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Lilly Gibbs is set for Stardom!
The British Triathlon Youth & Junior Super Series is designed to bring together the best young triathletes from across the UK, so they can race head to head at the best and most exciting venues in the country. To race in a super series events you must complete the assessment day in which you are expected to be within certain times. This gives you a rank in which you can be selected to do events. The higher your rank the more chance you have of being selected. Youth (15-16) is the first year in which you can race at an elite level you can then progress onto Juniors (17-19) where you hope to make the British elite pathway so you can continue competing in U23 elites and senior elites like the Brownlee brothers. To make the British pathway you must be in the top ten in your age group)
On Saturday 29th July, I competed in the Hetton Lyons Triathlon which is part of the British elite super series. The day started, well maybe not on race day. On Friday, my family and I woke up at 4:30 for long drive up to Durham near Newcastle. It didn’t really dawn on me how far north we had driven (especially as I slept the whole way) until we went to a shop and I thought the cashier was speaking a foreign language. On Friday evening, I joined a friend that I have made on the elite circuit at the race venue for a bike reece. This was a fantastic way to get to know the bike course prior to our race. The course was technical, had two hills, and a fast shacanne downhill section. Perfect! I love courses like this so I was very pleased. We practised a few mounts as we had to mount on a hill which was quite hard. After the reece I registered and returned to Durham to have dinner. I highly recommend to anyone who may visit Durham in the future to go to “ask Italian”, I am probably the biggest fan of Italian food and I have never tasted a better lasagne- sorry mum!! I then returned to the hotel and our stifling hot room- no air con, windows that don’t stay open- great! I don’t recommend this hotel! With a flannel on my forehead I eventually got to sleep.
Race day! Wheels checked, roll out done and transition set; I was ready for the heats. At 10:10 the youth field was split into two heats. I was in heat one so of I went. I had a good swim and came out midfield. I made sure I flushed my wet suit before I emerged from the water. Dean is right it does work! I had my fastest transition to date and overtook about three people before I mounted my bike. Time to start my pursuit. Lap one done and I was in 14th, lap 2 I was in 14th, lap three 10th, final lap 3rd! I recorded the fastest bike out of both heats so I was really pleased. I managed to hold on in the run to finish in a strong sixth which qualified me for the A final at 4:00.
Morgan also qualified for the A final which was great as he had a hard heat when he narrowly missed the lead bike pack due to a crash in front of him. So, he did amazing to recover. Megan also came and joined Morgan and I this weekend and raced in the TS3 girls. She raced very well despite a little blip but nothing Megan couldn’t overcome!
Finally, my final came. I was not looking forward to it as the thought of doing another triathlon all over again was not pleasant but when the claxon sounded I was fine. Second to last out of the swim but regardless I felt strong and I was in a large pack. Within the first lap I dropped my pack and managed to get hold of the next group. It was great but soon they clocked on that I was the strongest rider and I found myself leading the rest of the way even when I tried to sit back. On the last lap, I caught up a trio. I was in 8th place going out on to the run. My legs felt like jelly by this point, but I was dying for a top ten and held on to finish in 9th. I was ecstatic!! Morgan also did well in his final finishing in 16th which is his best place so far in a triathlon in the super series this year.
Not to long after, I re-set my transition for the third and final time for the mixed relays. The tristarts had their relays first which was great to watch as there was so much enthusiasm. For the youth and juniors however there was a lack of this. By this point most of us were really tiered and weren’t too keen on a non-wetsuit swim. My leg went well and I was in roughly mid field when I handed over to Ben Bishop who also had a good leg. Unfortunately, my team didn’t finish as our junior girl, Josephine Edmunds, crashed out just before her bike dismount. It was a bit disappointing not to finish but we were just glad she wasn’t too seriously injured. I wish her a speedy recovery.
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