As stated previously getting to Gold Coast was my victory. I had an aim for my race and as you can probably guess from the title. Not everything went to plan.
My goal was to finish in the top 50 of those in my age group. But even now looking at the results, that was a stretch. To get in the top 50 would have required me being nearly 7 minutes quicker than I actually was. It would have meant my best triathlon performance ever!
Even with the help of my coach getting me into my best shape in a long time, I was still some way off where I was in late 2015 / early 2016.
Back before my issue I weighed around 14 stone and could hold 300W which equated to my w/kg being around 3.4. After my last FTP test before Australia my w/kg was more like 2.6
That's a huge difference. Weighing more and outputting less power really does matter in biking even if the course is flat(tish).
But enough of the excuses. Back to the actual race day.
I woke up to be greeted with more wind than I would have liked.
My race wasn't until 12:50 in the afternoon so I tried my best to relax. Relaxing when you've still got jet lag and been awake most mornings, at 4am is a struggle. I decided to make the most of it and read my book.
I had a decision to make come race morning. Wear my wetsuit or not. The water temp was about 20 degrees so it was up to the athletes. As a swimmer it's not an easy decision to make. Would I lose more time swimming without a wetsuit or would I lose more time removing my wetsuit in T1. It's always a gamble in a sprint. I decided to put on my transfers and make the decision later.
After eating breakfast I made my way over to the race venue.
First job when I arrived was to visit my bike and pump up my tyres and finalise my transition area.
Before my race I decided to don my wetsuit, as it turns out that was a good choice as the zipper on my trisuit broke 10 minutes before my start.
After making my way to the start pen, I was starting to feel nervous. The enormity of what I had achieved got to me again like it did in Cardiff. I was starting to feel emotional. I had done it. I had managed to get to Gold Coast, to the World Championships.
Just 7 months before I had my breakthrough at my counselling and set this ball in motion when I was a long way off fitnesswise.
After getting lost in the enormity of my achievement, I had zoned out and we were ushered through to the next pen, which was a snap back to reality. I decided to put myself on the left of the pen so I would be taking a slightly wider route on the swim course at the first buoy but it would be less punchy.
In local races at home I'll put myself in the mix as I'm normally one of the better swimmers in the field but in the World Championships I know I am a small fish in a big pond.
The horn went and we were underway. I dolphined once to get to deeper water and set off swimming. I reach the first buoy and was glad I took it slightly wide, as it looked to a mass of thrashing limbs.
On the second straight I was starting to pick people off. I do love racing the swim tactically and building into it rather than going full gas and dying like these people had done.
I was passing people and counting them off. 1, 2, 3, 4........
I turned the final buoy and could see the pontoon. I did my best to stick on peoples feet and exited the water. I ran to T1 and noticed I was out the water before Duncan who was two bikes down from me. We normally exit at the same time so I knew I'd had a good swim.
I grabbed my bike and ran to the bridge. As I was leaving Duncan was arriving so I was about 30 seconds up on normal
On reaching the mount line I hopped on and set to the task at hand. After about 500m, Duncan caught me. He told to jump on his wheel. I went with him and two others but no sooner had I latched onto the draft than they were gone.
I buried myself trying to get back on but felt lethargic. My quads were killing. What was going on? To make matters worse I was riding into a head wind.
I reached the lumpy part of the course and saw someone had already stacked it. Poor bloke. After the short climb it was downhill and then back to the coastal highway. Still nothing in my legs.
Just soldier on. Do you best.
I turned at the far end and was relieved for the til wind finally.
I buried myself. Didn't feel great and the numbers from my power meter reflect that.
Average power was only 235W, it should have been closer to 260W. Average HR was 164bpm, it should have been closer to 170.
Some days you have a good race some days you don't.
My bike was 36:33, Duncan and the pack he rode with put 5 minutes into me. Thats a ridiculous amount of time to lose.
I dismounted before the line and ran into T2. Wow it felt hot.
Throw on my trainers and set about the task at hand. 5000m. The only goal. Don't be as shit as Mexico. Run to the best of my current fitness.
I had a target in mind and wanted to go sub 25 for the 5km.
That meant each kilometre had to be less than 5 minutes.
I wasn't enjoying the heat, it was a case of getting to the next aid station and throwing water over myself.
After the first lap I was so jealous of those who were heading to the finish. I wanted it to be me. Just 12 and a half minutes let of pain and it would be.
I normally have really awful photos of me running but I made a conscious effort to note where the photographers were so I could get at least one decent photo of me.
|Is that a smile?|
No one can ever take the feeling of running down that finishing chute away from me. Yes it wasn't the race I wanted but I set myself a goal, I believed it was possible (when I'm sure many others didn't), I put in the hard work and I MADE IT HAPPEN.
Don't let other peoples opinions or beliefs put you off the path which you believe you can forge in life. If I had I wouldn't have been in Australia competing in the World Championship.
Me the ex smoker, me the ex fat kid who was useless at running, me the survivor of depression, me the former obese couch potato. Yes all this things but most importantly.....
ME THE GREAT BRITAIN AGE GROUP TRIATHLETE!!!!!
It was an amazing feeling and something I will cherish for a long time.
|It's all about the bling|
With a nice touch of fate, the race took place on Thursday with was also the same day the Doncaster Free press is released. I hadn't told many people before I left but they had written an article about my appearance in Australia and this was the day it got released.
|Look it's little old me|
I got some very nice messages about this article, none more so than the one I received from Gia (someone from Twitter who I have never ever met)
Anyway I digress, the results form the race were out. Not quite what I wanted but let me take the positives.
Swim PB and sub 25 5k in the bag.
Job done. Now to enjoy the rest of my trip down under. This will not be my last appearance in the fabled blue suit.
I'd like to thank Balfour Beatty and Huub Design for their support in getting to the World Championships. I really am fortunate to have these two companies in my corner either helping me with kit costs in the case of Balfour Beatty or supporting me in all things triathlon like Huub. #HUUBSTER
Thank for reading,
GB Age Group Triathlete