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For the first time this season it looked as if middle distance triathlon I had entered would go ahead and I couldn’t wait to toe the line with some of the best pros the UK had to offer. 2 weeks before the event the PTO (professional triathletes organisation) put forward prize money to support their athletes and this just increased the number of pro’s racing.
Due to this addition in athletes the start was changed and the pro men and females would go off first, and then after a short 2min break the amateurs would go off. LuckilyI was the first amateur to go and then everyone else after me in a time trial (8sec gap) format.
The evening before the race we were informed that the swim would be shorten from 1900m down to 750m due to the temperature. Swimming being my strength, this puts me at a disadvantage, however, I wasn’t going to let the effect my mental attitude to the race, so I refocused and started prepping my nutrition.
I was going to carry two KOMfuel bottles on my bike both carrying SIS beta fuel with half a pH (precision hydration) 1500 tablet in. And then 3 x Sis gels with a little water in my aero bottle. This would mean I would have enough Carbs and electrolytes during the bike and I would have loaded up for the run too!
Race day morning everyone in masks in transition. I got the bike ready, run shoes out on a towel and put the wetsuit on. It was time to race. I was the first age group swimmer off so I set my sights for the female/male pro athletes.
A strong swim and T1 meant I was leaving with some of the front female athletes and that’s when disaster struck. I had a new bottle mount for the front of my bike (which I should have tested better) but it wasn’t as tight as I needed for your stranded uk bumpy road. My front bottle went flying! Being in race mode I thought that I still had enough nutrition on me to continue so I headed on. I passed Lucy Hall who was at the head of the female race, and started to ride up to a few male pros.
I then linked up with Will Munday, a pro athlete locally to me in Swansea who I do some training with. We were riding legally together for a short time and then, PING! The bottle I had moved from behind my saddle to my TT bars went flying on a bumpy corner... knowing that if I didn’t stop for that bottle I would have been running on fumes for the race, I pulled to the side, ran back to get my bottle, back to my bike and away again.
After a big 5min effort I got back up to Will and passed him. He later had back issues which was a shame, as he was setting up for a great run! I then kept the chase on for the rest of the bike back into T2. I could feel the last 10km that my energy levels where dropping, and so was the power. Losing the early bottle meant I took on less than planned but I had a back up.
In T2 I instantly took another SIS gel. Grabbed two (one for each hand) and set out onto the half marathon. I knew I was depleted so gels, and then water/coke at the feed stations would hopefully ensure I could keep the pressure on as I was 6/7th place at this point, even after starting behind the pros! The run was brutal. It was undulating with a mixture of paved path, rocky/mud trail path and grass. Not what you would call a quick run course, but I tried to keep the cadence good, and to push when the body would let me! Last lap was a struggle, but I was chuffed to get to the line Top 10, including some very seasoned pros!
2020 was meant to be the big build up to the Ironman World Championships in kona. Unfortunately, thats now next season, but it has allowed me to train, get fitter and faster which will pay off in the long term. It’s highlighted the importance of nutrition, and having back up plans if things do go wrong! But I’ll definitely be getting a tighter bottle cage for the TT bars! Roll on 2021 🤙🏼