By Emma Jackson.
Hamburg has always held a special part in my heart as it was my first World Championships back in 2007 as a little junior and my first World Triathlon Series podium in 2011. So I am always excited to head back to Hamburg not only because of the special memories it holds but also due to the race itself and the amazing crowd and atmosphere it draws which is rivalled by no other triathlon on the circuit.
This year was no different and I was eager to test out how my form was after being in a tough training block since the London WTS race in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. My coach Steve and I decided early on in the season to skip the fifth round of the WTS series in Chicago to allow for a decent block of training between London and Hamburg to ensure I would be as prepared as possible on the start line in Glasgow. After finishing third in London and having just completed one of my biggest and most consistent blocks of training I was looking forward to getting to Hamburg and seeing how I would do.
Arriving in Hamburg Wednesday afternoon, we were greeted by perfect sunny warm weather - a much appreciated change from France which has been cold and wet. With a late 4:18pm race start I enjoyed not having to set an alarm and sleeping in. I headed out the door at 8:30am for my race morning run and was lucky enough to be able to do it along our run course due to it being closed for the age group races starting later that morning. Running on the course definitely made the nerves kick up a notch but I was loving it and getting more excited for the race by the minute. The rest of the day was filled up with a long breakfast, a Skype chat with Mum and checking and double-checking of my race bag making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything.
The pre race routine went by quickly and before I knew it I was getting called out onto the pontoon to take my position. I decided to take the inside starting position next to fellow Australian Emma Moffatt, which allowed me to have a clear start. Coming up to the turning buoys I knew it was going to be a bit of a fight with 65+ girls trying to get around four buoys after only 270m. After what felt like forever I finally made my way around them and was on the long straight back to the swim exit.
Coming into the first transition I knew I had a hard ride ahead of me as I didn’t have the best swim and was just trailing the first pack. After catching the end of the first pack coming through the transition area after one lap a few girls ahead dropped some wheels and Charlotte McShane and I found ourselves chasing once again for another lap to catch them. Once back with the group I stayed there for the remainder of the bike leg and exited transition two with a bit of work to do.
By the end of the first lap, I was running with the leaders and soon Gwen increased the pace and took the lead. I tried to go with her but unfortunately couldn’t quite keep up and found myself running with Kirsten for 2nd place. The closer I got to the finish the more I was thinking back to 2011 and being in the same position with Emma Snowsill. Coming into the final stretch, Kirsten had a slight lead but I gave it one last sprint and fortunately passed her and finished in 2nd place.
I crossed the line having given it everything I had and excited to be on the podium for a second time this season. Hamburg is such a unique podium with alcohol free beer taking the place of champagne, and it is always fun tipping it over the other girls. The following day I backed up for the Mixed Team Relay World Championships with Charlotte, Aaron Royle and Dan Wilson. We finished for a fiercely contested fourth place and it was great fun competing with fellow teammates, which we rarely get to do in triathlon.
I have to say a quick thanks to my support team as I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Until next time!