Round 6 of the ELT Grand Prix saw 7 athletes descend upon the very picturesque town of Arundel. With the race starting at 6.40am and Arundel being a few hours drive away most decided to stay locally avoiding waking up at stupid o’clock. Several of the ELT bunch decided to meet up the night before to register and go for a cheeky pre-triathlon pizza (new club tradition??).
It was a cold early start on Sunday morning with an early race brief before the long walk up to the swim start. The swim course was a 200m upstream swim followed by a 1300m downstream swim. As always Liam O’Mahoney made a last minute dash to get to the swim start just before the gun went off. Liam, Chris Tait and Dan Fish were the first to go off in the Under 30 waves with George Tidmarsh, James Swift, Patrick Farrenn and Lawrence Shafier going off in subsequent waves.
It was a fast start start and Chris Tait pulled away in the front pack. Unfortunately for him the race organisers made a massive error and hadn’t put out the buoy which we were meant to swim around before heading back in the opposite direction. As Chris made his way up the river he was met with a loud ‘you’ve gone to far!’ from the safety boats before all the other athletes caught up with him with a look of puzzlement and confusion. We believe the total swim distance for the first waves was about 1900m, a tad extra for an Olympic Distance.
The bike course was a rolling 40km one lap course through the countryside surrounding arundel. However, to get there you had to cycle along a dual carriageway with cars going past at least 70 miles per hour. With it being an early start it should have been fairly easy for traffic to negotiate cyclists however some still chose to pass by with very little space, not a great start to the bike leg. With several long ‘climbs’ it made for a difficult course and having to adapt the typical pacing strategy so as not to blow up on the first hill. Unfortunately for Dan he had a mechanical about 25km into the bike where the derailleur decided it didn’t want to live anymore and completely fell apart bringing about Dan’s first DNF and a long wait for a van to pick him up. Liam put the strongest effort into the bike finishing the bike leg in 64 minutes with Chris Tait just 9 seconds behind.
The run was a two lap affair with a climb going out of transition and a steep downhill section that tested your nerves and your jelly legs. It was here that a lot of ground could be made up. The course looped around the castle and was across concrete, grass and trails. Once again, Liam came away with the quickest run leg of the day finishing the 10k run in 37 minutes exactly with George Tidmarsh finishing strong in 37:35.
As this was a qualifier for the European Championships in 2019 most ELT’ers put their hat in the ring to earn a coveted spot and I’m pleased to say that already Chris Tait and Lawrence Shafier have already qualified and will be representing team GB in Weert 2019! Good racing ELT!