I woke up the morning of the race to be greeted by beautiful sunny flat calm weather, unfortunatley we were staying in a different valley to the race and once we made it over to Bala the clouds had appeared and were threatening rain, there was a strongish wind blowing down the lake.
Race start came at 9:40am and all competitors were immediately hit with rolling waves. having never swam in Bala it did take me a couple of minutes to get used to this but drawing from past experience from swimming in the sea I soon settled into a good rhythm. After 26mins I was out of the water and out onto the bike where it was quickly apparent the wind had picked up again. The further into the bike course I went more rain started to fall. without any protection from the wind and rain I soon started to feel the effects of the cold in my extremities – especially my feet. The bike course itself is quick and straight forward, 19km out on a good condition undualting road, dead turn, 19km back on a good condition undulating road. into T2 and the effects of the cold really took hold and I was unable to get my feet into my trainers, after what felt like an age both shoes were on and I was heading out onto the run.
Again the course is quick and simple and just follows the same route along the lake as the bike course had, into a local campsite, dead turn around a tree and return by the same route. Coming into the finish I felt like I had given everything to the race and I along with Victoria will just have to wait to see if our performances were good enough for next years Europeans – very pleased to say that provisionally they both look like they are. Neil Ainsworth also competed, finishing with his fastest time to date for the Olympic Distance. 3 great performances and it all bodes well for next season.. (Sarah Jepson)