ITU World Age-group Championships Rotterdam 2017

After a very heavy six-week training block in the lead up to this race I was quietly confident, as I knew the form was there, I just had to perform on the day. We arrived In Rotterdam Wednesday night, which meant I had training to get done pre-race. I have found riding in a big city you massively risk your life as not only do you have to worry about cars, you also need to watch motor-bikes in the bike lane and trams flying around everywhere.

Pre-race preparation:
The preparation for this race was massively key. Due to the fact there were two transitions we needed to know what time we had to rack our equipment and when. In addition to this you needed to know how to spot your bike amongst the other 3000 that were in there. The bike course was extremely technical with lots of very sharp turns, it followed the city’s busiest bike/foot paths and we saw it take us over many of the city’s largest bridges. This bike course suited me right to the ground; due to my strong background of mountain biking I knew I would perform well on these corners.

The race:
Swim:
As we were waiting in the holding pen I wasn’t sure how the race was going to go as this was my first international race. My plan was to smash the swim and get myself into a good bike group. Unfortunately my warm up wasn’t substantial enough which meant my arms felt heavy. The claxon went and I got a fantastic start leading my half on the pontoon out to the first buoy. As we made the U turn back to the swim exit the low set sun was in my eyes, which meant I could literally, see nothing. I decided to sit 3 men back on the feet knowing I would come out the swim in the lead group.
Transition 1: Transition one saw us running 500m just to get to our bikes! This split the field up a lot. I managed to get in and out of transition with the front pack.
The bike: After mounting my bike and riding it for a few meters I knew the front tyre had a slow puncture as the front felt really soft. I thought ill ride on and see how bad it is. As we hit the dead turn on the bridge my tyre nearly rolled off the rim, which caused me to pull to the side of the race. I was absolutely gutted as I had trained so hard. I didn’t want to give up but I knew my potential top ten finishes was gone. Luckily some very kind dutch man leant me his spare inner tube so I started to mend it in the hope I could still finish. The inner tube was the wrong size for the wheel so he ended up passing his whole front wheel over which saved the day. I managed to get going again but was 10minutes or so down on the front group. I pushed the bike hard and was joined by 3 other Belgium athletes, 1 USA and 1 Mexican.
The run: My head had dropped by this time and I was just looking to finish, posting a quick run wasn’t going to happen realistically. I still persisted to finish the race and surprisingly despite all my bad luck I still managed to catch up half the field finishing 50th out of 79.

Conclusion: All in all a very disappointing weekend for me, I have to remain positive, as there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. I will now focus all my efforts on this weekend’s Super League triathlon corporate mix race in Jersey! I cant stress enough the fact that none of this would be achievable without the support and help my sponsors, so a massive thank you to Fairway Jersey who provide my travel, accommodation and my running kit. In addition Pedal Power who provide me with all the latest top of the range gear and bikes. TYR sport who provide me with leading swim equipment and suits. Finally SportsHub who continue to branch out my social media channels and provide me with 5* recovery treatment courtesy of Hotel de France.


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