ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championship, Nice, France. 22nd September 2002 (Swim 4km, Bike 120km, Run 30km)
I made the GB Age Group Team for 2002, as did my brother Iain. Frank, (another of my brothers) with 6 years out of training had started training again the day we raced in the Worlds in Denmark, last year and was to race here too, as part of the citizens’ wave….an incredible achievement. Rob (third brother) and my folks were here to watch too.
Preparation had been less than ideal…I had hurt my leg, nearly broken my toe (fastest descent of my home stairs ever) and still felt sick. 2 days before the race I was slumped in the back of the car trying to sleep off an intense headache as we drove the course. Eventually I relented and took ibuprofen but was not sure whether I would race or not. Eventually I decided that I would start and see how things were after the swim.
The swim was tough – plenty of swell and the citizens wave of over 2,000 set out 10 mins behind us, which meant most of them swam over or through me so my split of 1:30:58 was reasonable.
I didn’t feel great but set out on the bike. The bike is tough…incredibly tough and the descents are technical and dangerous. Luckily on the descent from Col de Vence (a steep 800m climb) I followed an Italian who was following a Frenchman, whom appeared to know the roads…so we swept down passing numerous more timid competitors. I passed Iain who said he’d been sick 6 times and I knew his day was over.
After the last climb and descent there was a marvellous 6 mile run back into town, slightly downhill. I let rip here as I still felt strong, and tucked into my aerodynamic position I was flying past competitors from other countries…this was a highlight of my triathlon career…in the Worlds and for once kicking some butt. A long dark underpass led us back to transition. My bike split of 4:36:10 for 75 miles showing how tough it was.
The run was brutally hot (25 deg C in the shade) with the wind behind us on the way out to the Airport it was so hot and I felt so ill, I had to walk…and I had gone less than 7 miles. The return was into the wind and I managed to run all the way in. I saw Frank as I neared the end of lap 1..he looked hot but was still running…I shouted encouragement. Just before I headed out to the Airport on lap 2, I was feeling really ill and had to stop…I got a view of the Promenade des Anglais which is different to most tourists and I emptied my stomach contents there. It was a struggle to make it to the finish on this day but it had to be done and in retrospect my 3:16:05 run split was respectable. My finish time of 9:32:28 showing it was a long race.