• Nikki Bartlett

Scottish Olympic Distance Champs

18th May: Strathclyde Park. Home of the Commonwealth Games 2014 for Triathlon. Setting the scene: Sunny Britain, hottest weekend of the year so far?! Not in Scotland. Well not Saturday, we had our heating on for a little bit even, same forecast for Sunday 18th. The aim of the race: Obviously to race as hard as possible. I gave my body the delight of a two-day-taper, with around a 20 hour training week. Not my usual distance, but a warm up to the season to begin at Ironman UK 70.3 on 15th June.

We arrived at Strathclyde Park, the course was set out and designed on some of the Commonwealth Games course. It was a cold fresh start to the day, so this made choosing items to layout in transition difficult. If I'm cold racing, its simple, I don't function. I would rather spend an extra minute in T1 and be able to race 'warm'. Talking of warm, I will share a little story here. The last time I came to Strathclyde Park was on my first year Rowing camp in the Development squad at the University of Birmingham. One of my favourite camps, before I realised I may actually want to be a proper athlete after this. We trained hard, then at the end of the camp, we had a brilliant social, dressed as chavs around Strathclyde. When your drunk you think your invincible. So, we thought, why not take our beautiful attire off, and run into the lake, pretty much naked...and have a 'swim' race. I couldn't really swim at the time, I could float, and I HATED open water. This ended with a rather nude run back to the hotel. Fast forward time, and I'm entering the water, a bit more dressed, with higher aims... 8am the Women and Vets set off, in supposedly 15deg water temp, not sure about that one, but we shall roll with it. It was a two lap course, which involved getting out and DIVING, before entering the second lap. DIVE. No one pre warned me of this before race day, put simply I cannot dive. I came out of the water 6th overall on the first lap, and the whole way around the first lap I questioned if I was going to do a running bomb, pencil jump, belly flop, or attempt this 'dive', which would probably result in a belly flop... So, which was the wise decision? Clearly a dive. Spectators were doing the 'ooo' and 'aaahhh' of successful dives. The reaction from the crowd when I attempted... an 'oooo'.Maybe I will practice these for future events. I came out of the swim 1st female. Into T2, I was freezing and trying to put these dam gloves on was causing me issues. I ended up coming out of T2 2ND Female. Big boo. However I took the lead half way through the first lap of the bike. The bike leg was 7 laps and actually the sun came out and it was beautiful. Now for a long distance, max you have around 2-3 laps, so 7, and me being me, was bound to lose count. Good job Bex and Shannon were keeping me updated. The bike went smoothly, it was busy on the course, so I took a lot of caution, but thankfully no near misses. I came off the bike with roughly 2 minute lead. The bike was undulating with a lot of technical points and certainly lots of gear changing. Into the run, and oh boy my legs felt like jelly. However on the bike section the sun came out and it was a beautiful this continued on the run with a strong wind just to make it a little bit harder ;-). After the first 2k my legs rejoined my body and my main aim today was to come away having ran a strong 10k off the bike. The girls in 2nd and 3rd place were running well and this made me push that much harder to sustain 1st place. I was super pleased to come away with a 37.47 10k time and the win. Great day out and well organised event. Great turn out of athletes, and within quite a confined space, so fab organisation there to keep the event running so smoothly. Strathclyde will be a fantastic event to host the Triathlon at the Commonwealths, I can't wait to watch! For me, onwards to Ironman UK 70.3 to kick off the 70.3 racing season :-). As always, a massive thank you for your ongoing amazing support. A few exciting new sponsors to announce soon! Thanks for reading x Triathlon Scotland's report on the race: http://www.triathlonscotland.org/news/item/341-scottish-standard-distance-triathlon#.U3pBB17GrwL

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