Well, what can say about the World Championships? Actually, it’s pretty simple. Firstly I want to say thank you. I was totally overwhelmed by all the support in the lead up to the race and all the messages whilst I was out in the US.
So, thank you to all my family and friends. The people that have perhaps been neglected the most over the past few months. Thank you for your understanding and your unending friendship and love. I couldn’t do it without you all.
Next, thank you to all my club mates at Transition Tri, Stopsley Striders and Putteridge swim club. You have all been amazing and your support and help along the way has been one of the reasons I love doing what I do, no matter how hard the sessions get or how cold the lake gets!
Finally, none of this would have been possible without my sponsors. triathlon is a pricey sport and without the help of Inframon (www.inframon.com) I wouldn’t have been able to represent my country in Chicago. Alex at Insight Nutrition (www.insight-nutrition.com) has been keeping a close eye on my nutritional needs and this ensured that I fuelled correctly through all my phases of training and hit Chicago in the best possible shape. Of course, thanks also to Fabio at Fabio’s Gelato (www.fabgelato.com) for making sure those well-deserved treats were of the highest standard. I hope by wearing your brands I did you proud.
So, I guess I better mention the race and Chicago itself!
Ok the flight to Chicago was full of GB age groupers so I made the right decision and decided not to wear my GB colours on the flight. I prefer instead to stay clear of the macho BS that begins the second a group of triathletes are in a confined space. You can see people eyeing each other up, wondering if they are doing the same race distance or are in the same age group. I stayed largely under the radar, put my earphones in and made my way through 4 films. Upon arrival the transfer was appalling, I won’t go into it but if you ever visit Chicago do not use “Go airport shuttle”. Simply appalling.
My apartment was superb. I decided to use “Air BnB” and found a great apartment which was just outside the city in a cool little American suburb. It meant I had my own space away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the event hype itself. I also had my own kitchen so I was able to keep the race nutrition on track. Based on this experience I would definitely use Air BnB again. A fraction of the cost of a hotel and so much better.
The next couple of days were spent with the usual race registration, packet pick up, meet and greet, opening ceremony and team briefing. All of which lead nicely up to race day itself.
My start time for the race was 11:10am which meant an early racking time of 07:30. With everything in place I had an anxious three hour wait until I was finally called to the swim loading pen. We entered the water and had a few minutes to get used to the temperature and the waves. (It is a very big lake!) then we were called to get ready, this is it I thought, months of hard work. A season of focus. Everything I had worked for put into one final race. The hooter sounded.
A hundred pairs of arms started pounding the water and each other. I had made the decision to start wide on the left to ensure I got away unharmed and settled into a good pace right from the start. This paid off as I got into a solid swim immediately and stayed clear of any fist fights in the water. I felt the swim was slow but in fact upon exiting the water (and confirmation later on) the swim was actually 100m longer than the published 750m. A solid swim. I was glad to get my weakest discipline out of the way.
The transitions both comprised of long runs. T1 meant a run in my wetsuit over about 600m. That together with the usual chaos in transition meant a 3 minute transition time. Again, on reflection this turned out to be a good, fast transition.
The bike course was frustrating. I would have expected a better course for the world championships but it was what it was. I guess it was the same for everyone but the course was very technical with two hairpins and numerous narrow segments. The course was also too congested and it was difficult to find a clear route through. Whenever I could, I put the hammer down hard and went for it. I felt strong on the bike and the legs felt like pistons hammering up and down. The road surface was also pretty poor considering the event it was hosting. I know in the UK we should be used to potholes, but these were ridiculous. As I said, the bike was a little frustrating, very stop and start and slowing down for obstacles that I wouldn’t expect to be there in a race of this magnitude. My bike made it safely through in just under half an hour for the bike leg and into T2. One thing I did suffer with was the heat under my new TT helmet. I thought my head was on fire!
T2 was long again, another 300m run to rack the bike and switch the shoes and out onto the run course. I was relieved to get the bike helmet off my head!
At almost midday the run course was hitting around 29 / 30 degrees and you could feel it with every step. The heat was bouncing back up off the road. That said, I wanted a strong run so I started well. I held a good solid pace as I headed away from transition towards the city, the first 1.5km went as planned and the heat wasn’t too bad. I approached the first hairpin and POW the heat hit me full on. Not only could I feel it on my head and skin I could actually feel the heat in my mouth and tongue. I used the water stop to take a sip and then pour the rest of the cup over my head. I tried to continue to push the pace but the more the run went on the more the heat took its toll on me. I managed to hold a decent pace throughout and managed to speed up a little for the final 400m around Buckingham fountain. I stepped on the blue carpet and crossed the finish line of the World Triathlon Championships 2015.
I had earned my right to be there. I had raced. I had completed and I was 33rd in the world. I’ll take that 😉
My splits were as follows:
Swim 14:01 (850m)
Certainly not the best race I have ever had in terms of speed, in fact there was a lot of things “wrong” but definitely the most special race. I was happy with my individual performance on the day but disappointed in the course itself. Like I said, it was a level playing field so everyone had to put up with the same issues. Just one of those things.
With the race over it was time to enjoy my first trip to Chicago, so I did!
In summary. It has been a long road to Chicago. It started way back in May with the qualifiers and there was plenty of drama involved there! The news of my qualification meant I had to save hard to make it to Chicago but make it I did at the expense of a family holiday! I went, I raced, I completed and I know have a world ranking. I am the 33rd best AG triathlete IN THE WORLD. That is something that I am very proud of and it has made the endless hours of training worthwhile. I had a great time in Chicago, I met some great people and had a great laugh and even managed to rub shoulders with some stars. It will be an event that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Once again. Thank you to everyone who made this dream come true.