Categories: News Date: Jul 5, 2011 Title: British Para-Triathlon Championship
Nottingham 14th May 2011
My first triathlon in over two and a half years. Was I nervous? For those of you know me, no need to answer that one! Safe to say, were it not for the fact that Chris was sat with me in the car as we waited for registration to open, I would have turned around and come straight back home.
Once registration was done, the usual standing around and nervous chat with friends in an attempt to pass time and calm those pre race nerves. It really does not get any easier and the self doubting, questioning myself, creep into your head as to why I was there, am I ready for this and do I need this pressure.
Setting up transition passed in a blur and before I knew it we were listening to the race brief. Into the water and that was it, the blue touch paper was lit and all the doubt, self questioning disappeared. The first 100m was frantic to say the least, but so much fun. I knew my swim was progressing well, up there with the lead pack, exiting the water in second place, some 4 seconds behind the leader.
Transition was “pathetic” could not get that damn wetsuit off! Exiting transition, having lost a few positions, again gathering my thought and telling myself why I was there, I headed out onto the first of the four lap bike course. There were all sorts of (apologies for the swearing here, nothing else would work!) “shit” and reminders going through my head. The first lap passed in a frenzy of chopping and changing positions before some kind of normality was restored. I soon got used to the cross wind, ducks, geese and pace of the bike, settling into a good rhythm, using the pain, which by now was a little uncomfortable, - actually total agony, but hey, my choice to be there! - to push myself forward.
Before I knew it transition approached and this one was a little better than the first. That first couple of hundred meters or so were shear agony, again I chose to use this as my “companion” and got on with the task in hand. First lap was steady and I thought to myself keep on going, cross the line, that was the aim of today. Coming down the long straight towards the start of 2nd and final lap I heard the commentator;
“reigning British champion going through to start his final lap, looking good to retain that title”
Two options, be happy with survival and crossing that line behind this chap or go for it, all out for that victory. Was there really an option, of course not! That final lap felt awesome, not quick I hasten to add, but all the heartache, pain and frustrations of the past 26 months disappeared for those few seconds as I came down that finishing straight, tears streaming down my face to that which has been my dream in the 16 years of competing in triathlons, becoming British champion – yes!
From here, who knows, anything is possible. European, world champion, sounds nice I must admit! Feet firmly on the ground, hard work and the continued support of my family and such a great bunch of friends, it could be done!
Heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported me, trained with me, encouraged me, listened to my complaining! and been there over the past couple of years – this one is really for you.