2013 World Junior Triathlon Championships - London

Hello readers.
My first race report for you all so whether you peruse through (thankyou) or have a brief gander (thankyou of a lesser value) it will be appreciated. I understand it is a big read but I urge you to soldier on when you eyelids are getting heavy and you think you've had enough. Oh and one last thing: It's quite a serious post compared to my other posts as it is obviously a very serious race (so don't expect any petty gags).

Crossing the line with an empty tank. Only thought going through my head is "a shower would be nice".

I certainly have mixed emotions about finishing 13th in my second and final Junior World Championships. London lived up to it's reputation with the weather so as soon as I woke up I knew I was going to be racing in the wet. This didn't really concern me like it would have for other athletes as I had made sure I trained outside when it was storming several times in Spain. I was well prepared. This truly was my most important race of the year and had been my goal race for over 12 months so there certainly wasn't anything that I didn't prepare for. I was in my physical peak, I was mentally focused and overall just ready to race. Strangely enough I wasn't even nervous however I think this has much to do with my detailed preparation and knowing that I couldn't have done anything better.

Unfortunately all plans went out the door as soon as I dived in. I felt terrible. I had been feeling quite tired the few days leading up to the race however I tried blocking it out so as not to stress and waste more energy. Whether this lack of energy contributed to my poor swim or not I will not know, but I guess everyone has bad days and it's how you deal with it during the race that distinguished the better athletes from the pack. 

Leading the chase through one of the sketchy chicane's. Almost every corner I'd hear the loud crunch of carbon on concrete and pray that it wouldn't be me next time round.

Jumping on my bike and seeing the second pack forming about 100m ahead I realised that there is where I needed to be if I was to stay in the race. I absolutely hammered it. Head down just motoring. I was passing many people that whilst swam better than me on the day were just not prepared for the World Championship pace. I eventually caught the second pack after a couple of kilometers however rather than feeling accomplished and relaxing I chose to go straight to the front and begin the chase of the first pack. I was confident in my riding and how much it has improved since working with my older and stronger training partners. I used this confidence to really give it my all on the bike. There were about 5 of us out of a pack of 25 that were working consistently and efficiently with one another to catch the front group. I knew that on fresh running legs I would be the fastest runner in my pack however I wasn't in a position to sit on and let others do the work (as being in second pack on that day you're not getting a top 10). With the absolutely amazing atmosphere and constant bellowing cheers from the crowd I probably got carried away with how hard I was working. I vomited several times on the bike but just kept pushing. In the end it really did pay off as we ended up closing the 40 second gap and with less than 2km to go on the bike there was now a front pack of about 50 of the worlds best juniors entering T2 together.

As soon as I took 10 steps on the run I knew that I was not my usual self. I had never rode that hard in a race before and I was certainly going to pay the price. I was so disappointed as the front group of 6-8 guys ran away in a group and there was nothing I could do. I'm usually the one running past people, not the one that gets dropped. Now whilst I knew that I wasn't going to be able to run to my potential I made sure I didn't give up. I ran most of the run just fighting through sitting in about 15-18th spot. The crowd was ballistic and I could hear my name being screamed almost every second step. I dug deep in the last kilometer to kick home and luckily found some energy that certainly wasn't present at the beginning of the bike. I ran down about 6 spots into 10th place going into the finishing chute however I had spent everything by then and was unfortunately out sprinted just before the line by two guys.

Stinging with less than a kilometre to go.

If I was asked at the beginning of the race would I be happy with 13th my answer definitely would have been "NO!". Reflecting back on it now I realise I can't be too disappointed when I truly raced as hard as I could go. Now although my swim was a failure I made sure I didn't spit the dummy there and then and at least put myself in a position where I could have stood on the podium. At the end of the day juniors is just such a small insignificant factor in the career of a professional athlete and as my coach Danielle keeps reminding me: It's not how good I am as a nineteen year old that counts, it's when I'm peaking in my mid twenties that truly counts.

My plans now are to rest through October and then build strength during November/December to assist with improving my training/racing capabilities during the 2014 year. It will be my first year in the u23 Elite category and whilst many juniors find this transition quite difficult, I am looking forward to the challenge and am aiming to be on the start line of the u23 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada at the end of next year.

Me and the other juniors. It was a fun weekend hanging out with all the athletes except Ryan Fisher and Declan Wilson. They are just pests that no one really likes.

Thanks to Keith Hedgeland and Iconphoto for the images.