I got to Nottingham with the North West IRC team on the Thursday for a course recce, then we would race on the Friday. I was full of a cold and hadn’t been able to swim since the previous Tuesday so I was taking it easy as I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get any worse before the race!
The course seemed nice, the water was freezing and murky but the course was very straight forward, round 2 bouys and back! I decided to join in the practice swim and start, and was very glad of this because the cold water gave me a bit of a fright, and this would not have been good to experience for the first time on race day. The bike course was flat and the road was fairly smooth, a simple 5km loop around the rowing lake. The stretch heading away from transition had strong wind behind and coming back to transition the wind was head on, already I knew I would have to be working with someone by this point!
Race day! I still was full of a cold but I wasn’t any worse than yesterday so I knew I would be fine! I began to get the usual nerves before my race but this time I found myself a lot more excited! Especially because the scale of the race, It was so different to the usual North West races. My race was at 12:40 but we had to be at Holme pier point a lot earlier because the T2’s were the first races on. I racked my bike at 10:40 and did a couple of run throughs to make sure I knew exactly where to go in transition. Then I had plenty of time to warm up and watch the ETU girls race before my race. It was great to see people like Sarah Hodgeson, Mary Hodgeson and Leah Peploe in action!
My race! I felt really good being able to get into my trisuit with the other 2 T3 girls and 3 T3 boys and feel like a proper team as we were all in the same kit and warming up together. Then we got into wetsuits and went down to the pontoon. Team North West was 3rd in the line up, so as the 2nd member in my team I got a pretty good choice of where I wanted to start on the pontoon.
We were held on the pontoon for a very long time, eventually the starters horn went. I got a very good start and was straight in the water, in the heat of the moment I didn’t feel the cold water or go into a bit of shock. I worked on finding peoples feet and as a result I had a really good swim! I got out of the water in 23rd which is classed as a good swim for me!
My wetsuit came off really well and I because I was clipping in with my shoes already on my bike I had the fastest T1 in my race! Most of the other girls were just riding in their trainers. I got from 23 to 15th from my transition but as I got out onto the bike I found it hard to get onto some of the girls wheels and I dropped to 17th but eventually found a Scottish girl who would work with me! I overtook her and pushed into transition making a little time, racked my bike and I got my trainers on quickly.
Just as I was about to leave transition, the marshal asked me where my number was. This was a slight mess up because my number had come off in my wetsuit, and so I had to go back into transition to find it which cost me a valuable 16seconds!
Because I was so focused I forgot to look at the penalty board so it was very lucky I didn’t get one! I ran hard and was passing a lot of girls and didn’t get passed myself! At the end there was a east midland girl ahead of me and I pushed right to the line and overtook her to cross the line in 9th position.
It was really good to cross the line knowing I had raced to the best I could under the circumstances. This time last year I couldn’t even swim 25m let alone be in the top 10 T3 triathletes in Britain!
To make things better the T3 boys got came 1st, 2nd and 6th in their races which was a very strong effort from them all. Overall the North West came 2nd in the team competition behind east mids! So all our hard work was rewarded with a Silver team place on the podium! (Blythe Fourie)