2015 Roundup: Team T2A Is Back in Town

Tenacious – adj. 1 not readily relinquishing something 2 persisting in existence

In July 2012, another triathlon club started up in Dubai, decimating T2A’s ranks. Tenacity is crucial in endurance sports: What do you do when the legs cramp, when you get yet another flat, when the water’s so cold you fear you’ll lose fingers? What do you do when your crew shrinks by half? You dig in and you keep going.

And Race 1 of the 2XU Triathlon Championships at Mamzar Park in Sharjah on October 30th, was where it all the training, all that quiet persistence, came together.  Zoe Cresswell and Tom Dalgarno took the top spots in the sprint distance with a baker’s dozen of podiums for the remaining T2A athletes in both the sprint and the Olympic event.

T2A’s stellar team performance at Race 1 (and perhaps also our new ‘high-vis’ tri-suits) caught the eye of many in the local triathlon community, including ITU champions, Alison and James Grinnell. The Grinnells joined T2A shortly after another of T2A’s power couples, Britt ‘Kona Royalty’ Kjemhus Welander and Chiff Welander, who along with Ulrik Lund, are swelling the ranks of T2A’s Nordic mafia.

Special mention goes to Suz Newton at Mamzar, who leapfrogged a few of her usual adversaries to place fifth overall in the sprint. Hardly suprising coming off of her gutsy run in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago on September 17, where Zoe Cresswell placed eighth in her AG and T2A’s favourite Illinois boy, Glen Osmond, brought it home to place 15th in his AG.

Another example of tenacity came in Jeroen Van Cauwenberghe (Capt. J’s) comeback race, IM Western Australia in Busselton on December 6. Busso is another step in J’s dream to race Kona by completing a dozen full IM events then entering the lottery for a ticket to the Big Island. Jeroen nipped in just under 12 hours to strike another IM off his list.

While Capt. J said he’d like to call it a day on the full IM distance once he’s reached Kona, he’s “totally addicted to how it rips your body and mind down to its core”.  Similarly, Piers Constable made a pact never to race another IM on the run leg of IM Arizona on November 15. No one believed him for a New York minute.  An eye-watering bike split of 4:54 (yes, for 180 km) helped him to a storming 9:39 finish.

Perhaps more importantly, he shot to the top of the Team T2A Ironman distance Top 10 rankings, earning the bragging rights and envy of all Type A athletes .

But it wasn’t all Ironman events with their shiny finish chutes and regular aid stations for T2A’s athletes in 2015. In fact, it wasn’t even all triathlons.  Chris Sellar placed first in the sub-veteran category and 10th overall in Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon, which apparently was a kind of training run for him and Benny Walton. On the bikes, T2A Team A notched up a fifth place in the Emirates Road Cycling Club Team Time Trial event on November 15. And in the water, Ulirk Lund took the top spot in the 2XU Five Star Aquathon in Abu Dhabi on December 11.

Early in the year, Jamie Atherton competed in the Fred Whitton 2015 a “beautifully brutal” 177 km ride round the Lake District in the north of England. With an elevation gain of 3,759 m, “the route profile itself resembles a particularly unhealthy ECG reading,” according to Jamie.  Tron was racing to honour the memory of his friend and best man, Nigel Black, and did him proud with an 8:37 finish.

Another T2A athlete keeping it real in 2015 was Anders Strandberg whose ranking on the nails-o-meter shot up when he completed the SwimRun Loch Lomond Inch by Inch on September 5.

Based on Sweden’s legendary Ő till Ő race (island to island), athletes in two-man teams swim from one island, run over it, and then swim to the next one in this self-supporting event. Ten swims and ten runs later, Anders and his team mate snuck in the top ten with a 6:20 finish.

While 2015 was a great year for Team T2A, there is always something to improve on in triathlon: a transition to tighten, a cadence to crank or a swim to streamline. And if blowing a hole in your PB is not enough motivation, then there’s CP’s psychology games, matching you with your team mates. In fact, maybe the Cresswells should call out the Grinnells who call out the Welanders?

TT2A racing :: IM Western Australia

Capt J made another quick trip down under to take part in Ironman Western Australia, about 90km south or Perth in a lovely little town called Busselton. The swim is the outstanding feature of this race, out and back in clear waters along the 2km long Busselton jetty.. however, the weather was a bit different this year, it was a lot cooler for this time of year and it was ‘raining!’.

Capt J is not adverse to quick stop travel, but to fly in the day before an Ironman and fly out the next day still staggers me 🙂  This is the way J rolls and he doesn’t do too bad off the back of it, sneaking in under 12 hours with a 11:57:50 🙂

You can read Capt J’s race report here

TT2A racing :: IM 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain

We had the T2A Bahrain contingent racing in the inaugural IM 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain with the No.1 supporter Anastasia on the side lines. It was a windy day – resulting in the swim being cancelled, and a blustery bike.. Tough day out in the sunshine of December 🙂

Moo made a trip over the water from Dubai and had a great day out, smashed the bike and placed 4th in AG40-44 (4:40:12). Nirmeen also had a race and got the added bonus of qualifying for the 2016 IM 70.3 World Championships in Australia (5:02:55), and Johannes had an fab debut race (5:17:58). Well done guys!!! 🙂

TT2A racing :: Creek Striders Half Marathon

Triathletes Sellar and Benny rolled the dice in what is a firm favorite on the list of half marathons in the region, the long standing Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon.

Chris Sellar had a great day out and placed 1st in the sub veteran category and 10th overall (men) with a 1:19:17 and Ben Walton was hot on his heels 1:19:51. Ben placed 8th in the Open category and 13th overall (men).

2015 Dubai Creek - Sellar podium

Detailed results for both Sellar and Ben below:

 

TT2A racing :: Giant Duathlon Race 1

Today we had a good turn out from the team for the popular Giant Duathlon Race 1 held at Al Qudra Cycle Park. The race format is 3km run; 24km bike; 3km run.

There were some top class results all round:

  • Zoe Cresswell 1st overall female and 1st in AG F30-39
  • Kirsty Sharleen 2nd in AG F30-39 (never off podium under new squad)
  • Britt Kjemhus Welander 2nd overall and 1st in AG F40-49
  • Marcella Moohan 4th in AG F40-49
  • James Cresswell 5th in AG M30-39
  • Ulrik Lind 4th in toughest age group M40-49
  • Anders Strandberg 6th in M40-49 (moving up to next AG in New Year – watch out chaps!)
  • Andy Veall finding form with 13th M40-49 (watch this one over the coming months…)

Zoe and Britt 1st and 2nd overall female and only 26 seconds apart!!!! However Anders has the race of the day… beating Zoe is a massive standout.

2015_TT2A_GiantDuathlon_Race1

TT2A racing :: Emirates Road Cycling Club Team TT

The Emirates Road Cycling Club, in conjunction with Trek, have organised a super event – the Team Time Trial around the 49 km loop of the Dubai Cycle Course at Al Qudra, it’s held on the 3rd Saturday morning of the month and has been running since 2014. This year it has gained some momentum over 2015 with 35 teams entering in November, including 10 ladies teams.

Tri2Aspire entered two teams, teams were selected through qualification and roll down following the T2A individual TT in October.

Team a places 5th in 1:08:21 with Team B only 2½ minutes behind in 12th place 1:10:54. Not bad results for a triathlon team. Well done guys!!! 🙂

Results:
2015-Nov-ERCC-TTT-ResultsIf you want to know more about the Emirates Road Cycling Club TTT event or register for the next event – go the their website www.ekrcc.com

Stop press!!! Piers did 9:39:48 in Arizona

He biked 4:54:21… 180km. Just think about that for a moment

A few words from PC himself post race “Such a hard day at the office. A long way from the perfect race but if I’d been offered 9.39 at the start I’d have grabbed it with both hands and headed off to the burger tent. I had such a miserable time on the run I made a pact with myself never to do another Ironman. I think a bit of reflection is needed once the dust has settled and I can walk again. Thanks to everyone who followed me today – no easy task when many of my friend were in time zones 7-11 hours ahead of AZ. Now off for that burger, and maybe even a cheeky beer2015_IM_Arizona_PC

2015_IM_Arizona_PC_Times

PC came to his senses a few hours later and his Ironman racing career is back on! He knows he can go faster… Which one will it be I wonder?