I arrived into Budapest on Tuesday morning with the SINI physiologist Declan Gamble. Declan had been in Pontresina (at altitude camp) with me for the last week to take my bloods and monitor that Heamoglobin/ Heamatocrit and Oxygen saturation levels were as they should be.
Juniors Ben Shaw, Russell White, and Laura Casey had already arrived with coaches Elena Maslova, Brenan Shaw, and team manager Jamie Bray. Poor Emma Davis had trouble catching her flight as she had been training in France and there was some air-traffic strike, so she didn’t arrive until the Thursday.
In the first few days we trained together in Budapest. Margrit Island was the primary source of training as it had a 50m outdoor pool, a quiet street for cycling and a 5k tartan track around the perimeter. There was a scheduled bike familiarisation where it rained on us, and the tram lines posed some trouble for a few athletes and a certain junior coach! Nonetheless we prepared as best we could in the cold weather we weren’t expecting (but didn’t mind too much, just like home).
Pre race, I was hyped up, solely about the swim, which was centred at an inlet off the Danube river. If I get out fast in the first 400meters then I have a good chance of being in the front pack, and thats where I need to be (otherwise you get beat up trying to go round the buoy in a big group). I was 5th around the first bouy (perfect), and then dropped a few places, but maintained a 13th place out of the water.
The bike course was a long straight section toward town then 6laps of the Budapest town centre including the Chain Bridge and in front of the Parliament buildings. On the straight section we closed a 10second gap we had on a few breakaway athletes, and then 20 or so of us worked together in town to try and keep an advantage on the others. With Emma Snowsill in our pack we all knew it would be a fight for 2nd, 3rd placing as she is capable of 1min30 faster than anyone else, but previously hadn’t made the lead bike pack all year. Lisa Norden, Nicola Spirig and Paula Findlay’s bike pack joined ours on the 2nd lap of town, so now we now had one big pack. While Andrea Hewitt led the chase pack with Emma in it.
The bike was tough, I will not lie. There were breakaways all the time, and with the technical sections the big group was strung out in a line. Girls were constantly cutting each other up and there were sections of the course that were clearly dangerous. I wanted to stay at the front, but so did everyone! I managed to stay with the group into T2, not with the best transition. I exited with Snowsill, and Findlay behind me, so I thought they’d run through so I’d just try and make my way up through too. It was not to be, and my legs were like lead for the first half lap with the tough bike affecting me. After that I got a stitch for 3 laps, and then started to run on the 4th. I passed 5 or 6 people at that stage, but I know I was capable of more, as I didn’t feel I was going very hard.
Finishing in 17th position, I was happy that I had made front pack and kept with them on the bike. A bit disappointed about the run, but I know what I’m capable of and I didn’t let lack of confidence effect me as it had done before.
Emma had another allergic reaction (her tongue and hands swole up), and was very disappointed at that, as it had obviously effected her race. She finished in 51st. In the junior races Laura and Russell both still competing at a very early stage in their careers, but both put in gutsy performances with Laura in finishing a credible 28th and Russell 54th (in a field of 71, in only his 2nd triathlon). Ben swam well, making the front pack and finished in a great 31st.
Next up I’m off to France for a French GP race, then I’ll be preparing for the last world cup race in Tongyeong where myself, Gavin, Emma, and Bryan will all be competing in October. Its a busy life!