Javier Brage (Director of Box My Wheels Ltd) enjoyed achieving his 14th place in the Duathlon World Championships earlier this year so much he decided to aim high again. This time the race he entered to qualify for the 2015 Sprint Duathlon European Championships was the Althorp Duathalon, and Jav had to get into the top four. A recent heavy work schedule with frequent trips to the US meant he was undercooked on the starting line so he knew tactics on the day would be important.
There was some serious competition on the day with a record 52 athletes registering their intent to qualify in Jav’s age group. Sure enough there was a fast start to the first run 5.8k, and Jav realised he had to pace himself. The terrible rain on the day reminded Jav of one of his old school cross country races, as did the sporadically off-track and undulating course. Half way round he was overtaken by Paul McCarthy from Brighton Tri club, who announced his presence with the greeting ‘Hello Brage’ and the customary tap on his behind as he sped past!
The school memories weren’t too off putting though as he came into transition one after 23minutes 31 seconds. Jav managed a 1:08 transition then he set off on his bike for a hilly 22k ride feeling strong. He went on to overtake a number of the other competitors including Paul Mac which was rather satisfying. To add interest to the cycling part of the race, as well as the fast and straight parts there was a muddy section which he said felt like being on a Cyclo-cross – quite outrageous to try to cycle through.
There was a downhill section towards the end of the ride and it was at this point Paul Mac flew down overtaking a number of riders, including Jav. However it was rather too fast as he then he shot down the wrong section of road and had to turn back, losing critical time. Jav ended up completing the bike section in 37 minutes 16 seconds, the 3rd fastest bike spilt on the day. A fast second transition of 57 seconds saw him power into the final run section. Jav found this tough and had to really dig deep to produce a final run spilt of 24 minutes 25 seconds. Once again Paul overtook Jav in this final section, much to his annoyance.
Jav came in 24th overall for a time of 23:31, but most importantly came second in his age group resulting in qualification. Similarly, Paul qualified by coming second in his age group. Watch out for the continuation of this battle on 26th April 2015 at the European Championships in Alcobendas, Spain.
Also racing was an old friend of ours Keith Woodwards. In his first year of Duathlons, Keith is working towards his first Triathlon next year.