My lead into the national championships was less than ideal having spent the last week away from home avoiding my parents in lockdown. Fortunately, I have my super cool van to move my life around! Now, enough of that... I was on duty as a guide for the first time at Runaway Bay, a course I have raced many times as an individual. This would be my 3rd race with Sam and the format was two races 90 minutes apart. Each consists of a 350m tethered pool swim, 8.5km bike, and 2.2km run on the track. I was really looking forward to this format as it gave us 2 chances at racing so that we could try different things. Pre Race I took the Tandem into Zac at V1 Cyclery and he gave it a good once over and got it race-ready!
Being so new to Paratriathlon, both of us could do with the race experience and more time under our belts, so this was ideal. After racing in Stockton we are familiar with how to turn whilst tethered and seemed to be pretty smooth. Finishing the swim Sam unclips his end of the tether and we jump out either side of the diving block at the end of the pool. Sam has picked up Transition 1 really well and we were onto the bike in no time. The bike course wasn't too technical, just a few corners at the start and then onto the crit track for 4 laps with 1 U-turn on each.
I discovered that tandem bikes are a lot slower in crosswinds then a single and seem to really catch the wind; another learning curve. We seemed to improve our riding a little once again and now Sam can stand up out of the turns to really get the bike up to speed. Being a smaller field, all categories started together which worked really well for us. Jack Howell was the perfect carrot dangling in front for us to try and catch. The course got hammered by the wind, making the run brutal. We had decided that I would run on the inside for the first race as Sam is a better runner, especially for a 2.2km. I didn't realise until the next race, just how much of a difference this made when I had to run on the outside!
We crossed the line first PTVI and second overall behind Jack. The second race was almost a carbon copy with the only difference being me running on the outside this time. I had forgotten how much further this was. Combine that with the wind and it made for a tough run, but we hung in there for the exact same result. National Championships now ticked off and our next race together is on the 14th May in Yokohama, our biggest stage yet! Stay tuned for more.