“We arrived in Besançon to some lovely weather, 25 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and I thought straight away if it’s going to be like this on race day then it’s going to be tough.
We had a few days to do some light training, which gives us the chance to work on anything we might feel needs some work on before the race, and to get out on the course to familiarise ourselves with it. I was told by other athletes before I went that the bike course was tough due to the climbs on the way out, so it wasn’t a shock to me when I got there.
Before every race all the athletes have to go to the race briefing and registration which is held in one large room and where there is a presentation by the race organisers and officials. They go through everything in detail – rules, who the officials are, what the course is like, how transition is going to work; it also allows athletes and coaches to ask any questions they may have. The atmosphere was that of an outdoor sports festival and all the athletes were called up on stage one by one in our categories. This never usually happens so it was a great touch for the locals to see.
Race day – the course was a 20-30 minute drive out of the centre of Besançon, so my usual routine would be to listen to a mixture of pumping dance music and old school R&B – oh and This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, which has to be one of my favourite songs as it always makes me feel motivated and powerful. The sun was out and the temperature was perfect but we still had 2 hours till the race started. It warmed up… at the start of the race I think the temperature was up towards 24 degrees.
I started strong in the swim, leading out my wave. I’m a PTWC H2, and there’s a 3 minute buffer between the PTWC H1 and us. This is just down to how mobile you are with your disability. I had two other athletes drafting off me the whole way through the 750m swim. We got onto the bike and it was flat heading out towards the hill which was great for me as I was catching people but as soon as the hill came up I started to get caught again. Through the whole bike I was making ground on the down hills and the flats but loosing time on the up hills. There could have been several reasons for this, not enough gears or not enough training on hills, but I didn’t let that effect my mental state and just knew I had to up the power on the downhills and flats. Coming into transition I got out behind a guy I made time on the bike but soon made a good 4-5 minute gap out on the chair course, but I didn’t have enough time to catch 4th place.
Overall it was a fantastic race and lovely course to race on. I think if the course wasn’t as hilly, it would have worked in my favour and I feel as though I could have caught 4th place and maybe have pushed for 3rd place coming onto the chair.
I’ve had an easy week of training since getting home from France ready to go back into before I head out to Majorca for a few days of open water swim training.”