In September, Matt Molloy and Richard Hobson headed to Las Vegas to compete in the 70.3 World Championships. Both had high hopes of a podium finish but with temperatures soaring into the 40s in race week, it became clear that the race would be won by the athletes who could best handle the oppressive heat.
Matt’s race didn’t go to plan as he started to feel the effects of the heat in the second half of the bike leg and soon realised that his chance of a podium had slipped away. With eyes firmly on Kona he sensibly backed off the pace and made sure he picked up the distinctive gambling chip finisher’s medal.
Richard’s 45-49 age group wave was one of the last to start and so he was racing in the hottest part of the day. Sixth place out of the water soon turned into first place in his age group once out on the bike course. The rolling hills of the bike suited his powerful riding style – “The bike course is awesome, hard but fast and with a good road surface, the heat was really quite a factor by about half-way on the bike as you could really feel the intensity increasing off the road.”
The opposite was the case on the run, however, a hilly course meant that Richard’s pace gradually slowed in the heat and first place turned to fifth by the finish – “Now I really am not sure (and I do keep asking myself) whether my total melt down on the run was due to the heat, which was recorded at 45 degrees or whether the actual run course which pretty much consisted of running uphill for 4km and then downhill for 4km just did not suit me!!”
Richard was disappointed, he had been gunning to win the age group and to become World Champion but he took positives from making the stage at the awards party and from the season as a whole – “So I was disappointed with my position but the journey and the season I have had to get there has just been awesome, I have found new motivation this season thanks to Team Freespeed Virgin Active which after 27 years in the sport is amazing.”
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