24 April 2019

Hollie Avil’s triathlon blog

July 15, 2009

British national champion triathlete Hollie Avil blogs exclusively for Sportsister. Here she talks about her most recent race in Holten, Holland at the Senior European Championships.

I am currently up the Swiss Mountains, 1800m above sea level in the town of St. Moritz, which means we are living and training at altitude. I’m here with my coach, Ben Bright, and a handful of British triathletes. We arrived here on Tuesday straight from Holten, Holland, where I have just raced in the Senior European Championships.

It felt great to be part of a GB team again, apart from the Beijing Olympics, the last time I competed at a major championship with the GB triathlon team was in 2007 at the World Junior Championships in Hamburg. It’s always a great atmosphere and it was nice to put on our new team kit and soak up the team spirit.

I always have a look at the course in the days leading up to the race to make sure I know it well. I go over all the technical aspects on the bike course, looking at the turns and corners. I think it helps your confidence if you do this. Going round the course in Holland in the days leading up to the race, I was sensing good vibes. The bike course was technical and even though we were in Holland, there was a pretty hard hill in it – which I always like to see! The run course looked good too – a long drag uphill and some fast sloping downhill. Holten had set up the venue superbly – perfect for the spectators and the athletes; I could tell the crowds would be out on race day.

The best thing for me was being excited and I was eager to race again. I had been really down after my illness at the Beijing Olympics- so it felt great to be back on the race circuit knowing from training that I was good to go.

So the race; I was really happy with my swim. I found the pace comfortable and I came out in the top 10. I’ve been working on my open water skills a lot lately, so it was nice to put them into practice. Simple things like sitting on feet (the technique emplyed by swimmers to give them the path of least resistance), taking the shortest line around buoys and learning to relax in a group.

I went out on to the bike and my legs felt great. I felt in control on the bike and enjoyed the whole 40k. It felt good to be back racing – I was loving every pedal, every cheer from the crowd, every surge of pace and every technical corner or turn on the course. The 40km went really quick and we were flying into transition before we knew it. I’ve never jumped off my bike at such a fast pace! A little bit too fast and I ran straight past my transition spot! So it cost me 10 or so seconds in transition two, possibly costing me 5th spot. I need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Next was the run and the pace was on. Due to my poor transition, I had to work hard to try and bridge back up to the leaders. I never managed to catch the front four, but pulled away from the main chase group. It was a solid run and I was holding 5th until the last 800m, I gave it my all but I couldn’t match the kick that the athlete behind me put in. So I got 6th spot at my first Senior European Champs – I’m pretty happy, but deep down I think my coach and I know there is more to come, which is exciting.

Hollie Avil, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credit: Taut www.taut-sport.com/

Look out for Hollie’s next blog entry where she talks us through a typical training day and shares her food diary with us.

Hollie is encouraging people to join her for the London Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series and sign up for one of Marie Curie Cancer Care’s guaranteed places as official charity partner. The race is held at Hyde Park from 15 to 16 August and incorporates a 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run.

With only two weeks to go until the registration deadline on July 26th people should hurry to ensure entry to this prestigious event.

Hollie Avil is supporting the charity after her granddad was cared for by Marie Curie Nurses. Every step, pedal and stroke will help Marie Curie Nurses to reach more terminally ill people with free care in their own homes or one of the charity’s hospices.

For more information about taking part in this or any other triathlon for Marie Curie Cancer Care please call 08700 340 040 or email triathlon@mariecurie.org.uk

For further details visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/triathlon

Hollie Avil said:”I know first hand the difference that Marie Curie Nurses can make to people with a terminal illness and their families. I was only 15 when my Granddad died of cancer at home in Oxford. It was important to my parents that I knew what was happening to my granddad and I remember how relived my Nan was to have the practical and emotional support from the Marie Curie Nurses who made it possible for him to be at home, where he really wanted to be.”

Hollie Avil is currently studying at Loughborough University and is one of the favourites for victory on home soil in London 2012.

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