Saturday, 1 June 2013

International Lesson in Triathlon!

2013 Vierzon ETU Triathlon European Cup – 12th May

I was given the opportunity to be part of the British Junior female Team, which age group is 17-19 year olds; I currently race as a Youth 15-16 year old. I did have mixed emotions at first but the excitement soon took over. Thursday morning we started our journey to France, I was to travel with my Triathlon mentor Steve Lloyd. How would I coupe without my parents? (Fine, but don’t tell them) We arrived in Vierzon Friday afternoon ready to register for the race. Saturday was taken up mostly by checking out the swim, run and bike course. The bike and run courses were more technical than I’d raced before, which I was looking forward to.

Sunday – Race Day
We arrived at the course in good time, first thing is to rack our bikes and prepare transition. It was my first time to race as an individual at international level and I was surprised at how much room each person received in transition and it was great to see my name card with the GB flag on it. After setting up transition I began my warm up and then slipped into my wetsuit.
The swim was 780m long from a pontoon start up a river with a weak favourable current. There was no really bad starting positions as the swim was a straight line, getting out of the river was a little difficult. I managed to get out of the water in the top 15 and then started a 300m run into transition to collect my bike.

I achieved a fairly good transition but needed to get my feet quickly into my shoes as we all quickly approached a climb. A small group of around 10 riders had a small gap on me which I soon closed in the first Kilometre. The bike course was 20km in total, 4 laps of 5km. It is the first time I have competed on my Giant Advance TCR SL4 bike and it was brilliant. It has front-end stiffness and steering precision which helped me get up to speed much quicker. The PowerCore bottom bracket helped boost power transfer and efficiency which made it easier for me to keep the speed that I was going. After a good bike I went into T2 in the top 8.

The run was 5km and was 2 laps of a technical course with a steep coble hill. The first lap was encouraging and I felt strong but the second lap was where I lost quite a few places as I tired. This is the discipline I need to work on especially improving my individual kilometres time and making them consistent.  I finished 15th place which I was extremely pleased with in a junior race.

Joy was soon replaced with disappointment, as I soon found out I was given a penalty for not placing my helmet in the box provided. I received a 10 sec penalty and should have gone into the box and took it on the run but I had no idea I had received it. I was totally gutted and at this point no-one could reassure me it was ok. The British triathlon coaches tried to take the blame as they normally have a representative at the penalty board but to me it was my error.

The long journey home was a good thing in the end as it gave me time to think and to ease out the negatives and replace them with positives.  So my conclusion is; bring on next year, as I loved those extra kilometres on my Giant TCR Advance SL4.

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