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Philip Graves beats Olympic Champion
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Monday 18th April 2016


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10th win from 11 starts in 2016 for Philip Graves as triathlete turns to time trials with great success

It's been a bit quiet of late (in triathlon terms at least) from Philip Graves (www.philipgraves.co.uk). Winner of Ironman UK in 2009 (report), plus Ironman 70.3 Wimbleball in both 2009 and 2012, Phil's most recent 'major' triathlon performance was as part of the stunning team effort at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, last year which saw Gordon Benson take Gold. You can read Phil's fantastic report on that HERE.

2015 as a whole though was a frustrating one for Phil "where I sat on the injury bench", and while he's still dealing with the endlesss rehab and physio to get himself back into running properly, Phil decided "I have promised myself I'm going to do as much racing as I can this year after a very barren year in 2015", and his natural environment for that is time-trialling. This season he's already recorded an 18:45 '10' and a 48:18 '25', and ahead of his lastest start on Saturday he had won nine of the ten events he had started this year, including the second round of the National Series.

The Otley CC 10-mile TT might not have grabbed the weekend's sporting headlines when against Formula 1™, Premier League football and World Snooker, but as Phil says, "it's not everyday you beat an Olympic Champion".

You can check our Phil's 2016 results and reports on his website.


It's not everyday you beat an Olympic Champion…

It was with much trepidation that I raced on Saturday (16th April 2016) at the Otley CC 10-mile TT on the local V212 course to me. It's quite a tough little 10 on the old A1. This means no traffic and a nasty little climb with a couple of miles to go called Redwall in honor of, you guessed it, the red wall that runs alongside the climb, and the fact by the time you get to this point in the race you are solidly in the red zone!

When the start sheet came out for the race I couldn't believe who was off at number 20, it was only Steven Burke MBE (Team Wiggins), Bronze medallist from the 2008 Olympic games in the Individual Pursuit and Gold medallist in the 2012 Olympic Games Team Pursuit. As if getting beat last weekend wasn't enough, I was pretty convinced another trouncing was in order this Saturday!

So Saturday came and after running a triathlon training morning at the gym, a short nap and lunch, I took off over to Arkendale and the course. The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the wind; boy was it windy! It would be a super tailwind out for the first 4.5 miles and then 5.5 miles back uphill and into the headwind. It was going to hurt for sure!

I managed to tailor my warm up so I could see Burke set off at number 20 (my number being 90, which meant I was starting 70 minutes after him). I got the bike out of the car, rolled up to see him off, quickly back to the car, get changed, sorted, and then back to the finish to see what time he did. The result, 21:20, so that was the time to beat.
I set off on my warm up, just 30min easy with a few little efforts and the wind was certainly a huge problem, I was struggling to keep the bike upright in places but hey, it's the same for everyone. Everyone I spoke to said how awesome it was on the way out with the tailwind, only for it to be so difficult and incredibly slow on the way back.
Looking forward to at least the first half of the race I was off to the start, ready, composed, knowing that 21:20 was the time to beat. I told myself I would get to the turn just as past as possible and just try to keep that average speed on the way back as high as I possibly could!

What resulted was quite possibly the fastest 4.5 miles of my life. It was just amazing, even with a few bumps on the way out it's mostly downhill so always going to be fast. Running out of gears seemed to be par for the course and I had to freewheel twice, saving my legs for the hard homeward turn. I had a little look down at my Garmin as I made the turn, average speed – 58.9kmph. Wow I thought, that is bloody fast, and hopefully there was enough in the bag to give me a decent time at the end.

After that turn, boy it was tough. I was just thinking three things, trying to get as much shelter from the hedge at the side of the road, trying to stay as aero as possible and turning those gears over so I got everything out of each pedal stroke! As I hit the bottom of the climb with three miles to go I just thought churning the gears over would be in vein so it was little chain ring time and I rode the next two miles on the little ring. By this time my average was tumbling, well south of 50kmph by now but I knew I just couldn't panic especially up the climb where you can loose so much time! Coming over the top I slammed it back in the big ring and had a little look down at my Garmin again, it was on 19:20 and I had done 15.1km,... if I could get that last km done in under two minutes I would get the scalp of an Olympic champion!

I literally gave that last kilometre everything, the headwind was so strong I had simply no idea how fast I was going, only that I was going at absolute full gas! Crossing the line I had a look down, 20:35, a solid 45 seconds in front of Steven Burke. Get in!

So there you have it, my Saturday afternoon! Chuffed was an understatement; I really thought I would get my ass handed to me on a plate, but there you go! On to National Series Round 3 next weekend, hopefully I can get some good points to go towards the standings!


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