Date: Sunday 4th September 2016
Venue: Strathclyde Country Park, Scotland
Distances: Swim: 750m, Bike: 20km, Run: 5km
Another long drive up to Scotland. This time it was for the U20 Festival at Strathclyde Country Park for the finale of the British Super Series. After a scare a few days before, where someone accidentally took my wetsuit, we had everything packed and ready to go. Nine hours later we made it.
For this race we had to be there for the whole weekend as on the Saturday we cycled the course and practiced some of the technical bits which was really useful this time, because some sections of the course were very very technical. We also had the chance to check out the swim course and see how cold the water was. Colder than I thought was the answer!
Arriving on race day it was sunny with perfect conditions. The water was flat and had gotten a bit warmer and the air temperature too. After getting my registration pack which included a nice pair of sunglasses, I watched the Junior Women and then started my warm up.
The field was strong and had the best in Britain, as well some French and Australian’s that had come over for the race. We were called up in our Super Series rank, which surprisingly meant I was in the middle of the field. And I also decided to start from the middle of the pontoon as that seemed to be the best line. Diving in I had a great start. I could see clear water ahead of me so I was near the front. My hard work in swimming had clearly been paying off and I have been seeing myself move further and further up the field. However, being this far up you’re vulnerable to how brutal open water swimming can be. At the second buoy I had my feet pulled, was swum over then someone used my shoulder to pull themselves over me. I tried to get going again, but more and more people pulled my legs and arms and I couldn’t go anywhere. Realising that being in the middle of everyone also didn't help so next time I think I shall start from the edge of the pontoon! After fighting and fighting and pulling a few feet, I found myself almost at the back. Not where I wanted to be. I worked hard on the rest of the swim to make sure I would be with others for the bike but was never going to get back to the front. On the bike I found myself in a group of three and we worked together to limit our losses, but with larger groups ahead we weren’t going to make much difference. It was hard to get a good rhythm going too as the bike was very hilly and the only flat bit consisted of technical turns. We caught some people, but many times kept dropping them. I decided to work for most of the bike, but towards the end I did little work and saved my legs as much as I could for the run.
After the bike I was pumped for the run. Someone in my bike group set off really fast and I thought I’d try to stick with him. We were catching people quickly and constantly moving up into higher placings. After half of the run I’d already moved up around five places. I kept pushing and pushing overtaking more and more people. I felt really good and just felt like I was flying until I crossed the finish line in 34th. Afterwards I was disappointed as 34th is not where I wanted to finish but I was never going to do well after that swim. I took huge amount of positivity from the run having put in the 11th fastest run time out of everyone and with over 50 junior elites I was super happy with that! 16:27 for 5km! I haven't had many good runs this year so I was pleased to get this one under my belt before the Worlds next week.
It was a good race to do and great preparation for the final race of the season. Thursday 15th at 8.55am (Mexico time, 14:00 GMT). Since then I have arrived in Cozumel, Mexico and look forward to training here before the race! After a good finish earlier this year in the European Championships I am confident I can get a good result in the World Championships and hopefully be up there fighting for a high finish.
My sponsors Pedal Potential, Swim Canary Wharf, Sam Farmer, The Body Therapy Company and Zone 3 have been amazing supporting me throughout the year and helping me to get to the World Championships.
My coach Dermott Hayes, S&C Coach Max Curle and Excel Physiotherapy have kept me in the best shape possible for these World Championships and I hope to be able to do them all proud!
Bring on Cozumel!!!