Local Triathlete and LoveCycling guest blogger Kerry Rough recently represented Great Britain in the World Triathlon Grand finals in Auckland. Here Kerry writes about what she describes as one of the hardest things she has ever done.
- Kerry midway through the cycling discipline.
Hello from my jet lag bed.
I have just got back from the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand where I was competing for Great Britain alongside around 450 other triathletes in my age group (25-29 years) in the Olympic Distance race in Auckland.
Travelling on your own for over 27 hours with your bike can get a bit stressful at times, especially given that you have to depart from your beloved steed for that time, praying and hoping that the airport staff have collected your bike box from the small cage at the back of the airport.
Luckily my Felt F5 was all ready for me when I arrived in Auckland late on the 17th October. The week for me would include administration prior to the race such as a race briefing, team photo, bike racking, bike and swim familiarisations and also registration.
- Felt F5 - Kerry's steed of choice!
Auckland became a hub of life for triathletes with swim, bike and running all over the city taking place. I was lucky enough to have a number of friends also competing in the event which made for some great company during the race and the pre-race run up, as well as the post race celebrations, which of course was fun and involved plenty of food! We had to also do a parade of nations which was absolutely amazing as you walk through the city with people cheering you on whilst you wear your GB kit proudly.
- Team GB parading the streets of Auckland!
The race itself was rather interesting to say the least and I have to confess one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! The race began with a relatively cold sea swim of 1500m which was fine to start with as we swam within the confines of the piers, but as you swam beyond the wharfs, the wind created a huge 3 metre swell which meant that I became like a cork bobbing around trying my best to survive the awful conditions. I could barely see the buoys, but I was reassured when looking around me there were plenty others in the same situation as me. Coming out of the water around 7/8 minutes down on my usual times meant for some drastic action on the bike course. With a 40km stage with three pretty decent hills and descents on the other sides it was to be a very testing bike course. Add to the fact that the wind was blowing with us to begin the out and back route (of which there were two laps), then you can only imagine how tough the return leg was back into the turnaround point. The picture shows me without my shoes, but in fact this was the start of the bike leg where I leave my shoes on the bike and put my feet into them to save time.
On the run I really felt my efforts dwindling as my legs began to burn from the bike effort and the swim efforts really kicked in., I really began to bonk! No that’s not a bad word, but something us athletes tend to use as a word to describe the complete energy depletion felt once you have really exerted yourself.
I was down on my times for the swim, and made it up slightly on the run. The end result wasn't my greatest performance, but when you put it into context that you are racing the best triathletes from all over the world, and you have qualified for that race the really you can’t feel too bad from your efforts! I was pleased not to have come stone last (two places off last though) but the conditions insured that everyone was around 20 minutes from their best race times. So what happened next? Well it was off to the pub for some well earned cheers and beers and then an early night with the tiredness creeping in! I managed to do a small amount of sightseeing whilst in NZ, but nowhere near as much as I would have liked to. I suppose I was there to race and that was the main priority really.
I am finally home now after a mammoth journey and it’s time to rest for a couple of weeks and give my tired legs (and mental legs!) some well deserved off time!
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Kerry writes regularly on our LoveCycling Blog! Read more of Kerry’s posts here.