Date: Sunday 5th June 2016
Venue: Strathclyde Park, Scotland
Distances: Swim: 750m, Bike: 20km, Run: 5km
Only a week after the triumph of Lisbon, it was time to head north to another country far far away. They call it Scotland. I call it Scotland. It was Scotland. It was my chance to book my flight to the World Championships in yet another country far far away. This time, Mexico.
Scotland was lovely! It was sunny, it was hot, it was ideal racing conditions for sure! I'd never been to Strathclyde Country Park (triathlon venue for the Commonwealth games) so was excited to see what the venue was like. We arrived with some knowledge that the organisation hadn't been great the previous day and we were slightly confused about the course. After kind of working it out, it was onwards to the hotel for dinner and a good nights sleep in none other than Holiday Inn Express.
Waking up, I had a bowl of Cheerios as always and prepared myself for the race ahead. The field was pretty competitive, but I knew I had to race hard to secure my place at the Worlds. With more poor organisation in the morning it was not the ideal start, but the weather made up for it! A glorious day with not a cloud in the sky!
We walked towards the edge of the pontoon. Jumped in. Swum about. Positioned myself on the pontoon. Then it was go. Not very far until the first buoy. I chose an inside line to cut the distance but knowing I was a strong swimmer I thought I could get ahead of the chaos. I rounded the first buoy avoiding the legs and arms being thrown about in my direction and held my line, keeping strong, holding my position close to the front. The sun was blinding and made it tough to see the next few buoys, but I got round in a time of 10:45 in 13th place. After realising it was a good 30 second run to transition I was very happy with the swim as it would've been just shy of the sub 10 min mark, exactly where I want to be this year. After a lightening quick transition, thanks to my Zone3 Vanquish, I leapt onto the bike. Unfortunately the lead group was a few metres ahead and I tried desperately for the first lap to catch them! Having made no ground and I gave up the chase and got caught by a group of three. We didn't really work, I just sat at the back while the other three lads attacked each other. It was frustrating and by the end of the bike we had lost two minutes on the front group. Thankfully, except for one other, there was no one else in the group who wanted to qualify. He attacked towards the end of the bike and I let him go knowing my run legs should catch him. A good run meant I caught him in the first kilometre putting me in pole position for qualification. I just kept my rhythm and did what I had to do to keep my place. Crossing the line in 1:07:16, I was a bit disappointed with the time, but who cares! I'M GOING TO MEXICO! Knowing I'd secured my place I could relax a bit after the stress from puncturing at the first qualifying event, it was a real relief! VAMOS A MEXICO!
Name: WTS Leeds, British Elite Aquathlon Championships
Date: Saturday 11th June 2016
Venue: Roundhay Park, Leeds
Distances: Swim: 750m, Run: 5km
Six days later, it was time to head north again. Not as far, only Leeds. But this time for an Aquathlon. The British Elite Aquathlon Championships and the 3rd round of the British Super Series.
We arrived the day before and had a good walk around the town centre at the expo and the finish of the Elite triathlon races. Registering was easy and simple. Then we drove down to check out the course. There were few signposts and once again we were confused. This time it was about where to run and where our transition would be! Not ideal!
After an interrupted sleep, thanks to some rather loud people outside the hotel room, it meant I was quite tired on the way there. But a few gels and sprints later I was awake and itching to get going. I hadn't raced with the Elite Juniors since March so was keen to see how I would do!
Diving into the water from the pontoon I positioned myself well and was up near the front. I could see clear water from where I was sighting, a rarity in these races for me, so I knew I was having a good swim! However, at the first buoy I took a few kicks and punches and then a bad line and I slipped back. I was on the back of the main group and tried desperately to hang on. I finished the swim in 10:24, only 70 seconds behind the leaders, I was amazed and so happy! Never have I been so close to the leaders! Last year I would've been over 2 mins behind so the hard work has definitely been worth it!
It was a long transition, and I mean long, almost 4 mins! Onto the run it was straight up. Really up, it was a big hill! And it just kept on going! I gained some ground on two guys, one of whom was a fellow Pedal Potential athlete. The three of us worked hard pushing each other, but it was tough and it was super hilly and there was not a flat part on the run. I kicked hard, but so did another lad. He had the better kick and I chased him as hard as I could but it wasn't enough. 34th place for me. I was pleased though, a fantastic swim was the positive to take forwards when I race a triathlon with these guys in a few weeks time.
I may do the racing, but I have a fabulous team behind me helping me race to the best of my ability and to compete with the best. I am so happy to have Pedal Potential, Zone 3, Swim Canary Wharf, and Sam Farmer supporting me and I am so grateful! I would not be where I am without them for sure! I cannot thank you enough for everything you do!
Thank you to The Body Therapy Company for supplying me with some fantastic pre and post race oils! They really do work and worked their magic on me! Got my muscles warm even before the warm up and helped them recover quicker than ever!
Finally a special thank you to Max Curle, Excel Physiotherapy and my coach Dermott Hayes for coaching me to a spot in the World Championships!
My next race is Saturday 3rd July where I will be trying to qualify for the 2017 European Championships in Dusseldorf! Fingers crossed!
Enjoy the pictures below!
Race Times (Strathclyde Park) Race Times (WTS Leeds)
Swim: 10:45mins Swim: 10:24mins
T1: 0:35mins T1: 3:37mins
Bike: 35:55mins Run: 20:53mins
T2: 00:31mins Total: 34:53mins