Tuesday 3 July 2012

World University Triathlon Champs 2012

Going into this race I wasn’t completely sure what to expect; this was my 1st major race of the season, my 1st ever Elite Olympic distance and only my second ever Olympic distance triathlon to date.
I knew I had to put in a good race as I had travelled to the other side of the world to compete, Taipei do be exact.
I wasn’t making all this effort just to make up numbers, I knew I was in good enough shape, but just not sure what that shape would equate to at this level.

I had been in Taipei for 5 days before the race to try and acclimatize as much as possible, race day ended up being 35+°C, crazy levels of humidity and water temperature of 31°C which is just ridiculous.

Perfect weather conditions for a ginger boy from Northern Ireland.

There was nothing I could do, I had expected this when I planned to race in Asia, and everyone was in the same boat. It was obvious that the race was going to come down to; who could survive the heat most successfully.

As I haven’t raced at senior level before, I was unranked therefore having a start number of 52 out of 55 athletes, resulting in having one of the least favorable starting positions on the pontoon.
Regardless of this I was happy with my swim I got out well and exited the 1st 750m lap in 4th place and that is where I stayed for the duration of the swim.

The bike course consisted of a 4 lap 10km circuit, on the 1st lap there were two Americans up the road, then myself and a French athlete slightly behind, with a large chase pack further behind. Unfortunately myself and the French athlete were holding the same gap to the Americans, as they did not want to form a pack of four which would have ended up being extremely beneficial to all involved as the chase pack was not working that well.
My French friend decided to sit up at the end of lap one which forced me to do the same. This ended up being the right thing to do as we all joined together as a large bunch of 30 or so.

I came into transition in a strong position, I didn’t go out too hard at the start of the run compared to others meaning I lost some places but I was happy that I was doing the right thing as I didn’t know how I was going to cope with the extreme heat.

The run course was a four-lap 2.5km course parallel with the river, with a water station at each end. Talking with other athletes we all said the same thing; the run turned into a means of getting between the each water station as fast as possible.

I felt surprisingly good on the run and was able to pick back the places that I had lost in the 1st km, as I feel I build into the run. I have to admit that the last km was not pretty at all but I am more than happy to have that last km as the only part of my race that I was not happy with.

I hope that this shows that I am going in the right direction to make a successful jump into the senior ranks and that it shows my potential for the future.

I am currently sitting on a plane to Osaka, Japan to compete in an Asian Continental Cup race next Sunday 8th July, I hope that I can put together another solid performance and come away with another good result.

I just also have to say a massive thanks to Stephen Delaney for being a massive help and allowing me to focus solely on the race while he dealt with everything else, it really made a big difference.

I will leave you with a nice wee picture of my back (on left) the night after the race, considering that I had extreme waterproof factor 50 sun cream on, I have a a slight feeling it didn't really do its job properly.


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