FOR the second year running I had a taste of competing in a triathlon, thanks to my friends at Pedalsure, and, for the second year running, I had a great time in one of the best events of its kind in the country.
The prestigious Bloodwise Blenheim Palace Triathlon certainly has to be the most picturesque tri in England, taking place in the beautiful grounds and surroundings of the historic palace, near Oxford.
More important than scenery, Bloodwise, a charity that raises funds to combat blood cancers like leukaemia, were the beneficiaries from the weekend and I was delighted to be able to help a little bit.
The fact that the event raised £250,000 for charity is astonishing to me and the 7,000 athletes who took part over the two days - plus the organisers, of course - deserve a massive pat on the back.
I must admit, the swimming and running parts of the triathlon have never particularly appealed so I was happy to be asked back to do what I know best, and ride my bike for the Pedalsure team in the Team Sprint Relay on the Saturday.
I had actually just spent a gruelling couple of weeks riding the Tour Series, a series of city centre “criterium” road races, across the country for my road team so, after quite an intense few races for me, it was a nice change to do something like this - while trying to help raise money for a great cause.
It was great to meet the Pedalsure guys again and they put together a pretty useful team with David Collomb completing the swim high up the field and Richard Kinnersley Smashing the third leg, the run.
In fact, we managed to finish first overall in the team sprint competition so to pick up a win while helping to raise money and awareness is never a bad thing!
I have done a lot of work with the British Heart Foundation and one of my best mates in cycling, Alex Dowsett, has his own charity - “Little Bleeders” - because he suffers from haemophilia, so it’s always nice to help out where we can, especially when the fund raising involves sport.
Pedalsure also do a lot of good work in that area so to be able to combine fitness and health - plus competition - with helping people a little less fortunate than yourself is an added bonus.
The team competition took place on the Saturday although that was only one part of a weekend of festivities which were made even more enjoyable thanks to the blistering sunshine and the glorious surroundings of the famous old stately home.
There were also a ton of other events going on over the weekend, including a Rollapaluza, stationary bike challenge which I came third in, The winner was Jurian Jongbloed, who want to get into track cycling. This obviously shows there were some very fit cyclists, and all-round athletes, at Blenheim.
More importantly, those same athletes - plus their family, friends and spectators - also played their part in cementing Blenheim’s place as one of the most important events on the sports calendar and I, for one, will have it on my calendar for next year.