My last post was pretty brutal and outlined that sometimes things simply do not go as you want them to go. However, it feels that I have managed to turn a corner in September and being back racing has helped me to refocus my goals and look towards 2018 with renewed passion and excitement.
The first race of September I revisited a race that I took part in a number of times many years ago. I really enjoyed it all those years ago and it was no different this year. The Letchworth based “Duck n Dash” Aquathlon hosted by Freedom Tri is a great event held each year at the Letchworth outdoor pool. A superb event for young and old, novice to experienced athletes.
My swim was average as expected as you are faced with the usual overtaking issues and ducking under lane ropes but it was as good as it could be and after a quick transition I exited onto the run around Norton common. An “ok” run delivered me safety home in 6th place overall. Relatively happy with that on the day.
The following weekend I reintroduced the bike into proceedings and took place in the Carterton triathlon. Another small event held near Oxford. The swim was much improved and I overtook those in front of me to take an early lead in the race. I held the lead throughout the wet and windy bike course and continued to hold it throughout the run, I crossed the line first but due to the nature of cumulative times in pool based triathlons, I slipped to second place overall as all the finishers crossed the line. I have never led a race before so this was a new experience for me, one that I hope will be valuable in the future. Another enjoyable race under my belt and some confidence built up on the bike.
The last race was the full beans. Open water swim, bike and run. Based at Thorpe park, this was the final European championship qualify of the season, I had little expectation of qualification before the race so I simply set out to enjoy and race well for myself. Up until this race I hadn’t swum in open water since my crash way back in May. I had found the wetsuit to add extra resistance against my shoulder which caused some pain, therefore I had opted for some pool based triathlons. I decided to revert back to my older wetsuit as I hoped the neoprene had a little more give in it. It seemed to do the trick.
I had a good swim and managed to stay close to the lead pack, I excited the water feeling happy, if not a little cold (20 degrees my a*se!) and made my way to Transition.
No issues in Transition and I was quickly out onto the Bike. The first kilometre was on a service road which was windy, wet and full of potholes so it was a bit of time to get some breath back, take on a gel and compose yourself before hammering the TT bike on the open road. The flat and fast course suited me as I progressed through the places and kept a good average speed. I felt great! All was going fine until 5km from the end of the bike where one of my TT bars decided to work itself loose. I spent the last 5km of the bike resting on one aero bar, whilst holding the other in place, stuck in one gear and hurtling around roads at around 25mph. Always drama on a bike!
Safely into T2 after a slow journey back down the service road and it was out onto the run course. The run itself was nice and flat and went around Thorpe Park itself. All the rides were turned on and music played as if the park was open. My pace was the best it had been all season so I was happy each time I looked down at the Garmin.
I approached the finish and got presented with a nice medal. What more could you want! Originally I had targeted this race to qualify for the Euro champs in Glasgow next year but I ended up way out of the qualifying places in 16th so I would need a hell of a roll down to make the grade. I was within the qualifying time (108.16%) but there were just too many fast guys there on the day.
So a great month of being back racing!
September also provided some fantastic news for 2018. I have made the decision to “go long” and try my hand at an Ironman. So with the help of my new sponsor I signed up to do Bolton in July 2018.
The more observant of you will have picked up that I have a new sponsor. Leading talent (www.leadingtalent.co.uk) approached me and offered to cover all my race expenses for the Ironman in return to advertise their company. Of course I agreed and I am truly honoured to be representing such a great company with truly wonderful people. So a MASSIVE thank you to Leading Talent for their support. I look forward to wearing your logo in 2018 and being a good advert for you guys.