Nicky Samuels update - London World Series race & FFGP Dunkerque

London finish.jpg
Hi all,

Yesterday was ITU World Series race number 4 in London. I went into this race not too certain about where my current form was and unsure how the race would pan out as this year the race was over a sprint distance (750m / 20km / 5km) and I was just starting to settle in to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere only arriving just under 2 weeks ago. I think I have a lot more fitness to gain over my next training block however I was pleased with the result I produced on the day.

I finished 5th and just 1 second off 4th place and in touch with the podium until late in the run, I was happy to hold off all but one of the chasing group which came into transition 15-20seconds behind after a solid bike around the roads in Hyde Park.

I had a score to settle with the swim in London as I have not swum well there in previous years and knew the importance of having a good swim over the sprint distance because if you’re not in touch you are pretty much out of the race. The swim is furious and carnage around the first buoy 200m in to the swim, I knew I had to go for it and was pleased being near the front and out of the scrum behind, I swam solidly and came out just off the leaders, I had a good transition and strong first 200m on the bike saw me amongst the leaders and when I looked behind I saw a good gap. Our group worked together (kind of) and with the help of Lucy Halls encouragement maintained the gap all the way on the bike. The co-operation wasn’t great but with a few of us driving the pace we managed to hold that gap around the 15-20sec mark throughout the race.

After a quick T2 we hit the run, I started a little conservatively as I knew the group behind us would be chasing with some very good runners. We ran most of the first lap in a group and I felt comfortable sitting in – I was surprised they didn’t catch up quickly and with one lap to go could see they weren’t catching and were about the same distance behind so it was all go to the finish line! Emma Jackson was the only one that ran away from the chase group and caught up to us with about ½ a lap to go, she went on to take 3rd while Alice Betto and I had a sprint for 4th and 5th, the bunch behind made up time over the last half of the second lap and had a very impressive 6-person sprint finish in which Andrea snuck in first.

It was pleasing to know I still have lots of work I need to do to get my fitness to where it needs to be but I can still mix it up at the front end of a world series and produce a top 5 so I’m happy with today’s result and am looking forward to a solid but smart next training block

Although I have enjoyed my week in London (I arrived Monday to avoid long travel days) I can’t wait to get to Toulouse later today and pick up my rental car and start driving up to the mountains in the South of France! It’s one of my favourite times each year.

Race highlights video (hyperlinked so you should be able to click the picture) from London WTS 2014

I arrived in France directly from the Yokohama World Series race on Monday of last week and last weekend competed in the first round of the French Grand Prix series in Dunkerque for my team TCG 79.

The French grand prix is a sprint distance series in France in which you race for a team which represents a city in France, each team consists of 5 girls and is allowed 3 non-European passport holders, the focus of the race is to place well but the first 3 positions count toward your team’s overall position on the day which is the primary goal. The tactics are a bit different and the racing very fast (almost all of the World Series girls race for a club in France), I have been with my team for 6 years now and love every minute of it – it’s really fun racing and the crowds are amazing!

Last week’s race was in Dunkerque which is just north of Paris; there is a lot of excitement for the first round of the new season grand prix and Dunkerque did a great job at setting the stage for the first GP. I actually travelled to Parthenay (4hr train ride) after arriving from Japan and stayed for the week with the club manager and his family. It’s always great to catch up with them, everyone in Parthenay knows me and that have watched me grow as a triathlete and person over the last few years. Not to mention I had a lot of fun baking many a French recipe and I’m pleased to report my first ever Flan was a brilliant success with the help of Liz!

I trained through the race in Dunkerque which was a good hit out a week after the Yokohama World Series with a quick wetsuit swim where I exited the water 4th then drove the front group for the first two laps but we ended up with a group of 25 hitting the run and with Gwen Jorgensen amongst others racing I knew it was going to be a fast run. I was pleased to finish 9th and went off for a 1.5hr steady ride after the race, then focused on freshening up a bit for the London World Series the next weekend and was keen to go a few places better in what was a very similar field.

I’m now sitting in the airport in London, getting ready to board my plane after a 4am wakeup call I’m looking forward to getting France, up to Font Romeu and into the Mountains. I’m also meeting 2 x Coast to Coast champion Braden Currie and his family up there and am looking forward to getting set up and into some hard yards with him up there as a training partner.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and thanks for all the kind words of encouragement with the NZOC selection confirmation, I’m stoked and excited to let the training begin!

Until next time, Nicky

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