Andrea Nightingale has achieved her dream of a podium finish with a medal-winning performance in Spain.
But the Multi-Sport Age Group World Aquabike Championships in Pontevedra proved to be bitter sweet for Andrea, who was part of the Great Britain team, as she was forced to miss the medal ceremony.
After swimming 1,500m and cycling 104km, she crossed the line in a time of four hours, 31 minutes and 28 seconds to finish third. But she missed out on collecting her medal as she had to return to the airport early to sort out paperwork with the hire car company after a Spanish van reversed into her stationery hire car two hours after arriving in Pontevedra.
‘I had no idea where I was in the race as it was non-drafting but when I came out the water, there were still quite a few bikes left in transition so that gave me some confidence,’ she said.
‘The swim was reduced to 1,500m due to the water being so cold and stronger currents than normal. Many athletes didn't make the cycle as they were too cold to continue but having trained in the sea, I found it perfectly ok.’
Andrea, who is sponsored by Ravenscroft, described the cycle, which was three laps of 35km with 5,000ft of climbing, as ‘brutal’.
‘My new bike, thanks to Ravenscroft's sponsorship, performed brilliantly. The last lap was really tough as by then you knew exactly what was coming. When I crossed the line, the announcer said my name and then said "in bronze medal position". I was speechless, which doesn't often happen, and as this is only the second Aquabike race I have done, I was truly elated,’ she said.
‘I was gutted to miss the ceremony but at the end of the day I still came third and my medal is being posted to me.’
Andrea was just two minutes behind silver and five minutes behind gold.
‘The feeling of achievement is amazing and all the early mornings and all those hill repetitions paid off. While my body is holding up and I am enjoying it, I really want to keep competing and I just love the feeling of satisfaction crossing the line, knowing I couldn't have done any better,’ she said.
Andrea's next challenge is the Tour of Cambridgeshire to qualify for the UCI World Age World Champs in Poznan, Poland.