The trip to Mexico was an exciting one for me and was to be my first ITU AG World Championships. After acclimatising to the heat and humidity of the Island of Cozumel, just off the coast of Mexico, for six days before my race day, I was aware of just how tough the race was going to be, even if I was 'only' racing the Sprint Distance!
Over that time, staying in an apartment with the Racepace athletes gave me a relaxed but positive and focused feel to the build up. Due to strong currents in the water increasing the swim times in earlier waves there was a 30 minute delay on the start of my race, so by the time we were called onto the pontoon I was itching to get going! On getting into the water for the start the two things that stood out to me were the current which made it difficult to stay still before the start without holding firmly onto the pontoon, and secondly the warmth of the water which was recorded at 29degrees! The swim went well and I swam within myself whilst observing what was going on around me so I finished the 750m course in a close 2nd place in the 20-24 age group, and with a small lead over the rest of the field.
A smooth but fast transition gave me a small lead over the Mexican I'd come out of the water with so I made the tactical decision to take the first half km or so steady to allow him to catch up and with only a few words exchanged we settled into a two up effort to try and stay ahead of the field. I felt I was the stronger rider of the pair of us but we worked well together until just after half way, at around 11 or 12km when we were caught by a group of around 8 more athletes, including several Mexicans. The race then became a lot more cagey as nobody wanted to do the work on the front while others were sat in the group having an easy ride; the result was the pace actually slowing down a bit.
The group arrived into T2 without incident, although it seemed the mexican tactic on the whole was to sit in on the bike and wait for the run, but I was able to position myself at the front of the group to have a clear and efficient transition and was in the lead out onto the run.
The heat immediately hit me and despite having used 750ml of water on the bike to tip over myself I was grateful for every water station that we passed! I tried to settle into my running steadily and quite quickly a group of 3 gathered at the front of the race and began to pull away from the field. I really struggled on the run, most likely due to the heat and humidity and lost some time to the leaders, eventually finishing a creditable 8th position in my first AG world championships and 2nd Brit home!
The podium was a 1-2-3 for Mexico in my age category, demonstrating their conditioning to operating in such conditions!