Race Report – Pontevedra
I was on a bit of a high after Hamburg and managed to put together a few good weeks of training, with a half marathon and Great Glen Challenge thrown in for good measure. It proved a measure too far as I picked up a cold and then sinus infection which left me flying out to Pontevedra having taken two weeks off training and still on a course of antibiotics. I would say that flying with a sinus infection is a solid 2/10 and not recommended!
As I walked down the pontoon to the final race, I looked around and saw the crowds lining the bridge and the GB flags flying and it really hit home how lucky I am to follow the World Championship Series around and race against the best out there, even if I could feel my heartbeat through my nose!
Super Sprint is the shortest distance triathlon; 300m swim, 6.4km bike and a 1.6km run. Don’t be fooled though, it is eyeballs out from the gun and the smallest mistake could leave you in the dust of your competitors.
The pontoon wobbled with the anticipation of the athletes, then came the god-awful heartbeat drum before the sound of the buzzer and we were off!
I had a decent swim with very little bashing around, which I was grateful for and exited the water in my usual not fast but not last fashion having swallowed a minimal amount of salt water.
The bike was a straightforward course, a few sweeping bends followed by a long drag out of the city before turning around and coming back. My plan was to attack the hill as hard as I could and get some recovery on the downhill before the run. The former part of that plan went well, and I rounded the turn ready for some well-deserved recovery…. only to be greeted by a headwind. I can’t really write down what went through my head at that point, but I wasn’t best pleased!
Whilst I won’t admit to being below average height, I did have to resort to pedalling like a demented gerbil to try and keep up with those who gravity seemed to help a bit more on the downhill and was pleased to reach the shelter of the city centre again.
We do a flying dismount off the bike, so as you approach a ‘dismount line’ you take your feet out your shoes, put a leg over the back of the bike and through the gap in front of your other leg so you can dismount into a run without having to stop. Whilst this went well, it meant a quick change from biking position to upright running and the salt water/antibiotic concoction in my stomach threatened to make an appearance. Luckily, a sip of water kept it at bay, and I was out on the run.
The bounce of the track must’ve sparked my legs into action because I didn’t feel like I had much, but I managed to produce the second fastest 1.6km of my competitors and came home as top GB athlete and 4th in my age group. Whilst I missed my first international podium by 30 seconds, I gave everything I had on the day, and I am pleased with that.
Due to my two top 3 GB finishes this season, I have been given an automatic spot for the World Championships in 2024, held in Townsville, Australia. Whilst this is a huge financial and physical commitment, I can’t help but think I’ll end up approaching it like a farmer perusing the machinery lanes at the Highland Show; I know I shouldn’t buy anything but, if I can, I probably will!
This has been my best season yet and I have to attribute it to the support I have received, particularly from Thomson Cooper whose generosity in sponsorship, and flexibility around training commitments, has allowed me to flourish further on the international stage.