People often say that a change is as good as a rest when your mind & body starts to become a little bit unfocused & & feels a bit broken. Well, I believe that I have now arrived at those crossroads after having had a lifetime of non-stop training/racing, but do I choose change or rest – or even both? Anyone who loves this sport, or any sport, will understand what I am trying to say.
In my childhood/teenage years it was all about the bike, i.e. cyclocross, road races & time trials, because that is what my father did, but then in 1997 I discovered Triathlon & found that I enjoyed the variety the three disciplines gave me all in one race so I worked hard to improve my swimming & running.
Then one day in 2000, or maybe even 2001, after a race at Littledown, a good friend introduced me to Scott & Di where I had an informal interview (thank you Pete) & was lucky enough to be accepted into their small but perfectly formed Synergie Coaching team & although I can’t quite remember when I first raced in Synergie colours, I know that I have represented them for over 20 years & have been proud to have raced in their name ever since.
Anyone who knows Scott & Di will know that their many years of hard work & passion for the sport speaks volumes as they are highly respected in their respective fields. Their many accolades continue to grow with their continued quest to learn & develop the ever changing facets of the sport they love, so it goes without saying that they have been wonderful mentors to me &, with their guidance, I have been able to achieve so much more than I would ever have imagined possible.
I have done 41 Duathlons (which includes the numerous B’mth Beach ones & aptly named Ballbuster). I’ve also swim, bike, runned 160 events (which not only includes National Champs, cross-tris & Xterra but also 18 1/2 IMs/Middle Distance races, 5 IMs & 4 Long Course events too), not to mention the countless running events & time trials.
My first IM was in 2003 which was hosted by the Black Country Athletes & called “The Longest Day”. I went back the following year for a rematch. Next came IM South Africa in 2007 & then the inaugural IM Wales in Tenby in 2011. Just lately though I wanted to see if I had one more IM in me so I did “The Lakesman” in 2022.
I have podiumed many a time in my age group, which include coming 1st in the South West Regional Standard Distance Triathlon Championships in 2006, 3rd in the South West Regional Standard Distance Triathlon Championships in 2007 & 1st in the 2019 South West Regional Sprint Triathlon Championships.
I have also been very proud to wear the GB vest 6 times which, as anyone who has tried to qualify for these races will know, isn’t easy to achieve:
- 2003 – Long Course World Championships in Ibiza, Spain
- 2007 – Long Course World Championships in Lorient, France
- 2008 – World Duathlon Championships in Rimini, Italy
- 2013 – European Sprint Distance Championships in Alanya, Turkey
- 2014 – European Standard Distance Championships in Kitzbuhel, Austria
- 2016 – European Sprint Distance Championships in Lisbon, Portugal
But riding & racing in the high mountains of the French Alpes has been one of my favourite highlights. It started with the mythical mountain – the Alpe D’Huez Triathlon – in 2011. The TDF was also going up it that year so we had a wonderful time there. Then the Alpe D’Huez Triathlon beckoned me again in 2015 & 2017. But not only doing the triathlons, but to ride up some of the most iconic & awe-inspiring mountains in the area – the Croix de Fer, the Glandon, the Lautaret, the Telegraphe, the Galibier, the Granon, the Izoard plus other smaller mountains whose names I can’t remember.
Now you are probably wondering where the “Going Out on a High” comes into this narrative. Well, having read an intriguing article in 220 (I think) last year, whose imagery & description really tickled my taste buds, that I couldn’t think of better way to bow out of triathlon than by doing this one. The Madeleine Long Course Triathlon.
This race packed a big punch with a lot of the climbs that I’ve already done but new ones too like the Lacets & the Mollard. But what became even more exciting was discovering a few months before we left for France that the TDF was going to be doing part of the course too so I was able to reccie it from afar in my armchair. Obviously I did a proper reccie when we got there so I knew that it was going to be an epic day’s racing, the highlight being finishing at St Francois-Longchamp which is situated about 8Kms from the summit of the Col du Madeleine. Needless to say that a few days after the race I rode it again – all 2000mtrs of it, so like I said above – GOING OUT ON A HIGH
Finally, I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to my wife Nikki because without her, none of the above would have been possible