CHICHESTER triathlete Andy Roberson is back from Israel’s European Triathlon Championships.
He was the only member of the Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club to qualify for the event in Eilat.
Competitors had to cope with the gale-force winds blowing from the desert, which from time to time developed into full-blown sandstorms.
The BTU had 300 GB athletes competing at sprint and Olympic distances including elite and paratriathlon.
Roberson (left) competed in the sprint distance and came tenth in the 45-49 age group in his first international event, which pleased him.
The GB team came away with 18 gold medals and a stash of silver and bronze.
Roberson’s race started with air and sea temperatures of 25 and 21 degrees respectively.
He stood on the beach looking out towards the Red Sea, with Jordan on the left and Egypt on the right and Saudi Arabia in the distance.
Roberson chose to use a wetsuit, which paid off as he was soon in clear water – but not close enough to draft the lead athletes.
After 750m he hit the beach in second place in his age group and sprinted the 500m to transition one to the bike.
He was fastest in transition, even with a wetsuit, but he failed to take advantage of this by losing a lot of time during the bike mount because of shoe issues.
Once on the bike it soon became apparent that the first half of the out-and-back bike leg was going to be a challenge because of the gales blowing off the desert.
By the turn-around point his quads were burning and he was looking forward to a fast return, maxing out about 60kph on the flat.
The second transition was slick and it was on to the two-lap run course of gravel and sand tracks. By this time the gap to the athletes in front was too great and he could only close the gap to ten seconds. But it was a great achievement for his country and Roberson hopes to get another chance in the future.
ROBERSON’S TIMES: Swim 0.11.38; Bike 0.37.13; Run 0.19.56 – total including transitions 1.12.50.