The last time I wrote a blog was over a year ago. I had broken bones and the 2014 season looked like it would be a gloomy one. However after a slow start I achieved most of my pre season (and pre crash) goals, my swim massively improved despite the time off and I was pleased with my overall progress and finishing second in the British Super Series was an indication of my consistency though out the season. My best result was 6th in the Geneva European Cup – something I would never have predicted in the April of last year.
Through the winter I was able to raise my training up another level. I’m stronger and able to cope with a higher volume now I’ve got a couple of seasons under my belt. I stepped the intensity of my swim training up along with biking and running more miles, going into the early season races I was confident in my fitness and was ready to perform well.
‘The best-laid pans of mice and men often go awry’
The first race of my 2015 season was the European Cup in Quarteria, Portugal. I had been out in Portugal for a training camp 2 weeks prior to the race. On the first day of training camp Richard and I went down to the race site to practice the swim start and exits. Having no experience of racing in the sea I was a little anxious. However, after spending some time each day practicing swim starts and riding the waves etc I felt much more relaxed and prepared for the race.
When race day came around there were giant waves, the sea was very rough and I let myself get distracted. My swim was terrible – seasickness and lack of focus was the problem. Usually I spend the entire swim thinking of my technique, I didn’t consider my catch or pressing the water once. Instead I was considering the size of the waves or that I couldn’t focus on the bouys. All my fault, and the race went away from me. After a strong run, I finished 14th – way off my expectation. Lessons learned and experience gained.
A short and sweet Duathlon season
The British Elite ‘Duathlon’ championships were held on very wet and very very windy day at the end of March. With the bike leg cancelled because of the heinous weather conditions we stood on the line for a 10km run. We ran steady for most of the race then raced the last 2.5k lap. I finished second after a sprint with Emma. The result of that earned me selection for the European Duathlon Championships in Alcobendas.
After another brief training camp I headed out to Spain for the championships, not knowing what to expect. The first run was quick, I wasn’t ready for that – and suffered a lot. I nearly didn’t make it to the end of the first run, but as soon as I got on the bike I had a great time. I made up a lot of lost ground and finished the bike in second place. The final run was tough – a very hilly course and lacking any kind of spring in my step I shuffled across the line to finish 3rd. Cracking!! My first championship medal.
Back on the triathlon track
After a brief stop over at home to collect my wetsuit and goggles, I hot footed it over to Antalya, Turkey for the next race of the season. There was a little more on the line though – a place at the Rio test event was up for grabs to the top British medal winner.
It was another sea swim – a chance to bury the demons from Portugal. My swim was solid, but a couple of tactical mistakes meant I missed the feet of the front pack and I exited the water about 20 seconds down. I spent the first 10km of the bike chasing to catch the lead pack, once I got there I kept pushing on the front to drag out the gaps. I finished with the fastest bike split of the day, sweet! Onto the run, and knowing I needed a podium finish I didn’t want to work too hard over the first 5km, I moved into 3rd place with about 4km to go and maintained my position into the finish. The whole race felt like a composed and controlled effort, which gives me a lot confidence for the rest of the season.
My result in Antalya earned me selection to the team for the Rio test event. A very exciting prospect, but I’m under no illusion that there is a lot of work to do if I want to be competitive at that level. I’m not interested in going to make up the numbers.
In the mean time there are lots of ITU points to be won, rankings to climb and experiences to gain. I’ll be writing a more regular blog as well as race reports, so watch this space for updates on my progress.