Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

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Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

Postby Dave H » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:30 am

On Sunday 9th June I flew out to Antalya, Turkey with my ground support team leader, nutritionist, assistant coach, general advisor, kit manager and general nagger (aka, ‘the wife’) haha, for the European Triathlon Championships on Friday 14th June. After checking-in at the Team GB hotel, early on Monday morning, we headed off to our room, but not long after getting to bed we were woken by the ‘call to prayers’ at 04:30am. The mosque was next door to our hotel had the sound was cranked right up. We discovered as the week went on that we would get the morning call every day at 04:30hrs for the rest of the week. It made me wonder why Team GB didn’t looked for a hotel in a quieter part of the town.

After a little bit of sleep, we got up and went down to breakfast, the temperature was 27 degrees C and it was only 09:00hrs (during the day the temperature was getting up to 34 degrees C in the sun). I was starting to get worried, I had done a few turbo sessions at home with the heating up at 26 degrees, but I wasn’t sure how I would get on racing for over 2 hours in these temperatures.

The next few days leading up to my race involved trying to relax between bouts of light training, recces of the swim, bike and run courses, registration, team briefings, team photos and pasta parties. There was also a ‘parade of nations’ through the town following the championship mascot - a ridiculous 20 foot high giant banana with a blue hat.

As the week went on more and more triathletes from across Europe were arriving and it was fairly common to see different nations training in town in their national team kits. My mate John Soutar (from Ellon and competing in the men’s 30-34 age category) and I tried a few times to psyche out non-GB triathletes by riding / running fast past them and looking mean, but of course it didn’t really have any affect. John and I decided that our swim training would be more interesting if we swam 600m out to the booze cruise ‘pirate ships’ in the bay, climbed on board and then jumped off the gang plank without being spotted. This seemed much more fun than what was on our training plan. Don’t tell my coach.

Race Day
The alarm went off at 04:15hrs (02:15hrs UK time) :( and a few thoughts of what am I doing entered my head. I had to get down to transition, which opened at 05:00hrs and the first wave of triathletes would head off at 07:00hrs. My race started at 07:30hrs. So it was an early breakfast of porridge and a banana and I caught the team bus down to the transition area where the bikes had been racked the night before.

ITU (International Triathlon Union) rules are fairly strict and if you are caught out you can be disqualified fairly quickly. For example, if you are spotted whilst training without a helmet days before the race, you can be disqualified from the race, even before it has started. We had been instructed by the race director that all competitors had to rack their bikes in the designated time slot (16:00 to 18:00hrs) the day before the race. However, the Turks seemed to have special dispensation and were racking up on the morning of the race. A few other things going on that seemed to favour the Turks, such as 4 bikes to a rack for the Turks and 8 bikes to a rack for the other nations. It all seemed a bit unfair. After setting up my run shoes, bike hat and glasses by my bike I headed off to the athletes lounge and waited for my race to start. The nerves were beginning to jangle now.

Eventually my wave (40-44 age group) was called forward, and we were marched out onto the blue carpets and along the pontoon to the swim start. We were to complete a 1500m sea swim. The nerves were really jangling now. The day before, I had been out on the swim course and I knew where the posts were on the pontoon to push off from and get a good start, so I made sure I was at the front of the group being lead out to make sure I got the best position. We were told to get in the water and the hooter sounded, off we went. There were a few bashes to the head and I nearly lost my goggles, but it wasn’t too bad. The swim seemed to go on and on and I found out later that it over distance by about 400m (1900m total), which was reflected in my time of 27 mins. It was good to get out of the swim and onto the bike. The bike route was 4 laps of a very flat and fast sea front course. My plan was to try and keep an average speed of somewhere around 24mph at 85-90rpm cadence, to try and protect the legs for the run. I completed the bike in 01:01:00 for 40km. I discovered later the lead guys were averaging 27.5mph (00:54:00). In hindsight, I probably should have just gone for it and forget about the legs. Back into transition I racked my bike, took off my helmet, pulled my run shoes on and started the run. It was baking hot by now and seemed to be affecting quite a few of the triathletes, who were shuffling along and throwing water over themselves at the two water stations. I eventually got round in 40 mins, a bit slower than normal, but probably due to the heat. My final time was 02:09:10 and I placed 16th / 45. I was a little disappointed; mainly as I held back on the bike and lost some places to guys I normally would beat. I suppose its bit of a learning curve.

After the race we headed to a bar and had a beer or two and then watched the Elite women’s race. It’s amazing seeing how fast they can swim, bike, run.

All in all it was an amazing experience, which I would like to repeat again. Next year the European Triathlon Championships are in Kitzbuhel, Austria, but first I’ve got to try and qualify again :D
Dave H
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:42 pm

Re: Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

Postby Colin A » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:37 am

Wow great report, well done Dave.
May I remind you of that scene
with your arms aloft in Aberdeen
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Colin A
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Re: Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

Postby dave mac » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:08 am

Well done Dave a great result in difficult circumstances – look forward to reading next years report :)
dave mac
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Re: Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

Postby megamouth » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:37 pm

Brilliant - well done
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Re: Alanya, Turkey, European Triathlon Championships, 2013

Postby Dave H » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:20 am

Wow, I picked up an Ellon Times at the weekend and was surprised to see the write up of my race in Turkey and big photo of me. Nice surprise. Thanks.
Dave H
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:42 pm

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