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Club Relays: a team manager's view
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 27th August 2014


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Regular readers will be aware that we are huge fans and supporters of the annual Club Relays which take place in Nottingham, at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont every August. This past weekend was the 23rd edition of the annual event, which is the focal point of the season for many clubs around the country.

Sunday morning's racing featured the Championship wave for the men's categories, and provided one of the best races we have seen at the venue for many years, with the teams from RedVenom.co.uk and Racetime Events battling almost neck-and-neck for close to three hours, with the winner only decided in the final minutes of the race - the final victory margin was just 17 seconds.

Team Manager of RedVenom.co.uk is Tony Weed, and he has been supporting the event for several years now, and here gives a great summary of that superb race at the front of the field from his persective.


Club Relays – Men's Wave – 24 August 2014 - A team manager's viewpoint

If you are like me, as soon as the team sheets come out you'll be examining them to see who the competition is going to be. I Identified three teams, Racetime Events, Torq and of course you can never ignore TriCamp TFN, although it was Racetime that looked the strongest on paper.

RedVenom.co.uk had a strong team of Oliver Milk, Phil Wolfe, Dan Jenkin, and Doug Roberts. Although each discipline had a weak point there were also plenty of strong points and I knew the race would be won or lost by how well we got through our weak points and how well we took advantage of our strengths. I told the team there would be less than a minute in it at the end so they were to leave nothing on the course.

9:45am and the athletes are in the water, Olly Milk first. You never know what to expect from the first swim leg with a mixture of tactics being deployed. Olly hit dry land in sixth place, a good start. Over to Phil Wolfe and a swift 7:03 swim and up into second. Dan Jenkin is not renowned for his swimming but we knew his strengths were later in the race, and we lost two places down to fourth after leg two. Over to Doug Roberts, the powerhouse of the team, and with the fastest swim of the day brought us back to third. Out of the wetsuits and we identified the first two teams were both juniors, Wrekin College and Racetime Juniors. While I've no doubt some of these guys have a bright future I wasn't worried for today. One minute 25 seconds further back to Racetime A team and I was happy.

The first bike leg gets the honour of a motorbike escort and looking across the lake to the far side I was pleased to see Olly had overtaken both the teams in front and was now pushing ahead on the bike. Three laps done and a 20:53 time, it looked like it was going to be a fast day. Over to Phil Wolfe, a very accomplished Elite racer but he rides a road bike without tri bars in draft-legal racing and so this leg was going to be key. Duncan Shea-Simonds was on one of the fastest TT bikes money can buy would be hunting him down. Three laps down and Duncan closed in and we were now neck-and-neck with Racetime after the second bike leg. Duncan handed over to Sam Wade while Dan Jenkin was on leg three for RedVenom.co.uk. Two evenly matched cyclists, we watched them go punch for punch each having little jabs at each other but still locked together at the end of leg three.

Over to the two powerhouses of the teams, Rich Horton (World Under-23 Duathlon Champion in 2013), a very accomplished bike / runner for Racetime, Doug Roberts for RedVenom.co.uk an international Elite racer. Two totally different styles; Doug very aggressive on a road bike with clip on bars whipped through transition and attacked immediately to try and establish a gap, 15 seconds through transition. Rich on the other hand on a top end TT bike, smooth and powerful, the gap was slowly closed as Doug started to suffer from two very hard weekends in a row, (including a very hilly British Middle Distance champs were he was sent of course while in a commanding lead, but still fought back to fifth place, plus Saturday's effort in the mixed team). Handing over to the runners, we were still locked in battle with nobody giving an inch.

First leg of the run would be another key leg. Olly has been suffering with Compartment Syndrome and I didn't really know what to expect. Racetime had a speedy junior in Macauley Carline and at the end of leg one he had carved a lead of 1:14. I knew the race was on, three strong runners to come. Leg two, Phil Wolfe vs. Duncan Shea-Simonds and the gap was down to 15 seconds. On to run three, Sam Wade, a very quick runner in his own right for Racetime but we had an ace in our pack with super runner Dan Jenkin. We watched the catch on the far side of the lake and Sam appeared to latch on. Out of sight they went and my nails were getting shorter. 15:28 after he left, Dan came storming in to the hand over for the fastest split of the day, but were was Sam?

Doug was off for the final leg not knowing his lead. He doesn't have a dink in his armour but with a runner of the quality of Richard Horton chasing him I wanted 30 seconds to give us a realistic chance. 37 seconds later Richard was off, and stopwatch at the ready I timed the gap by the giant scoreboard on the far side of the lake with less than a third of the final leg gone and Rich had closed to 20 seconds. I was worried, Rich appeared to go hard while Doug looked to make a conservative start, was I clutching at straws? We would find out in about 12 minutes.

Team mates spread themselves along the last straight to cheer Doug on and feed him info while I headed to the finish. John Levison, Tri247 editor and race commentator was as excited as I was suggesting a sprint finish was on the cards... I was hoping not. It seemed like an age before Doug appeared in the distance with approx. 300m to go. A few seconds later so did Rich, and as they got closer I knew the title was ours. I high-fived Doug as he ran past to the finish for a 17 second victory. After four years of always getting on the podium, we finally hit the top spot!

I have been racing and spectating this race for the last five years and while I am slightly biased, I don't recall the winning margin ever being that small. Congratulations have to go to both teams for an awesome race and for the neutral spectators we certainly put on a show.

The shine was taken off the win slightly as this was the English Champs, with Doug being Scottish we wouldn't qualify for National medals. This race was always the British Champs for as long as I can remember which changed in 2013, when they decided they didn't want to support it anymore. We weren't the only team that were denied Championship medals for the presence of Scottish or Welsh athletes, and I would call on British Triathlon to reconsider its decision and make this the British Champs again!

Thanks to Iain Hamilton and all his team at One Step Beyond Events for putting on what is always an excellent race.

Tony Weed
RedVenom.co.uk

RedVenom.co.uk is an apparel manufacturer based in the UK with an emphasis of providing top quality garments at a fraction of the cost of the major brands


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