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!