Drafting April-July 2017
Woohoo!! My season has finally started! Due to a very busy time at university I decided to shift my whole season back a couple of months. Typically starting with the National Elite Duathlon, I gave it a miss and started 7 weeks later with BUCS Sprint Triathlon Championships. Competing with the usual high standard of BUCS makes for fast and tough racing but it's great to be able to race against those I wouldn’t normally over the non-drafting format.
On completion of my university exams, it was time to hit the National Super Series in Cardiff. The huge domestic prize purse set for a quality field to turn out. I guess to say I was a little disappointed with my performance in Cardiff is true however most of those competing were several months and many races in to their season, where I believe I lacked that top end race sharpness.
The following weekend I was set to return to what I consider to be my home course, Dorney Lake. I have had some major success there in the past and I was more motivated than ever to make it another successful race. Like many races in the past at Dorney, the swim broke up the race, deciding the bike packs. Towards the last few hundred metres of the swim I could see I was hanging on with my finger tips to the front pack. A perfect T1 was what I needed to put me in the front pack. My Blueseventy Helix whipped off in a flash and I was in pursuit of the front riders. Before the half way point on the first lap I was nicely settled in at the head of the race. I could not believe it! For the first time on the national series I had made the front pack! Frustrating for me, the pack was not working together all that well and the chase group caught up swelling the group to around 35-40 athletes on the narrow course.
This presented a new challenge for myself. Typically in the chase pack I am the one working a lot on the front with that position not being challenged. However, in the front pack with so many athletes, it became a challenge to hold position near the front in the large pack. I got caught out a couple of times at the back of the pack but didn’t panic and just worked my way back up to the front. By this point it was nearing the end of the bike and became evident that it was going to be a fast 5km foot race. I was pleased with my run, progress has been made and I found myself running with confident as it came to the later end of the race.
Next up for me was London Elite Triathlon, my first Olympic / standard distance triathlon. Doubling the distance and the racing time was always going to be a challenge but I was super excited!! The course set out for us was flat and fast with some small technical aspects thrown in. The swim was one large lap of the docks outside the Excel Centre. Unlike most domestic races it was a not wetsuit swim. I had a great start and put myself in a good position. The first buoy was a good 500m away stringing out the field a little. I exited the water in the chase pack and made up a fair bit of time in the long run through T1. I hit the bike hard from the start in order to really confirm my place within the race. The pack was working well with each other for the first 15-20km. Towards the end of the bike I sat in more often as I prepared for my first 10km run off the bike. T2 was speedy and I set off on the run, finding I was getting quicker as I progressed through the 10km. I really enjoyed racing the Olympic Distance, if anything it only confirmed my plans of wanting to progress to top level 70.3 / Olympic non-drafting races.
Essentially, that's a wrap on my first part of the season. The remainder of the season is going to be non-drafting and will present some really excited new races and challenges.
As always I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the amazing support network. Big THANKS to Blueseventy, thetristore.com, Blade Printing, coaching support and training pals at Team Bodyworks #TeamBW and The pure brilliants that is Luke Gardner for is amazing photography talents, Check him out (IG: @thelukegardner). Likewise not forgetting the family and friends that are just the best day in, day out.