Date: Friday 10th July 2015
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Distances: Swim: 750m, Bike: 20.4KM, Run: 5KM
My first outing at a European Championships was an experience I shall never forget. As one of the youngest in my age group I was not expecting much and was really out there to gain experience and see how I do against others in Europe. The drive there was long only because of the delays at Folkestone, but after that it was a lovely drive.
After arriving I went and rode the bike course. It was a lovely course, smooth roads, newly resurfaced with a small, steep hill in it which suited me perfectly. The downhill section afterwards was very fast and long which also I knew I would enjoy.
On race day I felt ready, I felt like I'd had a very good nights sleep and felt like I just wanted to get in the water. It was very warm, probably near 30C even at the time of the race of 11am. Bike and helmets were racked the night before so completing transition set-up took little time.
Wetsuits were optional, with a few people deciding to go without a wetsuit. For me when a wetsuit is optional, its really compulsory. The additional buoyancy is much needed and will be a big advantage over the time saved by not having to take it off. Lake Geneva was very clear, you could see the bottom all the way round the swim course, but it was very choppy. Even in a lake there was a very noticeable flow heading into our faces for the majority of the swim. Nevertheless I put in one of the best swims ever coming out in the top 15 in my age group.
Transitoion was smooth as always, probably my best discipline in triathlon. The bike was tough and warm. People on time trial bikes were noticeably struggling on the hill which reached at least 10% and averaged 7% for around 1km. The bike was a 3 lap course and flew by. Suddenly I was on the final hill, giving it everything knowing afterwards it was almost all downhill to the second traction and that my best sport of the three was about to come.
Going on to the run there was a wall of noise with people cheering 'Go GB!' for the first 500m constantly. It was amazing. The first 1km was uphill slightly but then went into the park and out of the sun briefly. The last Km of the run was essentially the home straight, coming of the laps and down along the waterfront all the way past transition down to the finish. I caught a number of people on the laps of the run, but saved a bit for the final KM ready to time trial it and make sure I gave everything I had left. Onto the final stretch I increased my effort hugely and went in to time trial mode, imagining I was being chased around a 400m track. I caught 4 or 5 people in that final stretch and had everyone from the GB team cheering me on as they did for everybody. It was truly amazing!
I crossed the line in a time of 1:11:03 in 19th place. I was more than happy, I would not have expected to finish in the top 20 for sure. I peaked at the right time and had the best race of my life at the best time possible.
Time to get my head down and get ready for next years Europeans, but most importantly, carry this form into my next race on the 18th July at Mallory Park in Leicester.