Just over 1 year ago I took part in my second ever triathlon and importantly my first open water event at Rother Valley. This so happened to be a European Qualifying round for Geneva 2015, although at the time this really wasn't even on my radar.
Having completed in the event I was satisfied and had entered into the world of triathlon proper.
Fast forward 12 months and a lucky roll down place and I would be on the start line for the European Championships (Sprint) in Geneva. Not what I would have expected!!
I was incredibly nervous in the days leading up to the event and despite knowing I had put the work in with Blair couldn't help feeling a bit out of my depth. Looking around the event village everyone I saw looked fit and fast. I was beginning to wonder what I was doing.
The day before consisted of frantically emailing asking Blair for advice, making sure id seen the course and racking the bike. Then onto the swim reccie. Choppy wasn't the word!!!
Race day soon came and the horrifically nervous build up. On a plus the weather was perfect. Before I knew it we were lining up on the start line for the swim. Gulp!!!
The horn blew and we were off. Breathing to my right I seemed to have an amazing start, possibly leading the swim for the first 200m. I then settled into the best rhythm I could and focused on my technique and sighting the bouy. It was a tough swim but came out of the water in 10th place into T1. This didn't go so well clocking the slowest T1 time in my race ( not proud but something to work on).
It was out on to the bike, as hard as I could to the climb which we did 3 times. This course was perfect for me as climbing suits me. The bike went well constantly passing other athletes and only being passed once. I was loving it.
Into T2, a quick change into the running trainers and out onto the run. Uncomfortable (as it's a race) but we have worked hard on my run and this paid off. I had a bit if a battle with a Swiss guy for the whole run and it was great to hold position through the run. As I crossed the line apprehensive of my result, I was on a high. "This had gone well" but how well I didn't know.
Once the race was over and I had collected my bag I managed to check my phone, my girlfriend (who clearly knows what I'm like) had been tracking my race online and had text with my position and split times. Perfect!! I could analyse the hell out of it and look for where I can improve. 13th place and very happy with the result for my first outing.
Now to work hard and into the next one. I'd love to qualify for the standard distance next year as there is one qualifier left. So "let's go"!!
- Michael Clayton