The European Sprint Triathlon Championships at Düsseldorf was probably one of the most, if not the most, enjoyable race that I have ever taken part in. The atmosphere was incredible. I arrived on Friday and registered at the athlete’s village. The opening ceremony was at 6:00pm and involved all the competitors walking in a parade. Almost 1,000 people had registered and were eager to start. The opening ceremony concluded with a pasta party to meet fellow competitors.
On the Saturday, there was a swim familiarisation. The start was from a floating pontoon. We were then allowed to rack our bikes, the transition was guarded overnight as the estimated worth of all the bikes was nearly 3 million pounds. The transition closed at 6:30pm.
On Sunday (race day) I had to get to transition to finish setting up my bike shoes, trainers, helmet and cycle goggles. I was in the second wave to start and had to get to my starting gate at 7:45 for an 8:05 start. In my wave, there were the under20 (my age group), 20-24, 25-39. I was the third youngest competitor there.
The race started well with a 750m open water swim, wetsuits were optional but due to the long transition I decided against it as I didn’t want to waste time and it was difficult to run in a wetsuit. The exit of the water was horrid as it was a climb up steep slippery steps onto a bridge where a 300m long run to transition started, my swim time was 13:27.
The transition was one of the largest I had ever seen and I was at the opposite end to the entrance from the swim, however this helped me due to me being close to the exit for the bike allowing me to run a minimal distance in my bike shoes, which are very difficult to run in.
My bike went incredibly well. The roads were closed, but a light rain made them very slippery. I averaged 34kph and finished the bike course in 38 minutes. Unfortunately, many people were not so lucky and crashed putting an end to their race, one guy was unconscious and another lost part of his ear. After the race, you saw loads of people with bloody legs and bandages. If you have never had gravel rash it’s where only the top couple layers of skin come off but enough to expose nerves meaning you can’t put anything on it. Fortunately, most people who crashed were ok and carried on.
After the bike, I went back into transition barefooted as I had taken my shoes off on the bike to save time and to make it easier on the run back to my spot. The transition was busier this time due to the waves after me coming out the water and people coming back into transition after the bike.
The run was a pleasant run along the side of the river where I had swum, we had to do two laps of the course totalling 5k, my run was not my strongest one however I managed to do it in 27:12.
My total time was 1:24:44 putting me 8th in Europe. As it was my first international event, and I didn’t know what to expect or do particularly well, especially because my training didn’t go to plan because I had my GCSE’s and my brother was in hospital. However, I have learnt a lot from this experience and it has given me confidence to aim to qualify for Glasgow in 2018.
I just want to thank all my coaches who have helped me to get to where I am, and I hope to continue to tap into their knowledge in the future.