James Emery is the Manager of TORQ's Triathlon team. He's a keen triathlete having raced all distances from sprint to Ironman.
Bala Tri Victory
The last big push for Chris Standidge before a mid-season break resulted in a convincing win where he lead from the front at the Bala Middle Distance Triathlon, consisting of 2k swim, 78.5k bike and 20k run…
Here's what Chris had to say: After Deva Olympic the week before, I found it difficult to get motivated to do Bala Middle for the week after. I felt tired all week - more so than I should, so came to the conclusion that I had raced quite a lot this year and would get on with Bala and then take a bit of downtime for a week, before thinking ahead to the 2nd half of the season.
I have completed Bala twice before, in 2009 when it was the National Middle Distance Champs, coming 6th overall, and then a very memorable year in 2011 where I achieved 3rd, but conditions were horrific and 1/3 of the field pulled out due to torrential rain and 60mph winds. There was even talk of snow on the moors! Luckily this year it was blazing sunshine, and by the weekend my appetite had come back for one final big effort. The race always attracts some quality athletes as Wrecsam Tri always put on a fantastic race, but it also has a prize fund of £6000, which definitely helps to tempt along a few big hitters!
Having competed at Majorca 70.3 four weeks ago and feeling like I had executed a well paced race, my plan here was to go for it and see what happened. I knew I was tired from the last few months of racing, but I wanted to really test myself to see how whether I could step up my performance from Majorca for when I race in Germany 70.3 in August.
So I took the swim out hard and had just one person with me, Paul Hawkins (ironman Pro) from early on. We both swam pretty much shoulder to shoulder throughout the 2k swim exiting in just over 26 mins. The Bala bike course is tough - it’s an out and back course with a series of hills in the middle, which don’t feel so bad on the way out, but on the way back at 35 miles you certainly know whether you have gone too hard or not! Early on into the bike, I took the lead and attacked the first series of climbs and then held a good pace through to the turnaround. This is a great opportunity to see where everybody is and I was surprised that I had a pretty good lead; about 4 mins on the chasers. On the way back I tried to keep the momentum going, it felt hard with a headwind most of the way back, but the power was still there, so was happy I shouldn’t be losing much time into anyone.
Having achieved a PB on the run in Majorca at 1:21 for the half marathon, I knew this was going to be a totally different experience. The run course was very tough and I knew I had gone out a lot harder here, so it was going to be a case of trying to hold on and not much more than that. At the 1 mile mark, I could hear on the tannoy that the guys had reached T2, so I knew I had approx. 6 mins lead, so had managed to extend it on the way back. It allowed me to relax a bit knowing I could afford to drop 30 secs a mile and still hold on, so I dropped the pace and just tried to run controlled. On the flats I felt fine and comfortable, but on the uphills, they felt so hard! Again the run is an out and back, so was able to judge the gap back to 2nd place and although the chasers had taken time out of me, I still had 4 mins for the last 10k. I’ve never been so glad of a finish line - those last few miles felt so hard, but I had hung on for a very satisfying win.
As ever, thanks to the help of all our fantastic sponsors:
www.huubdesign.com - Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com - Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk - Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com - Cables & Housing
www.shimano.com - Groupsets
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk - Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com - Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com - Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
www.juicelubes.co.uk - Lubrication