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Race report

ITU world championships Budapest Hungary 8-12 September 2010

by Patricia Wilson

As this is my first season in triathlon, this major event was a massive new experience to me. Staying in the TEAM GB hotel proved very useful ,with team managers and other athletes being on hand to offer support and encouragement. Also , needless to say, as many of you already know- especially Mr Paul Bennington!!- It was also invaluable to have the team mechanics there to build up my bike ,check tyre pressure and everything else on my bike for me - yes its true -I think I was the only triathlete there that still had never changed a flat or even pumped up a tyre !!

As we landed in Budapest the weather did not look hopeful and continued to deteriorate. I hastily packed away my bikini and sun tan lotion and relied heavily on my one fleecy TEAM MANVERS top that I had brought with me .Paul Clarke and I sported our TEAM MANVERS kit throughout the stay and this generated some interest in our club as we proudly ’boasted’ about our lake and facilities and range of training and competing activities (membership is now bound to go up !!!)

A scheduled TEAM GB swim familiarisation confirmed that they were ‘not telling the truth!!!’ when they said in pre race info that the water temperature was 18 degrees. Paul already knew this having competed in the Aquathon on the Wednesday coming a fantastic 10th position and only being pipped into second GB home by 1 second .

The water was 13 - 14 degrees and took your breath away .

It was nigh on impossible to reccie the bike route as this was a busy dual carriageway in the middle of manic Budapest, where little consideration was given to cyclists. Reports posted on the GB message board at the hotel, told of athletes getting knocked off their bikes .With this in mind Paul and I with another GB team mate reccied the route from within a taxi!!

Race day loomed with grey skies and pouring rain .The transition area where we had racked our bikes the night before, was a quagmire. Feet sunk into sodden grass and kit was soaked through .Weather conditions meant that athletes only knew at the last minute that disc wheels would be allowed and individuals(such as me ) fretted over tyre pressure on wet slippy roads. At early breakfast (from 4am) I declined the Hungarian semolina and ratatouille -yes its what they eat- as my nervous stomach kicked in good time .

The grim conditions soon made me feel well fed up- and this helped in quelling the nerves and , seeing the paratriathletes set off on their swim at 6.30 am was inspiring. The atmosphere was great despite the weather with a whole host of nations milling around together in a fantastic friendly manner.

The course was not particularly spectator friendly as the swim was 5k from the finish. Most of the GB supporters had gone down to the finish to cheer us on in the final stretch but, there was still a good contingent of GB supporters and union jacks to cheer us on at the ‘race centre’ swim start.

I did not notice the cold water as adrenaline kicked in. The swim went well. I was 9th out of the water Paul in his race was a fantastic 4th out - well good . Transition was a long run across the sand up a hill and along the hundreds of bikes. Fortunately my bike was racked next to a tree so sighting it was ok. I lost a few places on the bike leg as I tried to ‘spin’ as I have been encouraged to do by my very helpful ‘mentors’ (you know who you are) whilst also being cautious on the ‘dead turns ‘ that required coming---for me- --to a virtual near stop. approx 100 men set off 5mins after my wave and I could hear the now familiar sound of disc wheels approaching as I got my head down and pedalled . On the first turn of the bike both Paul and I were 8th in our races, the second turn Paul had dropped to 15th and me to 10th Into T2 was manic with sodden conditions and a long run in .Then it was running shoes and hat on (my hair was a disgrace!) and a long straight run along the side of the Danube .This went well, Richard Cooney overtook me from the mens race and I tried to keep with him -I didn’t succeed -but hey it helped! I pulled some places back and as I approached the finish loads of GB supporters were there with union Jacks and cheers .I felt good as I crossed the line and I was delighted with my eighth position .Paul Clarke had gone off in an earlier wave and had finished a fantastic 20th.

Needless to say I spent the rest of the time in Budapest watching the elite races and taking in the atmosphere of such a fantastic sport. I almost lost my voice shouting Alastair Brownlee into the finish in an exciting battle against Gomez.

I must genuinely say Thank you to everyone who has helped me in my very steep learning curve this year especially Mr. bike specialist - Paul Bennington , Paul and Sue Clarke for their ongoing support and also Dean Kirk ham for his training tips and Ricky for his invaluable advice and loan of bike box I have learned a lot this year from you guys and the whole experience.

TEAM MANVERS has been the best thing for me, everyone has been so supportive and helpful and our club has the best training facilities bar none.

Its now time for me to stop celebrating ,put the wine away and get some advice on winter training .

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