Saturday the 13th may i was competing in my first attempt to qualify to represent Great Britain at the European championships.
This race was at Grendon Lakes, Northamptonshire and was a sprint triathlon consisting of 750 meter open water swim, 14.5 mile bike and a 5k run
I travelled the 3 hour car drive with my mum and dad on Saturday morning full of excitement with little nerves. We could only check into the hotel at 2pm and it was 12noon so we decided to drive the bike route then head down to Grendon lakes where the race was held. Grendon lakes was a weird place which consisted of fields and lots of different sized lakes used for different activities such as jet skiing, water skiing, fishing and in the big lake swimming. The weather was sunny so we had a nice walk around the run route and had a noisy at the other lakes which in one had a group of lads swimming wearing just there underwear,very brave or maybe it had something to do with beer!
There was still 1 hour till registration opened so me and my dad went for a easy 3 mile run of which i felt great and really light on my feet, not a bad time to feel real recovery from my injury!
5.30am race morning and not much sleep but felt energised and ready for action, with me registering the day before all i had to do is rack my bike in transition, this is when the nerves and pressure of what i could achieve hit me with every athlete looking very fast with bikes to match there looks.
The race start was a 5 minute walk from transition and it was then i got into the zone, i could sense the nerves from my mum but didn't let that bother me. The lake was crystal clear but very cold so i got a good warm up done in the water ready for the start. One thing that stud out to me when i was holding my place in a long line on the front row was when i heard one guy say to another "you better be fast because i am" haha you don't get that kind of mind games in the smaller races.
Off goes the start hooter and i had planned to go off hard but didn't expect to go through the first 100 meters in approx 1 minute and still have a line of swimmers next to me, i got round the first buoy leading the way but felt the pace was to fast to keep it up and i didn't want to be the one doing all the work and dragging others along so dropped back into someones draft which cost me a fat lip from taking a big kick to my face which was replied with a big pull on his ankle. Swimming towards the swim exit was hard work with the sun directly at us, i couldn't see the exit at all so relied on the bubbles from the persons leg kick in front, getting out of the swim i slipped on the slippy slope and was grabbed by a marshal on my arm, i think they thought something was wrong because someone shouted "he's hypothermic" which i wasn't and just wanted to get a move on. I came out of the swim in 4th with a long 500 meters run to transition giving me time to get my wetsuit down and ready for a slick transition. I exited transition and onto the bike in 6th and after a hilly 14.5 mile bike course consisting of a few battles up and down the hills i came into T2 in 8th of which i could here the shock in my parents cheers when they realised i could be in with a good chance of qualifying. Off onto the run and my legs felt battered by pushing hard on the bike but I new I needed to keep my leg cadence high to keep pushing. The run consisted of 2 laps and i moved into 7th on lap 1 and put myself on the back of 6th but was working very hard, this guy had his watch set up wrong and kept alerting him that he was out of his heart rate zone, this noise really was bugging me so i used this irritation to make the effort to go past him, with him sticking onto my shoulder I used a slight hill with 3/4 of a mile to go to put a kick in in a effort to pull away,it took a 2nd kick in pace on a turn around point to make a gap and give me the mental edge, i kept telling myself he is hurting the same as me and finished very strong with a clear gap behind me.
The Great Britain qualifying criteria for the European championships was to finish in the top 4 of my age group 30-34yr. I finished 1st in my age group which means i will be representing Great Britain at Alanya in Turkey 2013.
Great race,Great weather and Great result!