What an incredible and amazing experience. I could have done without the cold water temperatures, but hearing people from all over the world yelling my name and Team USA as I biked and ran past them, it went above and beyond my expectations.
My trip to London started on Wednesday September the 11th when my mother and I arrived with bike in hand at Heathrow airport. We took a shuttle to our hotel which was located right at Hyde park where the race took place, so that was very convenient. After we checked in I went to pick up my race packet at the expo which was full of booths, people practicing in the pond and of course biking and running.
Some people had been there since Friday. I, however, couldn’t take off because of graduate school classes. once everything was taken care of, mom and I began to wander around, and by wander I mean go to Harrods and Burberry. By 9, pm I was in bed exhausted since I didn’t sleep on the plane over.
The next day, we got up wandered some more, it had rained overnight so the roads were slick. I practiced biking and running before I had to drop off my bike at 6 pm and went to bed early prepped for the next morning. I heard from some folks at bike check-in that in the morning when the U23’s raced that many crashed because of the roads so I, of course, was more nervous than before.
Friday morning, it was raining, 61 degrees but kind of humid and oh the water temperature was 61 degrees. THAT WAS FUN. I have never swam in water that cold, prior to that it was 68 in Wisconsin. The transition area was huge (ie more to run) and they did not allow towels inside…. so no drying off after the swim. It was very cool being with my fellow USA’ers and how our bikes were all racked together. We also had a lot of room at our transition spots which was lovely. The race started at 8:00 and my wave went off at 8:45. Everyone was so friendly and nice and cheering each other on. It wasn’t mean or rude.
So we load onto the docks, sit down, jump in the water and go. Literally like that, no warm up to adjust to the water, nothing. That was probably what did me in. Immediately once we started swimming, I felt my lungs become tight from the cold. I had to turn over on my back to get in some breaths. the course was simple, out, turn left, another left, straight, left again, one more time and finish.
I haven’t been this slow in forever, but then again, the transition was 300-500 meters and slippery so I had to be extra careful.
So what I thought was going to be 12.4 miles on the bike was really 14, so my timing was off. The course itself was 3 loops with turns, u-turns and men going super fast around you from all sides. The men made the race really dangerous at times and every loop I was on I saw someone crash or the aftermath.
My speed was on track for what I wanted with the wet roads and turns so I was happy overall.
Once again a slow transition, because the ground was soaked by this point, the run in with our bikes, was super long and you had to be careful you didn’t fall and just like on the bike course men were coming from all sides around you.
I was very happy with my run. At times, I wondered if I was running too slow but my second mile I was consistently under 7 minutes and I was out of breath when I finished. My first was my slowest at 7:30 I guess from the adjustment and my third was 7:20.
What an incredible experience overall though. People from all countries cheering everyone on, cheering me on and swapping stories with my Team USA girls afterward, it was awesome and I highly suggest going to worlds if you qualify. I would love to go when the race is in Chicago, but we will see.
The rest of the trip consisted of touring, shopping and watching the Elite women’s race. I haven’t been to London in 5 years so I wanted to take advantage of this trip the best that I could. Thank you to all of my friends, family and sponsors for being there for me this year and supporting me in my efforts. I couldn’t have done this without you.
Perks…: Being in London racing the Olympic course,
Ehh… Not a fan: Cold swim, Ridiculous transition rules, slick bike course