Where to begin.
Friday, teammates Luke Watson, Sarah Hodgson and I left loughborough to begin the 1000 mile road trip to Metz, France. At the time, driving seemed like a first class idea - after our previous trip to France (which racked up 5hrs on a plane, 18hrs in a car and 4hrs in trains). All was going well - until we reached French soil - when the engine light appeared on the and one of the cylinders decided enough was enough.
The car (now named Mohammed) was now capped at 60mph for 222 miles. You do the math. We made it to Metz on Saturday afternoon, just enough daylight left to rece the swim and bike course before heading out for dinner with the team and managers. We had felt really smug leaving England in the first rain it had seen for weeks - but now we were sat looking out onto thunder and fork lightening. God clearly had it in for us.
Race day. 750m technical non-wetsuit in a lake with dead fish lapping at the shore line, dogs bathing in it and god only knows what else - it really was a case of swim for your life. It was an aggressive swim, with 70 girls pounding out to reach the first buoy. Out the water in second - proving to myself that my new swim form can back up my three previous swims (France, Blenheim and Windsor) even without a wetsuit which was, admittedly a concern. Onto the bike in no mans land with Jess Learmonth about 30secs up the road and a pack of 5 behind. I wanted the pack behind to work to get to me, but not shred my legs in the process. At the start of lap 3 (out of 5 - over 20km...very technical course!!) we came together which is when I realised I should have gone with option A and put my head down the minute I exited T1 to get to Jess. Tactical error #1. But wait! There's more...
The pack wasn't strong, especially faced with the technical elements of the course and there was absolutely no structure in the group. I sat in for two more laps, pulling turns but making it clear I wasn't going to string it along. At the start of last lap I made a solo break - knowing that with my run legs still absent, maybe even dead (see last three race blogs) I needed to buy some time and quite frankly, I was fed up with the bike pack. I sustained my lead over the pack and with Jess still up the road holding her lead of the field I entered t2 second. I finished fourth which I was disappointed with, having run badly once again and from a tactical point of view - executed the race badly. Another lesson learnt to go and work on. My run is now receiving attention, and as far as I'm concerned it's not a question of if it will return - it's just when. My background is running and it's how I entered modern pentathlon so I and others know it's in there, it's just been battered down by high swim volume.
Talk in our Ibis budget hotel has now turned to how long it takes to be sick from stagnant lake water and more to the point - whose going to be first out of the three of us. We've worked out the closest thing we getting to a Sunday roast is chicken mcnuggets and we've just washed our tri suits in two coats of 'Original Source lemon gel' - where '22 zesty lemons' haven't masked the smell of well, shit. As far as Luke's concerned the weekend, and perhaps life couldn't get any worse at this point in time, and after moving house this week just gone - his current thoughts are that is his calling in life may be building flat pack furniture from IKEA. Sarah's biggest problem is getting back to Leeds in order to get first dibs in her new student digs. And mine - is the minor detail of getting back to the UK - which is pending 'urgent' as I fly to the Netherlands on Thursday morning for a European Cup. Worst comes to worse we've worked out we can cycle to the channel and swim back. All is not lost.
So, if you think you've had a bad weekend. The three of ours and Mohammed combined trump yours tenfold.