Saturday, 17 September 2011

World Triathlon Championships in Beijing

As part of my race preparations, I had been practising left hand cornering at speed as the run course in Beijing was flat but had eight turns. Unfortunately while out with my coach, I tipped my race chair over, giving myself road rash on my arm. It wasn't until I tried to swim later in the week that I realised I'd done a bit more damage...A trip to the physio revealed problems with both my rotator cuff and supraspinatus tendon secondary to two ribs that had popped out of place and my lat was in spasm. Just as well my pain threshold is high...
Of course, this meant rest, but my race was only a week away. I'd already been training at quite high intensity for two weeks with my injury, so it seemed sensible to take it easy.
Beijing was huge and sprawling, with a high level of pollution on most days. Race day was overcast, quite warm but not too humid. Team mate Jimmy Goddard was unable to race, so I was offered his transition helpers. I knocked a full minute from my transition time and was only 32 seconds behind my main rival-they were awesome! Big thanks to BA who flew them out to Beijing and GE who paid for their Hotel. It's such a shame Jimmy didn't race, as although he would have been up against 9 competitors, he got silver in Hyde Park and his chances were good for a medal.
Unfortunately, I had travelled all the way to Beijing to race my fellow GB team mate, which was pretty disappointing. Still, I aimed to race the best I could and ended up with two race PB's in the swim and race chair, and was first out of the swim as usual. The bike was hilly, technical and challenging. I felt immense satisfaction at overtaking my team mate on the steepest hill of the course, since I have only been cycling since mid January. But I was shocked when she went to overtake me on the inside of a tight right hand bend when I was taking a racing line. She passed within inches of me, and said afterwards that she didn't see me. Sarah Springman commented that it could have resulted in us both ending up in a concrete ditch and out of the race, which is sadly what happened to Ian Dawson and his guide on the first lap of the bike course. The run was ideal for me as it meant sprinting off at every turn, and I was only three minutes behind my team mate in her best discipline. My rapid improvement in all three disciplines has meant that I have kept pace with the small improvements she has made this year, which bodes well for next season.
Now I am looking forward to County Masters and East Midlands disability swimming competitions in October if my shoulder holds out, then a well deserved rest before starting winter training.