Pembroke Olympic Distance Triathlon 10/08/14 / results


Ex-Hurricane Bertha and the associated forecast of high winds and heavy rain failed to stop the planned Guernsey Triathlon / Ana Leaf Foundation Olympic and Sprint distance races taking place, the decision to race being taken at 6am for a 7am start as the forecast changed so frequently with the storm changing direction.


The wind, whilst blowing about force 6 stayed firmly in the South meaning that the sea in Pembroke bay stayed relatively and was safe to swim in, the gusting wind and some heavy showers did have some effect on those triathletes who chose to race.


It was all to play for with the event being the second (and last) chance for local triathletes to qualify for the Island Games Jersey 2015, with Alan Rowe and Bob Guilbert particularly looking for decent races following a mechanical failure and cramp respectively in the first qualifier in Jersey 5 weeks ago.


With the dominant local James Travers racing the national championship Triathlon in Liverpool having effectively secured Island Games qualification on the back of his race win in the Jersey Triathlon the head of the field had a close race and interesting race.


The 1500 metre swim was a two lap affair with the wind building during the event there was some unwelcome chop in the swimmers faces as they navigated the swim, (Martin Chapman ????) exited the water in first place after two laps.


With the roads wet and slippery and occasional rain falling competitors faced 10 miles riding into the force 6 head wind down the West coast road, before climbing L’eree Hill still into the wind, strong side gusts along the top road heading out to Pleinmont lead to challenging riding before the riders had the benefit of a strong tailwind back up the coast assisting 30mph plus speeds back towards transition to complete the 25 mile route.


The 10k run was also two laps on the coastal path out from Pembroke to Chouet beach kiosk and back, allowing athletes a good opportunity to see where their main challengers were. Ben Creasey, Mat Dorrian and Alan Rowe were closely grouped with Creasey who has had a two year break from competitive triathlon but recently started back with a heavy training regime took a superb win to show he has lost little of the promising form he showed before his sabbatical. Dave Crosland took fourth whilst Bob Guilbert battled some cramps to take 5th place.


Creasey commented, “Having not raced for a couple of seasons, I wanted to make a good comeback so I have been training hard to get back on form.  It was great to feel it paying off, especially in my swim.  Conditions were really tough, but I definitely enjoy it when it’s like that so perhaps suited me well.  It made for a tough morning for all the volunteers, so they deserve big thanks. 


I was really pleased with the bike leg, pretty treacherous in those conditions but good fun.  After finishing the bike in third I was feeling good, so pushed into second.  Halfway through it looked as if I was gaining on the leader (unfortunately later disqualified for taking the wrong bike route), which gave me a new boost to take the lead with about 2km to go”.


Second placed Dorrian was equally pleased with how his season is going.   “It was a fun race in challenging conditions. I found myself on my own in the swim which I lost time on as always but managed to get into a rhythm and not swallow too much water.  The bike was a steady effort up the west coast. The return leg was much slower than it should have been as I opted for caution around the wet corners rather than speed.  A combination of my woeful bike handling skills and a deep rimmed front wheel lost me time. The run was surprisingly tough.  Overall I am pleased though, hopefully I have done enough for selection for Jersey and a winter of swim work should help my times”


Amy Critchlow took the ladies win after strong swim and bike legs and battling through a hard fought run whilst Magda Puzio had unfortunately slid off her bike descending Pleinmont hill but still managed a spirited second place, both ladies look to have secured firm Island Games selection.


Critchlow said of her win, “During the swim I was mostly focused on constantly sighting the course buoys as I was aware that the strong offshore wind was pushing swimmers off course and I didn't want to swim any unnecessary extra distance.   The choppy conditions were tough but we were reasonably sheltered in the bay and after completing the first lap I felt more comfortable going into the second. My plan for the bike leg was to keep a high cadence cycling into the strong southerly wind towards L'Eree and save my legs for L'Eree hill. The section along Torteval road heading to the top of Pleinmont hill was gusty and I had to concentrate hard on keeping the bike under control on several occasions. Due to the wet and windy conditions (and several warnings at the race briefing) I descended down Pleinmont Hill almost at a snail’s pace and managed to stay upright. The reward was then the Pleinmont to Pembroke section which was nice and fast and I used the tailwind to my full advantage to get back to transition. I realised I had gained a small lead through the swim and the bike legs but I knew I would have to work hard in the run to maintain my lead, as this is always my weakest of the three disciplines and I was aware I had some faster runners chasing me. However I liked this run course and am learning that I favour more of the technical off-road runs, so pushed through the two laps and was happy to cross the finish line without dropping my position in a tough but mainly enjoyable race.


Talented junior Josh Thornton took the win in the half distance race, followed by Dave Watson in his first triathlon and club stalwart Chris Dodd in third, whilst visitor Racheal Jeffries took the ladies sprint distance win.


Island Games Selectors for triathlon will be meeting in the next fortnight to discuss the triathlon squad for Jersey 2015, it is likely the ten strong team will consist of six senior men, two or three senior woman with one male and one possibly female development place available. An announcement of the team will be made at the end of August.


Thank you to Hazel and all the helpers today, kayakers, timekeepers, marshals etc. who endured cold and wet conditions. Much appreciated. Also Richard Stapley for sorting out the swim course and buoys, Sean, James and Steve for course marking etc.  

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