Last Sunday, our senior Stag Jonney Yeates travelled to Austria to defend his 20-24 Age Group European bronze medal that he won last year. Kitzbuehel was the battleground this year for the 2014 ETU European Championships. Jonney gives his account of proceedings below.
“So here it was a while year building for this one race and what a venue. I can honestly say this course was one of the most beautiful and challenging I have ever raced. Plus whilst doing the race recces in the days prior I was feeling confident and itching to get going as my legs had finally regained their strength after the exploits in the Spanish sun three weeks earlier.
Inevitably race morning came and the nerves kicked in but I felt fresh, well rested so I knew I was ready. However swim starts are a bit of a water fight and sitting on the end of the pontoon, whilst the final introductions were made and the dramatic music is played, my heart was pounding. But after the washing machine of the first 200m I was soon able to settle into a good rhythm and have some clear water. All that was left do was count the strokes and tick off the buoys as they came and went. The cool water meant it was a wetsuit swim and my race started very well as I exited the water in a PB time of 22:23 for 1500m.
Then the challenging bike course awaited. A two lap bike leg each with three climbs amassing a total of 720m climbing and some points hitting 20 per cent gradient. Put it this way, no bike PBs would be set this day and the Austrians gave all the other competitors a lesson in how to ascend and more importantly descend with some hair raising bike handling down some severe inclines and 180 degree switchbacks. When I saw the race winner clocked 1:06:04 for his bike leg I could see why they had crash pads on some of the trees. In the end I clocked 1:14:01 for the 40km bike, not bad but also not great and this is an area i have been weaker this year and I would like to improve for next season.
But fortunately triathlon is made up of three sports and my favourite discipline the run still had to be completed. I was particularly excited to tackle this course as it was interesting with some nice lumps and gravel tracks to keep things interesting. It went well and I made a few places up after the first lap. However coming into the home straight I still had one guy just ahead of me, which meant the sprint finish was on. It was so entertaining I made it into the event’s highlights real (link from 2:22 onwards -http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ju2z1Zclhqo ). Sadly it just gives video evidence that my rival had the better of me and I would have to settle for 13th on this occasion, still I had clocked 35:56 for the final 10km.
All in all I was pleased with my the performance, I had a PB on the swim and had had a solid bike and run. My medal defence was always going to be tough in a loaded field so I can take positives from my own performance. Also I am proud oft valiant attempt to nick 12th right at the end however poor my run form was, the mid week league battles have definitely instilled a fight for every place mentality. Now I am looking forward to a week or two rest before a summer of hard work running and a focus on the Aldershot road relays in September. Bring it on!
13th from 33 finishers.
Total time 2:17:12
Full results – http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2014_kitzbuehel_etu_triathlon_european_championships/264511