The 2015 Hamburg WTS was the first WTS since London six weeks ago. I have been training in Vitoria, Spain, for the biggest race of my season: the Rio test event which is on August 2nd. The Rio course is hilly on the bike, so I have been doing lots of riding to prepare for the race. However, before Rio, I had one final test in Hamburg.
I knew my competitors put in a big block of training to prepare for the second half of the season and were going to be getting faster. However, I didn’t think about the others going into the race as I knew there was only one thing I could control: my own race.
Hamburg was a sprint distance race (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run). It started off with a non wetsuit swim in the lake. It’s an amazing swim venue where fans are literally sitting on the edge of the water cheering on athletes who are a few feet away. I exited the water in fifth and a group of 12 quickly formed on the bike. The chase pack could see us the entire race, and ended up catching us with one lap to go. The bike course is completely flat, but has a lot of turns, making the ride more difficult than it seems on paper. As I ran out of transition, I saw the leaders up the road. They seemed to get further away from me for a little bit before I caught the leaders with 2.5km to go. From there, I put in a few surges, leaving only me and Vicky Holland (WTS winner in Cape Town 2015). It was going to come down to a tactical sprint. I knew Vicky had a great kick from watching her win medals at the Commonwealth Games and in Cape Town this year. With a couple hundred meters to go, I started my kick and somehow managed to come across the line in first. It was an incredible feeling and I was extremely happy.
After the race, I had a lovely German dinner with two friends (Stephanie and Erik) who drove to my race from Gouda. Stephanie is a former Wisconsin Badger, and also a former colleague of mine at Ernst & Young, LLP. It was great to catch up with them and enjoy German beer, sausage, sauerkraut, herring, and potato salad.
I am now back in Vitoria for one more week of training and fine tuning before Rio. The Rio test event is the first opportunity for Americans to earn a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team. The first and second American in the top eight at Rio will earn an Olympic spot. It is what I have been aspiring to achieve since the London 2012 Olympics.
The podium. Vicky Holland and Non Stanford
In Hamburg there are beer showers
Focus before others are called to the pontoon for lineup
Pre race thoughts
This was my first race on my new custom Amira - isn't it pretty?!? I love it. It has many details that I love including my name, "Gwen Jorgensen" and my married last name Lemieux and a Wollongong Wizard hat.
This is what I do before a race: computer, legs up, chocolate.
My friend Stephanie Reed and her fiancé Erik came to watch the race!
This is Gavin Noble taking his picture with a cutout me. He should have just asked for a real picture in person :)
And this was the pre race hotel dinner.
Two bouquets of flowers. The one on the right was from winning the race, but the one on the left means so much more to me. The roses were a surprise from Patrick. The night before the race he came back with groceries and flowers :)