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Liam Does Lausanne

As usual a little late to the party on the blog and race report, but better late than never!

If you’ve been following along through out the year, you might remember for my last race in Canada, I snuck in at the last moment only a few days prior and despite that, had a fairly decent result. That was a really great turn of events, because thanks to that race and result, I was able to move up the international rankings to a level that made this most recent race possible.

Heading overseas I had looked up the races I wanted to do, and whilst the World Championships in Lausanne was a race I wanted to do more than most, it was one that seemed very unlikely. That was until as mentioned earlier, I pulled one out of nowhere in Canada and improved those chances dramatically. It went from being next to impossible one week, to then looking close to a sure thing the next! Crazy how things can work out.

To end up on the start list straight away, and to be selected by Triathlon Australia was a pretty good day. Now it was time to get my head into the race, as I had really accepted I’d be spectating from home until then.

Lausanne is renowned for being a pretty technical and tough course, with a few fairly decent hills on the bike thrown in for good measure. After a few months in Girona, which is known for its great cycling, I’ve managed to get much better at climbing hills, and is my favourite part of training. Unfortunately what goes up must come down! Descending down hill is far from my strong point, to be quite honest it’d be something I struggle with the most.

After a shocking day on the bike in Melbourne which resulted in two pretty solid crashes within 5 minutes of each other my confidence had been shaken. Girona was great, however, because I couldn’t escape it. I had to practice it and work on it. I may have had a few more…let’s call them incidents, where the bike and myself did not stay up right as intended. Unfortunately this seems to have been coined ‘pulling a Twomey’, which is probably not the most ideal way to be used in a sentence, but beggars can’t be choosers!

I do pride myself on being able to crash graceful, and walked away pretty much good as new each time, so if you’re going to do something badly, at least be good at it!

Arriving in Lausanne at the start of September, I did my best to just approach the race as any other, despite the extra hype around it, and the environment I was walking into. Being aware that any pressure is always coming from me – and no one else – helped take the edge off, and just soak up my first experience of a World Championships.

The team hotel did not disappoint, one fine establishment, matched only by its breakfast buffet spread! I love free food more than I need oxygen, so it was essentially like Christmas had come early for the week. After getting a bit carried away on the first morning, with what could almost be described as a four-course breakfast degustation, I was good to go.

A beautiful location for a race, swimming in Lake Geneva, with the Swiss mountains as the back drop, cycling through the busy streets of Lausanne, and running along the foreshore to finish it off. Very noice!

Fast forward to race day, with a late afternoon start, meant a day to just relax and ease into the race. Usually it’s safe to say I’m a bit wound up on race day, a bit of anxiety and excitement rolled into one and I generally prefer to keep to myself. On the day though I actually woke up just plain old excited and grateful. The nerves weren’t there! It just had clicked that to be selected, racing and having my first taste of a World Champs was something to just go enjoy and see how I went against the best in the world.

So when the gun went off, I was just looking forward to seeing what I could do. Managed to have one of the better swims I’d had, just able to relax, and not overthink my stroke and let it go. Coming out in the front pack of the swim was a massive confidence boost, and got me really excited to get out on the bike.

Now we had 3 laps on the bike, with two climbs per lap, so 6 hills in total. They definitely weren’t a walk in the park, but going up is what I’d been doing for months, so it just felt like any other hill, it hurt like hell but was stoked to get to the top. Also my concerns about ‘pulling a Twomey’ on the downhills were averted and I managed to avoid ending up as apart of the temporary fencing, or back in Lake Geneva, it was time to get out on the run!

Running off the bike unfortunately I didn’t feel as good as I did for the rest of the race, with a shocking stitch and some dry retching to start I knew it was going feel like a very long, uncomfortable run. Add on top of that some pretty limited run training the past few months, there was nowhere to hide in a race like that against the top guys. I didn’t run badly either, mind you, I ran for where I was at, and was happy that I’d given it everything when I crossed the line.

To finish my first World Championships in 11th place, after holding strong with the guys up front until my fade away in the run, is a result I was maybe a little bit surprised at, but definitely pretty proud of. One of the tougher courses out there, my first race against the best guys in the world, and my first World Champs, it was a personal victory for me on a few levels, a massive learning experience and just a whole lot of fun.

Now whilst I thought my day couldn’t have gotten any better post race, getting to see what happens to a triathlete (my room mate not me) when he’s had a few too many rose’s will definitely be one of the funnier parts of the trips. Nothing like a bit of baby sitting to not miss drinking!

As the race ended up being my last for a season, and coincided with the end of my 3 months in Girona, I just wanted to thank the people that helped make this trip possible. So to The Black Dog Institute, The Tattersalls Club, The Start Foundation, Team Twomey Crew members, or anyone that donated, thank you a million times over! To my coach at Elotik Pro Triathlon, thanks for putting up with me for 3 months! Lastly to my friends and family who helped get me overseas thank you for being such great support from home.

Time to enjoy a few weeks of junk food, lots of sleep and very little moving, before getting back to work for the 2020 season and what hopefully will be an even more amazing year.

Until next time.

Photo credit to Wagner Araujo & Tommy Zafares respectively for photos 1&2.

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