Mazda Blenheim Triathlon

Last week I said farewell to the land of rice, noodles and cheap massage and headed back to the UK for a brief stopover before moving to Switzerland for our summer (and hopefully warmish weather) camp. I had just enough time to unpack and repack, lose a bit of my zebra suntan, say hello and goodbye to family and friends, eat as much bread, steak and sundried tomatoes as I could get my hands on (I had been craving sundried tomatoes for months!)…oh, and……do the Mazda Blenhiem Triathlon on 2 June.

Although it is just a sprint (750m swim, 20km bike and 5.4km run) the race is one of the highlights of the UK triathlon calendar and is growing bigger and better every year: not least given the superb organisation, generous sponsorship from a number of companies, and the fantastic venue. The race takes place in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace near Oxford and is spread over two days with super sprints and sprint races taking place in waves all day. The elite women race on the Saturday and the men on the Sunday.

Our elite wave kicked off at 12.30. I had a disappointing swim – positioning myself too far away from the faster swimmers and hence unable to stick on the feet of the lead pack of three girls, who put almost a minute into me by T1. However, all aboard trusty Calvin (Klein) I put the hammer down and soon caught the girl in third, and had chased down the other two by the end of the first lap (of the three lap bike course). It was draft legal, but I rode it like a time trial – and was more than happy to push the pace and make sure that they didn’t get an easy ride on my wheel. My T2 was again more tortoise than hare, and I lost the lead – coming out about 30m behind Abbie Thorrington. With only a 5.4km (2 lap) run ahead of me I went as hard as I could and overtook her within 500m and never looked back (well, I did have one sneaky peak to see where she was…..). I crossed the finish line first in a time of 1.07 and I have to say the champagne they gave me was one of the best I have ever tasted and I really regret spraying half of it into the air……!

A huge thanks goes out to the organisers, sponsors, volunteers and spectators for making the Blenheim Triathlon such a great race, not just for the elites but for all the hundreds of age groupers that took part with smiles on their faces all day long. The race was a perfect end to my short but sweet stopover in the UK: it’s now onto Switzerland for…hills, hills and hills…and some cheesy fondue if I’m lucky!