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.