ITU Beijing Grand Final 2011
September 16th, 2011 by Gavin
September 12th, 5pm. Downtown Beijing:
I have just finished my first satisfactory coffee in over a week. I spot a girl across from the coffee shop.
“I bet you she knows”. I couldn’t find the dvds that I wanted (at the price I wanted) so I wander over to the massage parlor. She calls a man who calls a man who knows somebody who might have (might have) robbed somebody. A man comes running. ‘Give me best price not joke price’. ‘Ok ok show me money’. The deal is done. There isn’t enough money left for a massage – in my haggling pocket that is. It is a long day that starts with a taxi driver weaving through traffic on route to Tiananmen Square.
People, pollution, people, squares, forbidden cities, Starbucks, a silk market, haggling, red bean buns and a magical mystery tour on the underground that ends with a local dude in a pimped up Daihatsu with pink lights on his break discs leaving me and my adventure partner off at the hotel for £1 cold hard cash.
Beijing. Crazy Craic Central.
46 hours earlier a report is posted online describing my 26th position in the ITU Grand final as the ‘best performance in a WCS Grand final’ by an Irishman. There is truth in the quote and luckily for me I am also the first Irishman in an elite grand final. Win win ??
I am a realistic chap and know that anything less than 30th position would have been disappointing. 26th is just about acceptable, no more, no less. This is the highest level, there is no craic involved … one should keep their excuses for a better performance internal and use the race positives as tools for the future not as content for race reports.
Ireland has come a long way in a short period of time in recent seasons. Being in Beijing made me very appreciative of the excellent race team we have in Coaches Chris Jones and Tommy Evans and of course magic hands Deirdre Burrell. We are a small team who cleverly stretch a small budget.
20-30th is were I sit when the best of the best triathletes on are on the start line. If I sit still ill fall back and so the game at the moment is to consistently get into the 10-20 barrel at WCS. A man can be a hero for a day in Continental Cups (sometimes) or maybe for a week at a World Cup but WCS level and in particular the Grand Final is the ultimate judge.
I appreciate the support as always and the words of encouragement.
Onwards to Yokohama and then to Florida . . . I need to work a bit on my tan there as Champion System produced a funky yellow suit for me earlier in the year that hasn’t been shown yet! I am lucky in that I don’t have to worry too much about training clothes or causal sports wear – I am reminded of that at championship races when Ireland seems to be the only team without team kit . . . . but that’s an age-old Irish story isn’t it?
I have another story from China that involves an Aileen Morrison swim set special – 4 x (200, 150, 100, 50 descending speed on the 1.20 cycle) – the sickly smell of cigarette smoke on poolside, a squatting lifeguard, a hole in the ground and some sick in my mouth as I attempted to shift Morrison from my hips on the last 50m- but this is a family blog