The British Super Series
After a successful start to the season in May I knew racing 4 weekends on the trot with each race getting harder and harder was going to be a tough challenge.
June started with the Blenheim Triathlon, the first round of the British Triathlon Super Series and my first senior elite drafting triathlon! I've done Blenheim a number of times and it is a fantastic venue with a great course and if your lucky enough to get nice weather what more could you want! The elite women (juniors and seniors) all went off together as a fairly big wave with the usual carnage that's an open water swim start for the one lap 750m swim. I positioned myself to the far right and had two swimmers one of either side of me for pretty much the whole swim, slightly annoying to say the very least as neither would budge meaning we took a slightly long wide route to the first bouy which was a messy affair. I was out of the water just inside the top 10 and overtook a few on the 400m uphill run to transition, always a nice shock after the swim to have such a long run! Onto the bike and I could see the front pack not far off at all, I tried to work hard to catch them but failed. I ended up riding most of the first two laps with Jenny Manners and Lucy Smith as we tried to stay away from the chase pack and narrow the gap to the first pack, at the end of lap 2 we were caught by a strong Lucy Gossage pulling round the chase pack. I made a huge error as we were passing the technical corner outside transition when I let a small gap appear due to my lack of ability and confidence to cycle round corners! I knew I couldn't let the group get away but unfortunately they did and I had to cycle the last of three laps on my own, which was tough and I was so frustrated that I had let myself be dropped. Into transition and out onto the run I felt strong and ready to try and play catch up, the chase pack had pretty much caught the front pack going into transition so I was gutted not to have stayed with them, I had a strong run picking off competitors and finished 10th overall and 7th senior. I was happy with the result and as ever had positives and negatives to take away and lots to learn before the next, including how to actually mount and dismount properly and not waste time, but most importantly not to let myself me dropped on the bike!
Unfortunately I wasn't very well after Blenheim, still unsure whether it was the water or something I ate. Anyway two days of nothing before continuing the rest of the week building up to Windsor - the 4th weekend of racing out of 4 and the hardest race of them all!
I've done Windsor once before as an age grouper in 2010, it was my first olympic distance race and it took me 2 hours 42 minutes. It's fair to say I was hoping for a significant improvement 4 years on in my first British Senior Elite Olympic Distance Triathlon Championships! I spent the Saturday morning positioned by the door waiting the the delivery of my newly adjusted Snugg wetsuit, much to my relief it arrived and I took it for a swim at the outdoor pool in Uxbridge before heading down to Windsor for briefing, bike racking and general figuring out of the course and transition.
The elite women were off in wave 27 at 8.50am, the second to last wave, thankfully not a 6am start like some of the age groupers! We got in for a swim warm up and realised just how strong the current was, on the start line we were pretty much having to swim to stop ourselves being punched backwards. The gun went and I tried to head straight to the right side of the river bank (as instructed by Richard who knows the course inside out!), along with everyone else it became a bit chaotic. I got some clear water relatively quickly and was swimming as close to the boats as I could, I could see one swimmer up ahead and I managed to catch her relatively quickly. We swam side by side following the river bank, sifting through the river bed as it became very shallow, until the two turn around bouys which somehow we both managed to get caught up underneath! I got a lead heading downstream with the current now in our favour when I made a huge navigational error just before the exit as I thought we had to go round the bit yellow inflatable in the river, rather than the shorter route between the island and inflatable. I realised my error as I looked behind and saw Kimberly Bell had taken the sensible shorter route and realised I had lost my lead. Big mistake. I came out of the water in second place, two seconds down, but by the time we had done the long run to transition I was in the lead! I'm not sure what I was doing from swim exit to bike mount as my transition time seems ridiculously slow, more urgency required! Onto the bike for one 42km bike loop. I worked with Katie Synge, a strong cyclist, and we managed to stay out front for about 5 miles before we were caught by the main pack of 6. We rode as a pack for the remainder of the bike course with a few girls putting in accelerations and trying to break away but the gap was always closed and we remained as 8 all going into transition together. Then it was out onto the run, 3 loops making up 10k with a nice hill up to the castle on each lap and plenty of chances to see your competitors. I found the run extremely tough, Emma Pallant was in top form and took the lead by the end of the first lap, I drifted back slightly as India Lee, Jenny Manners and Lucy Smith looked to be flying. It became a case of survival as my feet started to blister (I'd already lost both hair ties by this point, I must have looked like some sort of mad witch women running with my hair going wild behind me!!) and I tried to make sure I wasn't caught; I successfully managed to hang onto 5th place - I was also aware prize money went down to 5th and if I was to be caught I would get nothing! I crossed the line in 2 hours 9 minutes, 5th overall and 4th in the British Champs (Emma being ineligible for the title as she is racing under the ITU) a solid mornings work! We stayed around for prize giving as Human Race present to the top-5 woop! It's fair to say I was shattered and exhausted for the remainder of the day, every part of my body hurt and the race had taken everything out of me. A massive thank you for Iain, my godfather, and Jane for coming down to watch me - I really appreciate the support and hope you enjoyed it!
I'm quite glad I've got some time now before my next race which means I can get back to some proper training for the second half of the season, once I've recovered from Windsor as my body is still in pieces and I've once again been very ill! I think this is due to the lovely Thames water as a lot of people seem to be also suffering. I've got the Women Only Tri coming up in July before the final two races in the Super Series (I'm currently in 5th position) in London and Liverpool at the start of August.
A big thank you to Snugg for getting the wetsuit adjusted in time for Windsor, it felt perfect and clearly did the trick! I couldn't be more delighted to be racing in such a great suit. Also thank you to Bounce Balls, Elete, Better You and Bonk Triathlon for their continued support with such great products as well as Stroke, Crank and Scarper for all their encouragement and well wishes as well as their fantastic range of T-Shirts...it's a way of life!
Until next time
British Triathlon - National elite titles on the line in Windsor
British Triathlon - Buckingham and Pallant win in Windsor
Tri247 - Buckingham, Pallant take Windsor victory
The Blenheim Triathlon will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 7-8am on Sunday 22nd June
The Windsor Triathlon will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 7-8am on Sunday 29th June