Monday, 2 July 2018

Better late than never.......

I know this is extremely tardy as it’s about a race that was nearly two years ago but it’s a race I can still vividly remember. A race that marked one of my proudest achievements.

The reason it’s late. Oh just that little battle with depression that I have been recovering from.

In September 2016 I qualified to represent my country at the Age Group World Championships held in Cozumel, Mexico. This was a goal that I’d been chasing for 18 months and I was so unbelievably proud to be able to pull on the fabled GB trisuit.

I’d managed to qualify and travelled to Mexico full of confidence as I had been racing well.

I’d arranged to stay in the same hotel as some other people I knew, who were travelling out there and in the days leading up to the race I was feeling great. The Parade of Nations was an amazing atmosphere and it felt amazing having all the crowds cheering us on.

My employer (Balfour Beatty) had paid for my kit.

 Huub Design had supplied with me with some kit to go out with.

I was having a ball, chilling out and enjoying life. The resort I was in was beautiful.

There was one thing that was worrying me. The heat……..

On race morning we made our way over to the race site and it was so humid. Myself and two other athletes in my AG (who were in my hotel) went and racked our bikes and hunted out some shade while we waited for our race start. Even in the shade it was hot and humid and really quote unpleasant.

I was trying my best to stay hydrated. We were called to the holding pen. God it was hot. At the holding pen we sought out any sort of shade. Even hiding under bits of paper, cowering from the overbearing sun.

I was seeking out water. There were these little pouches. I was quaffing them like a dehydrated camel, it was so humid. I was leaking form every possible pore.

Our wave was delayed by 40 minutes. DISASTER. It’s okay I could get water. PHEW!

After an agonising wait we were called to the next holding pen. Time to have one more pouch of water before my race.

We were called to the pontoon. Finally game time.

I leapt into the water. God it was as warm as a bath. At least I could look at the fish. The hooter went. I powered away from the pontoon and had clear water. My brute force and ignorance meant I was leading the race for all of 6 seconds. LOL. I ripped my arms off and tried to distract myself from the pain in my arms by looking at the fish. A mere 12 minutes later and I reached dry land. Christ I was hot.

Not looking my usual relaxed self after a swim

God the heat was oppressive. I jogged to transition. Don’t remember it being that far away. Hmmmm.

Over the bridge, grab bike, run to transition exit, mount bike and get to pedaling.

Hmmm something doesn’t feel right. My legs feel dead and have no zip to them. What to do. Solo my way through the course. Hiding from the wind. Trying to hunt out shade. A lonely 34 minutes (21mph) later and I pull up at the dismount line. Jump off my bike and bam!!!

I felt awful.                      

Grit my teeth and run to my racking point, throw on my trainers and start running. I say running but it was so hot and hard.

I exited transition and immediately the humidity and heat caused me to dry heave. I stagger onwards, stopping every few hundred meters trying to be sick. There was nothing there. After about 2 painful km, I stagger sideways. Christ what is up with me?

I spent the remainder of the 5km trying to cool myself with water, moving slowly forward, unable to run, dry heaving, staggering. This was the hardest thing I have ever done (even worse than the marathon at Outlaw in 2013). It was so……. so humid.

Before this race I had felt good running and had been running 23 odd off the bike.

What happened in Mexico was my worst 5km time in a long time. 33 minues and 11 agonising seconds later I crossed the line.

I made my way to the recovery area and tried my best to cool myself. After I had returned to some form of humanity, I staggered to get my medal. That tiny (read HUGE) lump of metal meant so much to me. I felt such a sense of achievement after collecting the medal.

Despite the fact I had a disappointing race by my own standards. It was still a win because of the fact I got told I would never get there and I proved those people wrong. I made it and even though I finished 83rd, there were quite a few people who DNF’d (which for a sprint shows how brutal the conditions were).

I spent the rest of my holiday chilling out, watching the elites and having a great time.

And the best thing about the trip. The memories. No one can ever take these away form me.

Thanks for reading,


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