Box End Triathlon National Championships, 18 August 2019

Last Sunday I competed in the last qualifying race for the 2020 European triathlon. I have previously competed at 2 European races for duathlon so I was excited to try and qualify for triathlon. Although I was competing in the 15-19 age group I was trying to qualify for next years event when I will be in the next age group up (20-24) and therefore I will be one of the youngest in that age group.

I started off my swim strong. The water felt cold but I quickly warmed up once I got going. Once I got to the first buoy I managed to find someone to draft off and I stayed with her for the rest of the swim. My shoulders were starting to ache on the way back - I think due to me not doing as much swim training in the lead up as I would normally. I exited the swim not as high up as I had hoped so I knew that I had to pull it back on the cycle.

As I ran out of the water I tried to get my wetsuit off but it got stuck. After a bit of pulling and yanking I managed to get out of my wetsuit and put my helmet on. I sprinted out of transition and leapt onto my bike. I felt strong after the first roundabout so I decided to push my pace. The course was quite flat with just a couple of rolling hills which was great for me. One girl tried to overtake me so I dug a bit deeper and tried to stay in front of her. I managed this for most of the cycle until the last couple of km where she overtook me again and I didn’t have enough left in my legs to keep up. I have to learn to tell my inner chimp to keep going as there was only a little way to go. I got off my bike and ran into transition. Overall I was really pleased with my bike and managed to get the 3rd fastest time in my age group.

I ran out of transition for the run leg of the race, knowing that running was my weakest discipline of the three. After about the first km I realised that I probably pushed it too hard on the bike as my legs were still like jelly. The course included a hill which we had to run up and down a few times which was not a great course for me as I prefer a flat run but I did my best to power it up the hills. At about 3.5km I started to feel my feet blistering which meant that I slowed down the pace even more. With about 100m to go I could hear someone behind me and I thought to myself; you can out sprint her, you can see the finish line and after that you can have a sit down and a cup of tea! So I moved my legs faster and sprinted for the finish line and managed to out sprint her to the line.

Overall I was quite happy with my race especially with my bike leg. I think I missed out on qualification but it was a good experience and my first time trying to qualify for triathlon as well as being one of the youngest ones in the qualification age group.

Sasha Vail

Tim PhillipsTriathlon