Roade triathlon, organised by JustRacing UK, is a regular favourite amongst Team Cherwell athletes. The sprint distance based at Roade School near Northampton and marks the end of the season for many of our local triathletes. Being the last race in the Team Cherwell Grand Prix, everyone was keen to grab as many points as possible. A total of 25 triathletes from the club travelled to Roade. The race comprised a 400m swim pool swim, 20km 2-lap bike course followed by a fast 5km 2-lap run. The conditions were not great for those athletes looking to improve on their times or beat their nearest rivals with the cold northerly wind making the bike course particularly challenging.
The race was won overall by Rich Sumpter racing for Team La Bicicleta in a stunning time of 53:40, but our local athletes were not far behind. It was a very close battle between Dan Pebody and Stuart Tipton but Pebody managed to be first over the line for Team Cherwell in 58:03 – just 3 seconds ahead of Tipton. They took 3rd and 4th place respectively in the male 30-34 age category.
First home for the ladies was Helen French, who having recently raced in Budapest in the world triathlon championships was firing on all cylinders. French finished in an impressive 1:09:11 taking 2nd place in the female 40-44 age category. She was closely followed by friend and rival Jacqui Harper who having recently recovered from knee injury having fallen off her bike earlier in the season was disappointed with her 1:14:03 finish time.
Many other Team Cherwell athletes achieved great success on the day; James McLaughlin, Gyles Horner, Richard Hughes, Sean Bott, Ian Sandford, Gordon Newton, David Osborne, Debi Coles, Kate Lowe and Polly Jeffries all achieved personal best times. And, following a period of absence from triathlon – Barry Bloomfield made an amazing comeback, finishing in 1st place in the Male 60-64 age category in a time of 1:14:35.
Newcomers to triathlon Andrew Holloway, Richard Stutchfield and Sarah Shepherd all put in amazing performances and thoroughly enjoyed their introduction to multi-sport events.
Unfortunately all did not go to plan for Matthew Ryder and Charlotte Tipton-Hughes, they were unable to finish the race due to punctures.
Meanwhile, a group of six members from Team Cherwell travelled to Bala in North Wales to compete in the well established Bala Olympic Triathlon. Hosted by Wrescam Triathlon club, this race is now a National Ranking and European Qualifier for the 2011 European Triathlon Championships in Spain. With a field of over 900 competitors taking part Team Cherwell were well represented and, achieved some great success.
John Shaw has consistantly improved his national ranking position through-out the season and this weekend finished 8th in his age group which was enough to secure 1st position in the overall 55-59 age catogory. As a result this automatically qualifies Shaw to represent Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships in Beijing 2011. Shaw’s success was followed by some other very notable performances from wife Kim Shaw, who despite injury through-out the season, still finished 2nd in her overall age group ranking, qualifying her for the European Championships in Spain 2011. Henry Sleight also had fantastic race, finishing 35th overall in a time of 2:04:52, ahead of father, Andrew Sleight, who finished in a time of 2hr 28mins. Next home was Mike Nisbett in 2:36:05 and Mike Hirst 2:36:48.