World Long Distance Triathlon Championships.

Report by Daz Sharpe,

Just 15 months after my first triathlon at Dhekelia and Iím stood on the start line of the World Triathlon Championships in Sweden wearing my Great Britain race kit with pride as a member of the Great Britain age 30 Ė 34 squad.

All the training has been done and all I have to do is calm my nerves and concentrate on the day ahead.

The Swim

The Long Distance course involves a swim of 4km, followed by cycling 120km and is rounded off with a run of 30km. Its 8 oíclock on Saturday morning, and the sound of the air horn means its time to start the swim leg. Conditions are good and I soon settle into a good rhythm. The pack starts to spread out after about 1km and Iíve now got plenty of room to build the speed up a bit and concentrate on my stroke technique. At about 3.5km Iím starting to think about my transition and before I know it Iím Exiting the water after 1 hour and 9 minutes.

The Bike

Into transition and the wetsuit is off cycle helmet and gloves are on and after a short run Iím on the bike and sliding into my shoes, which are already attached to the bike. After a drink I settle down and get comfortable for the long ride. Over the 120km I take in 3 energy gels, 1 energy bar and about 4 liters of energy drink. After about 80km the weather changes for the worse and we get a serious pounding from hailstones which is not a pleasant experience wearing just a lycra triathlon suit but I push on regardless, unlike some of the others who choose to take shelter under trees and bushes. As I near the finish of the bike leg I am now starting to think about transition 2 and changing into my run shoes. After 3 hours and 27 minutes I arrive at transition, the bike is racked, helmet off, and socks and trainers are on. I pick up my three energy gels and set off for the first of 4 laps of a 7.5km run.

The Run

The run course although mostly flat is tough as you are lapping on a filter lane within the finish straight and pass the finish line 4 times before the finally getting to cross the line. There is also a steep climb at the far side of the course. The run goes well and I pick up some of the people in my age group on the first couple of laps but after that itís hard to tell if the people you are passing are on the same lap. I have a good run finishing in 2 hours and 19 minutes and cross the line with a total finishing time of 7 hours and 22 seconds.

Delighted

I am delighted with my time but canít help but think, if only I had a bigger bladder then I would have finished in less than 7 hours. I finished 19th in my age group and I was the 3rd Great Britain athlete in my group. The experience is fantastic and I would recommend it to anybody. The feeling of pride you get wearing your Great Britain kit and being cheered on by the GB supporters can only be described as amazing.

Thanks

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife Anthea for all her support and understanding, and would also like to thank Maj Bryan Ė J3 Training, Flt Lt Merrick Ė British Forces Episkopi Support Unit, Flt Lt Parrot Ė OC P Ed Flt and the SIF Fund at Akrotiri for there financial and administrative assistance.