British Triathlon's Big Weekend is a celebration of the performance of athletes of all ages. This pinnacle event at the end of the season, traditionally a key milestone in the development of future triathlon stars, previously known as the British Triathlon U20's Festival, now also includes racing opportunities for Elite Senior athletes. It is held at Mallory Park in the East Midlands. Sundried ambassador Will Grace gives us his report of the race.
My first taste of elite racing
On Saturday 7th September 2019, I raced in the Junior/Senior Tier 2 race at The British Triathlon Big Weekend, the last race of the British Super Series. Despite not being in the top wave at this event, Tier 2 was a massive step up from Age Group racing and I loved it. The course consisted of a 750m swim followed by a 20km draft legal bike (6 laps of Mallory Park race track, with many technical turns) and a 5km run.
After spending the morning watching the juniors race, mid-morning came and it was my time to throw it all down. Bike checked in, trisuit on, Vaseline on, wetsuit on, all set to race. Before the start, all 46 competitors were called into the start pen for the race brief and to be called into the water to swim across to the start. Athletes were called into the water based on their rank in the series. Being my first race of the series (that of elite level racing) and with my name beginning with W, I was last to be called in, meaning I had no choice as to where to place myself on the start line.
I settled on pushing my way into the line in the middle of pack and very quickly we were off. This was a fast swim and I found myself fighting for a strong position in the middle of the field.
After the first few scrappy turns, I found myself in a bit of clearer water as the race began to string out. Out of the water I was about 25th, and was happy to be there in the middle of the pack as I headed into T1.
After a quick turnaround, we were onto the bike and quite quickly a group of 10-15 guys formed and we settled on the race. Being my first draft legal race, I was loving the style of racing, as it was fast, technical and definitely got the heart pumping.
A few times, myself and a few others tried to break away from the rest but were soon caught by the chasing group. Throughout the 20km we didn’t gain much ground on the leading guys so I made sure I was positioned at the front of the pack heading into T2. After a quick racking of the bike, the shoes were on and the time was to go hunting.
Two weeks before the race, I set a new track 5km personal best (15:06), so my aim for the race was to see how close I could get to this after the swim and bike. Myself and two other lads came together on the run and we were slowly picking off a few people in front.
After the first lap (of 4) I soon got into a rhythm and could settle in my running. Onto the final lap, I tried to open up the legs a little more and got a few more guys before the run down the blue carpet.
As I crossed the line, I had no idea what position I was in or what time, so was very happy when my partner told me I had come 9th overall, in just over an hour, with my 5km being 16:06. I'll take that for my first elite level race!
I only have one more race this season, the Jersey Super League Enduro at the end of September, which is a double super sprint back to back! 350 swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run x2. After this, it will be time to settle into the winter training programme so that next year can be even better. With the hope to be racing in all the British Super Series events, as well as the European and World Age Group Championships, where the aim is to maintain titles!