Andrews Takes Fine First Victory

Tim Andrews secured a fine victory in the Guernsey Triathlon Club’s end of season long distance triathlon sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation.  A good number of entrants, many of which new to the sport having competed recently in the Tri-Ultimate Fundraiser for Hope for a Child, lined up for the toughest race in the Club’s calendar with individuals taking part in both the full distance race and in the sprint version that was also on offer.

In the main event competitors were faced with a 1.9km swim in difficult choppy conditions in Havelet Bay which took them from the shoreline across the Bay to the Castle slipway, South to the bathing pools before returning to transition via the buoys which had been kindly set up by the previous afternoon’s powerboat racing.  This was followed by a 30 mile bike leg heading North towards Bordeaux, via L’Ancresse to the West Coast taking in the Coudre and Imperial hills finishing with a drop in and out of Petit Bot via St Martins back to transition.  They finished with an 8.5 mile cliff run from Havelet out to Jerbourg and back.

Darragh Lee, who has consistently swum well this season, Dave Crosland and Amy Critchlow were first out of the water with Luke Walton, Sean Murphy and Andy Cameron a few minutes off the pace.  Walton unfortunately withdrawing later in the race  Onto the bike and competitors faced a tough headwind going North but the resulting tailwind produced some very fast bike splits overall. 

At the head of the race Crosland, Murphy and Andrews had all overhauled Lee by the first of the hills, Le Coudre.  Going into T2 Crosland was likely asking himself whether his recent lack of training would hold off Andrews, who had now overtaken Murphy and was hot on his heels. 

Andrews recalled, “Havelet is a tough end to the season so it was fantastic to see new triathletes line up on a beautiful September morning. Triathlon is a growing sport and the popularity of events like Tri Ultimate and our sponsors TriFitness testify that triathlon is healthy and exciting exercise for everyone.

Starting from our backs to the sea wall, with the waves lapping our ankles, the swim out to the castle was bumpy but brilliant.  I was out in about 8th place, so I hammered it down the coast.  Thanks to the few cars who considerately gave me some space. The hills were really tough but I felt strong and pushed to catch Sean before the end of the bike leg.  Into T2 and my legs felt surprisingly OK but I had to work hard to shake off Sean. Jerbourg steps are always a killer but the run round the peninsula was good recovery before the cliff paths back home. I knew that I was about a minute behind Dave Crosland at Fermain but had little hope of catching him as I felt tired, especially up the steps. Then, just before the end, I spotted Cros and the race was on. I have never raced down the steps at the Aquarium so fast in my life and was preparing for a sprint for home. Dave however looked to have picked up an injury so in the end it was an easy run to the finish.

Triathlon is about pushing your own limits but my first ever win felt exhilarating nonetheless. I was always the last to be chosen at games in school and Triathlon has helped me get and stay fit within a healthy lifestyle”.

Graceful in defeat, Crosland was quick to congratulate Andrews, “This was a brutal race.  I tried to pace myself throughout the bike and leave something back for the run, but on the first climb up past the aquarium I knew I was in trouble.  Climbing up out of Fermain on the way out to Jerbourg there was nothing in the legs at all and I bonked.  From then on it was a question of just walking/shuffling and hoping I had a big enough gap to make it to the end. Coming back through Fermain a couple of supporters told me I had a "massive lead" and I started to hope.  However, when walking agonizingly slowly up through the Bluebell Woods I chanced a look back and saw Tim bounding up the steps as fresh as a daisy.  He caught me not long after and we hit the road outside the aquarium together.  He paced it to perfection and was far stronger than me at the finish.  As much as I would have liked to give him a proper race to the line he left me for dust and was a worthy winner.”

Murphy was equally grateful to finish, “The swim was tough, sighting was a real issue, all you could see was waves so I was glad to pass the final buoy and head for the slip which I could actually see. 

I enjoyed the bike course, hills suit me and the tail wind down the coast made for a fairly fast start so I pushed quite hard expecting some of the fast bikers to be close behind after struggling with the swim conditions.  Tim caught me at the bottom of Petit Bot and said we had some time back to the chasers which gave me some comfort.  On to the run and I felt good till the first set of steps by the aquarium, then my legs told me I had pushed too hard on the bike.  I decided to try to take it easy, hoping to save some energy (and my legs) for the return, so was surprised to come round a bend approaching Jerbourg and find I'd caught Tim again.  That was short lived though as he kicked at the top of the steps and I had nothing left to chase him.  I got into a steady pace and hoped everyone behind was hurting as much as me and I managed to hold on to 3rd place”.

Andrews finished in a time of 2 hours 47 minutes and 40 seconds, Crosland in 2 hours 48 minutes and 5 seconds with Murphy finishing in third in a time of 2 hours 51 minutes and 18 seconds.  Jon Osborne and Andy Cameron made up the top 5 spots for the men.

In the ladies race, Island Games Triathlon Team Member Magda Puzio held off strong competition from the popular Commonwealth Games Cyclist Karina Bowie who made a surprising but welcome return to the sport.  It was Amy Critchlow who led after the swim however it was Puzio’s excellent run that entitled her to top spot on the podium.  Bowie, who put in a good work rate on the bike finished second with Critchlow taking third.     

Puzio said of her win, “I knew Amy would have a considerable lead on me as she is a strong swimmer so the plan today was to get my head down on the bike and try and limit the damage ahead of the run.  I also had Karina to contend with knowing well that her bike leg would be very good.  Going into the run Karina had already built a strong lead of nearly five minutes with Amy around two minutes clear.  Fortunately my run was strong, the fourth fastest of the day, so I was able to overhaul both taking the win by nearly 10 minutes.  It was a great end to the season”.

Bowie was pleased to be back, “Following a few years away from Triathlon focusing on cycling I made a last minute decision to race the long distance tri on Sunday, it was a very hard race for me without having done any swim or run training for the past 4 years, however, I was extremely pleased with 2nd place.  As my wetsuit hadn't been used since 2010 it broke as soon as I put it on but luckily Mark Naftel came to the rescue with a spare he had!  I only just about survived the swim and run courses, but absolutely loved the bike course.  A really lovely event with a great club”.

Critchlow was equally pleased to have finished the course, “I got off to a decent start in the swim and pushed my way through the sloppy conditions at Havelet to gain a small lead out of the water and into T1. On the bike I knew in the back of my mind that this lead would not last long with Karina chasing me on the bike, and, as expected, she shot past me along Pleinmont road and pedalled off into the distance. I knew that the cliff run was going to be brutal and it didn't disappoint! Magda was off the bike at T2 only a few minutes after me so when I heard footsteps behind me I wasn't surprised to see her stride past me looking really strong. After that moment I knew there was no chance of catching them both again so concentrated on completing the course on legs that felt like lead one minute and jelly the next. The run for me was disappointing but lessons were learnt and I am pleased to have completed a really tough race”.

In the sprint version junior Josh Thornton exited the water first and held onto the win in a time of 1 hour 29 minutes and 12 seconds with Mat Le Huray taking second in 1 hour 32 minutes and 11 seconds and Nick Marley third in 1 hour 32 minutes and 19 seconds..  Andrea Nightingale was first woman in 1 hour 43 minutes and 6 seconds and Carol-Anne Stapley finished second in 2 hours 5 minutes and 38 seconds.

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