WPE Besancon France

Wow, where do I even begin this?

Arriving in Besancon France, I was informed that there was a possibility that we would not be permitted to swim in the river as there had been heavy rains leading up to our arrival. This naturally would be a disappointment and also be somewhat of a disadvantage as I race in a category with mixed disabilities (arm and leg amps). Nevertheless, it is what it is.

On Friday it was confirmed that the river had in fact got to a dangerous speed and so the competition was officially changed to a Duathlon. Now we would race 2.5km run, 20km cycle and 5km run. This was going to be interesting. I also don’t have a huge amount of experience in racing a duathlon. For those who don’t know, it’s very different to a triathlon as fatigue of muscles play a significant role.


Race day arrived and although the weather was not great, the race was on.

The first run was tough as I ran completely out of my comfort zone, constantly trying to remind myself not to go too hard although I also did not want to fall back too far. The run was through parts of the town which presented its own challenges such as tight turns.

Into transition 1 and I was surprised and entertained to see the Dutch athlete – Sjaak van den Berg running out of transition and then back in again. I found out later on that he had arrived into transition, followed normal procedure and proceeded to take his bike to the exit of transition when he then realised that he still had his running shoes on!! So he had to do a loop within transition, re-rack his bike, remove his shoes and then try again.

Out onto the bike we went. On lap two the clouds opened and it began to rain which now meant the level of danger had just gone up. I pushed as hard as I could without neglecting safety and speed around corners etc. I managed to gain a position on the bike which was a positive for me as I knew the second run was going to pain.

Cycle done, maintained position, fast transition and onto second run!

Everything was now wet so the run course which was made up of huge sections of cobblestones became a nightmare for any amputee with a blade. Trying not to slip and needing to pick up the pace I pushed hard. So hard that I missed the turnaround point (they say it will happen to everyone at least once). This meant that I ended up running six km’s instead of five. Unfortunately this placed me last in my category. It did also provide much entertainment to the likes of Aidan McGlynn, my Irish mate and fellow athlete.

I must mention though that South Africa did make the podium thanks to a great performance by PT5 Visually impaired athlete David Jones and his Guide Phillip landing a 3 rd place after a great effort despite David running into a tree.

As they most often say, you can train as hard as you want; experience is one of the keys to getting better at anything – Lessons learnt!

20160618_11215020160619_13480520160619_140433Next stop, Grand Final Paratriathlon Championships in Rotterdam 22/23 July 2016.

WPE – Strathclyde


Note to self. Irrespective of what is said on the starting block – Stay Focused!

This last weekend I found myself in the country side of Strathclyde to compete in the WPE(world para triathlon event) It was honestly fantastic with complimenting weather, great cycle ways and long run paths

If there are three things I learnt about Strathclyde in this short stay, it’s this;

1. After 16h00 it seems to be near illegal for any local male to wear a shirt
2. Tattoos are obviously really cheap because everyone has loads of them
3. This past week was clearly the best weather Strathclyde has seen In a long time. Days where I wore a long sleeve shirt, there were ladies suntanning next to the Loch.


As for the race…

On the starting pontoon I was informed that I will be disqualified as I had opted to not make use of a wetsuit for the swim. The water was 21.5 deg (wetsuit optional).
I panicked.
I ran off the pontoon with the idea in my head that I was going to get my wetsuit, get into it and get back to the start in under 2 mins.
Luckily I was advised by the team manager to go and swim irrespective and we can deal with the DQ after the race.
I ran back, removed my prosthetic, donned my goggles and jumped into the water just in time as the horn blew.

Needless to say, this affected my focus tremendously although I chose to push through and try not think about it.
Out the water and onto the bike. I knew I had work to do. The bike course was tough. One steep climb and one long drag. Times this by four! It wasn’t easy at all.
Got back into transition, shoe on and out onto the run. At this stage I was just concentrating on maintaining my position. I managed to overtake one position on the run to end 14th.

All in all it was a great weekend. As tough as the bike course was, as much as I was thrown completely out of focus seconds before the start, I still managed to pull off a pb! and I’ll take that any day!


Makes me wonder what I actually could’ve achieved! For now though, rest, recover and then repeat next week in France.

As a footnote, I have joined a new movement #iamgrateful – which reminds me to be grateful for everything that I have and can do rather than complain about what I don’t have or haven’t yet achieved.


WPE – Spain

Going into the WPE Spain I had hopes and dreams of coming out with a 5th or 6th place in the field and earning some great points towards my Rio Paralympic dream.

After much travelling we finally made it to Aguilas where the race would be held. I made sure to get some rest in order to be refreshed and strong for the race. Aguilas has a lifestyle which is very different to what I am used to.


Nobody wakes up until 11a.m and the everyone still has an afternoon siesta before preparing to have dinner at around 22h00, which is normally my bed time. Nevertheless, body adjusted very quickly and I was able to function normally.

Interesting little place with not too much to do. Then again, I was there with only one purpose – to race.

With a great field of competitors, this was going to be a great race as there were more leg amputees than usual on the start list.


I had a great swim. Came out the water 6th/7th alongside JP from USA. Onto the bike I knew exactly what I had to do….just hold it there.

For some reason I just didn’t. I had a very disappointing bike leg and with no explanation and no excuse, I simply had a shit cycle. I dropped 4 places to 11th by the end of the bike leg.


Without ever giving up I knew that I would have to dig deep on the run. I cleared my mind and gave it my all again. Ended up running my 5km pb (21:08). Unfortunately it was just not enough. Today was not my race. I over analysed the entire race, pulling it to pieces to try and grasp what went wrong and can not find anything wrong except that I just need to get stronger on the bike.

It was a disappointing race for me. It was a hard knock. But you know what, that’s the only thing that makes me grow.

Not the result I wanted although I’ll take it with the fact that I had such a great swim and a pb on the run.

Next stop – Strathclyde where I’ll do it all over again, hopefully stronger, faster and a better cycle.


Thank you to all my supporters and sponsors.