What can I say…it’s one week away from the Worlds and I’m trying to qualify for an event in 2014.
This event was a qualifying race for next years European Age Group Championships in Austria, which I thought would be a great chance to race abroad.
On the morning of the race I had to get up at 5am to get everything loaded into the van and on the road for 6. I have a particular routine before I race, which meant I had to eat my breakfast whilst travelling to the venue.
On arrival at Bala the weather seemed quite calm with a mild SW wind, however there was a chill in the air. I walked to the registration to collect my number and chip and could see there were a lot of people who had made the journey to Bala to compete for the generous prize money that would be awarded to the top athletes in the race.
An hour before the start of the race I started drinking my Herbalife prepare and walked to the transition area to rack my bike. As I was number 2, I was racked next to the water exit.
As the start got closer, I was called into the holding pen along with all the other male under 40 year old competitors. This was a busy area with lots of eager and nervous athletes.
We were all called into the water to swim to the start point, the water was 16 degrees, but felt a lot colder. After a bit of jostling for position the hooter went off and it was everyone for themselves. I suffered quite a lot in the swim, finding myself in the middle of the pack meant I was trying to overtake bigger and stronger athletes, which left me with an occasional foot in my face and arms around my head. This caused me to swallow a lot of water which was going to come back and haunt me later in the race. Eventually I managed to get myself into some open water and concentrate on trying to bridge the gap to the swimmers ahead.
After 1500m, I exited the swim and quickly made my way to my bike. I slipped off my new project X 2XU wetsuit (ebay bargain) with no problems, got my helmet and shoes on and headed to the mount line to take on the 40k bike.
The SW wind had now started to pick up, that meant the first half of the bike section would be into a head wind. In the first couple of miles I was suffering with stitch, but I wasn’t going to let this stop me posting a good bike time. After 1hr,40k, a lot of stitch and some vomiting I was coming into transition and hoping to be able to keep off the athletes I had overtaken on the bike. Unfortunately after less than a mile I was vomiting in the verge and having to walk to try and get my stomach something like normal again. I started jogging and started to pick up the pace slowly, but this had lost the minutes I’d gained on the bike to the faster runners, having been overtaken by a 19 year old from my category. After the turn around point I was starting to feel normal again, but i could see athletes chasing that had beaten me in other races. I began pushing hard and managed to finish the race only 58sec behind 2nd place in my age.
On reflection, I have taken the positives from a very competitive race with some really talented athletes. I was the youngest athlete, finished in the top 10%, beat athletes that had beaten me earlier on in the season, got a PB and qualified to represent GBR at Austria in 2014.
After the race I had another Herbalife rebuild to help with my recovery along with a deep massage.
Check back next week as I have the Age Group World Triathlon Championships in London which is an experience I plan on enjoying.
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