Once again this year my domestic season's racing has been focused around the fantastic Castle Triathlon Series; 4 races in 4 stunning locations....and quite a bit of prize money on hand too which was nice!

Cholmondeley Castle

The first event in Cholmondeley Castle near Crewe. This came the week after a middle distance event in China - needless to say, I was a little bit tired and sore. But the nature of the series competition was that it was your best 3 from 4 races to count for the series so I didn't want to miss an opportunity to race.

Sadly for me, (but good for the race...), word has gotten out about the series and it was now far more competitive. My old training partner Mark Threlfall was in the hunt for the series prize and I knew he was going to be hard to beat. And so it was, he lead from start to finish and I managed 4th place behind Steve Worthington and Luke Watson. Not a great start to the series but good to have some points on the board.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is my 'home' castle event and a race I won last year. I didn't qui
te manage to jump on the feet of Mark and Dave Bishop and found myself a minute down. I wasn't feeling very strong on the bike and lost a couple of places which was rather worrying. Fortunately the run was much better and I regained those spots to finish 3rd.

Chateau Chantilly Swim Recce

Brian, the Race Director of the Castle Triathlon Series, was kind enough to take a group of us to France for the event launch. This would take the form of a 1,500m swim race in the rather prestigious looking lake infront of the Chateau - partly to showcase the event and partly to stimulate a little bit of French - English rivalry! It was a tight race but after accelerating hard out of every turn I managed to gap the other athletes to win the race. Luke was 2nd to give England a 1,2 and to show the French we meant business.....

Chateau Chantilly Triathlon

....Unfortunately, they might have over reacted and recruited too many top athletes to come for the triathlon. There was a fantastic 1000 euro prize for the winning team of 4 - however a very strong showing from the Beauvais Team meant that the team prize was very convincingly taken by the French. This race I felt much better in the swim, and the super flat bike course really suited me and I felt pretty good. Sadly biking is a bit of a speciality for the French and it wasn't good enough.

Hever Castle

After Chantilly I had taken pretty much a month off to set up my new business, Relish The Great Outdoors (events and web design business specialising in online entry management, incase you were wondering ;-) ). Racing the event was a bit of a last minute decision and only because I was looking for a nice weekend away did I end up going in truth - and it was definitely worth it.

The swim was incredibly, lining up in the water shrowded by mist with four ghost like figure in kayaks leading the way. The bike was very fun and challenging - the kind of roads you would love to rally drive on. And the run was on a really interesting off road trail; over wooden footbridges and around the lake. I finished the race in a rather lowly 7th but it was good to have a more relaxed approach to the race and then I could get on with playing on the inflatables....

I ended up finishing 2nd in the series behind Mark Threlfall who was a very deserving winner recording 1st, 1st, 2nd and 2nd in the series. It has been a great series; well organised, beautiful locations and great racing. I'll certainly be racing again next year which sees the addition of a Castle in Ireland, and there is a rumour that even more are being looked at....