The Upminster triathlon event involved yet another early start, but at least this time the weather was better than in recent weeks – a hot and sunny day with a gentle breeze. Very pleasant for spectators, perhaps not so great for the competitors! All managed to arrive on time and in fairly good order, despite Tri-Sport Epping sending out the Aquathlon race instructions by mistake! We had athletes competing in Tri2, Tri 3 and Youth – and whilst not many in number (only 9 in total), we had good competition all day.
In the Tri2 girls we has both Sophie Mabbs and Christy Durbin – always a keenly contested match-up! Sophie had prepared for the race in a hardly-ideal fashion: cycling over a sleeping policemen at top speed the day before, crashing as a result, getting a flat tyre, damaging her brakes and giving her a sore knee to contend with. Clearly the swim had a therapeutic effect, as she was 1st on that leg, 20 seconds ahead of her nearest rival and 40 seconds ahead of Christy in 4th. This time gap was maintained after the bike leg as both girls posted the exact same time, although by now Sophie had slipped to 2nd place (partly due to her damaged gears starting to misbehave) and Christy had moved up to 3rd. It was all down to the run! After the first lap, it soon became evident that Sophie’s knee was beginning to trouble her and she slowed up to a fast hobble, allowing Christy to close up the gap between them. Both girls put in gutsy performances with Sophie just managing to prevail, holding onto 2nd place (and cleaning the St John’s Ambulance team out of all their ice packs to restore her knee to its normal shape) with Christy only 12 seconds back in 3rd.
In the Tri2 boys we had Tom Jarman and Sam Newman – again both have been closely matched all season. As with previous races, Tom put in a great swim coming our 5th overall. Sam also managed to put in a decent effort of his own and managed a season’s best 9th on the swim to emerge only 14 seconds behind Tom. On the bike, Sam began to claw back some of the gap and by the end he had managed to get a 13 second advantage over Tom, but in the process both boys had moved up the field – Tom 6th, Sam 5th. These positions remained unchanged after the tough run leg and both boys should be pleased to have beaten some very capable athletes on the day. Well done!
Next came the Tr3 girls. Tori Weston was in 3rd place after the swim, closely followed by Emily Rayden (4th), Hannah Newman (6th) and Alannah Mabbs (8th). This Tri-force cavalry charge continued on the bike leg as Tori pushed on hard, coming in 4th on the leg and moving into a fantastic 1st place overall. Emily and Alannah both battled round the course with only 2 seconds separating them after that leg with Alannah holding onto 8th position overall and Emily slipping to 7th. Hannah worked hard on the bike leg too, but is still grappling with her new bike, especially the gears. She managed to get in some power bursts on the downhill section and came in 14th dropping to 11th overall. By now it was VERY hot and the run was decidedly unpleasant and in an area of the course that didn’t benefit much from the breeze, so it was hard miles to the line. Tori put in a creditable shift, but couldn’t manage to hold on to top spot, coming in 5th overall for the race. Emily and Alannah continued their epic battle – Emily put in a big effort with 400m to go and looked like she was going to edge it, but Alannah managed to pull things back in the final sprint – with both girls ending up with the same time overall, finishing joint 7th. Hannah battled hard too, finishing 15th on the run and 13th overall in the race.
In the Youth girls Hannah Rayden was our sole competitor, flying the flag for the club in small field of only 7 girls. Hannah kept in touch throughout the swim leg, but lost a bit of ground on the field in the bike leg. However that all changed with the run where she powered back being over a minute faster than her rivals on that leg, coming 1st on the leg and getting back up to 6th place overall and only a few seconds behind 5th place. A great performance in the worst of the heat. Hopefully she saved enough energy for the Tri-Force Juniors race the next day.