bike and doing enough to keep in touch for the run. It’s fair to say that Lisbon’s bike course didn’t suit Joe, Gill or Mike’s strengths, but it is a testament to each of them that they focussed on what they were able to control and got the most from themselves through the middle phase. Onto the run and a 6/38 run put Joe up to 8th and his best European champs to date. Mike didn’t produce his fastest run, however he produced the best run he could on the day and propelled himself to a creditable 6th and 2nd brit securing his place in Düsseldorf, next year. Gill flew. Visually, one of fastest on the course at any one time, she ran faster than she has ever done to move up to 6th in her first European champs – there is more to come!

Sunday and time for the Olympic Distance races. Last year’s silver mealiest and fastest brit Alice Jenkins was the first of the JETS to stir up the Portuguese waters that had, until this point, been calm and inviting for the start of the race. ‘That’s how I’ve always been trying to swim’ she said after the race having held 3rd in her wave and 1st in her AG throughout. A swift T1 saw her out on the bike as 1st female, a position that no one else challenged for the rest of the race! Martin Gore and Jo Philips were also off before Alice exited the water and much like all the rest of the squad, had pretty much their best swims ever to exit 13/57 and 2/29 respectively. The flat, non-technical bike route suited Alice and Jo who put in the 1st and 2nd fastest splits of the day in their AG. While it didn’t suit Martin, his split actually reflected an excellent effort that should be noted as another example of 1st class execution. All three can run and all three did! Alice strode away to win her AG by over 7mins, the next fastest female by over 2mins and crossed the line within 8% of the male winner – European Champion. Quite simply, this is Elite! Martin put in one of the fastest runs of the day to finish 8th and 3rd Brit (pre-qualifying for 2017) in what was his ‘best performance at a major champs’. To finish the day with a bang, Jo – who had finished 8th in 2015, won the 40-44 cat by 2mins – European Champion!

The success of the JETS is down to a number of factors. Here are a key few:

1) Professionally minded athletes. You may be amateur – but you can still think professionally.
2) A consistent winter of well-judged training effort.
3) Individualised approaches based on lessons from last year.
4) A team of individuals, built around a strongly bonded squad.

Well done to all those who competed so well. Thank you to family and friends who supported, the JETS back home and our wonderful sponsors – without you, these results would not be possible.

Bring on the rest of 2016!

Joel Enoch (Head Coach, Hartree Bike Craft JETS)