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Jess Learmouth Braves Bertha at Liverpool Tri!

Jess Learmouth Braves Bertha at Liverpool Tri!

Last weekend saw both the Liverpool Triathlon and Britain's biggest storm of the summer: Hurricane Bertha! Not ideal racing conditions for sure, but Jess Learmouth braved the storm. Here's how she got on....

Its always nice tapering for a race when you've been training hard for a while. Strolling up and down the pool and having social bike rides instead of smashing it and not speaking to anyone.

But my race prep didn't quite go as planned…

Friday night treat: home-made pizza. While I was kneading the dough, the rain started to clatter against the window, Hurricane Bertha was coming! I left the dough to rise and it soon became apparent that the torrential rain wasn't stopping. Jon and I headed out to start filling buckets of pooled water around the house. As the hours passed, it got worse and the whole neighbourhood was out helping each other save houses from flooding. 4 hours later and I'd perfected a bolt upright sweeping action - my body couldn't tolerate the normal technique. With help from family, neighbours and sandbags we were in a manageable situation. We finally sat down and ate the triple-risen dough.

When I woke up on Saturday morning to travel to Liverpool, I felt as though I'd already done a triathlon - I was a wreck! We sat through the race briefing, which was basically a list of reasons why it could be cancelled.… due to my friend Bertha!

On race day we arrived at the athlete's lounge inside the Echo Centre to collect our race packs. This area was ideal once the weather started to deteriorate!

Just before the swim start, the heavens opened and our race looked unlikely. Thankfully it subsided slightly after the swim warm up and we got the go-ahead to start.

It was a deep water start, 60 of us crammed between two buoys. I didn't pick a good spot, but I was just happy to have clear water. I lead out the swim (which I prefer), but I did come to regret it when I was wading through a sea of jellyfish!

After a slight blip in T1, Soph and I set off on the bike keeping our small swim lead. The bike course we pretty simple, only a few tight turns and cobbles caused us to slow just for caution. It was nice to ride with someone who was committed to the break and thankfully it paid off. We increased our lead to just under a minute back to the chasing pack of 4. The wind was really blowing on the last few laps, which I think helped Sophie and me but we did have a few issues ourselves.

It was a long run into T2 and Soph had already opened up a gap on me before leaving transition. I just ran my own race and hoped I could keep everyone else at bay. Obviously I was expecting to see World Champion Gwen Gorgenson at some point on the run - I was quite happy to keep her off until the end of the second lap of three.

I was delighted to come 3rd overall and 2nd Brit. It was a great experience racing against one of the best in the world!

Now time for more training!

Well done Jess! Not everyone would brave racing in those conditions, let alone get a podium as well! Keep up to date with all Jess's latest news at her blog here

15 August 2014