ITU long course World Champs, Motala, Sweden - 1.5km/ 120km/30km
by Jane Wiley
I'd heard of the Vatterunden, the largest bike ride in the world, around Lake Vattern, Sweden and had a disastrous long distance champs ( dehydrated in Perth, Australia ) in my memory bank so put my name forward for the GB contingent at this year's ITU long distance world champs in Motala, Sweden..... To visit Sweden, be part of a team and lance that demon.
I'd had a chatty breakfast with Mike Wood ..we'd done a couple of the same IM's in the last few years and auspiciously we'd both brought in the same trusty pre-race nutrition.
The big question dominating the team's social site was whether the water would warm up for the 4km swim. It didn't. The swim was cut to 1500m and in a remarkably clear lake. The course was straight, out and back ... I was able to site, stay in a line and follow feet ( all things I've fallen fowl of before).
The bike course was flat to rolling; wind behind on the way out and ahead on the return of the 3 laps. The road surface was SMOOTH and large bollards around the ONE pothole. I passed three ladies by the second lap with that 3rd lady from the USA proving a bit sticky. Draft busters were all over the course. I didn't know who was ahead as I'm usually behind on the swim.
I flew into transition and having thought that I'd marked my rack spot, I put it on an empty rack and hoped I wouldn't be penalised for putting it on the wrong rack.
The run route was unanimously voted by many of us as one of the most scenic and well designed. It was on paved and off road surfaces, along the lake into woods for appreciated shade. It was also out and back loops but artfully without seeing others on the other side. There were loads of supporters... Team Manager Dawn Hunter and the Nirvana team were very prominent on the bike and run... And very loud. Those cheers really helped. Everyone on the GB team was supportive whether passing or being passed.
I was shocked and delighted to learn later that I had won my age group, with a German lady second and Danish third. Mike Wood won a Gold for GB in men's 30-34 yrs, in a time up with the pros. Trust Peanut Butter.
I'd actually put my bike on the right rack. I've never had the perfect race but this was the closest I've got.