It’s been a while I know so I thought I’d get you all up to date (I’ll try and keep it short and sweet!).
It’s fair to say this season has been a rollercoaster ride from the outset and that wasn’t about to change for the World Duathlon Championships. I did my best to prepare for the Worlds after some time off running due to the hip injury I sustained in the National Championships. My moral was high leading into the race and I made sure I was as prepped as I could be (I even manned up and competed in my first criterium race beforehand).
The World Championships came about all too quickly and I was left wishing for an extra few weeks preparation. I arrived in Denmark on the Wednesday morning and spent time getting unpacked and settled ready for the course recce the following day.
Thursday was my first taste of the international elite life. It was a surreal experience, to say the least, being chaperoned by police cars and marshals around the bike course before the race on Friday. The recce gave me a chance to catch up with fellow teammates and athletes from my racing within French Grand Prix and settle my nerves a little before the big day. Once the recce was over it was onto briefing and then registration (busy day!). In the evening the GBR team headed out for dinner to what turned out to be our go-to Italian restaurant for the week (typical unadventurous Brits!).
Friday soon came around and the sickie nervous feeling didn’t leave my stomach all day. Annoyingly the race wasn’t until the evening and so I had all day to try and take my mind off the event whilst trying to stay off my feet (cue dentistry anatomy work…just the thing…thrilling!). My race preparation wasn’t ideal after I discovered (or should I say Luke discovered whilst on a skype call) that my race tattoos didn’t match my starting number… admin nightmare! After finally getting the mishap sorted there wasn’t much time left to prepare and so I was stuck with a make shift warm-up… less than ideal!
The first run was hard, harder than I could have imagined, and I struggled from the outset. I thought I had ran a shocker but after post-race analysis I couldn’t have done anything more in my current form with the lead up to the race I had had, and I actually ran my fastest running splits to date for a 10km distance. It was then onto the bike and wow I felt good, it wouldn’t be long until I started to close down the girls in front and sure thing, slowly but surely, they did start to come back to me… one-by-one.
I was lucky enough to catch up with a Canadian athlete, a strong rider, and we began to work together in order to chase down the group in front. It was all going so well until we hit a particularly windy part of the course which sent my wheel into hers. I didn’t know what had happened at first but when I looked down and saw my bike sprawled across the floor and a whole lot of blood, I had a good idea.
The paramedics and organisers were amazing and didn’t leave my side! Once in hospital I could see the extent of my injuries, the road rash extended from my shoulder to my elbow and from my hip to my knee which wasn’t great, but I was more concerned with what damaged I had done to my now throbbing shoulder and hip. After x-rays it was confirmed that nothing was broken (thank goodness!) but it was clear I had some major bruising and soft tissue damage which I’m still suffering from, 3 weeks down the line! Massive thank you to Dave Newport (GBR team manager) who came straight to see me in hospital, kept my family in the loop, and was so supportive throughout the whole ordeal.
I finally got back to my hotel that evening and I was an emotional wreck. I’d held it together since the crash but speaking to Luke that evening sent me into melt down. I was in pain, totally devastated, and pretty scared… safe to say I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night.
My final few days in Denmark were surprisingly nice considering I had a massive DNF and the injuries to match… I caught up with fellow teammates and watched the Age-group race where I supported Danny Russell who took the overall win. A massive thank you goes out to Danny as without his help I would be still trying to get my bike box onto the train in Fyn with one arm…
After my time in Denmark it was onto Geneva where I met my family for some much-needed rest and recuperation… I made the decision that I would use the holiday as a premature end of season break (except for the odd cycle ride chasing the QOMs in the Jura and reminding my father that he can no longer drop me on the climbs!). The time away gave me some thinking time and I reflected on my season. After much thought, I have decided to focus on elite level duathlon with the coaching support of Dave Newport who will take over my programme going forwards (exciting times!).
I’ve been back to my full programme for 1 week now and whilst running and swimming is proving difficult (but not impossible!) my mobility and pain are improving daily and I’m starting to feel like an athlete again. My hope is that I will be fighting fit for the last two French Grand Prix Races and the European Championships in October… keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for me!
Finally, I’d just like to say a massive well done to the GBR elite athletes that raced in Fyn, you guys were awesome and made my first experience of international racing a truly special one! Not forgetting a special mention for George Schwiening who finished 3rdamongst the senior women, you’re a truly impressive athlete and definitely someone I aspire to…Can’t wait to have you and Ed (gold standard supporter for the trip) up in Manchester for some fast and furious running road races and cycling in The Peaks.
Until next time!