Date: Friday 26th May 2016
Venue: Lisbon, Portugal
Distances: Swim: 750m, Bike: 21km, Run: 5km
What could be better? A trip to Portugal to compete in the European Triathlon Championships in the middle of exams. A well deserved break I think ;). The race was on a Friday and we flew out Wednesday afternoon after my C2 Maths exam (which I will avoid talking about at all costs). A nice lunch with my dad at Jamies' Italian in Gatwick and a smooth flight into Lisbon got the trip off to a good start. No luggage was lost on the way, thankfully, and we arrived at our hotel ready for a good nights sleep once we had glued the bike back together.
The next day was hectic. It was non-stop. First, after registering, was something I will never forget - A POLICE ESCORTED BIKE RIDE! The majority of the bike was along a motorway so the police escorted me and 1000 others around the bike course - 10km out and back with a small hill at the turn around point. It was a very wide course but also very windy, especially on the way back almost a complete headwind the whole time. I knew this was going to make it a little tougher than expected. Once the bike ride was complete and the many photographs and videos taken, we headed to the Team GB race briefing. Pretty standard with the odd silly question, as usual. The manic Team GB photo was next, but finally got done after a lot of shouting and screaming (oh and smiling). Finally we had a bit of time free to get lunch before heading down bike transition and practice the swim course. After checking the bike in it was time to get in the water. My first sea swim...went well actually. I enjoyed it and was now getting very excited! My Zone3 Vanquish felt slick and speedy in the water and I just knew we would work very well together on race day.
8am. Race day. The alarm sounds and breakfast is eaten. We headed down to transition to put the rest of my kit in position before warming up. Water temperature was 19.2C so me and my Vanquish would be able to work in perfect harmony. And we did! After the gun sounding and a super fast swim coming out very near the front, I recorded a split of 10:11! With the timing mat position being a good 30 secs run away it was my first sub 10min swim!!! Finally I'd broken the 10min barrier! Now onto the bike. A cobbled start with speed bumps made for an interesting start but once on tarmac I was motoring. Averaging around 50kmh and getting up to 60kmh at points I was loving it! Overtaking many Portuguese made for a brilliant first 10km. The climb suited me and I made up some more places, but after the turning point and coming down the hill it was head on into the wind and I went backwards a bit. I still managed to overtake other athletes but I lost a few places to some Brits in my age group. I found my self just outside the top 10 after coming in off the bike in 35mins 36secs. A smooth transition in less than 45secs I charged out onto the run course to get back into the top 10. The course had a twisty start in and out of the MEO Arena but then had an out and back to complete the rest of the lap. Two laps and three times through the arena till I would be finished. My target before the race was a top 10 finish and I was not going to fail! I made up a place, and another and another until I wasn't sure where I was anymore. I just had to race hard until the finish and hope for the best! Crossing the line absolutely exhausted in a time of just under 1:05 I had an anxious wait to find out where I came. To my delight it was 10th! 10th in Europe for the U20's! I was over the moon! Seeing all my other friends get superb results and some get on the podium made for a brilliant day! Thank you to everyone who made it so special!
It was great to see so many people out there - John and Marsha, Vicki, Karen, Caroline, Claire, Emily and Rachel from the RGActive Race Teams. Much of the Pedal Potential Team and old school friends just to name a few!
A massive thank you to my sponsors for getting me to Lisbon and helping me perform to the best of my ability! Pedal Potential for their funding, Zone 3 for their super speedy suit getting me my fastest swim EVER and Swim Canary Wharf for coaching me to swim like a fish!
Thank you to Max Curle for his strength and condition programmes to keep me up with the best of the best, Excel Physiotherapy for keeping me in one piece and Dermott Hayes for coaching me to being in the top 10 in Europe!
I'm also very grateful to Sam Farmer for recently sponsoring me and providing me with the best body wash products out there!
Thank you all so much! I couldn't be where I am now without your support!
Onwards to Scotland this weekend now at the second ITU World Qualifying event in Strathclyde Country Park.
See you up north!