Great Britain’s Tom Bishop continued his impressive start to the season last weekend, as the 31 year old took his maiden middle-distance win at Challenge Puerto Varas, following a second place finish at CLASH Miami a week earlier.
The former short course star, who made the move to middle distance triathlon last season, was full of praise for the race in Chile, and also shared his hope that this result will be enough to secure a spot at the PTO European Open in Ibiza.
“A wicked venue”
After such an impressive display at Clash Miami, where Bishop only lost out on the win to an incredible run from Jason West, the Derby-born athlete headed into Challenge Puerto Varas as a slight favourite, with 2022 runner up Matt Hanson tipped to be his biggest threat.
On his race in Puerto Varas, Bishop shared that despite the longer distance, his race plan was similar to Miami, which involved backing up a solid swim with a hard ride to get a jump on the rest of the field coming on to the run.
“I was planning to be near the front of the swim, and I came out second, then my plan was to just go for it on the bike like I did last week [in Miami]. There was a tailwind out, then a headwind back, which made it pretty hard.
“On the way back, my saddle dropped by about a centimetre, and I ride pretty low anyway, so it closed down the hip angle even more and it was a bit painful at the end of the bike and on the run.”
Despite having to deal with the inconvenience of his saddle dropping, Bishop managed to strike the perfect balance between caution and risk over the latter half of the bike and the run, to come away with the win by almost six minutes.
“I tried to relax up the hills as there were a lot of them and I was getting cramp in my hips, so I didn’t want to force it, just keep the rhythm going. I really enjoyed the ride and the run, the support all the way round was great and I’m happy with how the day went.”
On the topic of the support in South America, Bishop shared his hopes that, in a few years time, the fields at the event can grow even stronger and deeper.
“It’s a really good race. First of all, Challenge Puerto Varas is a wicked venue, it’s a really good event and I just love it here. It reminds me of the best kind of roads you can race on and the support here was really good too. I hope the race here gets some momentum in the next couple of years because they really deserve it.”
Next up, Ibiza?
After a successful stint of racing in the Americas, Bishop will next race back home in Europe, as the Leeds-based athlete hopes the points accumulated over the last fortnight will be enough to put him in contention for a slot on the first race of the PTO Tour.
“Hopefully, I’ve got some PTO points now that will move me up the rankings. I’m hoping for PTO selection for Ibiza, whether that’s through my ranking, a roll down or a wildcard slot, it would be great to race the best in the world.”
In 2022, Bishop experienced the standard of racing on the PTO Tour at the US Open in Dallas, where he finished back in 30th, almost 22 minutes down on winner Collin Chartier. That race, he admits, was a real learning curve that pushed him in training throughout the winter.
“Last year, I had my pants down in Dallas really and it opened my eyes, which is why this winter I thought that I needed to do some hard training and get it right so hopefully I could be up there in Ibiza and be competitive.”
With less than six weeks until the European Open, Bishop is aware that improving his run speed will be necessary to stand a chance of being competitive, and shared that getting up to speed on the final discipline is his main objective for April.
“I know I have some work left to do on the run. I hadn’t really run loads leading into this race [Puerto Varas], because I had a small amount of soreness in my calf, so I stopped running hard in the few weeks leading into the race.
“I think the focus in April will be to keep the bike where it is and build the run form, as you saw last week in Miami that Jason was absolutely flying and in Ibiza others will be flying too.
“If the Norwegians are there and Jan, then everyone will be smashing it. I just want to have a solid race and if not in Ibiza, it will be the Challenge Championship in Samorin. There’s some exciting races coming up so we’ll take it from there.”