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With a solid block of training under my belt after having been injured with a torn intercostal muscle, my coach decided I would travel to Spain with the athletes preparing for the London World Triathlon Series (WTS) event in order to train and race my first triathlon. This would be no ordinary age group triathlon, because in Spain they have draft-legal events for age-groupers.

The trip to Spain began with a bang. After all, it was my first triathlon. I was excited to get the chance to race, see all my hard work pay off and learn from the experience. We found a small local race that would be perfect to experience a triathlon. 

The gun goes off and I race toward the ocean. Having never done a beach start before, I was unsure of how to dive into waves for the best possible start. Immediately I was gapped and spent the next bit of the swim catching up. Rounding the first buoy I was swimming through a mass of people and I focused on getting to the front. After about 400 meters I finally came clear of the massive pack and was racing toward the second buoy with the leaders in sight. By the time I reached the second buoy I had caught up to the leaders and was racing toward shore. Getting to shore I realized again that I had never run out of the ocean and up a beach to my bike. My legs were very tired, but I was focused on getting to my bike. 

T1 is definitely an area that needs work, as I wasn’t efficient getting out of my wetsuit and mounting my bike.

On the bike I had 23K of very hilly riding ahead of me. I put my head down and rode the first part up hill. Reaping the benefits of getting into a pack, I was sitting in and riding along comfortably. I was staying focused and trying to keep on wheels. This is where I made a mistake. At near the midpoint of the bike we were heading up a hill and I was following too close to the wheel in front of me. The rider got out of his saddle and his wheel came back causing me to hit wheels and crash. The crash itself was not too bad; I only scrapped my elbow and knee, but I hit my quad on the cross bar giving me dead leg. I got back up, though, and finished up a decent ride. 

T2 was a lot better than T1. I ran to my bike, put on my shoes and took off running. It was time to let my NCAA running career shine.

The run was twice out and back along the ocean so it was hard at this point to gauge were I was in the race. All I did was run as hard as I could for 5k. I was weaving in and out of people the entire time. I wish I had been closer to the front or at least had an idea of where I was. Nonetheless, it was a good run and an awesome race experience.  Due to my inexperience and accident I was not able to finish anywhere close to where I wanted. However, with the crash and it being my first race, I was able to take more than just a finishing place.

The rest of the time in Spain was spent training hard and absorbing life in a foreign country. Vitoria, Spain, is an incredible place to train and I am thankful for the opportunity to have been there to race, train and have these experiences.

After finishing up two hard weeks of training we headed out to London for the WTS race. This was an incredible opportunity to see the best in the world compete. I was able to watch and learn from the best so I can apply it to my training.  I felt that analyzing the transitions was most important and, after seeing them, I can apply those skills when I am practicing and racing. 

Running and swimming in London was awesome, but it was equally fun being able to see all the iconic sights in the city. Getting to see Big Ben, the Eye of London and the Royal Palace are just a handful of the sights. 

Having completed my first race and watched the best in the world race in London, I can see everything that went well and everything I can improve on. It is exciting for me to see that I have so much room to grow and get better. I left Europe for the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista to apply all I learned overseas and to train for my first elite card earning opportunity – Monroe EDR on June 21.