Roger repeats fantastic feat on big stage with success in Slovakia
North Luffenham triathlete Roger Canham is celebrating a double world championship success.
Canham claimed victory in the World Long Course Championships in Spain last month and then repeated the feat to triumph in the World Challenge Championship in Slovakia.
He successfully negotiated the 1,900m swim, 56 miles on a bike and 13.1-mile run to emerge victorious in the 55-59 year age group after finishing 71st overall.
Canham had competed in Daytona in December to secure his spot in Slovakia, but his outings had been few and far between before his world championship double due to a long-standing back injury which will now need more rest and recuperation.
He explained: "My back has been pretty sore since October and the right thing to do was rest up and let it heal.
"Since then I hadn’t run in order to help the back ease a little but there was no real improvement.
"Right through to the morning of the race I was deeply conflicted as to whether to race or just stand on the sidelines and watch.
"In the end I resolved to swim and bike and then pull the pin on the run if it got too painful.
"I have still not really taken in what I have achieved, but I do have to now take some time off training and racing to get the back properly fixed so I can race again either this year or next.
"I am seeing an army of specialists this month and I have promised a few people I will do what I am told - even if that means an extended period of time off.
"I love the sport too much to jeopardise all the great years of training and racing ahead and I have had an incredible year. I'm a lucky guy."
Up until an hour before the race was due to start the organisers were still uncertain if the swim would be cancelled due to unseasonably strong currents and cold temperatures in the Danube.
The day prior to the race the water was between 12 and 14 degrees and it needed to be more than that to be safe for the full distance swim.
Race morning it was 14.4 degrees and Canham decided to take a very conservative position on the start line and sit behind the front group in order to mitigate the effects of the current.
After 500m he moved past a few athletes and, although he wasn't aware at the time, exited the water at the front of the age group.
The straight-forward flat 56-mile bike loop alongside the Danube offered the possibility of a very fast bike split.
Canham had set himself a goal of exceeding 25mph and going under 2.15hrs and was delighted as he managed to just scrape under his target.
He set off on the run and decided to race until his back became too sore but, keeping a very conservative pace, managed to complete the event in style.
Canham continued: "I kept my cadence high to help stave off the potential cramping and eating and drinking to ensure I had the fuel to keep going.
"I continued to propel myself to the line and the prospect of a second championship win.
"What a feeling to cross the line in first place and get the double, beyond words. The next guy had come in just three minutes behind me and had run a blistering pace, something I would be envious of even at my best, he just ran out of real estate."