The weekend of June the 9th and 10th saw the ITU World Triathlon Series come to Leeds for the third year. This year, the BTF held their standard distance championship at Leeds, and selected the same event as a qualifier for next years ETU European age group standard distance championship.
With all of these factors present, this race was set to be a serious one. When racking the bike the evening before, I realised just how big this event actually was – It was huge! On the morning of the race, even though I felt like I had arrived in the middle of the night, I really hadn’t given myself enough time to set up. I only remembered my goggles as I was putting my bag in the bag drop.
Fog had seriously reduced visibility, so the organisers took a cautious move to reduce the swim to just the 750m sprint/elite lap for all the men’s championship waves. I was a bit disappointed as I had prepared for a full swim, but was also somewhat relieved.
In the water and the horn sounds.
Turns out they don’t count down or say “get ready”, they just blow a horn and you go. And go I did. I positioned well in the swim early, which meant no fisticuffs, well, not until the “queue” to get up the ramp.
Out of the water and over the timing mat in 14:15. Transition felt like a mile away. I counted the racks and found my bike straight away! That was my first challenge completed. Another long run towards the mount line and I was finally out of T1 in 5:04.
As I ran round the corner to mount my bike, the guy in front fell over (a lot of the competitors had opted to don their shoes in transition in fear or the uphill mount). This forced me outside of the cones, where I was free to jump on my bike and continue up the hill and out on to the closed roads towards Headingley and back, twice, to complete the 36.2km route. After a great bike leg, I removed my feet from my shoes and dismounted as smoothly as I had mounted and my bike was done in 1:05:53.
I counted the racks again and found my trainers. Second challenge completed. Out of T2 in 2:16.
All that was left was a 10km run into and around town. With burning quads and slight confusion over where I was going, I made it onto the blue carpet to finish under the ITU banner, completing the run in 39:39 and finishing the whole event in 2:07:06, just inside the 120% required to qualify for Europe.