As we left for Detroit I had been suffering with a chest infection. I was on antibiotics but decided that travelling to the World ParaTriathlon event in Detroit would earn me some great points in order to help qualify for the Paralympics in 2016. After we flew into Detroit on the Friday and back home by the early hours of Monday morning I can honestly say it was a very tiring flight and race…
We arrived on Friday, checked into our hotel and built our bikes. It was then non stop from then on in. Saturday morning was the swim and bike recce. This was on a beautiful island called Belle Isle. We arrived to find the venue situated between the USA and Canada border.
The swim venue had its own little beach (which at first I thought was going to cause me some concerns with my prosthetic legs) so instead I opted for crutches to exit the water, which made my transition slightly quicker than previously. After the swim we went to the bike recce, it was ok but not really the course I was expecting. The road surface was not amazing and even though the road was very wide, on race day it would be different. I did a few laps with the guys on the team and just prepared myself for race day. After the recce was complete we made our way back to the hotel and decided it was time for some decent food and then bed. The time difference was hard, I was always waking at 3am wondering where I was so I knew I had to get an early night.
Sunday had arrived, the 16th of October (my wedding anniversary) and I wasn't at home but it was time to try and deliver my best and deliver a performance that would earn me points. The race started at 0955 but we had a lot of prep to do before hand so arrived quite early to prepare transition.
We were introduced to the crowd and ready to race. We lined up on the start and the famous music started to play, we were told to prepare for start...3...2...1 GO.
I gave everything at the start to get away from the pack and by the time I had completed the first 100m I was out in front, however due to my breathing and chest problem I was struggling to hold onto it. After the first buoy I was in 4th position and someone was close behind me. I pushed on and after 700m I was back in charge on the front.
Next was the transition. I managed to get into T1 first, making my way to my bike, I jumped on my bike and was the 1st out of T1 followed by the Brazilian. I knew it wouldn't be long before Ryan, another GB athlete in our category would be on my back so I pushed on.
After two & half laps Ryan had caught me, I now had to keep him in sight as I moved into second spot. We entered T2 with 30 secs apart and moved onto the run. It was at that point I fell off my bike going into T2, it took the wind out of me and I had some time to make up.
Ryan had already pulled away from me and I was struggling to breathe. I ran as hard as I could considering I had been ill but I couldn't catch up, I'd lost too much time and finished in second place a minute behind Ryan.
At the time I was really upset because I knew I could have done better on the run but due to my illness I just didn't have anything left to give. We both got on the podium, which was great...
I had a great time with the team in the U.S. I'm always learning after every race and I know that I still have more work to do but at least I came away with a silver medal. I have now returned home to be told I am on the start list for World Championships in Chicago in September as a result of my recent performances. I can be proud to be flying the GB flag. I'm also for now ranked 2nd in Paralympic qualification and 10th in the world, not bad for a lad from the Forest of Dean who only took up triathlon in April 2014 :-)
Long way to go yet.....keep believing in me
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