So this is my first blog… I’ll try and keep it as short as possible!
12months ago I qualified to represent Great Britain at the ETU European Standard Distance Triathlon Championships in Geneva on 12th July 2015. Due to it taking a while for the BTF to process the qualifications, I was notified of the confirmation whilst at work. I have to admit there were a lot of tears of happiness, which I’m sure my poor colleagues didn’t quite understand. Throughout my life, I’ve always had huge admiration for people who have competed for their country in any sport and now I feel immensely proud to be joining them. To be honest, this all still feels a little unreal.
Somehow, the big race is next weekend and I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. I’ve been training every day for this specific event since December 2014 when my coach, Mitch, offered to help with some strength and conditioning work, which has since evolved into a fully fledged training programme. I certainly wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without him, and will be eternally grateful!
My training has gone extremely well and with a week to go until the big event, I can say I’ve never felt better. However, the road to this point has not been without a few speed bumps (sometimes literally!) along the way. In September 2014 I bought a second hand time trial (TT) bike with deep rimmed wheels from a friend. In my infinite wisdom I decided I’d wait until the winter had passed and the rubbish on the roads had cleared before I started to ride it, to ensure I didn’t damage it. A combination of the poor condition of the roads in the local area and the hideous weather meant I wasn’t able to practice on it until April. So, when my first race arrived in May, let’s just say it didn’t go as I had planned. To be truthful, it questioned my love for cycling, which surprised me considering it is the aspect of training I look forward to the most. Due to this, my TT bike is now an expensive ornament in my flat collecting dust, whilst my trusty Giant TCR road bike is back out on the road with me.
I raced with my Giant two weeks later at Little Beaver Triathlon and qualified for this year’s World Championships in Chicago, which brought up more tears, but of joy this time.
At this point, you’re probably thinking I sound like quite an emotional person when in fact I feel I’m pretty level headed. What this has shown me however, is how much this journey has and continues to mean to me. This starts at simply noticing improvements in my training through to posting a personal best. I’d say there would be no point in completing the many hours of training without this care and devotion.
I haven’t got to where I am, without a great many sacrifices being made along the way. These range from missing a friend’s wedding in Ireland due to training commitments, to attending of my best friends hen do without consuming a drop of alcohol, all of which were especially hard. I am however, not the only person who has made sacrifices to help me get to where I am today. I’m so grateful to all my friends and members of family for being extremely helpful and understanding. I’m sure it can’t have been easy at times!
As all age group competitors have come to realise, triathlons are an expensive hobby. This is completely self funded, right down to the entry fee. I am however happy to pay for the privilege to compete. Even if it means shelving other plans for a future date. I’d like to state my thanks to a number of people/organisations that have helped in numerous ways. Firstly, my employer, DP World London Gateway, have been really supportive and provided a generous, vital contribution towards my costs. I also have to thank Colliers International and Brooks Bros London for their generous gits. Paddock Cycles, my local bike shop have been a life line, with the owner, Colin coming to my rescue on multiple occasions. Despite a love for cycling, the knowledge of my bike’s inner workings begin and end with it’s colour and being able to change a tyre. For everything else, I’ve had Colin, night or day, and for that I am immensely grateful.
So, I guess that brings us up to 5th July 2015. My first trip abroad to compete begins on Wednesday and my debut appearance for GB 4 days later. Hopefully this time next weekend I’ll be enjoying a cocktail on Lake Geneva and the most chocolaty ice cream I can get my hands on!