Chicago ITU Age Group World Championships – Olympic Distance (19 September 2015)
by Alastair Moffatt
It was inspiring to be part of the British team although not a wholly exclusive experience with 590 team members fluttering the Union Jack in the windy city last week.
My race got off to a great start by the announcement that the swim was being cut to 750m; we were told this five minutes before start time whilst in the corral with wetsuits on. I’m still not sure why the change was made as ten waves had already completed their swims and the water didn’t seem particularly choppy but I assume there must have been a strong current in the section that was cut out. As expected my poor swim was shown up at this level and I exited lake Michigan in 122nd place (in 12m 59s ) giving away a couple of minutes to most of the competition and with lots of chasing to do. There was 400m to T1 so working hard on that gained valuable seconds.
Onto the weirdest triathlon bike course I have ridden because at least a third of it was underground including mysterious bus tunnels that are closed to public access (it felt like Gotham City and the area was used for filming Batman Begins). Despite the semi-darkness and regular u-turns it was very fast and at times scary two laps. The Garmin didn’t work underground and it was too dark to see power readings so I just pushed as hard as possible and was surpised when T2 appeared after just 56 minutes (56:45 for 37k so an average speed of 39kph).
Into T2 and another long connecting run played to my strength - I recorded the second fastest T2 time in the M45 age group and clawed back another half minute lost on the swim, vindictaing my spending less training time doing swim drills and more time running in a wetsuit pushing a bike along a carpet!
Onto a hot run, 3.5 laps with lots of British support, hunting down “M45” calves, in a time of 40:29 which was 9th quickest in the age group.
Overall I came 27th out of 132 starters in M45 and 4th Brit (in 01:55:54) so a thoroughly satisfying (if unconventional) result.
I realised afterwards that finishing in top 20 and top 3 Brits gains automatic qualification for next year so luckily I missed that as Mexico is a long way away and I would have had to carry on Sunday evening swimming. Time to hang-up the speedos and go back to duathlon - world champs 2016 are in Northern Spain in June.