I haven’t had the come back I had been wishing for…
In Geneva I competed in my first Olympic race at the European Championships. It was a fantastic location for me as I had been training in the Tri 4 Alps in Morzine with DSquad.
I made the one hour drive from Morzine to Geneva on Thursday giving myself a few days to relax and prepare for the race on Saturday. The location was stunning, bright blue water to match the cloudless sky, however the temperature was in the 30s. Luckily for me I was used to this having based myself nearby in Morzine.
I want to congratulate all the GB athletes who took part. It was amazing to see you all do so well across the age groups. It was brilliant to experience some of the best support I have known at a triathlon. I felt so much love and support willing me to push on. All the cheering makes such a difference and I needed it in this race – thank you to everyone who was there.
Unfortunately I didn’t perform in the swim how I had wanted and know I can, however I reached the first buoy with Lisa N and finished alongside her. Jumping straight on the bike I was in a small group with Lisa and Nicola Spirig which I was happy about as we’re all strong riders. The race was developing nicely with Lucy and Jess just up the road and then unfortunately on lap 3 I punctured at the bottom of the hill. I couldn’t believe my luck but I knew the wheel stop was at the top of the hill. I just had to get to the top with a puncture, trying to lose as little time as possible. I reached the top and changed the wheel as quickly as I could but unfortunately I was on my own with a few girls sitting on my wheel. The gap grew to 1’45” at one point but we managed to get it back down to 1’25”. In my head I was telling myself I could still catch some of the girls ahead of me…the race wasn’t over!
I started the run feeling good while trying to conserve energy in the high temperatures. I started to cut the gap, but I was starting to feel the hard work I had already put in and then, BANG l was hit by a brick wall on lap 3. From here on in I knew I was going to have to push through the pain just to make sure I reached the finish.
I finished 9th – not the race I had hoped for but I worked hard and pushed myself to my limits which I was happy about.
The next day I took part in the relay with Lucy, Matt and Tom. I went first and with a great team effort we finished third with France first and Switzerland 2nd. I had a great day and was pleased to add another race into my practice schedule.
Back to training base for a few days and then off to Hamburg for my first WTS race back. Hamburg is known for being hard from the get go. No let up. No room for mistakes. It’s fast and furious and just what I needed after Geneva. All week I was feeling terrible after my first Olympic slog but was feeling okay going into the race. My ranking is very low from not racing all year so I went in at 38. I went to the far left of the pontoon with Katie Zaferes, who has been one of the most consistent athletes this year. My dive went well into the muddy water of Hamburg but that’s about all that went well in the swim. I found myself taking the widest possible line that ultimately just cost me too much. I made up some places on the long straight back and through the tunnel but by that time the race had left transition and so here I went on the chase AGAIN. I was going solo not only behind the lead pack but also the chase pack. I kept my head down and I could see them not too far in front. A solo rider going around a technical course is quicker than a pack – I caught them just going in to the 2nd lap but then BANG. I felt someone hit my back wheel and it sounded like my spoke had broken which actually would have been better than what I saw when I looked down. My rear derailleur was hanging from my bike. A Danish girl had gone into my back wheel and smashed it off and there was no chance of a wheel stop this time. The race was over for me and I was angry and disappointed. I asked one of the technical officials if I could get my shoes and I went for a run. I got back still feeling frustrated to see Gwen had won, Vicky 2nd and Non 3rd. It’s a weird feeling when you’re happy for your team mates but totally gutted at your own race. After congratulating them I just wanted to go back to the hotel, but my team were in the VIP area. Not just my team, but my mum, fantastic manager Simon who had made the trip over to support me, and the ever impressive Columbia Threadneedle team who had competed in the relay that morning. I am really excited to say they will be the title sponsor in Leeds so I hope as many of you as possible will be there to compete or support in the homeland of the Brownlee brothers! I’m looking forward to it already and I have no doubt it will be a fantastic event with thousands of people filling the streets, much like Hamburg was a few weeks ago.
I travelled back to Morzine after the race after a nice long run with Cam and it was great to have a good catch up and share bad memories of our races with a broken bike. My manager Simon was fantastic along with Cervelo who have already sent out the replacement parts I needed to get going again. I’m now on my way to the Olympic test event in Rio, which is the first opportunity for athletes to see the Olympic course for next year. This is the first step for GB qualification so it’s going to be all action. It’s reported the course is difficult with a choppy swim, extremely hilly and technical bike section and a flat fast run. Thanks for all your support, it’s been amazing as always and I am so grateful. I hope you enjoyed the update and I’ll be in touch soon.