We are finally here at the World Championship London 2013. It is 6 am September 15th and after a walk through Hyde Park with Bri and our 2 dogs in the dark we arrive at transition. The air temperature is 7 degrees and there are athletes all over the place from all over the world but all is very quiet. It’s the tension of course as all of us have put in enormous amounts of training over the past year with jobs, children, grandchildren and just the hum drum of life to contend with.
I rack my bike first as we all have to be out of transition by 6.30 even though some are not starting a good 2-3 hours or more later. I am in a good place near a tree and with my helmet I can identify my bike easily. We are not allowed anything in transition except shoes helmet and small amounts of racing food. We are all racked so close as there are 3800 bike racking positions, and boy did it look like that.
I meet up with Ellie who is freezing but looking well up for the challenge, although annoyed the swim was cut short because of H & S. In hindsight I should have been too as we had done a lot of training for 1500 metre open water swimming but hey that’s what happens in triathlon sometimes and we have to get on with it! I was fairly warm as my son who was in the Special Forces had all the survival gear with him and gave me layers of merino tops to put on. I also had a t shirt and arm warmers on under my uniform as I knew it would be cold.
My swim start, in the Serpentine which was at 8am, came fairly quickly and after a short talk by officials we were off. I was was 3rdto the first buoy, however as we turned the second buoy the sun was low and guess what? After all my nagging I had clear goggles on, I could not see a thing! I had not give it a thought as the weather had been so grey and wet all week that I totally forgot. One big lesson! I manage to navigate in some way only to be bashed up at the end by a couple of women (over 60s too!). The transition was long but easy to navigate I have to praise the organisers as I did not see anyone go wrong so it was well planned.
What can I say about the bike course - just amazing. Very technical, very fast in places and very scary at times with so many athletes racing full on for their countries. I was a little cautious on my first lap as the last Worlds I raced in Hamburg I got knocked off ending up in hospital with a broken shoulder and a very bruised hip. It was laps of the bike riding though all the iconic sights, round Buckingham Palace, down the Mall, through Trafalgar Square, and along the Embankment to Tower Bridge, even going out of Hyde Park and down Park Lane the wrong way was exhilarating. I don’t suppose many of us will experience that again in our lifetimes, especially in my age group!
I came into transition only to see one of my main rivals about to go out on the run. I had a better transition than her and set off only for her to catch me in the first lap. From then on we were head to head until the last half mile where she surged and I could not hold on. The support was wonderful I was hearing come on mum, come on Sue and come on Bathgate all the way round. On reflection a longer swim could have turned it around but I have to say she was strong to the finish and the best gal won on the day.
At the finish I met up with my son, Bri and Petra who had had a really good race and still looked very fresh (youth!). It was a day of some disappointment for some, celebrations for others but an honour for us all to race for our country on home ground.