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5th Brighton big Dog

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I have raced the 6hr Brighton Big Dog MTB Enduro the last four years and it is probably my favourite MTB race of the year. It has a great relaxed vibe, great people, great organisation and above all a great course. I raced as a team of three this year with Jim McConnel and Pete Hawkins, both Xterra racers who I knew would love the challenge of the big dog.

The lap is a frenetic one taking roughly 30mins with step climbs and decants interspersed with technical singletrack. It is non stop smiles for miles, and your next lap always comes round sooner than you thought.

We held fifth place for pretty much all of the day from the start gun, but managed to close from some 5mins or so to a much more attainable margin with time to get one more lap in. We sent Pete out with his eras ringing and no ambiguity about what he had to do (the sensors have been employed here wink

Pete put in a storming lap, but unfortunately we missed 4th by two seconds!

Can’t wait for next year!

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5th ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships

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ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Den Haag Holland

My focus for this year was always going to be the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Den Haag Holland. After finishing 4th in the same race in Alabama last year a podium was a real possibility. The two douses could not have been more different with Alabama being a lake swim with technical single track bike and wooded run. Holland was a rough and tide dependant swim with a bike leg that resembled a torture chamber in sand followed by yes you guessed it a run in the sand!

My preparation had gone well but the testing and unknown course would be difficult come race day. The sea was incredibly unpredictable in the days before the race with big waves and strong currents. This was to change somewhat for race day with it playing to my strengths - a current from behind and waves that were not so bad. I came out of the swim mid pack and ran across the beach only to realise my timing chip had been pulled off in the swim. This meant a lengthy conversation with a ITU official to get a replacement. I tried to stay calm and not panic.

Off on the start of four bike laps… It was more like a flat out cyclocross race through sand than any other off road tri I have ever competed in. My heart rate hit maximum and just stayed there as the course had nowhere to rest with deep sand, short sharp climbs, time trial sections on the beach and several unique obstacles. The most unique of which was a 100ft drop via steep steps down to the beach twice each lap!

I made good ground on the bike but it was the run that played to my strengths, where I felt my run form would help. It was to be so with no one overtaking me on the run and several more places made up.

I had no idea where I had come it was a blur of pain, sand and bloody blisters. Don’t let any kids tell you beaches are fun places, at least not on a certain weekend in Holland this year!

I finished 5th. The wrong side of 4th, but at least consistent in my performance on both sides of the Atlantic. I look forward to next year in Germany for my next attempt at a medal whilst representing Team GB, which after all is a great honour.

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