In April 2014 I travelled to The Netherlands to represent Great Britain in the European Duathlon Championships. I knew I was in great shape and led from the first run before disaster struck when I hit a barrier and crashed. I went to get back on but my bike was in pieces. So at exactly 1min 34 secs into the bike course my race was over. I stood at the finish line cheering everyone in, until the adrenaline wore off and I was sat at the hospital. Then the reality of what had happened kicked in. The crash knocked my confidence to the core and there was a real sense of letting people down.
I made the decision to go to the World Championships in Pontevedra to gain experience and to help me move on. This time I never allowed myself to think about anything other than getting round in one piece.
On the day, the atmosphere was electric but I felt really detached from it all.
After a conservative first 5k, on to a brutal bike course – 10k of climbing, 300 metres of elevation (14% in places) There’s no doubt in my mind I won the race on my descents. Brave or stupid at over 70kph who knows but I can still remember the feeling of hammering it past so many riders. Just one to catch on the final run and I had the legs for it, I was sure!
My first World Championships, a race with no expectations, a race where everything came together on the day. Words can’t quite describe the feeling of stepping onto that podium to be crowned World Champion. It was everything I hoped it would be and so much more
Pontevedra holds such fond memories and a special place in my heart, because in many ways it was just the start of a much greater journey. So my advice… Never, ever stop believing in yourself. Not everyone will share your vision or understand your motivation but surround yourself with positive people and don’t lose sight of your dreams.