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Archive for May, 2011

Mallorca 70.3

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I finished 8th, have no times myself unfortunately. Seems that because i was a reserve athlete or late entry they didn’t register my timing chip. I was called out during the race but nothing shows up in the results.

I led out the swim, felt very comfortable and sat on Sylvan Sudries feet for the first 950m, not sure how but i found myself on the front of the swim so just swam at my pace not getting caught up in the moment. Transition was swift and was out on to the bike first. A small group came together with about 8 of us. Starting the climb the big riders on the front pushed the pace splitting the pack and i was on the back at the time so missed out on going with them but caught a small group in front of me that went with the initial break but then got dropped. The descent was fast and technical and we stayed together until the end. My legs didn´t feel amazing towards the end of the bike so wasn´t too sure how i would go on the run. The first 2 laps of the run i actually felt quite good and caught a number of runners in front of me pushing myself up to 7th. The last lap was tough for me, the pace from early on in the run caught up and with the heat things started to slow down quite quickly. I eventually got overtaken by Faris and he put some time in to me over the last lap. A little frustrating for me but its still very early on in the middle distance career so i have plenty of time to get the running distance in to my legs. I was aiming for another top 10 so 8th was not too bad. Back home to Jersey now before Leysin next week.

Liberation Day!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Yesterday was liberation day in Jersey. For those that don’t know Jersey is part of the Channel Islands (British Isles). The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied during the second world war.

On 15 June 1940, the British government decided that the Channel Islands were of no strategic importance and would not be defended. They decided to keep this a secret from the German forces. So, in spite of the reluctance of Prime Minister Winston Churchill the British government gave up the oldest possession of the Crown “without firing a single shot” The Channel Islands served no purpose to the Germans other than the propaganda value of having occupied some British territory. The “Channel Islands had been demilitarised and declared…’an open town”.

The British Government consulted the islands’ elected government representatives, in order to formulate a policy regarding evacuation. Opinion was divided and, without a policy being imposed on the islands, chaos ensued and different policies were adopted by the different islands. The British Government concluded their best policy was to make available as many ships as possible so that islanders had the option to leave if they wanted to. The authorities on Alderney recommended that all islanders evacuate, and nearly all did so; the Dame Of Sark, Sibyl Mary Hathaway, encouraged everyone to stay. Guernsey evacuated all children of school age, giving the parents the option of keeping their children with them, or evacuating with their school. In Jersey, the majority of islanders chose to stay.

German soldiers in Jersey.

Since the Germans did not realise that the islands had been demilitarised, they approached them with some caution. Reconnaissance flights were inconclusive. On 28 June 1940, they sent a squadron of bombers over the islands and bombed the harbours of Guernsey and Jersey. In Saint Peter Port, what the reconnaissance mistook for troop carriers were actually trucks lined up to load tomatoes for export to England. Forty-four islanders were killed in the raids.

While the German Army was preparing to land an assault force of two battalions to capture the islands, a reconnaissance pilot landed in Guernsey on 30 June to whom the island officially surrendered. Jersey surrendered on 1 July. Alderney, where only a handful of islanders remained, was occupied on 2 July and a small detachment travelled from Guernsey to Sark, which officially surrendered on 4 July.

The German forces quickly consolidated their positions. They brought in infantry, established communications and anti-aircraft defences, established an air service with mainland France and rounded up British servicemen on leave.

Concentration camps were built in Alderny. The Nazi Organisation Todt operated each subcamp and used forced labour to build bunkers, gun emplacements, air-raid shelters, and concrete fortifications. The camps commenced operating in January 1942 and had a total inmate population of about 6,000.

As part of the Atlantic wall between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the organisation Todt constructed fortifications round the coasts of the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands were amongst the most heavily fortified, particularly the island of Alderny which is the closest to France. Hitler had decreed that 10% of the steel and concrete used in the Atlantic Wall go to the Channel Islands.

Light railways were established in Jersey and Guernsey by the Germans for the purpose of supplying coastal fortifications. In Jersey, a one-metre gauge line was laid down following the route of the former Jersey railway from Saint Helier to La Corbiere with a branch line connecting the stone quarry at Ronez in Saint John. A 60cm line ran along the west coast, and another was laid out heading east from Saint Helier to Gorey. The first line was opened in July 1942, the ceremony being disrupted by passively-resisting Jersey spectators. The Alderny railway was taken over by the Germans who lifted part of the standard gauge line and replaced it with a metre gauge line.. The German railway infrastructure was dismantled after the Liberation in 1945.

The majority of the workforce constructing bunkers were German soldiers (photo evidence recorded) although around one thousand Soviet soldiers were also used as slave labour.

In Alderney, a concentration camp Lager Sylt was established to provide slave labour for the fortifications.

A large number of the German bunkers and batteries can still be seen today throughout the Channel Islands, a number of them have been restored and are now open to the general public to visit.

Just wanted to say a quick well done to one of my Junior Triathletes getting head boy today, very proud!!

Racing this weekend in Mallorca so will give you the update soon!

Dan

Fuerteventura Race Report!

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

So i have just returned back from the island of Fuerteventura. Had a really good trip and glad to be home now. The island is much like Lanzarote, baron and windy but we were lucky on race day with only a few freak showers and gusts of winds.

The course was quite tough, some big climbs with fast wet descents so lived up to the name of a challenge race. This course i felt represented more of a non-drafting race unlike Singapore 70.3. I went in to this race thinking if i got a top 10 it would be a great day in the office but as it was a training race i went in relaxed and viewed it as a training day. This clearly is the way i should view all my races as it paid off.

The one lap wetsuit swim was pretty fast, i sat in behind Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen with Stephen Bayliss on my feet. The plan was not to lead out and reserve my energy for the bike and run. At one point i tried to go around the two leaders as the pace slowed but as soon as i got shoulder to shoulder they picked up the pace…..plan worked and back on their feet i went!  Exiting the water i was in 3rd, feeling good and quickly out for the 500m run up in to T1. Quick transition and i found myself with Rasmus out in the front. For the first 20k i was working hard making sure we would get away and that a pack would not form until Martin and Rasmus put the hammer down and dropped Myself and Stephen. I was thinking to myself this is going to be a long ride if i am alone but i kept a good solid pace working the climbs and kept catching them back up. Unfortunately my descending let me down and i kept getting dropped again only to catch them on the next big climb! Eventually Stephen caught me and we pushed on catching the two leaders with about 20k to go. Martin broke again having a few minutes lead on the three of us coming in to transition. My legs felt like they had just done an awesome bike session so i was a little worried that i would struggle on the run but i didn’t feel too bad and kept a good solid distance behind Stephen and Rasmus for much of the run until they fell apart about 4k from the finish. At this point i was in 4th place with a happy painful face. Unfortunately 1k form the finish i was over taken pushing me in to 5th, i tried to go with him but i was done!

Leading the way on the bike!So all in all was a good race for me, i am starting to find my legs now over the distance. Now to work on my descending and to keep working on my run. It will come just got to keep positive. Hopefully going to try and get a start for Mallorca in a few weeks if not i will let you know when i am racing next. Thanks to Sutto for everything!

Dan