The commonwealth experience:
It was the 18th of April. I’d just landed in the gold coast after being in New Zealand racing. It was 29 degrees and the humidity was at 90%. I met the Jersey Team manager in the athlete’s welcome centre in the commonwealth games village where I was also met by about 20 games shapers all desperate for a job to do! Apparently 90,000 people applied to volunteer and they had to whittle it down to 15,000… amazing.
The village itself was amazing, as you walk through the heart of the village there is every countries flag flying in the centre. Under the high-rise rooms there are athlete help centres, games rooms, chill out rooms and the famous food hall. The food hall catered for everyone’s needs. It had every country’s foods all to be plated up 24 hours a day. So if you wanted curry for breaky you could…
The rooms were pretty amazing. We were very fortunate enough to have a room right over the heart of the village so you could wake up in the morning and see the Kenyan’s cutting loops of the village gravel running path. I shared with Jersey swimmer Harry. We were given plenty of freebies in our starter packs some of which were a GC2018 duvet, special unique athlete pins, borobi the mascot and a few little extras. We were also just across the way from the Jamaicans who lost their marbles screaming and jumping around every time a Jamaican won a medal on the track which I’m sure you can imagine was quite a few times.
The race itself was an unforgettable experience and something I’ll always cherish. The build-up was immense with the pre-race recce taking place two days out. I found myself riding around with some of the best athletes in the world and it felt surreal to say the least. Race day came around quick and as we arrived at the race venue we were scooped straight into the athlete zone to avoid all press and escape the busy crowds that had come out to watch.
I was joined by new aussie coach Dane and he really helped me to keep calm pre-race. We knew I needed a big warm up so Dane had me warming up 40mins before the race, I did a 10minute jog and then got into the water to get a solid 1k in. I was feeling ready!
Purposely I had picked to be on the far-left hand side of the pontoon to steer clear of any boxing and punching in the initial 200m. This deemed to be a smart tactic because as I dived in I managed to get a fantastic start leading my side of the pontoon into the first buoy where I was joined by rest of the field. The swim was being lead out by Alistair Brownlee who was setting the pace very hard. I managed to exit the swim in a solid position in the top 20 being just on the back of the main pack.
The bike was pushed super hard in first lap meaning I was left out on my own. I knew there were some super strong bike/runners behind me and the game plan was to hop on their wheel to put me into the best position heading onto the run. One rider in particular from Bermuda came past me like I wasn’t moving. I simply didn’t have the legs to stay with him. I was joined on the back end of lap 2 by fellow channel islander Josh Lewis and we managed to work together catching a few other riders from the Bahamas and staying clear from the small chase pack behind.
Going into to the run my legs were pretty cooked but I knew it was only 5k I had to get through it. I continued to push on. In the last 2k of the run I knew the positions were pretty much set in stone in regards to the runner behind catching me or me catching the guy in front so I made sure I soaked up all of the commonwealth experience, waving and high fiving all of the amazing family and friends who came out to watch me. I can’t ask for anymore from the Australian crowd and friends who cheered so loud and motivated me to push harder.
I want to say a massive thank you to my parents and Jersey mates who continue to support me 100% and always inspire and motivate me to push harder and achieve my goals. In addition my coaches throughout the years Andy Kemp and Hawky who helped me in my development years and still push me to be best I can be even today. Nick Saunders who continues to set and oversee all my training to get me race fit and ready. More recently Dane Robinson the coach who looked after me over the last 3 months running up the games on the Gold Coast and everyone in the squad who helped me to push hard in training and came out and watched me race. (You were probably the loudest supporters out there).
Lastly nothing is possible with the support from the sponsors who continue to back me into the 2018 season. Fairway Group financially supporting my trip to Australia and in addition getting me across to Tasmania and New Zealand to do some warm up races before the games. Jersey Tri Club helping fund part of my trip away and continuing to support me 100% to achieve my dreams. TYR sport who supply all of my swim equipment and enable to improve my swimming by providing the best kit in the game. Big Maggy’s and in particular Rich for sorting a bike out last minute and giving my bike a clean and full service before the race. JSF for continuing to fund my strength and conditioning program which starts back tomorrow and finally SportsHUB who continue to push the social media side of things. Without you guys I wouldn’t be where I am today so thank you!
Good question… I am currently waiting to find out from BTF on what races I can do this year but I aim to race in a couple of ETU cups and the Jersey Tri in June and maybe a larger race back end of season… we’ll see!! For the mean while it’s time to lose some beer weight after having 2 weeks off post-race.
Until next time, Peace!