British Elite Duathlon
At the end of last year I sat down with my coach and reviewed the season. The review was an opportunity to set new goals and decide where I wanted to take this season. It feels like October was a long time ago, but this weekend was a big step towards achieving my goals…. Racing my first Elite race!
I decided I wanted to race in Elite waves to stretch and challenge myself. I knew it would be tough and take a lot of hard work. The best thing about Sunday was that after I finished the race, I felt just like I did after my first triathlon last May….. Excited that I still had so much to learn and motivated to go away and try to improve.
So Elite racing is seriously fast and furious when you are new. There is no let up and you really need to be concentrating from start to finish. It all went very quickly, but I have tried to reflect on my race plan and see where I performed well and where I need to make changes to perform better.
On the first run, I got myself in the lead pack and felt good for the first 2kms. I knew I would need to head out hard and then try to hang on to the run speed for as long as possible. It was a case of not thinking too far ahead and just trying to run as fast a 5km as I could to get in a pack on the bike. I am getting faster and stronger in my running and the work from training is really beginning to show.
Out of transition and onto my bike. This was the first race I have jumped on my bike and done the very technical 'elastic band shoe trick' (yes, I know it has taken me way too long to do this in races, and it is not as technical and difficult as I am making it out!!) Nevertheless I was pleased to get on safely and get my feet in my shoes first time. I would have been a tad mortified if it had all gone horribly wrong and I would have ended up in a heap with my bike on top of me (this would not be the first time!). I was momentarily on my own, so decided to wait for a couple of people from behind me. I maybe waited too long, but it was good to be in a group and try to get working. We were eventually caught by a larger group from behind, but I then managed to stay in this group. I was trying to work in the group, but my legs weren’t responding well to all the pace changes and I was still finding my way with cornering in a group. I had to work hard out of corners and was not always in the right gear. It was great to be in this group though, because we eventually caught the main pack and all came into transition together. I kept saying to myself to get near the front, but trying to get my feet out my shoes and negotiate a path to transition was taking more of a priority!
T2 was a case of trainers still tight from my first run and grappling to get them on! I tried to stay calm, tell myself don’t panic and get out onto the last 2.5k run. I had the leg speed there and hit it hard out of T2. I gave everything in the last run, my calves were cramping up and I did get a bit too tense in the shoulders, but all in all I could not have done anymore.
This was an amazing day and I had a lot of fun. Thank you to my fantastic support crew Pete, Mum, Chrissie and Paul… not to mention all the messages and phone calls from my sisters Alison and Louisa. I have had many lovely comments on Twitter and Facebook and I really appreciate all the positive vibes.
This race was a solid start to the season. I am ready to build on this performance and learn from it. It is a privilege to race against so many talented athletes, not to mention be part of Thames Turbo and the Thames Turbo I-Ride Race team. Seeing the Youths and juniors putting in such great performances and watching the men’s race at the end of the day was very inspiring.
Big Congratulations to Eliza Cottington, Jess Wenlock, Izzy Chant, Harry Winter, Jack Macfarlane, Tom Higgins, Chris Carter and Pavan Rooprai who all did the club proud!!