To say I was nervous for this race was an understatement! This was the final chance to qualify for the 2016 European Duathlon Championships, so obviously after finishing with a pretty bad time in the other race to qualify for Europeans, I was quite anxious to do well in this one.
Even after staying closer to the venue the previous night, I still had to get up at ridiculous-o'clock in the morning just to have time to set up my transition, warmup and prepare for the early race start. But at least there was no rushing around or panicking as we had registered the day before this time.
It was a mass start on the first run section (5k) with all sexes and age groups and I found myself pushed further and further back by the men, all trying to get nearest to the front. However, I had a good first run through the beautiful park of Grafham Water and found myself getting a good lead on the rest of my age group (U20).
I had an excellent transition but found myself weaving through a large group of mostly men coming out of transition onto the bike leg (20k). It was a lot less windy than the last race I did here in February when I found myyself being blown all over the road from side and head winds and this time I enjoyed the bike more and managed to get some good speeds up. The winter training I had done in Spain with Perry - my coach - and Seb Garry - my team-mate - helped me immensely and I knocked off around 5 minutes from my previous bike time here in February!
I came back into transition and out onto my 2nd run (5k) feeling good and managed to pass Seb 1/2 way out on the run when he was heading back into the finish. We shouted encouragement to each other and I realised that he had a massive lead on the rest of his age group.
I hadnt seen any of my age group for some time so I wondered what position I was in - but after running through the finish line I was told that I had finished in 1st place :) & given me the spot in the European Duathlon Champs next year :)
Also a big well done to Seb who qualified in 1st place too, after flying around the course beating most of the men as well as his age group. We are both off to the Europeans next year - think to say that Perry was happy coach is an understatement from the amount of texts he sent my mum from Spain!
Now comes the hard training, not only for next year, but for the BIGGEST qualification race to come - qualification for the World Triathlon Championships in Chicago. Fingers crossed both myself and Seb can make it into the GB team.
After only 6 months training with Perry I have qualified with British Triathlon to represent my country in the European Aquathlon Champs and the European Duathlon Champs. What a season so far but as Perry says - watch this space there's more to come!