A couple of late results from last weekend plus two landmark achievements mean that that modern rarity a midweek column has been required to report on all the club activities ahead of a busy second weekend of July. The Abersoch triathlon festival took place last weekend on the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales and Mal Balmer took part in this long-running event which offers various triathlons as well as 10k and 1k beach running races. Mal was in a hotly contested M50+ division and rolled with the punches from the off with a tough sea swim leading to a picturesque bike course and an off-road run to finish. He finished 13th overall in a very competitive field while also placing third in his age group, taking in some of the more bizarre occurrences all season along the way including a massed start run and dive into the water, followed by a house on fire during the bike course! There was more age group success to come at the Fergus Sprint Triathlon in Northern Ireland where Nigel Taylor flew the flag for St Helens and won his division.
It is somewhat rare that a bike time trial makes the headlines nowadays, but Dean Golba has made a remarkable transformation from racing with various forms of petrol engine to human-powered competition on two wheels having only purchased his first TT bike a few months ago. Those of you who read the reports weekly might remember that he set the fastest bike split at the club duathlon on Good Friday en route to third overall and since then he has steadily go this 10 mile times down on the Rainford course. On Tuesday night, while most went for the “night off” option also known as watching England beat Colombia at the World Cup, Dean took to the D10/1 course once again having made more tweaks to his position and lowered his previous best time by over a minute, recording an outstanding 22:32 which put him seventh overall on the night.
However, the biggest midweek story undoubtedly came from Fyn, Denmark where Mark Turner was competing in the world standard distance duathlon championships for the second straight year. Last August, in Penticton, Canada he placed 10th in the world after a relatively trouble-free season. The past 12 months have been more difficult including one injury which held back his training for seven months but remarkably, he repeated his 2017 result in a time of 1:55:49 while also finishing as third GB athlete home. Mark has reached this level unbelievably quickly having not raced at all before 2016 and his remarkable rise to stardom will only continue in nine week’s time at the world triathlon championships in Australia. Before then, however, there are a whole host of signature races, including the conclusion of the ongoing Tour of Merseyside, the Ullswater Triathlon, the Snowman Triathlon weekend (hosted by the Always Aim High events team who organised Abersoch), the club relays and the Sundowner Half Ironman, not to mention the biggest event of the year, Ironman UK, which is only nine days away at the time of writing. Cowbells and big screens at the ready for the World Cup Final in Bolton, then……….