Brendan SextonÂ is back! He finished 8th in a strong field at the Chicago round of the World Triathlon Series. He swam, rode and ranÂ very competitivelyÂ to get back in toÂ the top ten and build his confidence going forward.Â Expect to see BrendanÂ featuring in the top ten more often as he builds back to his best and looks forward to Rio in 2016.
Here Brendan takes us through his race last weekend…
Chicago WTS â€“ Hot in the Windy City
The past weekend saw my return to competitive WTS racing after a substantial period as not much more than a participant/spectator.
The event was a first for the sport being an event held on the edge of the Chicago city on the shores of Lake Michigan. A Â precursor to next years ITU World Championships the race site in Grant Park was a unique course in both it’s record number of bike and run U-turns & 90 degree corners (48 & 64 respectively over 40km) and also the tremendous and highly photogenic locality to the Chicago city skyline.
The race itself was at 4pm on a day that seemed to constantly rise in temperature as the day went on. Despite cool lake temperatures the organisers deemed the heat stress too high for wetsuits to be worn â€“ something that only happens in relatively extreme heat.
From race start I had unusually clear water until nearing the first turn buoy. At the end of the first lap of two
when we climbed out of the water to dive back in for the second half I was able to see I was mid way among of a constant single stream of guys â€“ but not too far out of touch of the leaders. The second lap proved more challenging and I completely tapped my arms of their limits to follow the foot splash ahead. I hung on to exit the 1500m with what turned into the 3rd of many small groups as the hectic cycle started. With some motivated riding from the group we had made touch with the front two packs and formed one larger lead bunch. Being aware of the heat and trying to lessen the effects of the aggressive course was important and riding good position in the bunch was priority. I wasn’t the only one attempting to follow this elementary tactic.
Entering second transition was a frantic scramble to start the run in the best possible position but as soon as my run shoesÂ hit the baking concrete I knew conservation was paramount for my own performance. I wasn’t alone here as I moved throughÂ the first 2.5km lap just seconds from the leaders. Through the following 5km the leaders, the Spaniards Javier Gomez andÂ Mario Mola, increased the intensity just enough that myself along with the several other guys trying to match the pace beganÂ to lose time. As we began to splinter apart I realised holding pace was the quickest way to finish without encounteringÂ meltdown. I held 8th position for the final 2km to attain my first WTS top ten since April 2011. Gomez went on to win withÂ Portuguese Joao Periera running through a fading Mola to take silver.
For the past 18 months or so I have been implementing changes that myself and my coach Jamie Turner had identifiedÂ would be necessary in my future success in ITU triathlon. Sunday was the first in competition evidence that these changesÂ are in fact having an influence on my performance at the highest level of the sport.
Personally, it was evidence that the track I’ve been following is the right one, it’s just been heading mostly uphill for a while.Â JT has encouraged me to â€œstay on the trainâ€ at the more testing periods and it is a trip that will continue to build momentum.
There has been great support and belief from my supporters and sponsors and without this support I would have jumped offÂ many stations ago. Thank you.
The journey is only just gaining real speed!
I’ll now focus on recovering fully over the next few days before building back up for the next WTS in Hamburg Germany in justÂ under 2 weeks time
Brendan SextonÂ has a great team behind him including the following companies who support him as he strives toÂ be a great ambassador for these brands in the sport of triathlon.