Six GB Quadrathletes certainly flew the flag in the Azores, John Kavanagh, John Redmond, Clif Odgeres, Mary White, Jean Ashley and Jacqueline Davies, they not only came home with 5 medals and a trophy, they worked extremely hard before the race at a 6 day Training Camp!
The training camp was organized by Lisa and Stefan, and they gave us a fantastic variety of training sessions! Swimming sea and pool sessions, kayak sessions (hampered slightly by a 6ft swell!) bike technique & speed drills, hill reps and long rides. Track transitions and my favorite session of the week a run up a volcano! We also had plenty of interesting theory including Life-Kinetics, Sports psychology and a Beach Team Cup! Our ‘Veteran Bodies’ coped with the pressure really well, considering we were averaging 5 hours of training every day, our minds were most certainly pushed beyond our comfort zones! We were very lucky on the 5th day, the GB Squad gave ourselves a morning off due to torrential rain, …… this just gave us extra recovery and made us hungry for Race Day!
Angra Map if you fancy the camp next year, take a quick look at the Camp programme …. you’ll love it!
The Race didn’t start until 2.00, so we met up for a Sports Psychology talk before hand, this calmed the nerves and after a large coffee we felt we were ready to tackle anything! The weather was just perfect calm, warm ideal race conditions! The six of us supported each other in the build up, all encouraging and ironing out any doubts anyone had about the race …. we were ready the First World Cup Race of 2017 …. and I couldn’t quite believe I was in the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic!
We walked down onto the beach, and into the holding pen, goggles on and ready for action. It was 2 laps 700m, swim out to the yellow buoy and back round a flag on the beach and in again for a second lap. Jacqueline was first out 10.36, followed closely by John K. and Cliff, all under 11 mins, Jean came in just under 12mins, with Mary and John R. around 13.30.
The kayaks were ready and waiting and lucky for us the ‘Terceira Kayak Club’ were helping us launch them, most of us had stable K1’s or sea kayaks so a lot heavier than our own kayaks. The paddle was 3 laps around the bay 4km, after struggling with the waves and swell earlier in the week it was just brilliant to be paddling in the bright blue calm Atlantic! Jean had the fastest GB kayak split 24.43, and overtook Cliff and Jacq but couldn’t quite catch John K. 25.25, Jacq and Cliff both paddling well came in next around 26.30. John R. was really pleased with his split at 26.10 and Mary too paddled her Ocean going Sea Kayak very well in 29.30.
The run up the long steps certainly warmed up the Quads ready for the 15km MTBike, 2 laps this was going to be the toughest part of the race, climbing up the cobbles to the 300 year old fortress and around the slopes of Volcano Mt, Brasil, steep and relentlessly exhausting. The military who marshaled had been very serious the day before, but on race day they had been allowed to let down their guard, they were brilliant, blowing whistles, waving and shouting words of encouragement they certainly helped me keep those pedals turning! Cliff showed his biking skills and started to move up the field passing Jean and John K, despite having to cope with a broken seat post he still managed a great split 1.03.43. John K. managed to overtake him 1.03.16 and was first Brit onto the run. Jean was in 3rd GB until the 2nd lap, John R. and Mary had both taken cross bikes, and they had excellent bike splits proving that they were most suitable for the hilly course. John overtook Jean 1.07.23 and he had the fastest GB split 1.01.07.
Jacq, who had shingles before she came out to the camp had started to struggle so she decided to retire after the first lap of the bike. Meanwhile Mary was flying, determined as ever had a superb split 1.04.02.
So into the final 5km run 5 laps, this was absolutely flat, on the promenade which was welcome after the bike course. John K. was first home for GB, his run split 22.45, Cliff was trying his best to catch him and had a great run 21.06, finishing just 5 seconds behind John. Jean ran well 23.02 and started to chase John R. down, she overtook him on the 3rd lap. He ran steady 27.28 and managed to hold Mary off, she again had a really strong run in 23.10.
Jean Ashley – BRONZE (3rd) Overall – GOLD Vet 50 (2.07.07)
Mary White – GOLD Vet 60 (2.10.14)
Cliff Odgers – SILVER Vet 50 (2.02.11)
John Kavanagh – GOLD Vet 60 (2.02.06)
John Redmond – SILVER Vet 60 (2.08.23)
It was an amazing race, with plenty of support, and many spectators encouraging the athletes to keep running hard right to the finish. There were plenty of celebrations in the transition area, and the local TV were interviewing and capturing plenty of magical moments on camera! The medal presentations were very special as the GB Athletes took 5 of the Age group places Then efforts of the participants and marshals were rewarded with a sumptuous finisher’s buffet, hearty savories and deserts there were lots of local treats to try!
I am ‘So Happy’ to be part of a Wonderful GB Team, all going home with podium medals. It’s been a tough week of Training and big thanks to our coaches Lisa Teichert and Stefan Teichert who have pushed us hard. Also a Big Thanks to Pedro, the Kayak Club and all those amazing marshals and helpers that made the Race so special! We have met some amazing athletes and friends World Wide … we are so lucky to be part of our World Wide Quadrathlon Family ….. Be Proud Team GB!