WTS Hamburg Race Report

After Chicago, I went back to Vitoria and tried to recover. My body was tired from the racing, travel, and time change. My parents flew to Vitoria and I was able to spend some quality time with them and Patrick. My parents spoiled Patrick and me by doing dishes, cooking meals, and being on our schedule. I’m so fortunate to have such loving, supportive parents. After a few days of rest, Jamie Turner and the Wollongong Wizards had a few good, hard sessions before heading to Hamburg.

The 2014 Hamburg race was the 2014 WTS Sprint World Championship. I was excited to race, knowing that Hamburg never disappoints. The crowd and atmosphere are incredible. It is one of the few races where there are so many people cheering that you can actually hear the crowd while swimming. During the 750m swim, I had a good start and was able to have some clean water going around the buoys. I came out of the water in about fifth position. I had no time to celebrate this as the bike was on from the beginning! Every year I’ve raced Hamburg, the bike has been incredibly hard. It is fast, furious, and on from the start! I rode hard, but wasn’t able to maintain a great position, and ended up coming into T2 almost last in our front pack. I knew it was going to be a hard run after the demanding bike. After a lap, I was running with the leaders. I was exhausted, and tried to remind myself that if I was hurting, everyone else was too. I tried to make a gap, but the girls were staying with me and as I was sprinting down the finishing chute I could almost feel Emma Jackson and Kirsten Sweetland gaining time on me. As I broke the finishing tape, I was spent! Congrats to Emma and Kirsten on their podiums – they raced great until the very end and this made for an exciting day for the fans.

The next day, Hamburg hosted the 2014 WTS Mixed Team Relay. I was honored and excited to represent team USA. Every time I race, I proudly wear USA; however, when on the relay, there seems to be an extra boost of team spirit. The race includes four athletes each racing a 300m swim, 6.6km bike, and 1.6km run. I really enjoy this format of racing. It is a lot of fun to watch, and the race can change dramatically quickly. The race starts with a female (Kaitlin Donner), then goes on to a male (Ben Kanute), another female (me), and finally the last male (Alan Webb). It was a fight until the end with lots of tired legs. I’m proud of Team USA for coming fifth. It was a great experience and I hope this format is an Olympic event in the future.

Thank you to everyone who has gotten me to this point in my career. I still can’t quite comprehend that I have won the last four WTS races. It doesn’t seem real. I know that my wins are only because of my support crew. I know I am constantly thanking my training group, Patrick, Jamie, massage therapists, USAT, sponsors, family, friends, fans and more, but without them I would not have this success. Thank you! I plan to skip the Stockholm WTS to prepare for the biggest race of the season: the Grand Final in Edmonton. However, before I get back to training, I will be going on a mini holiday break for a few days in Italy to refresh the body and mind. I then head back to Vitoria to gear up for my final WTS of the year.

Sprinting to the finish. Thanks for the picture, Paul Phillips

Sprinting to the finish. Thanks for the picture, Paul Phillips

Entering T2. Picture thanks to Tony Wallbank. 

Entering T2. Picture thanks to Tony Wallbank. 

"This beer is really cold!" Thanks for the photo, Tony Wallbank.

"This beer is really cold!" Thanks for the photo, Tony Wallbank.

Unbelievable to be on the top step! Photo thanks to Paul Phillips 

Unbelievable to be on the top step! Photo thanks to Paul Phillips 

Thank you Marriott for the Champagne! What a lovely treat to come back to after the race. 

Thank you Marriott for the Champagne! What a lovely treat to come back to after the race. 

Dinner pre race with my parents and Patrick :) So much love

Dinner pre race with my parents and Patrick :) So much love

Who says you can't have ice cream pre race? 

Who says you can't have ice cream pre race? 

WTS Chicago Race Report

“Make the most of these opportunities they are never to be taken for granted” – Jamie turner

I felt pressure build as the days approached June 28th. My coach Jamie Turner physically prepared me for the demands of the competition; however, I don’t think I fully understood his warning and preparation for the mental pressures and stresses I would feel. I’ve been to the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, WTS races...how much different could the race in Chicago be? I thought. I couldn’t understand why Jamie was contacting my support crew to ask them for help in being my ‘body guards’ around the media and event.  I’ve been through this a million times, I can handle it, I reasoned; however, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Without some sheltering from the media and a heavy dose of Silver Edition Red Bull, I’m not sure I would have made it through the week. So, before I tell you about my race, I need to thank Heather, Jono, Andy, my family, and Patrick for their help.

June 24th, Patrick and I flew to ORD (Chicago, IL). It was the first time on US soil since December and there were many things I was looking forward to (including seeing my family, friends, sponsors), and some others I had forgotten about (like how good pepper jack cheese, black beans, and chipotle are!). The days before the race were spent with family, friends, sponsors, and fans.

I’m not sure how the time passed so quickly, but it did and pretty soon it was the day before the race. I felt like my mind was in overdrive and I needed to decompress. Friday afternoon, I asked Patrick to just spend some time with me (without others or phones). He graciously ignored all phone calls (from some of his best friends who he hadn’t seen for months) and pulled out a book we both wanted to read: Pro Cycling on $10 a Day. I put my feet up and relaxed as Patrick read to me aloud. It was a unique experience and a bit strange at first, but it was exactly what I needed to decompress. Thank you, Patrick! Race day came and I was excited to race. My training was going well and I wanted to have another race like London.

Chicago was an Olympic distance race, starting with a two-lap 1500m swim in Lake Michigan. Although the water was below the 20 degree Celsius cut-off for a wetsuit, the Technical Officials decided to NOT let us wear wetsuits because the air temperature was hot. This was not something I expected. We prepare for wetsuit swims (when water is below 20 degrees) and for non wetsuit swims in water above 20 degrees. I had no preference on wetsuits versus non wetsuits, but I didn’t know how my body would react in such cold water without a wetsuit.

The horn sounded and we dove in. As we ran up the ramp after the first lap of the swim, I was in an OK position, but needed to move up. A minute or two later, I was attempting to sight the first buoy in the choppy water and took in a big breath of water. I started to choke and did not remain calm. I kept my head up and it felt like an eternity passed as I gasped for air. I looked for a rowboat thinking, If I drown, I want one nearby! As soon as this thought entered my head, I pushed it away and told myself I was fine and to concentrate on getting to the first buoy. My arms were moving, but they were not catching any water. It felt like five minutes passed before I was able to breathe, but when I am in a race every second counts, and 10 seconds can feel like an hour. I slowly began to inhale air and before I knew it, I was passing a few people and starting to see the front girls again. I exited the water after the second swim lap and started running to transition. It was a very long run. My legs were tingly and numb from the cold water. They wouldn’t turnover as quickly as I had hoped. Thankfully the run to transition helped warm up my body and I was ready to start the eight lap 40km bike leg.

I mounted my bike and never caught the front pack. Our chase pack formed quickly, with a few strong cyclists joining our group from behind. The front group of cyclists slowly gained time on our pack every lap, and we entered T2 about a minute down. I quickly put on my Asics Noosa Fast shoes and started the four lap run course.

It was extremely hot out and I knew the heat could play a major role in the outcome of the race. I didn’t want to overheat, but knew I had to push the run if I wanted to have a chance at a medal. I remained calm and focused on relaxing my shoulders. I don’t remember much from the first three laps of the run, but I will never forget running past the grandstands on the third lap of the run. Normally I do not notice the crowd; however, as I ran past the grandstands, the noise from the cheers created a rush of tingles throughout my body, rejuvenating me. I could see Helen and Juri up the road and started thinking I still had a chance at catching them, especially with the hometown crowd behind me.

The leaders got closer and closer. Before I knew it, I was on their heels. I sat behind Helen to catch a break from the wind. I knew I didn’t have enough energy to make a decisive move at that moment and if I made a move, I wanted it to be definitive. Helen led through a corner and I was tucked in right behind with Juri. I I took a deep breath in and decided to go for it. I surged as hard as I could and thought, I hope I didn’t just burn too big of a match! I ran with my head forward and waited until the next 180 degree turn to see if I had a gap, and I did! I knew I couldn’t let up. Helen is a fighter and she never gives up until the end.

Running down the blue carpet, I had a million things running through my head: Is this really going to happen? Am I really going to win? I crossed the finish line and was spent. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

That night, I was able to spend time with family, friends, and sponsors at a local bar, Rockit. I felt lucky to be able to catch up with so many people. Many friends, family, and sponsors had never seen me race live and being able to show them what I do was incredible. As I walked back to the hotel with Patrick, my future in-laws (Jane, Craig, Paige) and my family (Mom, Dad, Elizabeth) I couldn’t have been happier. I was with the people I loved most and the ones who have given me so much.

The next morning, I woke up exhausted. I was physically and mentally drained. I didn’t realize the amount of emotions and physical energy I had poured into the race. My body guards had protected me, but I had still pressured myself. I emailed Jamie telling him how incredibly drained I was and asking what I should do. He replied, “Enjoy time with folks and family and country folk – make the most of these opportunities they are never to be taken for granted.” It’s moments like these that I know Jamie is the best coach in the world and there is nowhere else I would rather train. He prepares me physically for races, but more importantly, he knows what matters in life and what we need to focus on. I spent the next day and a half with sponsors, family, and friends. I am now back in Vitoria and am finally letting it all sink in…

The Chicago WTS was also the USAT National Championship race. I want to give a special shout out to my compatriots who I shared the National podium with, Kaitlin Donner and Lindsey Jerdonek. Both girls swam and rode incredibly hard and ended the day 17th and 21st overall. Congrats, ladies!

Up next is Hamburg. There is a sprint WTS race on Saturday July 12 and a WTS team relay race on Sunday July 13. Thank you for all the messages and cheers. I am overwhelmed with how many people are able to share in my success. And, I feel truly honored when I hear stories about how I’ve inspired someone to do a triathlon or give that little bit of extra energy in a race. It is one of the many reasons why I love this sport so much. Thank you.

 

Here are a few articles about the race:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-gwen-jorgensen-chicago-triathlon-spt-0629-20140629,0,1446230.story

http://lavamagazine.com/jorgensen-surges-late-to-win-in-chicago/?cbg_tz=-120

http://www.triathlon.org/news/article/jorgensen_creates_history_winning_in_chicago - Elite Women's highlight video

Can't believe that just happened

Can't believe that just happened

Riding the new Gold Amira.

Riding the new Gold Amira.

T2

T2

Patrick reading to me aloud

Patrick reading to me aloud

Me with my mom, dad, and sister Elizabeth after the race

Me with my mom, dad, and sister Elizabeth after the race

Walking back from the party, all I wanted to do was find the new Ben & Jerry's CORE flavors. Thank you Paige, Elizabeth, Jane, Craig, Patrick, Mom, and Dad for being patient as we entered and exited many stores until I found the flavors I wanted! One happy girl :)

Walking back from the party, all I wanted to do was find the new Ben & Jerry's CORE flavors. Thank you Paige, Elizabeth, Jane, Craig, Patrick, Mom, and Dad for being patient as we entered and exited many stores until I found the flavors I wanted! One happy girl :)

I got to meet the Mayor, Rahm Emanuel!

I got to meet the Mayor, Rahm Emanuel!

My family joined me during one of my ASICS photo shoots :)

My family joined me during one of my ASICS photo shoots :)

Family dinner

Family dinner

These two guys drove 1000 miles one way to watch me race - I have the best fans! Thank you

These two guys drove 1000 miles one way to watch me race - I have the best fans! Thank you

My WTS Packing List

Since December 31st, 2013, I feel like I’ve been everywhere but home. I have revisited some of my favorite places and experienced new cultures as well.  In an eight week period, I was in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Basque Region (Spain), France, Japan, and the UK (London). That’s almost one country per week. With all the travel, I’ve become quite proficient at packing my bags for travel and racing.

When I pack for a triathlon, I carry on the essentials for the race: Trivent cycling shoes, Noosa Fast racing flats, ASICS training shoes, ROKA race suit, wetsuit, one pair of run clothes, swimming cap, goggles, training swimsuit, my computer and phones, ear buds, water bottle, book, and some chocolate. I also tend to pack food for the trip, as airport food is expensive and often it is hard to find what I like to eat. Lately, Patrick has made a rice dish and we carry it on in Tupperware to eat throughout our journey.  I always wear compression socks, pants that are comfortable, a shirt, and a jacket with zip pockets (that will fit my passport and phone for easy access) for travel.

The rest of my packing list includes:                                                     

Swim Gear:

Cycling Gear:

  • 2 Specialized Amira bicycles
  • Specialized Evade helmet, custom Red Bull
  • Tools for the bikes: hex keys, cassette removal tool, tire pressure gauge, electrical tape, tubes, scissors, spare Specialized tubular tire, rags
  • Motorex: dry lube, bike clean, and easy clean degreaser
  • Specialized air tool compak bike pump
  • Rubber bands
  • 4 water bottles
  • Race Wheels: tubular HED Stingers and tubular HED Ardennes
  • Training wheels: HED Ardennes
  • 2-4 Silver Edition Red Bull
  • SportCrafters travel trainer in it’s carrying case
  • 2 cycling socks
  • USAT/Specialized cycling kit: 2 bib shorts, 1 short sleeve jersey, 1 long sleeve jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers, booties, rain coat, and vest
  • Specialized S-Works Trivent shoe
  • Specialized S-Works road shoe
  • SRM head unit
  • Oakley Radar Sunglasses

Run Gear:

  • ASICS DS Trainer
  • ASICS Noosa Fast
  • 3-4 pairs of running shorts
  • 3-4 running T-shirts
  • 2 pairs of running tights
  • 5-6 pairs of running socks
  • 5-6 sports bras
  • 2 long sleeve running tops
  • Gloves and hat/headband
  • Garmin 910 XT

Other Clothing:

  • One pair of jeans
  • One nice top
  • USAT and Specialized polo shirt
  • Underwear
  • ASICS Tiger shoes
  • Project Clothing compression wear (tights, ¾ tights, long sleeve top)
  • Jacket with pockets to keep warm
  • Oakley Holbrook sunglasses
  • Red Bull hat

Toiletries:

  • Iron pills
  • Toothbrush/paste/floss
  • Hair ties
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor
  • Do Naturals travel pack (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and sunscreen)

Miscellaneous:

  • A book to read
  • My training journal
  • Calendar/planner
  • Itinerary and any other necessary information (hotel address, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Computer, iPhone, iPad, foreign phone, external hard drive, ear buds, and chargers
  • Passport and wallet (with money and credit cards)
  • Travel rice cooker
  • Travel pillow

This may seem like a lot of items, however we pack to be prepared for anything. We train for all conditions, so it is only logical to also pack for all conditions (just in case!) Let me know if you have any questions on why I may use/pack an item – I would love to hear from you.

HED Ardennes tubulars are for the rain. HED Stinger 4's are for other conditions.

HED Ardennes tubulars are for the rain. HED Stinger 4's are for other conditions.

My Amira with Di2 is my primary race bike.  My Amira with DuraAce mechanical is my spare bike.

My Amira with Di2 is my primary race bike.  My Amira with DuraAce mechanical is my spare bike.

My favorite tool is my Specialized Compak floor pump, which comes with an awesome travel case (pictured above).

My favorite tool is my Specialized Compak floor pump, which comes with an awesome travel case (pictured above).

The SportCrafters travel trainer has made bringing a trainer easy and convenient. I also travel with a travel rice cooker, for Patrick to cook meals in the hotel room in necessary.

The SportCrafters travel trainer has made bringing a trainer easy and convenient. I also travel with a travel rice cooker, for Patrick to cook meals in the hotel room in necessary.

This is a picture of the stuff I pack. I always wonder how it will all fit in one bag.

This is a picture of the stuff I pack. I always wonder how it will all fit in one bag.

I always use the bed to organize and pack.

I always use the bed to organize and pack.

Close up of my carry-on items.

Close up of my carry-on items.

Thankfully, it all fit into my bags!

Thankfully, it all fit into my bags!