"A bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office"
Dad, as a keen sailor, once had a tshirt with the above quote, which has stuck with me since a young age, reminding me how great it is to do what you love as a job - and even on a bad day - it beats working in an office 9-5 hands down.
Setting the scene....
The trip to Geneva was er, full of surprises. After saying farewell to Sophs mum Pauline who had kindly driven us to Luton along with Molly the collie and the family chicken, soph and I flew to Switzerland. In the train station lifts, Soph struggled with the concept that we had to go up and over to reach this platform, and when my patience wore out in the lift screaming 'lifts don't go sideways - press up' we bailed and avoided eye contact with horrified on looking Swiss civilians, as these two young ladies from Britain - launched their suitcases, bike boxes and rucksacks down two flights of stairs. We made the train and even ride bagged a ride in first class. Nothing but success. Our hotel seemed to be located in the capital of all red light districts - we refrained from asking for a group selfie, but the view from our hotel room over the neighbouring streets - did provide some entertainment. Soph and I went to seek out the bike course on Friday, and after rather unsuccessfully trying to sync google maps with a black and white hand drawn map, we cycled into the early hours of Saturday.... No I joke, but we did achieve a seasons best of 35minutes for 5km (safe to say we've both erased that ride from the Garmin memories) ..we were oozing confidence. Later, the Brits gathered to attend the 'scheduled' swim course rece in the afternoon. 300m in and next thing we knew, 4 police boats had descended upon groups of athletes, wailing blue sirens and telling us to get out. Clearly the Swiss mafia and ETU organisers weren't on same page.
The race, some perspective and looking ahead
Geneva was my first DNF in triathlon - and maybe in any competition I've done. It was a horrible decision, but I feel my body made it for me and the choice was taken out of my hands. I had a good swim, another non wetsuit - and exited as 2nd Brit with the chase pack. On the second of six bike laps I got spat out the pack which after proving some dominant rides in races this year - shouldn't have happened and was the first little flag my body raised. I rode alone for a couple more laps before being joined by a pack further behind. I couldn't contribute anything. I pulled out soon after T2
At the start of this season the ultimate aim was to get a start at a European Cup, alongside racing with my French Grand Prix team and the British Superseries. Being offered four starts at Euro Cups exceeded my own expectations for the season. This slightly unexpected race schedule obviously meant a lot of travelling, my first year of adding international travel to triathlon - has been slightly more draining than predicted (9 flights and counting...my air miles are booming).This extensive travel has however given me a huge amount of experience, the races themselves but more so having to race with different preparation situations, where your idea of ideal preparation leading into a race is taking out of your hands, and you just have to make the best decisions based on what you've got. I can now take everything I've learnt into 2015, with a slightly more selective race calendar and hit the big races hard.
This time last year I made the decision to give triathlon a go fully - and make the decision near the end of the 2014 season if I'll give it another year, or, call it a day. Today was a kinda 'whose stupid idea was this', 'f*** this' and, 'never again' kinda day - but put it into the bigger picture and all it is is a hiccup. My swimming has improved far more than I ever imagined in ten months, I've got stronger on the bike and demonstrated it, and my run - hasn't come through this year at all in a race scenario.
We flew straight from Geneva to Barcelona - where we are having a two week training camp in Banyoles, I'm taking a few days before getting into training again, before I finish the last part of my race season in the UK. Stressing the importance and gratitude once again for 'the team', who, quickly scooped me up and pieced me back together after the race, parents and coach and - namely Soph (Coldwell) who came to find me in the athletes lounge and deal with my first tears of the year. So really, not too badder year at all eh?