British triathlon championships Liverpool
The British champs had finally arrived, this was the main focus of the season for me and I knew it was going to be nothing that I had experienced before.
The race was on the Saturday which was new for me as I had only ever raced on a Sunday before, I started my week always trying to think a day ahead so my preparation would be the same as any other race.
My plan for the week was to recover from Norwich triathlon and prepare for Liverpool all in 5 days and squeezing in a rest day somewhere in there. Friday soon came around, I meet dad in Cambridge at 2pm jumped into his car and we headed off to Liverpool, a quick jaunt up the M6 turned into a long hot slog! We finally arrived in Liverpool at 6.30pm. We parked up and headed off to race registration.
At registration is where it hit me how big this event was going to be, in the region of 1200 age group athletes plus youth, junior, senior elite and para triathletes. I have to hand it to British Triathlon I was a bit sceptical about how smoothly the event was going to run with so many athletes in such a small area, hats off to them though they pulled it off, great organisation and marshalling. Enough about them onto me...
I registered had a quick walk around to familiarise myself with transition and where the swim start would be, kept having to wait for dad as he seemed to know everyone he walked past... Once I had dragged dad away from chatting we headed off to the Travel lodge, had some dinner and headed to bed!
With having already registered, parking very close to the venue and no Tri Harder stalls to set up we had a lie in till 5.30, a quick coffee and a make shift breakfast of croissants and a banana we headed off. The morning seemed to go smoothly, having dad with me seemed to make it easier, he knew what needed doing, when Vicky came if I needed her help I needed to ask but with dad he's done it all before, it made the morning a lot more relaxed and not rushed. Not taking anything away from Vicky because I love her coming to races and she's a great help but just in a different way that dad can help.
Transition set up all done I was ready and set to go by 7, I wasn't off until 7.50 so I watched the first few waves go off then started to get my wetsuit on as we were called to the start area 10 minutes before your start time for a quick race briefing, In my start wave it was ages 18-24.
7.45 and we were called to the pontoon, 20 at a time so it didn't sink. The start procedure was simply, in the water, up against the pontoon, I got to the front of the queue so I could get a good spot on the pontoon, swimming straight to the buoy is the quickest way after all. A usual quick swim out and back to make sure all was ok, we lined up raring to go I quickly asked the guy next to me if he could swim in a straight line, luckily he had a sense of humour! The starter counted us down from 5 and then we were off. It must of only been 150 metres to the first buoy so I aimed to go completely flat out till then just to try and get a good position around the mark, I got round the first 2 marks without any trouble and then soon got into a good rhythm.
Swim done then onto the next stage! The 3 mile run to your bike! Ok it wasn't 3 miles but it was a long way! Finally got to my trusty stead the Boardman Air 9.8, wetsuit off helmet on grabbed my bike then another 3 mile run to the bike mount line.
The bike course was simply, a flat 10k loop with 2 dead turns at either end, it was closed road so a fast circuit. The Boardman seemed even more perfect than normal on this sort of course, I could get into a good aero position on my aero bars, sit on the tip of my Adamo TT saddle and just push a good steady tempo! Seeing the same things for 40k wasn't much fun but I tried just to concentrate on my pace, It helped seeing dad twice every lap a bit of support and encouragement never hurts. I was happy with how I felt on the bike I didn't get over taken by anyone in my age group on the bike although I did over take 1 person from my age group so I took this as a good sign.
40k and 4 laps later it was back into transition, of course not forgetting the 3 mile run back to your space! Bike racked, helmet off and trainers on it was off onto the run. I exited transition with someone from my age group, As we ran out he asked what time I was aiming to do the run in, I responded with as quick as bloody possible... I don't think this was the information he was looking for, there's me thinking it’s a race not a Saturday stroll helping pace people! I felt as good as could be expected on the first part of the run and was holding a good pace, no one really coming past me but I was moving myself up through some of the slower earlier starters, then BANG the 4k mark again and the return of the dreaded stomach cramps that I had got for the first time at Norwich last week, I was determined not to stop this time, I'm not going to lie I was in agony, I took as many cups of water as possible at the water station pouring some over me and trying to swallow a little amount, it was hot by this point and I'm putting these cramps down to high body temperature, I came to the 5k mark which was back at the finish and where dad was standing, I think he could see the discomfort I was in and said try not to think about it and push on, I took on some water at the water station again, it seemed odd as it was an out and back loop the water station was at the end of the 1st lap and at the start of the 2nd lap, I got to about 6k and the cramps started to ease, I started pushing the pace as soon as I could knowing that I needed to make up some time and places that I had lost in the previous 2k, for the last 4k I felt good I was happy with my pace and didn't lose any more places, I even took a place in the last 100m probably more due to the guy not sprinting after me but hey I still got a place!!
So that was it, the British championships complete, overall I was happy with my race, no the cramps weren't ideal but they seem to be something I can't control. This was my last chance of qualifying for the worlds, the top 7 went through and I came 8th, once again one place outside, I could still get a roll down place as I have a good percentage. Watch this space!
A great experience and a good race, a few thanks coming up, firstly to dad for his support over the weekend and his continued bike and kit support, the guys at TriHarder for their help in getting me some great kit that enables me to race at a high level. To my family mainly Vicky for putting up with a grumpy, often unhelpful triathlete (after all triathletes are selfish) and a thank you to Emma who was supporting the Greenwich Tritons for her cheers of support around the course.
My splits for Liverpool were -
Swim - 21.54
Bike - 1.00.24
Run - 38.27
Ps Just got my roll down place for the Worlds in London………