Returning back to ITU racing after almost 2 years due to the pandemic, brought many unknowns both for my own form & competition. It was brilliant to have a WPS race in the UK for the first time & the home support on the day really made the difference.
It was a stacked field with all of the top ranked guys in the PTVI category. Starting the race 3:18 behind the totally blind athletes we knew it was going to be a tough race with such a strong field. Brad Snyder of the USA led the field with a fantastic swim, we'd closed the gap by 55s in the water & a further 30s with a long run to T1 & slick wetsuit off & mount.
The first lap of the bike we hadn't really taken much time off the US guys at the front, we kept pushing harder and started to eat into the gap closing to a few seconds by the 4th & final lap. Unfortunately the US guys took the exit to transition on the start of the last lap which cost them some time, but they did rejoin the race rather than riding all the way to transition. We took no risks on the last lap of the bike, we had the lead & just needed to defend. Tough climb up to T2 at the top of round hay park & onto the run.
The crowd noise was loud & the support helped us to keep pushing and put another 30s into the field. Great racing from the rest of the guys with a real foot race & only 40s separating 2nd to 5th. So much fun racing a home race with the support always making it special. So happy to have picked up the win, with current world champ Hector Catala Laparra coming in 2nd & Thibaut Rigaudeau 3rd.