I'll try and sum up my many weeks of racing in short little write ups for each race. Thought that was the best way to do this, so enjoy!
Name: Nuffield Health Sprint Triathlon ITU Qualifier
Date: Sunday 21st May 2017
Venue: Dorney Lake, Eton
Distance: 750m Swim/21.2km Bike/5km Run
This first race was very much a testing ground for my body. It was my first race of the season and with my knee problem still lingering, it was going to be interesting how it held up. The swim went pretty well. I was blinded by the sun, smashed into a few buoys on the home straight, but made it out in a good time. However, it was just not good enough to make the front group. I was a bit annoyed with myself to have missed it and spent the rest of the bike with someone from Jersey chasing. I'll admit he did most of the work, cheers buddy! Coming off the bike I felt good, I thought I could do 5 km, this is under control… until it wasn't. Never have I experienced stomach cramps, but there’s a first time for everything. About 1 km in I just couldn't breathe properly, I couldn't stand up straight. Game Over.
Despite this, I was very positive for how the rest of the race went, just frustrated that my knee felt fine...it was my stomach. It did worry me as the next week I was travelling to Slovakia for the European Aquathlon Championships...was it worth going...I don't know, let’s find out!
Name: European Aquathlon Championships
Date: Saturday 27th May 2017
Venue: Bratislava, Slovakia
Distance: 1000m Swim/5km Run
Yes, of course I went! Why not, I mean you've got to give it a go right. I hopped onto the plane, jumped into a cab and arrived at my hotel room. To my surprise I was told “unfortunately we have had to upgrade you free of charge due to how busy we are, I hope that is okay". I was really gutted but accepted the offer ;). I still wasn't prepared for a lounge, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom that they had put me in...on my own!
On race day I was feeling good. The lake was lovely, so clear and just the perfect temperature. We set off with a beach start and immediately I was towards the front of the field. After the first turn I was still near the front. I must admit I was so surprised. After the first lap a small gap opened up between me and about 10 others, but I dived back into the water and worked hard to catch the group ahead. Coming into the final straight I was leading the chasing pack. When I exited the water the person was calling out our positions and I was 8th! 8th out of the water was amazing! As our wave was the U35's I wasn't sure of my time compared to everyone, but turns out I had the 8th fastest swim of the day! Setting off onto the run I was cautious, I had no idea what my knee would do or where my run fitness was at. Thankfully I had no major pain but was overtaken and finished in 6th in my age group. I had aimed to podium at this event but with the lack of running I was very happy with the result, especially when I found out I was 10th in the whole race!
One very happy Sam.
Name: The Blenheim Palace Triathlon
Date: Sunday 4th June 2017
Venue: Blenheim Palace, Oxford
Distance: 750m Swim/19.8km Bike/5.4km Run
Back to what I love doing most. Elite racing. I love racing at Blenheim, always a really tough field and a really hard race. When we arrived it was warm, so warm wetsuits were banned! Well, they shouldn’t have been under BTF rules, but the race was under ITU rules which meant they were. Long story short, I argued and lost. No wetsuit it was. Damn.
The race was fast. Around halfway through the swim there was a noticeable split in the bunch, I was at the front of the second bunch struggling to keep up. Exiting the water in 10.48 I was content but not pleased and ran to my bike. The bike again was hard, just me and one other guy going up and down around the grounds of the Palace. I was happy with the bike considering the circumstances. Run time now. Immediately I felt pain, but I had to keep going, there were people within my reach, people I managed to overtake! I finished the run in a sluggish 20:56 but made up places which was a positive.
Finishing 16th Junior Elite in the British Champs however, I realised that was a pretty good result in the end!
Name: WTS Leeds SuperSprint
Date: Satuday 10th June 2017
Venue: Roundhay Park, Leeds
Distance: 400m Swim/10km Bike/2.5km Run
WTS Leeds. A race last year I said I wouldn't do again, but it was a triathlon this year, so why not. Up north I drove, staying in a lovely Raddison Blu I felt rested and prepared. It was a wet, wet morning. The course was slippery and hilly making the bike very sketchy.
The race got off to an interesting start with a false start. Half the pontoon had gone when the horn hadn't even sounded and I, along with many others, were still on our starting positions confused. Thankfully, they pulled everyone back and the race got under way again...without a false start. I found myself towards the front again, right on the inside of the first buoy which was not ideal, but I held my ground and didn't get drowned. Towards the end of the swim I thought I'd probably dropped off the pace, but no! I was 9 seconds off the leader in 11th place. WOW! I was pretty much stunned, but had to keep racing. The long run into transition didn't suit me and I managed to get into the second group on the bike. At the first turn around there was a crash which meant I was dropped into the third group. A lot of crashes and turns later I entered T2 on the back of the second group again as a crash had slowed them down. I thought to myself a good position might be about to come. But it didn't...a painful stitch along with the pain in my knee meant a very slow run where I had to sop at one point pushing me way down the field. Not the result I would've wanted but hey ho…let's move on.
So there you go. I apologise for the length but also how brief that was. So what am I doing now you may ask?
I’m now preparing myself for the European Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, a race I would've loved to podium at. I'm not sure whether that will be a possibility as my knee is still not quite right and I haven’t done much run training since March. I’ve accepted this year will be about managing the knee injury whilst seeking the best medical advice from my great physio Gary at Excel Physiotherapy. But never say never! Every race I will go into with 100%, all or nothing trying to get the best result I can and perform to the best of my ability. The last few races have shown great improvements in the swimming and biking, which I hope can put me in good contention for the upcoming races.
You've just finished school, what's next?
Good question! I have managed to get a part time job at Cycle Republic in Fenchurch St, London, so come and visit me if you're around! It’s part time only as I will be focusing on training and racing pretty much full time for a while and also getting my running back to where it should be.
Finally I want to thank my sponsors Pedal Potential, Sam Farmer, Swim Canary Wharf, Zone 3, The Body Therapy Company, Max Curle, Tri Topia and Excel Physiotherapy for preparing me as best as possible for the race at the weekend and supporting me through the last few months. I would also like to thank Vorgee UK, for partnering me recently and supplying me with my favourite goggles for training and racing in the pool, lake or sea!
I think that concludes this blog, I hope it’s been good and you've enjoyed reading what I've been up to! You can definitely expect one in the next week after I have raced on Sunday. That’s Sunday at 8am EU time! Don't miss me!