Friday, September 23, 2011

Winner in Yokohama World Championship Series Two wins in two weeks!!

I won't stop dreaming! This has been the best 2 weeks of racing for me.
A special day, racing in the first major sporting event in Japan, on the main island Honshu, since the devastation of the Earthquake and Tsunami back in March this year. It was close to home for me because I am from Christchurch which was also hit by a devastating earthquake on 22.02.11 where 181 people lost their lives. At home, the city centre is still closed and many things still need to be fixed. My parents have lost their house and I know it will never be the same.
Before the race start, we stood for a moment of silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

The race began in the harbour in the dock for the cruise ships. The water was a warm 28deg. Helen Jenkins had a fast swim again, as she did in Lausanne together with Lucy Hall. I exited 40seconds back in the chase group. We didn't work together, but a few strong turns at various times bridged the gap in a couple laps and then the chasers behind caught and it was a great big chaos pack. It was about 32deg and humid as, so the bike was just a formality to finish using the least amount of energy possible. My run in Yokohama was a target I had had for myself. To be able to pace myself for a 10km, as there is no secret, I like to follow. I hadn't run a 10km alone out in front since Gamagori in 2005. I was told after I won there, that triathlon was not that easy and that kind of race doesn't happen often. It is 6 years on and both times were races in the Japan heat. There is no other feeling like it. The feeling of everyone chasing you and the uncertainty of; will anyone catch me?
I ran out hard, it didn't cross mind in that first lap that I should pace myself. I didn't think about the heat or to run in the shade and follow the others. I took the tangent to the first u-turn. It wasn't until the 5km that I thought about the time gaps, about tipping more water over my head and keeping my cadence high. Thinking kept me going. It started to get really hot those final km's. I could only see Emma, in 2nd place, at the u-turn just once each lap. My first glance back was on the last lap. At the corner off the road with probably 300m to go I began to celebrate my win, removing my sunglasses this time and slapping hands. The Japanese crowd was so excited, it made it more exciting for me and so cool to see. It was cool too, they lined the exit of the athletes area to continue their congratulations, shaking hands and taking photos. 
Pray for Japan!
I would like to write a few extra lines of thanks. I love all of your emails, facebook comments and tweets. I appreciate all of your support. Thank you Mum and Dad and all of my family back home in Christchurch and all of my family in Hartlepool and around England.  Thank you to my sponsors Adidas, Milani and Sram who have been so supportive and have kitted me out with all the latest clothes, the best shoes (Supernova Glide and Adizero Pro), the best and nicest bike (Milani N109 made in Italy), and the best bike components (Sram Red, Zipp 303 wheels) and mechanical support.

Click here for full Yokohama results 

A photo with Keiji ISHIKAWA a Japanese voluntary member. He was so friendly, he remembered me from 2 years ago.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Grand Final Win

Everything came together in Beijing last weekend in the Grand Final of this year's World Championship Series. And my whole season of consistency paid off with a World Championships Silver Medal.
In Beijing, I exited 2nd pack out of the swim about 12seconds back but managed to make it into the lead group up the first hill on the bike. From there, it was a matter of working together and forming a big enough lead to not be challenged on the run from the group behind. I had heaps of help from Kate McIlroy, which made it a lot easier for me. She was unsure if she could finish the run because of her two last races, but she did this time and had her best result all season, in the mix for 3rd, and finished with a 6th place.
For me, onto the run I made a quick transition and it took Helen Jenkins 1km to catch me and take the lead. I managed to follow her this time. I was on my toes the whole time, not knowing if she had extra like she did in London this year. On the last lap, I knew I had to make the first move. So, on the small downhill, with about 1km to go, I overtook her. First, she came with me, but I pretty much did my sprint down to the u-turn with 400m still to run. It was an amazing feeling to see the finish line tape and to grab it. I loved that moment. And also seeing Laurent's face after the finish, then I got tears in my eyes. I really loved it.

With Melanie, Kisses from Laurent and David!

 Champagne on the podium! with Melanie Anneheim, Helen Jenkins and Sarah Groff.