European Championships - Geneva 2015

2015 was the 3rd time representing Great Britain at a European Championships, previous to this year I had come away with a 4th and 5th Position and placed 1st GB in both. This year I was in great shape, stronger and faster than ever, I was unnerved and felt I was armed with the tools to bring back a medal. Representing Great Britain is a proud and special moment which I’m fortunate enough that the great sport of triathlon allows me to do, I can only imagine how it feels to be standing on the podium honouring the Union Jack with pride but one day I will be up there achieving a long term goal. How it went… So I came away with a 7th placed position in a very competitive race, on the day I couldn’t of given any more effort so I have to be happy with the result, I finished the race with frustration that I had one of my worst overall performances which untimely came off the back of some of my best performances to date. As I crossed the finish line and filtered through the recovery tents I had all my family and friends awaiting to congratulate me, to see there emotions of being very proud of me but also unsure how I was feeling as they know how hard I train and how much I wanted to achieve something that I fully believe I am capable of, this made me smile and accept that every race can’t be your best race. Going into this race was one of the most relaxed i have felt, I learned many things which will be used to help towards producing that great performance which is needed to be a champion at this international level. The race My age group wave was the 3rd to go and the start hooter was set off at 6:40am, this early start time meant transition closed at 6am and I had a wake up time of 4am to get my race breakfast in time for it to digest. Swim – 1500m Previous to race day I had done a swim course recce, I found there was various currents to contend with and it was choppy which made sighting hard work, although these conditions would make the swim difficult, it would also be benificial for me against the not as strong swimmers. Race morning and the conditions couldn’t have been more different and I was greeted by a stunning view of the lake with the sun starting to rise and reflect off the calm water.

The swim start was classed as a deep water start, we would line up on the pontoon and then walk waist deep into a stony beach bottom. I had studied the previous two waves and i noticed that the middle of the pontoon seemed to get away better off the start. After making note of this I made sure I was one of the first athletes to be let out of the holding pen for the walk to the start, this is self positioning and you have numbered boxes to select your position in, I went for the middle and tactically hovered over two of the boxes whilst others selected there start position, I figured if I could command the two boxes without the referee’s noticing then this would give me more space and a better chance to get a good start without having to battle for free water.

The start of the swim went completely to plan and within a few meters I had free water and by breathing bilateral I could keep track of any front swimmers looking like they could be faster than me meaning I would attempt to get a draft off them, after 200m I was clear of anyone and had an increasing lead, it was 650m to the furthest straight buoy and this was directly into the rising sun which meant sighting was made near impossible, for some reason the lead canoe decided to drop behind me and be a lead for the chasing pack of swimmers, I decided to go out hard to use the advantage of the chasers not being able to sight me, I did this and then settled into a rhythm. Swim start video – “press here” I exited the swim with a commanding 48sec lead over a 2nd place French athlete, I couldn’t believe the advantage I had and made my way into transition with the cheers of support to drive me on. Swim exit video Bike – 40k Transition was a long 800m lined with racked bikes with a crowd of spectators at the mount line waiting to cheers there athlete on.

The bike was 2 loops with a slight climb out of transition and a tough 1k hill climb on each lap, the rest of the course was on smooth tarmac and nice and flat, this meant high speeds and a constant push on the power, I have a power meter on the bike and noticed I was having to work harder than usual for the power I know I can normally hold over a standard distance triathlon, this wasn’t to much of a concern as I was holding first place moving into the second lap, one thing I was concerned about was that I couldn’t get my cadence up on the bike to what I’d like to use in a race. Second time up the tough climb I was overtaken by the chasing French athlete and also the eventual silver medalist James Travers, I had expected to see James on the bike as he’s an ultra strong cyclist, working hard and descending down past the masses of support I noticed a crash which was taking up all but a small gap which I managed to navigate through.

In off the bike and in 3rd position I was confident I could hold this position and set my sight on catching the front two. Run – 10k + 1k finish As I hit the run I didn’t feel great, my legs felt heavy and I just hoped I could get into a rhythm and pick the speed up, as I exited transition my mum was there so I confirmed with her my position and got stuck into what would be a sufferfest of a run.

I don’t have much to say about the run as I’ve tried to forget how bad I actually felt and how deep I had to dig to come away with a respectable result, I hit the final kilometre which was a flat stretch along the edge of the lake, I was in 5th place and got passed by two athletes to push me into 7th, I was already on my limit and had nothing else to give, the run course was very twisty and undulating, this didn’t allow any chance of getting into a rhythm and left my legs feeling heavy and sluggish. Finish video Conclusion I feel my run was affected by the low cadence on the bike I feel my bike was affected by different preparation with being in Geneva for the 6 days before and not having a turbo to do my usual race prep work I don’t think the heat affected the way I race I showed that I can mix it with Europes best age groupers and it took one of my worst performances to keep me off the podium I’d like to say a big thanks to my family and friends who came out to support me and to the ones back in England who took the time and interest to follow me on the live tracking. I’d like to say thanks to the coaches and friends who have helped guide me along the way. A big thanks to my team ChampionSystem/VCUK and sponsors. ChampionSystem Clothing Base Bikes Club Roost Wheels Lake Shoes Limar Helmets Kenda Tyres KMC Chains Jagwire Cables Carter Rigging Mark Lomax Chartered Accountants Results Photos & Video Swim start vid Good luck message