CRICKLADE’S stellar triathlete Emma-Kate Lidbury might be well advised to invest in a tube of Superglue in 2013, writes Danny Hall.
Finishing the season ranked sixth in the world in her specialist discipline (Ironman 70.3) does not sound too shabby.
But there is an air of ‘what might have been’ when Lidbury reflects on her year, which included a couple of serious crashes and then some pure bad luck when tackling her ultimate target, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas.
“It has been a roller-coaster year,“ she said, “but I suppose they can’t always be magical years like 2011 when I won my first three Ironman 70.3 events.
“I started the season strongly with another win in Majorca but I had a crash in doing so which forced me to take time off at a crucial stage. Then I had what seemed like an innocuous crash in July while out on a training spin in Chipping Norton and that took a lot longer to get over than I thought.”
Nevertheless, after a prolonged spell of training at altitude in the States, Lidbury felt she was in the form of her life when tackling the World Championship for the third time.
In 2011, she had finished eighth despite a four-minute time penalty which cost her fifth place and she was confident of a similar result, and perhaps even a visit to the podium, last September.
That hope was derailed, firstly by a chain problem with her bike which forced her to the side of the road and then a broken handlebar.
“Unfortunately, the bad luck of earlier in the year stayed with me in Vegas,” said Emma-Kate. “It was incredibly frustrating as I was up with the eventual winner (Leanda Cave) at the time.”
Lidbury still managed a perfectly respectable 13th-place finish.
The Cricklade girl bounced back at the end of the season to finish fifth in the 70.3 Ironman event at Cozumel in Mexico. Then, the following weekend, she was second in the Ironman 70.3 title she was defending in Augusta, giving best only to 2011 world champion Melissa Hauschildt.
“The podium finish in Augusta was a reminder of my potential,” she insisted. “I still have a lot to achieve at this distance.
“To run my fastest half marathon of the season, just seven days after a previous 70.3, was just the confidence boost I needed.”
Lidbury has yet to finalise her race schedule for 2013, but she said: “The World Championship in Vegas will again be my main goal and I will probably start the season off again in Abu Dhabi.”
Lidbury is supported by online cycling website Wiggle, Swindon and Cirencester-based chartered accountants Morris Owen and Swindon telecoms firm Virtua.
n DAGLINGWORTH triathlete Steve Yates, runner-up in the World Long Course Triathlon Championships in Spain, has missed out in the Age-Group category award at the annual British Triathlon Awards.
Roger Witz Barnes, 28, who won gold at the ITU Standard Distance Age-Group Triathlon World Championships, took the honour.