Royal Leamington Spa Cycling Club member Helene Parpworth fulfilled an ambition to compete in the European Triathlon Championships last weekend.
The 31-year-old multi-sport athlete finished 16th in her category in Valencia, despite some mishaps on the day, and an injury-prone build-up to the event.
The swim stage commenced with a running jump and dive off a very small pontoon.
“I’m pleased I got to practice jumping off at Eastbourne, ” Helene said.
“As otherwise it would have really made me nervous!”
The water was warm and Helene enjoyed the stage, coming out in 11th place.
The run out to transition was short but, unfortunately, she went to the wrong bike rack.
In response to an order from a race official who stated she must go back down the line to start again, she did an abrupt about turn, slipped in the residue of some flood water, and ended up flat on her stomach.
Helene was winded, and also aggravated previous injuries.
“I could have burst into tears,” Helene added.
“All I could hear was my mum shouting at me to get up.”
This painful slip cost her four places, leaving Transition in 15th.
Cycling away, Helene had to put the mishap behind her as best she could and get on with it.
The glorious sunshine and wonderful support helped in this.
She said the constant cheers of ‘go GB’ was a fabulous experience.
“It was a fairly technical but flat course made up of lots of out and backs along the Valencian roads, so I really tried to corner well and push hard out of the corners and get aero on the straights,” the competitor continued.
“It seemed to have worked as I managed to climb back up to ninth position after the bike stage.”
In the run stage the effort and the injuries caught up with her, with sore ribs, difficulty in breathing, and a stiff hip taking their toll.
“I tried to run through it, but my pace just got slower and slower,” Helene added.
“Overall I finished 16th – which I guess in an International race against the rest of Europe isn’t too shabby.
“I am frustrated that I trained so hard to then not be able to perform at my best on the day due to my fall, but to even be at the event was my original goal so to me that’s an achievement in itself – a lifelong dream ticked off!”