Sunday 12th July- Race Day
The alarm goes off at 4.45am, it's dark and I am not sure where I am. Stop the alarm. I remember now - Race Day.
A quick breakfast of porridge and tea. Trisuit on, race shoes, sunglasses and t shirt. Fill my bike bottle and a second water bottle for pre-race, then grab my wetsuit and I'm out the door. It's 5.08am.
I reach transition and find my friend Oli - I am borrowing his track pump. I check with him that he is ready and all is well with his preparation. Then off to my bike to pump up my tires. The sun is rising and it get hot here very quickly. 100psi will be enough. Running shoes next to bike together with my sunglasses. Nothing else is allowed. With Wetsuit in hand, swim goggles and swim hat, I head out of transition.
We are called to the assembly area for my swim wave start. Green hats, men aged 50 - 54 years of age. The pre race music starts and the ninety swimmers are instructed to line up in the water. "On your marks" followed by a long horn blast is immediately followed by a a mass of spray and bubbles as we set off for the 1500 metre swim. The first bouy is reached quite quickly but I am struggling to sight the next one which is some quarter of a mile away. I simply follow those athletes in front who I know will be out of the water way before me. I tell my self to stay relaxed and to keep my stroke efficient - this is the weak part of my race.
I reach the pontoon at the end of the swim and I am on my feet and running. Position 48. Up and over a small bridge, wetsuit around my waist and beside my bike. Helmet on and wetsuit completely off. Bike in hand and running barefoot towards the transition exit. Mount bike, foot in shoe and start pedalling. Position 39th.
The bike course is fairly flat but I use the small inclne at the start to take a drink from my bike bottle. Then it's time to accelerate. After two miles comes the only hill on the course. I change down a few gears and begin to catch a few more athletes. I like to climb! From the top there is a long, wide and fast descent. How brave am I prepared to be? I watch my speed reach 44mph before I concentrate on making the tight bend at the bottom. Brake on, brake off, steer, lean and I am around. Accelerate. Soon I back close to the Quai Wilson where shouts of "Go GB" resonate through my helmet.
Another fast descent. But something has happened, officials are waving to slow down, small cones are narrowing the course. As I pass I can see an athlete on the ground - there has been an accident. Accelerate.
Across the Pont du Mont Blanc and the race heads around to the other side of Lake Geneva. I tell myself to keep my speed high and I catch a few more bikes. Brake, brake, brake and I make a 180 degree turn and begin the return route.
There are two laps and a total distance of 40 kilometres to ride on the bike and the heat of the day iis beginning to increase. Keep drinking.
As I approach transition I take my feet from my shoes and get ready to dismount. Position 25th.
I'm off and running with my bike. Rack the bike, helmet off, running shoes on and sunglasses in hand, I move as fast as i can
to the exit of transition. Position 21st
On the small incline I begin to pick another place or two off. We are paast the 1 kilometre marker and moving towards the entry to the park.
My wife shouts that I ' ve another three to catch. She knows my objective for a top ten finish, so I begin up the incline on lap two with my target in mind . Swiss, French and Italian athletes begin to fade and I am negotiating the nerrower turns through the park better than them. Aitken of Great Britain passes me and I try harder to match his pace. We turn put of the park with 800 metres to go. I'm still chasing Aitken but we pass a German athlete. Aitken is not showing and we are clear of the others as we hit the blue carpet finish. I grab a flag and sprint for the finish line. Position 10th!
The twisting and undulating course begins to test my energy reserves but at least there is some shade beneath the trees. A water station and some showers bring welcome relief to the increasing heat. Soon lap one of the three lap 10 kilometre run course is over
Exhausted, but delighted. A top ten finish.
Time to reflect and think about Chicago in eight weeks time...
Saturday 11th July
Race day for me is nearly here with just a few final tasks to do.
The first was to attend the Team briefing and learn about the sucess of our sprint triathletes and the gold medal won by our paratriathlete. The Team manager was keen to encourage us to replicate this sucess tomorrow!
We then went to watch the Elite Professional athletes race. With no Johnny or Alastair Brownlee and a below form Javier Gomez from Spain, the race could be won by anyone. Our other top athletes were Sharpe and Bishop.
Hopefully you had a great Sports Day yesterday and enjoyed the thrill or moving fast against your classmates and friends and being cheered on by enthusiastic supporters. This is exactly what excites me about racing.
All that's left to do is rack my bike in transition this evening, have some tea and get a good night's sleep. Breakfast will be at 5am tomorrow as my race start is at 7am.
Wish me luck!
Friday 10th July
After a long day travelling yesterday today was scheduled to be about loosening up stiff muscles and cheering on team mates and friends in the Sprint Triathlon. I also wanted to find out a little more about Geneva as a city.
Firstly I went down to the start area to see Lake Geneva and the area in which I will swim. The Jet d'Eau looked stunning as our race backdrop, reaching over 140m in height and is one of the highest water spout in the World.
The Sprint event took place at lunchtime, featuring some of my friends and a large team from Great Britain. Despite being very warm, I was able to jog around most of the run course shouting and cheering encouragement all the way.
Back at the hotel I double checked my bike and rode out around my twenty kilometre course in order to understand the fast parts, narrow parts and sharp corners. The route went past the European headquarters of the United Nations but I didn't reach the UEFA offices. On Sunday, I will have to ride the loop twice.
Tomorrow will be Team briefing where the team manager reminds all of us of the rules and answer any questions about the event, transition and importantly when the presentation s take place!
We then go to cheer our Elite athletes, Alastair Brownlee and Jodie Simpson.
Thursday 9th July 2015
Is this the start of a journey or the finish of ten tough months of training?
As I boarded the Eurostar this morning the wet and windy streets of Liverpool, where I won my place on The Team, seeem a far cry from St Pancras Station. I am travelling to Geneva, Switzerland to race in the European Triathlon Championships. I know that many of you at Swarcliffe Primary have been looking at travel and Countries, so see if you can find the city on a map of Europe.
I have boxed my bike and began by taking a train from Leeds to London. I then took the first Eurostar from London to Paris which reached the French Capital in just under two and a half hours, including the thirty miles in the tunnel beneath the English Channel. A quick taxi ride across Paris took me and my luggage to the Gare de Lyon join a TGV directly to Geneva.
Having arrived safely early evening, I had enough time to assemble my bike before heading to Quai Wilson to register for my race, collect my number and then meet up with my Team colleagues for the Opening Ceremony and Parade of Flags.
Today will be an opportunity to cycle the race course and walk the run route as well as finding out what happens here in the City. See if you can find out what Geneva is well known for.