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VIper Chris Goodwins race report - ETU Champs Holten

 
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dalkiin




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Location: dropped by the peloton

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: VIper Chris Goodwins race report - ETU Champs Holten Reply with quote

Nice report, a bit mangled in the formatting - hopefully this is flows a bit better when reading:
Chris Goodwin via SheliaP wrote:

Here is my rather prosaic and long winded write up...

My preparation for the European Triathlon Championships at Holten began with a weeks holiday in the Netherlands. Its a lovely country, and Hardervijk where we stayed is particularly pleasant. It has an old town sitting on the edge of a large lake with a hundred wind turbines gracefully turning in the wind on the other side.

Bicycles are everywhere, and its generally quicker to cycle along the dedicated cycle paths than drive. And of course, its flat. Very very flat.

The race was on Saturday, and on Friday I had to register around noon where we managed to bump into Marius. I was also due to meet up with my guide, Ben Shaw, who was driving up from Calais that morning. A mixture of traffic jams, race briefings, rain storms, the need to put up a tent, and general faff meant we didn't meet up until gone 5pm after which time it was too late to go for a swim in the lake for a practice with a new type of tether. We did manage to set up the tandem though, making sure saddles were the right height and the right pedals were on the front and rear. Then we went to look at the bike route.

The Netherlands is famous for being flat, and Hardervijk had reinforced this for me. I was rather shocked to find out the bike route was two laps of a circuit with a hill in the middle. So the course went up one side, down the other, then back and round aghain. Four climbs and four descents altogether, all preceded by a 6km flat ride between the two transition points. All that dreaming of sub one hour bike times flew out the window, but I went to bed determined to beat the hill.

I met up on the Saturday with Ben at 8am at T2 to put down our running shoes, running tether and BGB running hat (I was also in the official GB trisuit kit!). We then drove down to T1 and racked up the tandem and prepared for the 11am start. The other paratriathletes were there too and it was good to chat with them during preparation.

They say you should never try something for the first time in a race but I really wanted to try out my new elastic swimming tether. Practice had shown that the old non-stretchable one slowed us noticeably when it yanked tight. And somehow we managed to be in a rush to do the swim warm up. Shortly before the off, all 26 paratriathletes were called up into a line and the man on the PA system called out our names and nationalities before we jumped into the warm lake. Wetsuits for paratriathletes were optional as some swimmers such as those with spinal injuries can still get cold.

The swim started well. I knew it was 350m to the first buoy which was about 150 right arm strokes. It came at 165 strokes. With a small field there wasn't really any problems. Then on the first time going down the home straight the tension I felt from my tether vanished and Ben and I started swimming apart.

We stopped and spent a precious minute fixing the tether which had come undone. A swimmer who had been drafting us checked we were okay but then restarted off in the wrong direction, a couple of other swimmers in hot pursuit. The crowd was tense as they saw the field split and it seemed to take a while for a support boat to correct the wayward swimmers. We were fortunately unaffected by this, but on the second lap we went wayward as well and ended up swimming an extra 100m. We lost over 3 minutes in the water. Oh for a lead canoe.

Never try something for the first time in a race.

T1 was a vast improvement for me on previous attempts. The organisers had kindly provided a small chair for me to sit on which stopped me falling over as I often feel dizzy coming out of the water.

The cycle started well into a slight headwind. Ben and I began a happy relationship with an Austrian leg amputee as we would overtake him on the flat and downhills, and he would take us back on the ups. This happened many times over the course of the bike and we soon got to saying hello each time we passed.

Holten soon came into sight and so did the sharp corners. Then came the hill. I haven't been into first gear in a long time but it was well used that day. There was also some vicious cobbles to go over at speed. We also used top gear on the descents. The turning point on the far side of the hill favoured the solo bikes as our tandem had to be stopped, physically picked up and turned to get around the narrow turning point.

The advantage of turning points is you can see who is in front of you and who is behind. We were around 6 minutes behind the paratri leader, but the first tandem.

The nearest tandem to us, a Frenchman called Phillip, was just 30 seconds behind. On the next lap he was just 15 seconds behind. Ben and I pushed hard on the last leg of the cycle but we nearly burned ourselves out on one of the climbs. We seemed to be going at a walking pace. The downhills though saw us speeding along again and the winding streets of Holten weren't far away.

Again, transition was a great improvement for me now I had my elastic laces. Just as we started to run, the Frenchman came into T2. We hadn't given up any time to them on the last part of the cycle.

With heavy legs we left T2. The crowd was large here and I heard my children shouting encouragement. So I promptly fell over at a short rise in the road. there was a gasp from the crowd, but I rolled over and back onto my feet and started running again. A cheer went up, but the Frenchman had gained on me.

I was tired. We had four laps to run and I spent most of the first lap telling my guide to slow down. My aim was to finish without walking. The heat wasn't obviously hurting me though and I took on water each lap. Maybe all those sessions on the turbo and treadmill where the poor ventilation ended me dripping in sweat five times a week had other useful side effects.

The crowd were great and we certainly ran faster when the crowds were thicker. The laps seemed short to me, and Ben said we were doing around 8 minute laps.

I'm convinced the course was short, so Marius don't be disheartened as I think your course was slightly different and longer.

It soon was clear that Phillip wasn't going to catch us. So the run became something simply to complete. I was the first visually impaired athelete in the field and no one was threatening my position. The time was not important, position was all.

So when we approached the finish line, and I high fived the crowd along the route, I promptly fell over again at the short ramp up to the finish line. The ramp was softer than the stone of my previous fall, and again I stood up quickly. I crossed the line. Ben spun me around and we waved to the crowd from the finish line - something the organisers made all finishers behind us do as well as it looked good for the photos.

I was tired. I was hot. Thank you to whoever thought of providing melon for finishers - it was gorgeous. And I was the European Champion for the visually impaired category. that felt good.

Shortly before 4pm all medal winners for the paratri wave collected near the stage for the presentation. The Mens VI category was presented last. They called out the bronze winner (a fellow GB squad member), and silver (Phillip from France who I'd managed to talk with in the worst Franglais for 15 minutes), and then they announced the gold winner and my name. Ben and I walked up the ramp to the podium and I managed to stay on two feet all the way. They gave me a medal
and a sunflower, and then we all waved to the crowd for the photo opportunity.

And that was it. We walked back through the crowds, and we spent some time watching out for Marius but with no luck. We packed up our stuff, collected our tandem, and our wetsuits which had been brought from T1, and back to the car. I said goodbye to Ben and his wife as they started their holiday in the Netherlands.

It was time for me to finish mine and return home.

A great couple of days. The international feel to the event was really good and the organisation was to a high standard. A fun trip. Well, it can't have gone much better actually.

So what next? I've done Britain, done Europe. Next the world? Actually, its Littledown...
Cheers,

chris
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SheilaP




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I copied and pasted straight out of an email. It needed sorting!
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Cleo




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report and really well done! Clap
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timf




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Chris. Cracking result!
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savaloy




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work fella Cool Wear that medal with pride Clap
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jay clock




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will pass on the compliments as I usually swim with him on Monday evenings. Or rather I swim in the same pool, a few lanes to the left!
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Ben S




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good to read Chris' report from the other end of the rope!

For the last 7 days I've had nightmares about watching Chris swimming away from me when the tether broke and guilt ridden angst about him hitting the deck when we got to the cobbles and then again on the ramp up the the finishing rostrum!

Well done Chris - your medal was won with not an inconsiderable amount of hard work.
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wiganer




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben S wrote:
It's good to read Chris' report from the other end of the rope!

For the last 7 days I've had nightmares about watching Chris swimming away from me when the tether broke and guilt ridden angst about him hitting the deck when we got to the cobbles and then again on the ramp up the the finishing rostrum!

Well done Chris - your medal was won with not an inconsiderable amount of hard work.


although I know you weren't fishing for it, I think you deserve a big hand too mate....well done... Cool
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Cleo




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wiganer wrote:
Ben S wrote:
It's good to read Chris' report from the other end of the rope!

For the last 7 days I've had nightmares about watching Chris swimming away from me when the tether broke and guilt ridden angst about him hitting the deck when we got to the cobbles and then again on the ramp up the the finishing rostrum!

Well done Chris - your medal was won with not an inconsiderable amount of hard work.


although I know you weren't fishing for it, I think you deserve a big hand too mate....well done... Cool


Indeed! Chapeau!
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LynneE




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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cleo wrote:
wiganer wrote:
Ben S wrote:
It's good to read Chris' report from the other end of the rope!

For the last 7 days I've had nightmares about watching Chris swimming away from me when the tether broke and guilt ridden angst about him hitting the deck when we got to the cobbles and then again on the ramp up the the finishing rostrum!

Well done Chris - your medal was won with not an inconsiderable amount of hard work.


although I know you weren't fishing for it, I think you deserve a big hand too mate....well done... Cool


Indeed! Chapeau!


Yup X 3

Thanks fo sharing a fabulously inspiring report Sheila Very Happy

Brilliant result Chris well done Clap Winner
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