British Para-Triathlon Championships – Liverpool Docks – 13 July 2013
It’s been a while since I last competed. My tummy was doing somersaults I had NEVER done a complete triathlon before. I have never swam/cycled/run straight after each other. This was going to be hard. I have done my swimming training most mornings with my home swimming club Coach Doug Drake at Rochford and District, and with Keeley Bullock at Swim for Tri. I have always tried to do a little running as part of my swimming training but only half hearted, I have always made excuses not to do it, but in the last couple of weeks I have been Coached by England Runner Adam Hickey and as for my cycling it has been a little tricky I have had lots of help from my Pa Andrew and my friend Mick Tolhurst.
None of the above would have been possible without the help of HUUB for providing me with all the appropriate clothing, wetsuit, tri-suit, kit etc and from Nick Hillsdon at Queen Marys, Roehampton for making me an arm socket to attach to my bike and Cycles UK for attaching my arm socket & adapting my brakes & gears. I also had help from Halfords for the Garmin 810 Edge cycle computer and Gopro for the action camera to record all my highs and lows.
I awoke in the morning “Oh dear” I told you a little white lie there I was up all night tossing and turning, my tummy was all over the place it felt just as I used to feel when I first competed in swimming (maybe even worse!). Question, was it the thought of fish and creepy weedy things in the dark deep water or was I unwell or just plain nervous. I went with the latter. I had already prepared my Huub Tri bag the night before but I still had to go through it yet again
Huub Axena Wetsuit checked
Huub Tri-suit checked
Huub Timing belt checked
Huub Timing chip strap checked
Goggles & Hat checked
Oh my Trek bike checked
Would have loved to have put a drink on my bike for the long ride but what’s the point? I have no way of letting go of the handle bars and picking up a bottle to take a slurp with only having the one hand. The weather was perfect or was it? I think it must have been the hottest day of the year? Phew was it hot! It was a right scorcher. After double checking my bag I headed to the event with my transition partner (my Pa Andrew) and good old Mum to stand and cheer me on. Off we trotted. My tummy was churning I was so nervous but strangely excited kind of feeling what was I going to do? The crowds were heaving, would I be able to complete the course? Or was I going to make a total fool of myself? Pa and I went to the transition area and laid out my kit. Bike hooked up, bag emptied. We walked down to the docks where I slipped on my beautiful Huub Axena wetsuit, and I mean slipped it on, it fits perfectly, so soft – I love it. I posed for a few photos for some admiring fans (or should I say some lovely Liverpudlians getting carried away with the spirit of the day teehee), and proceeded down to the start line. I stood on the pontoon and looked over the dock it was beautiful the sun was out glistening upon the water, my tummy had settled a little and then I looked down. What a mistake that was I could not believe what I was seeing there was not a foot of clear water it was heaving with thousands upon thousands of jellyfish, yep! Jellyfish I think I prefer fish the marshal informed all the athletes that they would not sting and that everything would be okay. Yeah right? He was not in my position! My tummy was now doing over time, what should I do? Should I compete? Should I go home? Or just break done into floods of tears? Decisions! Decisions! Oh what the heck. Other athletes had raced earlier in the morning and no one was attacked by any monster jellyfish. I held my breath and plunged into the 20.7 degree water. Before I knew it the siren sounded and I was off, I did not have time to see the jellyfish so much splashing and crashing the 750m swim section was over I ran to the transition area to find my Pa casually taking photos of me, I shouted out put that b***** camera down you are meant to be here to help me out of my wetsuit and put on my helmet and bike shoes! I need a drink, crikey no time to stop for a drink! I tried to have a bite of a snickers bar but that made me feel quite sick with just biting into it and my thirst more intense, (I had not eaten since the night before) oh well off I went out of the transition zone I ran as fast as I could in my cleats trying to steer my bike to the start of the 20km cycle section. I mounted my bike and I was off. The roads had been closed off and I got to see the Royal Liver building and lots of other sights, distracting me from the lactic acid build up I had already produced! The cycle section was now over I dismounted my bike and ran to the transition station, hung up my bike and changed my shoes, and once again I was off! Legs like jelly I might add at this point! Only a 5km run to the finish. Still no drink at the first opportunity pit stop/station I grabbed a drink and poured it all over my head it was not until I tried to sip the drink that I found out that I had poured a very stick energy drink all over my head. Lovely! I was now very hot! Very sweaty! And very, very sticky! What a kerfuffle. I did not get a drink until I crossed the finish line. I was like an elephant in the desert, I could not get enough. Water was poured over my head in my mouth. Water is great! So refreshing! I finished! I completed my first ever triathlon. I felt amazing what an achievement I was so chuffed with myself, all I had to do was wait for the results. Had I been disqualified for anything? Did I do well?
Results were in… dun dun DUUN!
I came 3rd Oh yeah me a Bronze medallist at the British Triathlon Championships 2013! Woo hoo!
I cannot wait for my next triathlon. I reckon I could knock of quite a bit of time in my transitions and throughout the whole course with a bit more practice, and if I could get some kind of rigging set up or a way to get a drink/hydration on the move. Talking about moving I forgot to mention I rode my bike without the brakes working properly. Pa forgot to clip them on, when putting the wheel back on after transit to Liverpool I guess that would explain why I had a bit of a problem with the turns never mind. I could also knock off time if and when I get a carbon bike with electronic gears like the athletes that came 1st and 2nd
Extra info from other sources:-
Liverpool Echo Headlines - HUGE swarms of jellyfish were seen in the Albert Dock as Liverpool basked in glorious sunshine. Day-trippers reported seeing hundreds of the pink-tinged creatures in the water close to the Echo arena yesterday. The docks are well-known for moon jellyfish, the UK’s most common species, which float with the movement of the water.Ian Jackson, of Liverpool Coastguard, said: “Jellyfish numbers start to increase at this time of year and in warm weather you will get more. “It’s important to remember that their tentacles carry stings and we would urge people not to touch them.”
British Triathlon website quoted – Britain’s World and European champion para-triathletes raced at the biggest ever British Championships in Liverpool alongside elite youth, junior and senior athletes as well as age-group athletes from around the country.
A 750m swim in Queen’s and Wapping Docks was followed by a closed-roads 20km city centre cycle course and a 5km run around Liverpool docks, including running past the Echo Arena and the Royal Liver Building.”