Jordan Skelly Geneva European Triathlon Championships.
The journey towards Geneva began at Dambuster Triathlon in 2014 where I qualified after a second place in the National Championships. Geneva soon became my ‘A’ race for 2015, where regardless of where I would finish I simply wanted to arrive in my best race shape.
Everything leading into the race was going to plan, I had by far surpassed all expectations in earlier races in the year. With in particular my last race at Deva Triathlon going remarkably well as preparation for the big day. A national title at the same distance race as Geneva gave me great confidence.
Unfortunately after Deva I had picked up a illness (most likely from the questionable river water quality) which set me back a week. Still there were 3 weeks till the race and worrying I wouldn’t be able to recover to top form wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So I focused on making sensible choices and believe my body would recover again.
Race week came and form had been returning, and I was hitting figures not far off my best once again.
I headed out to Geneva on the Thursday prior to the Sprint race on the Friday where many Lincsquad team mates would be racing. Barely had I been there a few hours and I was fully into the atmosphere of the occasion with the GB team swarming the race (most likely 50% of the Championship field were GB athletes).
Temperatures were scheduled to be hot for all races and Friday didn’t disappoint for the Sprint racers. I watched the waves of athletes heading out into the lake trying to pick up as much course knowledge as possible.
As my team mates from home hit out solid races, I couldn’t wait until it was my turn!
A few practices on the course in the next few days later as well as watching the Elite races on the Saturday. And I was at total ease with the event, there was no pressure as my target was simply to enjoy racing in such a stunning location.
After racking my bike the night before I dropped a little pressure from my tyres in a bid to avoid a blow out, after +30°temperatures had played havoc with exploding inner tubes in the other races. A smart move I thought.
Race day – A 6.30am race start welcomed us, but not in the slightest did this bother me. The view was simply stunning and water temperatures of 21°c and a pan flat lake left me with no concern I was ever going to be cold or even drown!
We all were funneled down through the start pen to the swim start with minutes to go. But true to Swiss time keeping at 6.30 dead we were off.
I opted for the far right, maybe not the quickest line to the first buoy. Yet certainly much less traffic and fighting for the first 300m of swimming. My theory was if I wasn’t wrestling for positions from the start and getting into my stroke I would go faster despite a slightly longer route. This tactic seemed to pay off and I thoroughly enjoyed the swim.
Exiting on to the swim ramp I had felt I’d had a reasonable swim. Looking at familiar faces running up the ramp confirmed it, as in previous races they had been much further ahead at this point.
Something near a 300m transition later I was out and onto the bike, with no hiccups in removing the wetsuit.
Within the first few miles we would all be greeted by first climb of the Chemin de l’limperatrice. A 0.6mile climb with a peak gradient at some 12% I believe. This was no issue for me, in fact it was disappointing we only climbed it twice!
The descent off the top was long and fast m
eaning speeds in close to 50mph were no issue. Baring in mind they had a vast collection of hay bales at the bottom for those who couldn’t make the turn at warp speed. Luckily my experience of the Mallorca Tricamp this year gave me confidence I could descend at top speed and make the corner without a trip to Hospital.
For 30k of the bike leg I was getting tired of the cat & mouse chase between blatant drafters. Who would sit on my back wheel before trying to move ahead then dropping back to again draft after realising they weren’t up to pushing the speed. Fortunately the bike marshalls here were very keen on penalties and I must have witnessed at least 8 or 9 athletes being pulled into the penalty box.
Calculating there was probably 5 minutes of effort on the bike remaining, I made a big effort to distance my surrounding competition. In training Steve had been giving me intervals similar to this so I had no questions my body could cope with red lining before then running hard.
A quick glance back before dismounting my bike and I’d distanced them..result! At least if there were strong runners in that pack I’d now have a advantage.
Once again back into the 300m transition, and I must have taken at least 3 places just running to my racking position. This transition suited the runners, and gave me a whole new meaning to the 4th discipline.
Out on to the run I exited with a fellow GB athlete, it became quickly apparent he was equally as strong runner as me. There was little concern over a head to head battle with this guy though as he wasn’t in my age group. So I worked off his pacing, being quickly dragged through the field.
The support out on the run course was something I had never experienced before. With hundreds shouting you on and all my home support from Lincsquad etc really driving you on making substantial noise (Thanks everyone who came out to support me, you really made my race special!)
The run as most know is my strongest event, and a quick rough update from a GB friend who I passed…. There was potential belief I could get near that podium!! Unbelievable!
Still not knowing positions the final 800m straight was upon me. Although there was nobody behind close to chase me down I was going to completely bury myself before that finish line. I hadn’t came out to Geneva not to hurt as much as physically possible.
Onto the blue carpet and one last kick. In the closing 5-10metres the commentary called my name, announcing I
was winning a BRONZE MEDAL!!!! I simply couldn’t quite grasp the idea I’d came top 3. Never had my expectations coming to Geneva though it was possible to do so. The plan was to race hard and enjoy the event! That was achieved and with it a European podium… YES!
In truth I absolutely loved the whole race and really didn’t want to finish. Now having pre qualified for Lisbon next year, there is no chance I will be missing that race. Bring on the Europeans 2016.
A HUGE thankyou goes to everyone who has supported me to this point! And most importantly Steve my Offthatcouchfitness Coach who has put up with my constant drive towards improving.
I do believe working with Steve we can keep me improving for 2016, as even though I had a brilliant race.. there’s still scope to vastly improve.
Swim 1.5k – 22.18
Bike 40k – 59.51
Run 10k – 33.55
Overall- 9th position and another Sub 2hr race, 1hr 59mins 28seconds
After consultation with Coach Clark I was back racing just days after the performance of my life (so far). The plan was to run controlled and if, at halfway point, I was in contention for the prize pot, then I’d push. I managed to win by over 1 minute and set a new course record!!!! Happy days!!!!!!!!