The Brizzle team (9 of us in all) flew to Olibia, Sardinia to compete at the well established and notoriously tough Xterra Italy, which this year was to host the European Xterra Championships.
The top Euro girls were there to fight it out as well as 3 x World Champ, Melanie McQuaid. It was set to be a great day of racing; sea, sweat and sand summed up the order of the day.
In typical Xterra fashion, the 1500m sea swim was a 2-lap course split by a 100m sprint on the beach. My new found swimming form unfortunately didn’t show its class as the swim turned out to be more like a pub brawl as excitable age groupers jumped the gun and swam over me. The second lap was more successful as I swam my way closer to the top swimmers than I’ve been before with ITU Olympic distance specialist, Jacqui Slackleading the women’s field.
On the bike, my recent strength training in the Swiss Alps came to the fore as I enjoyed a sandy, technical mountain bike leg. Melanie McQuaid showed off her world cup mountain bike prowess to make the fastest split and takeover the lead. Renata Bucher was still catching up from the swim and despite a solid bike and storming run over the deep sandy Sardinian beaches, it was not quite enough. Mel crossed the finish line first and collected the largest prize purse with Renata winning the coveted European Xterra Championship title for the third time in a row. I held on to put in a strong run to come across the line 7th in Europe.
In the men’s race, Graham Wadsworth put in the best GB performance taking 11th place. Unfortunately it wasn’t Sammy G’s day, repeating his bad luck that he’d had at Xterra Portugal with a puncture. He, along with Llewellyn Holmes, whom also had some troubles on the bike course, will no doubt be back to fight another day. As will I.