Hamburg 2014 - my First Race in the World Triathlon Series

This weekend’s race might not have gone the way I had wanted it to – and I might not have gotten a result I know I am capable of, but not every day is going to go perfect and I’ve probably learnt more this weekend than I would have done had it all gone smoothly.

On Thursday I left Saarbruecken with Max and we hired a rental car – and I actually drove on the right hand side of the road for the first time! Quite an experience! After we had arrived it was briefing, run and food time and before I knew it, I was lying in bed shattered. Friday was just spent with a little bit of training, some talking and sorting everything out, and then race day had come. My parents, boyfriend and brother all came down from the UK to watch the races (and bring me fresh bagels for my pre-race food!) and it was really nice to have them all around watching and cheering.

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I went into this race not really knowing what it was going to be like, where I was going to end up at – and with the plan to race hard, do my best and enjoy it. I had one of the highest start numbers – 64 of 67, so was one of the last to be allowed to choose a place on the pontoon. As you could probably guess all the good places had already been taken up and I was left with one on the far left – one of the longest ways to the first buoy. After the start I usually have the problem that I don’t swim off fast enough and am soon a bit behind everyone else and then spend the second half of the swim catching them… not this time! I was actually really surprised and happy with my position until the first buoy – but once we had gone around all the buoys I was suddenly towards the back… What had happened? I couldn’t get close enough to the buoys because of all the people to my right, so ended up swimming quite a bit extra. I probably should have gone in and fought for the shorter way a lot more… I’ll know better next time :). After some more battling trying to swim through at least a few more people, I finally got out of the water. Transition seemed to take me by “surprise” a little though… I completely screwed it up! I ended up pulling my bike out of the stand with my helmet and first it didn’t want to go back in, so I held it with my knees, then it took me what felt like an age to get my helmet on. By that time the pack had gone and I ended up in the second chase pack… So I better remember to be prepared for transition!

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The bike was tough at times – we were in a small pack and weren’t working together as well as we could/should have done, but we got through it and then it was time to run! At first I was convinced I had picked up a penalty for my first transition, so ran off quite hard – to realise a lap later that I hadn’t! Phew! The majority of the run I spent running with Ai Ueda from Japan and the main bunch of athletes in the pack in front of us came closer and closer! But the run wasn’t long enough and we both ended up just behind them. I had given it my best shot and some bad luck, some inexperience and some stupidity made me end up in 39th place. I can’t say I’m too unhappy though – I have exited the water with some of the girls who were quite a bit further ahead in other races and everyone who swam from the far left seemed to struggle in the swim. Plus I had the 12th fastest run time of the women – considering almost all the best triathletes in the world were racing I think I can be happy with that!

It was a great weekend and I have learnt a hell of a lot – and made awesome experiences. The one thing I can also confirm now is that even a WTS race is still “just” a triathlon. The weekend then came to a perfect end while watching Germany win the Football World Cup at the After party. A massive thank you to the German Triathlon Union as well for making it possible for me to gain so much racing experience and all the support staff that was on site to help us with any problems we had!

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Now I’m back home – for more than just three days (that hasn’t happened since Easter!) and it’s time to get some more solid training in before the rest of the season starts again - I have to admit I’m looking forward to some less exciting times!

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum