2015 was an interesting year for me. Finishing off my third year at university, working for 8 months at a large architecture firm in Bristol, taking up a new sport and finally starting what would be my last 9 months in undergraduate education.
I started triathlon in January of 2015, coming from a family of recreational cyclists I had been no stranger to a bike ride however I’d spent the last 3 years rowing for the university. Sitting at the best part of 90kg I knew I had a lot of weight to lose, and not a lot of time. I had to fit my training in around a full time job which proved no easy feat. I started off by joining Bath Cycling Club. A very supportive club with an active race squad in the South-West area. Alongside the support from these experience cyclists, I could run in my own time and teach myself to swim. Although competent enough not to drown, armbands aside this was going to be a long process.
My first race was Ironman Nice, as a sufferer of IBS and a newbie to the sport this was going to be a huge learning curve for me. A day of 31 degree heat and poor nutrition led to struggles before even leaving the bike. With my strongest discipline compromised I knew that it was going to be a battle to get round. Putting this to the back of my mind I put a smile on my face and got round in 12:31.
Back to the drawing board, I had 10 weeks until I would be on the start line of Ironman Wales. Knowing that drawing on the knowledge I had gained from Nice alongside a solid 8 months of training behind me, I could make a much better second impression.
With my average mileage at over 500km a week my legs were starting to feel the effects. Dropping down to 78kg to manage the hills was a diet I’d rather not repeat. A cold windy morning at the end of the heavy block and 3 weeks out from Ironman Wales saw us on the startline of the Cotswold Classic. A local middle distance race I targeted to check form. Coming out of the water in the middle of the field I knew I’d have a lot of work to do if I wanted to press the lead. A solid bike leg saw me 11th fastest, overtaking some of the time trial bikes with the road bike set up. Finishing off with a solid 1:28:50 half marathon saw me win my Age Group, qualifying for the ITU European Championships 2016.
With confidence in my form I was able to move forward to Wales with my mind much more relaxed. Standing on the start line with waves bigger than the hills I was about to cycle was a very daunting experience from me. I emerged from the water again in the middle of the field at 1163rd place, I knew that my legs were going to have to pull something special out of the bag. Putting the other competitors out of my mind and trusting my legs I began to do what I do best, spin.
Finishing what I would later find out was 33rd on the bike like, I got off my bike in 130th place and started the run. The empty field before my implied that I’d achieved a solid bike split. Putting this out of my mind I started to run. Taking each 5k at a time and making sure I didn’t stop, I was round before I knew it. Finishing in a final time of 11:05:57, 1 minute and 30 seconds off a Kona slot and moving me into the current top 10 under 24’s. Not bad for my 3rd ever triathlon. This would qualify me for the ITU Long Distance European and World Championships, a new challenge to be taken forward and a good end to my first season in triathlon.
Half Marathon: 1:24:47 (Cardiff Half)
Cycle Race: 2nd (Odd down summer series & Bath CC Road Race)
Cycle Audax: 240km, 33.3kmph
Middle Distance Triathlon: 04:23:28 (1st u24, 28th overall) (Cotswold Classic)
Long Distance Triathlon: 11:05:57 (3rd u24, 98th overall) (Ironman Wales)
Highest 2015 Ironman Ranking: 10th Global, 2nd GB