Well, where to start? I think, “qualified for Chicago” is as good a place as any.
As most of you already know I raced in St Neots 2 weeks ago, Sat 10th May at the British Sprint Champs, which was also a qualifying race for the World Champs in Chicago later this year. I raced really hard and won my 1st British Championship Sprint title, something I am really proud of. As the result sank in, I thought it was about time I booked the flights, which I did last Monday, Jackie and I looking forward to the race, well me the race, Jackie Chicago 🙂
I then thought I should check the British triathlon site and make sure my “Q” for qualified was next to my name. I couldn’t see it yet, but it takes a while to update, but more worryingly I noticed there were another 5 names already with the big “Q” next to them. I contacted Mike, the Chicago Sprint Manager, and emailed him my transaction details. I was then told that my registration of intent to qualify had not been received until the 15th of May, 5 days too late!
After many emails back and forth, I was told in no uncertain terms that I hadn’t qualified and the only chance of qualification was to race in one of the other 2 qualifiers. When I looked them up online, both were full, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. Mike then asked me to call him in person and after an excruciating 15 mins, we got the tel no of the race organisers of the Eton Sprint qualifier on Saturday 23rd May. Once I picked myself up off the floor I called them to be magically told by “Cat” I could enter on the day… omg… what a relief, I immediately then thought **** that’s this Saturday!!! Thankfully with the help of my workmates, I managed to take the Friday off work, drove 8.5hrs to London in the crazy bank holiday traffic, involved in a 7 car police chase, and me in the smarty.
I had to put it all behind me and take my opportunity the following morning.
I have raced many times in many triathlons, but never with the pressure, aggression, determination and desire that I felt on Saturday. I had to win, it was all or nothing…
Thank God it all worked out, I had one of my best races ever, I won my age group (and the one below, only 26 secs off the AG below that), I was timed at 6th out the water, 2nd in T1, 1st on the bike, 1st in T2 and 1st on the run. I was 5 mins 19 secs in front of my nearest competitor.
… and breathe.
I know it wasn’t the British Championships, but it was a World Champs qualifier and there were more bling bikes, helmets and kit than I have ever seen at any event. I had given Michal a loan of my aero helmet to race in Ironman Lanzarote, (where he was awesome) and was told by the guy next to me that a non aero helmet on this course would cost me 15 secs, and he hoped I wouldn’t miss it!!! He was wearing a Kask full visor helmet and riding a Cervelo P5, his 15 secs mantra was going on and on and on in my head on the bike… I didnt see him again.
I was ecstatic after the event, well totally knackered, and then ecstatic, I felt it was me against the world, I know it wasn’t, it just felt that way. Weirdly I feel more achievement about Saturdays result than the British title 2 weeks ago. I think when your back is against the wall, maybe that’s when the magic happens.
A special mention to my chum Karen, who I bumped into last Thursday afternoon in Tesco car park and spewed all my angst onto, then asked her to keep it to herself until after the race as I hadn’t even told Diana. And also to Jackie, who I told we were going to Chicago …and then we weren’t …and then we were.
In hindsight, maybe its better to have a traumatic experience before every event? I really, really, really, really hope not