August Update – European Junior Cup Podium

Despite only racing once this month, this has possibly been one of the best and most exciting times of the year I’ve had. On returning from the French GP, I decided to miss a race I had marked in my calendar (UK school games) and instead continue training and put all my focus on the first and only European Cup I would be doing this year. The European Cup I had chosen to do was Riga Junior European Cup, a Cup that is supported by Brit Tri and has always had a high quality of field. European cups bring together some of the best athletes in Europe to race over a series of events.

I was slightly worried heading into the race as I had been put in the last spot on the pontoon due to never having done a cup before, but it didn’t affect me too much. I had quite a good swim and came out in the top 15, after avoiding all the carnage at the turn buoys. Straight onto the bike and I found myself instantly chasing after seeing what was the lead group form just up the road. I caught the group just before the first dead turn of the race. The group started riding quite slow, but I didn’t want this to happen as there was a solo rider who had gone on his own. I wanted to catch this guy as he was the Youth Olympic champion and I knew we couldn’t let him get away.

I launched a few attacks and this got the group working. We caught the leader up by the second lap, and the group had established a big gap to the chasers. Just after halfway someone else in the group launched an attack, and 4 of us got away. We worked well together and built up a 30-second gap heading into transition. By this time our breakaway was only 3 people, me, a New Zealand, and a Danish athlete. I had a swift transition and was straight onto the heels of the Kiwi. We instantly dropped the Danish athlete and settled into a quick pace. By lap 2 of 3, I started dropping off the leader and couldn’t run any faster. I tried holding my own pace and settled back into a good rhythm, but behind me, some fast runners were coming through. With around half a kilometre to go, I was overtaken by a very fast running Swedish athlete. This meant I dropped back into 3rd place. I kept pushing all the way to the line and managed to take a bronze medal at my first ever European Cup! This is definitely one of my best ever results, considering I still have 2 years left in this age group and I beat a lot of people who have got some very good results.

The European Triathlon Union wrote a very in-depth article on the race, here it is https://europe.triathlon.org/news/article/riga_what_a_race

After Riga, I jetted straight off to Spain for some warm weather training with my friend and the Youth European Champ, Igor Bellido. I had a great time in Seville, learning lots of new things I could take into my own training. We did some solid sessions and I’m looking forward to going back again sometime soon.

Later on in the month, I had another training camp, however, this one was slightly different. This one was the London Marathon Young Athletes Camp, so it was purely running based. This camp brings together the best middle and long-distance runners in the country, for a week of training with British Athletics coaches and performance athletes. This year’s camp was being held at the University of Birmingham, which meant I got a good look at what the University is like, and university life itself. The week was very hard, with some tough grass and track sessions, and more mileage than I usually do. But I found it very beneficial, learning lots of new things and meeting some great coaches and athletes. It has given me a deeper insight into Uni Life and training as a full-time athlete, something I hope to do one day.

Next month sees me doing my last proper Triathlon – The British Champs in Leicester, which is also the final of the Super Series. I’m then doing Super League Jersey International again in late September, which I’m really looking forward to! I also start 6th form at my new School, Eastbourne College. I’m very excited about this as I’m launching myself into a new training environment with Team Bodyworks and the Eastbourne Performance Centre!

Hamish

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July Update – French GP

July has been another busy but rewarding month. The month started with my first event, which was English Schools Track. I was really looking forward to doing this race as it was my first time doing the summer track version as opposed to the usual wet winter cross country. It was completely different to what I was used to, and I struggled to adapt to all the new things you had to do at a major track event. Therefore I didn’t have the race I wanted. I came 13th, with a disappointing time. I had hoped for much higher, but on this day it wasn’t to be, so I had to accept where I came and just enjoy the awesome experience that I got. I enjoyed the last time racing for Kent Schools, and look forward to my next Summer English Schools.

After ES I headed up North to enjoy the tropical weather they were having and get in some good training with a great athlete and friend, Dan Dixon. I had a really good week and did some solid training leading into my next Tri , which was Hetton Lyons Super Series. For this race we would again be competing along with Juniors, however the format for this race was much different. Much like Europeans the race was done as Heats and finals, with a much shorter racing distance. The heats were held in the morning, and I had a very good race, qualifying first with any major effort required.

I had a few hours to recover from the heats, before it was time for the finals. However during this time the heavens had opened, and the track was soaking wet! Luckily it warmed up and we were allowed to race. I had a great swim, and came out the water in 2nd. However my transition went awfully, and I came out near last! I had to work really hard, but managed to make it onto the front pack by the end of the first lap. I decided to just stick in for the rest of the bike. I managed to the lead the group into transition, and I came out in the top three. The pace was rapid from the start, so I decided to set my own pace. This worked out well, and by the end of the first lap I had made it back to third place, however halfway through this final lap, another guy came flying past me and I was unable to go with him. However he dragged me up to the person ahead, but it was to late and I finished 4th, 4 seconds behind 3rd. I was very pleased with this result as I was 2nd Youth and had a very good race. Leaving me standing in first place heading into the last National Super Series Race. There was one final race of the day, the mixed relay. Our region had a very good team, and after a tough race we managed to come away with the win. A great day for South-East!

After Hetton I headed off to another training camp in Leeds, with the ENGland squad. It was a great week getting to train with the pros at the Leeds centre and other good england athletes.

This camp lead nicely into my last race of the month, which was another international race in France, for the third round of the French GP, in Muret. I was really grateful for the team Valons De La Tour to offer me this racing opportunity for them. They were a great host and I can’t wait to do more races for them in the future. The race itself was changed to a Duathlon, due to the strong current in the river. This was slightly annoying however it didn’t phase me too much, and after a tough race I finished in 9th place against the elite seniors, 3rd Junior. I was very pleased with this result and even more happy to help the team get the stage win, and help them progress in the league!

August is going to be another great month, with a european cup in Riga, a training camp in Spain and perhaps another French Grand Prix. As always thanks to everyone who supports me.

Hamish

June Update – Europeans!

This month has been pretty hectic, but an awesome experience. I finished my exams early this month and 4 days after my last exam, I boarded the plane to Munich towards my first European Championship. I had no idea what to expect, but that the racing was going to be hard and fast. This years championship was being held in Kitzbuhel, Austria. The course was hilly but fast and the racing would be run over a heats and final format. The first day of competition was on the Thursday. I was in the final heat of the day and I’d watched 5 of my team mates all qualify for the A final – the pressure was on. Due to never doing a European ranked competition before I had a pretty bad place on the pontoon. Nonetheless I got a really good dive and surfaced quickly. However it was soon apparent that this was going to be a violent swim, one of the worst I’ve ever been in. After experiencing my first UFC fight I managed to exit the water in the top 20. I had a dreadful transition due to the thunder storm tangling my helmet with my bars. Once I eventually got on the bike I started hammering it. I caught my team mate up the famous Kitzbuhel course hill, where we managed to drop the chasing group and it was just us two closing a 30 second gap on the leaders. We managed to catch the two up, formed a lead group of 4 with 6km left. We worked really well together in the pouring gap and built up a gap of over 30 seconds to the chasers. I had a better T2 and we ran easily out of transition. 3 of us ran together and we navigated our way round the course making sure we didn’t run too hard. I crossed the line in 3rd place, more than enough to secure qualification to the finals.

Friday was a rest day for everyone, and we went to the lake to do a gentle swim set and to relax. The weather was great, reaching highs of over 30 degrees. Saturday came and it was now time for the main event. I was ranked in 8th spot and got a Much better place on the pontoon this time. I had a great start and was quickly onto a good swimmers feet. However this soon ended once the violence started again at the first buoy. I lost the feet and dropped back. I came out the water in around 20th and had a much better transition this time. I smashed the start of the bike again and we quickly caught the leaders. The group swelled in size and almost everyone in the race made it to the group. It was clear this was going to come down to a run race if nothing was done. I tried an attack and got a 10 second advantage, however the guy I was with refused to work and we were soon caught. This was slightly annoying but I still maintained hope of a medal. Heading into transition I launched myself to the front and led the large group in. I came out of transition in a lead group of 4 where I stayed for the first lap. I felt really comfortable but going round the dead turn at halfway through the run I got caught out by the surge out of the corner and lost contact of the group. I dropped back to the others, but by halfway through the final lap my legs really started to hurt and I dropped to 6th. After what seemed like ages I finally could see the blue carpet, but another athlete came flying past me. I ran down the straight and crossed the line in 7th place and 10 seconds off a podium finish. I was gutted to be so close to making the podium, but after reflecting on the race I realised there was no more I could do, and a top ten finish at my first championship was something I could be very pleased with.

Onto the Sunday and i had been selected for the relay.

I didn’t know how my legs would feel after two tough races, but I couldn’t wait to give everything I had left. I was on the anchor leg, so it meant I would be finishing the race. The team had done excellently to get us into 6th place. I dived into the water 5-10 seconds behind 4th and 5th, however these two teams had the two fastest swimmers in the competition, so I knew it would be hard to catch them. I had a great swim and managed to reduce the gap to around 2 seconds, however this was still too much and I just missed them heading out onto the bike. These two worked really well together and caught the leaders, leaving me in no mans land on my own. I had to ride the remainder of the bike as a time trial, which was really painful. I came off the bike with quite a big gap behind the leaders now. I knew it was now going to be a really tough run. I set off running really hard and started making really big progress, but by halfway my legs were screaming. I kept running hard and eventually crossed the line, being only 10 seconds behind the Russians in 5th. I think that was the hardest I have ever ran and I was so confused as to where I was at the end of it! I couldn’t stand up, but it was great to see the team there for me at the end of the race.

The whole experience was amazing, and unforgettable. I can’t wait for more opportunities like this to come up in the future, and I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this moment – this is only the beginning.

I’ve had a few other races this month as well, 2 super series and a country track race. The first was Blenheim tri super series where I managed to win convincingly after getting into the front group on the bike and leading all the run. The next super series was a week after Euros and I was feeling quite tired. It was my first competitive sprint distance race and my first race with juniors. I had a great swim coming out just behind the leaders. Unfortunately it all came together on the bike, but I had a really good run and was in 5th place and first youth b, right up to 10m to go. Then disaster happened and I tripped on a cone! Losing 5th place and finishing in 6th and 2nd youth b! Very annoying but I know to run next to cones now! Lastly I had the Kent Schools 3km track race, I managed to come 2nd but had a pretty disappointing race, however my previous time meant I have qualified to represent Kent at my first English Schools track next week! I can’t wait!

Thanks for reading – Hamish

May Update – Euros Qualifier

May’s been another amazing month, I’ve had one major competition, and a couple other minor ones that fitted in well with my training programme.

The first event of the month was quite possibly the most important race of the season. Llanelli was my first full triathlon of the season and the first triathlon of the super series. It was also the qualifier for European Youth Champs which is being held in Austria, and lastly the Superleague qualifier. So no pressure at all really!

It was my third of year of racing in Llanelli, and as always we took the long drive up to Wales on the Friday and stayed in the usual premier inn. Later in the evening, I headed down to the race venue and did a recce of the sea swim and bike course. The swim felt really good and was a great temperature for racing in. The bike course felt fine until, I turned the corner and see a horse tied to a fence post on the curb of the road. This horse was angry! It was charging at people and not enjoying the people cycling past him! The race organisers said the horse would be gone by the morning, and I thought that would be the end of that…

The morning of the race was like any other, standard breakfast and a standard warmup. I was feeling in great form and couldn’t wait to get going! Due to my mechanicals at the PA, I had to start really far away from the main swimmers on the beach start. This didn’t bother me too much as it meant I could stay out of any trouble at the start. I had a great run into the sea and immediately started setting the pace towards the first buoy. I eased up and went around the buoy somewhere in the top 10. I decided to rest up and draft on some peoples feet for the rest of the swim, exiting the water in 6th place. I had a great transition and headed out onto the bike in 5th place. I bridged the gap up to a small group that had formed up the road, and we set about chasing the leader who had a small gap. We caught him up by the first lap and set about trying to hold the gap to the group behind us. However, people in our group were now starting to really struggle and couldn’t pull turns and hold the pace me and another rider were setting. The pace eased up as no one wanted to pull a turn accept from me and a couple others. This meant we were swallowed up by the group behind. I decided to sit on for the last lap and rest my legs for the fast run that was soon to happen.

Remember the horse I was talking about earlier? Well in this last lap, a group of travellers decided to jump the road block and parade down the race course on their horses! This made coming into transition very sketchy, as not only did we have to be careful of the horses, but also avoid the travellers who were hurling abuse at us and waving their whips! We managed to get round them safely and I entered T2 in first place, with the rest of the group just behind. I had another great transition and continued to lead out transition. I ran quite hard out of transition and opened up a small gap. By the halfway point I had made up quite a considerable gap. I turned round the cone and saw everyone heading up towards me. I knew I had made the podium, but I wanted the win. I continued to run hard and build up my gap even more. I got to the finish line relieved to get the job done and over the moon to get my first win of the season. I can’t wait to represent GB at my first elite championship in a few weeks time!

This month also marked the start of my road cycling season. I decided to do a local Cat 3/4 regional circuit race. Having stepped up to junior and racing seniors this season I didn’t have a clue what to expect so I decided to just go with the flow! I took the first 15 minutes of the race relatively steady, staying out of trouble and sitting on. But I decided this was too slow and I was finding it boring! I decided to have a go and try and get a break going. Unknown to me, no one else wanted to join me, so I had just put in a huge effort and found myself on my own with a gap to the peloton! I could have eased up, but I just went for it and managed to get a 35 second gap within 2 laps. This was where the pain started, I had to hold on solo for 30 more minutes whilst the peloton were chasing me down! I dug really deep and completely surprised not just myself but everyone and stayed away from the group. My first ever junior/ senior race started off with a win and some prize money!

The final event of this month was a 3000m race at Watford. I went there hoping to get a new Pb and qualification time for English Schools. The race was tough (especially the last two laps!) but I managed to stay in a group and hold on for a new Pb of 8:50. I know I have much more to give, but was really pleased to get a base time to work on this season. The time also meant I broke my clubs u17 record that had stood for 14 years previously. Another great race!

Coming up this weekend I’m racing at round 3 of the National Super Series in Blenheim Palace, which I’m using as my warm up race for European Championships later in the year!

Thanks to Pedal Potential, Precision Hydration, Carvalho Customs, Sports Aid and KT4YS for all the continued support!

Hamish

April Update

April has been a relatively quiet season with no triathlons and no ‘A’ races. The month has consisted of a strong training block in the build up to European Qualifiers next week in Llanelli, Wales. I’ve also had one running race which was the Mini Marathon in London which is used as the British 3 mile road race championships.

During the Easter break I headed up to Leeds for some ‘tropical’ training with my cousin. I had a great week increasing my run volume since my injury and doing my first track session since last year. It was great to get some speed in and finally feel quick again. The week was topped off when doing Leeds Chain gang which is a 40km smash fest in which a load Leeds pro athletes go to including the Brownlee’s and some Madison Genesis riders. I was really surprised to stay in the group for the full ride which gave me a big confident boost, showing that I’m in really good shape on the bike.

Straight after Leeds I headed off to Loughborough,  for the England Next Generation camp. As always this was another great camp with a focus on swimming and cycling. We got the use of the 50m pool where we did some great sessions including an open water themed session. This was a great set, made better by gaining knowledge from the Loughborough Performance athletes and Alex Yee. Another great session was the track session, where we hit some solid 400m rep times testing the legs. Following straight on from the camp I spent the rest of Easter in Grantham where I managed to switch up the training and headed out for some trail running and and mountain biking at Sherwood forest.

To end the month off I decided to race at the Mini Marathon in London, the race used the last 3 miles of the marathon course which added to the awesome atmosphere of the race. The day before the race i headed up to London to get my sweat tested from Precision Hydration. The results were very informative and I highly recommend getting this done if you have the chance! I chose to race for Waltham Forest as I had missed the qualifying races for the South East team. The decision actually worked in my favour as it meant I could sleep in my own bed, and have my own breakfast! Being my first ever time at the race, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I ended starting in the 4th row as I didn’t know people queued up for the start so early! However this didn’t effect me too much and I avoided most of the chaos and elbows at the start. I managed to make it onto the back of the lead group and I stuck there for the majority of the race. As the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben came into view the pace rose and the group split. I didn’t quite have the legs to go with the leaders as I decided not to taper for the race. I manged to overtake a few people down the Mall but I got dipped on the line by someone else. This was very annoying as this person was also racing for a London team, and it meant I came 4th in the London Borough challenge and just missed out on a podium place! Overall I came 24th in 14:58, a time i was very pleased with considering I hadn’t tapered for the race.

As mentioned, my first full tri is next week and I can’t wait to start racing. I’m feeling in great shape and hopefully this will reflect in my race. As always thanks to all for the support.
Hamish

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