As the end of my A levels where looming this meant that the triathlon season was finally getting into full swing. On Thursday the 22nd June I finished my last exam and went straight to the airport which was a little bit of a rush but adds to all the excitement. We arrived in Dusseldorf, Germany late Thursday night giving me Friday and Saturday to familiarise myself with the course and to register. As with larger races we racked our bikes the night before as many keen cyclists may know this can be a daunting time as normally your bike is wrapped up in a blanket in the comfort of your home but for one night I’m sure it was fine. As most nights before a race the major carb load was on and I filled my boots with plenty of pasta and had an early night ready for race day on Sunday.
After managing to get a good night’s sleep I woke up on race day with a mixture of nerves and excitement but as soon as I pulled on the Great Britain kit for the first time I was absolutely buzzing and ready to race. As I walked across to transition there was a brilliant atmosphere, I placed my cycling shoes onto my bike and attached them in place with my elastic bands, placed my helmet on the bars and put my running shoes next to my bike filled with talc so that they can just be slipped on.
As the temperature of the water was hot enough to not wear I wetsuit I chose not to as the run from the swim to transition was about 600m so I thought that not wearing a wetsuit would save time and it was the right decision. When we were given the signal we all jumped off the pontoon into the water and then held on waiting for the claxon for the mass start. I always think that this is the tensest moments of the race, as everyone finally falls silent and everyone is in their ‘race mode’. As the swim started I felt really relaxed and held the pace which I wanted too which resulted in me having a very good swim which put me in a good position for the rest of the race. The exit from the swim was up a flight of stairs which isn’t the easiest straight out of the swim with jelly legs but when I finally reached the top I took off my hat and goggles and started the long run to my bike. Once I was finally in transition I placed my hat and goggles in the box provided, quickly put on my helmet and headed off on the bike.
So far all was going well. I headed out on the bike course feeling good however what was to happen next was not what I planned! I knew that this was a very technical bike course before I set out but what we didn’t realise that when we were in the swim it had rained which made the bike course quite slippery. I took the first few corners carefully but unluckily on one of the corners heading out of the town to go out over the bridge my rear wheel slipped from underneath me and there was only one way I was going and that was down with my bike still attached! It skidded across the floor but I wasn’t going to give up at this point, I’d been waiting and training for a year for this race and this wasn’t going to stop me from carrying on. So I got up knocked my handle bar hoods back into place and carried on. As I looked down I could see a few grazes and blood but at this point I wasn’t in pain as the adrenaline had taken over.
I carried on and was seeing quite a few people in the same state in which I was which ensured me that it wasn’t just my clumsy self that made my come off but that this course was causing a lot of problems for the other competitors as well.
As I got to the end of the 20km bike I dismounted and headed back into transition to rack my bike and get my running shoes on. I headed out on the run feeling quite good and managed to gain a bit of time back which I lost on the bike and managed to finish 9th which I was happy with as I aimed for a top 10 . After I finished the pain then started to set in , I was shown to a first aid tent where I was checked over and thankfully I had no broken ribs just soft tissue damage and a lot of bruises but as this was my first time representing Great Britain it was an amazing experience which could never be replaced. My first European championships where the best racing experience which I ever had and hopefully the Europeans next year in Scotland will go a bit better for me.