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  1. I have just come back from the USA and it was real eye opener for me actually as I performed way better than I expected to after a long year of injury and lack of running due to my role as a domestique for Al and Jonny at the Olympic Games in August.

    Stu bike Olympic Games 

     You see my season started off very average, when I was in Australia doing all my base work I couldn’t run because I had a stress fracture in my knee. So those moments of doubt crept in and I started to ask all the questions, will I race this season, how long is this injury going to take to heal, can I still swim and bike and so on.

    The answers were simple, I was told not to do anything that would hurt my knee, at first that was kicking in the pool, so basically had to swim with a pull bouy in between my legs, and riding my bike hurt too especially going uphill. So I was very limited on what training I could do, at one point I wondered if it was even worth doing those things as I was around a squad of athletes training really hard and it was tough for me to see everyone swim, bike and running everyday and I felt down.

    Luckily for me Michelle my wife & coach was staying really positive about it and tried to persaude me to do as much as I could. She said it will be easier in the long run because I will at least hold onto some swim and bike fitness and the running will come back quickly. Its hard to believe this at the time when you are in pain and you feel so low, but I took her advice which is usually the right advice on board, she knows me too well and continued on with the swim and bike. 

    I rolled up in Sydney for the first WCS race, at that point in April I had about 2 weeks of jogging under my belt and knew I needed a race before I headed off to the US to try to keep my points high enough to still qualify for Hyvee 5150. To cut a long story short, I think I finished 2nd from last in Sydney coming off the bike in the lead pack and trying to get away to jogging around at the back a bit embarrassed. Once over in the US I was still struggling with run form and to a point still had to be careful how much running I was doing so couldn’t just go all out and train super hard, I had to take it slow. I raced St Antony’s and had a solid race finishing 7th place.

    St Anthonys 5150 2012

    I had all my tickets booked to the next race but then I heard that the British Team might be taking a Domestique to the Games if no one could podium in San Diego WCS. There were several guys in the running and if I was interested I had to put in an application just like everyone else and then back that up with a race in a WCS which for me was Madrid. I lost my money on my USA races and flights and took a risk to head back over to Madrid hoping I might have a chance to prove myself for this role. I had a good swim and a solid bike and left Madrid like everyone not knowing if that would be enough. When I got the call up to say I was selected I was shocked, happy, and speechless all at the same time.

    It was from that point that a full commitment from me as a swim/biker to Al and Jonny would begin. So I was back to not running again which for me at that point was not a problem because I thought to myself, well I haven’t really run much and I know this is a great opportunity for me going to the Olympics in London, my hometown and helping these guys win medals. 

    Olympic Games team 2012!

    I was allowed to jog 3 times per week for up to 30-40mins which really isnt that much but allowed me to have enough run fitness to run to my bike and finish the 10km at the end of the Olympics without harming my swim and bike strength. You all know the outcome GOLD and BRONZE by Al and Jonny and we were a very happy and successful team. I would do it all again tomorrow!

     I had literally 2 weeks until Chicago and 3 weeks to Hyvee 5150 final to get some sort of running under my belt. Luckily the training wasnt left up to me because I would have overtrained on the run trying to cram too much in. Michelle Knows me too well and gave me what she thought was enough running to make sure I could improve but not make me too tired. 

    We thought it was a good idea to do Chicago the week before to help get one full race under my belt. I had a great race and felt unbelievely strong there finishing 2nd with a great swim and bike and my run wasn’t too bad either. I pulled up pretty tired from Chicago and again I wanted to run more than coach wanted to me too. After a few discussions coach convinced me that less was more and I was only allowed to run every 2nd day which thankfully worked and ended up feeling good in the race finishing a solid 6th place.

    Chicago 2012 

    I felt better in Chicago but happy with the way I backed up the race and feeling confident about next year when I get a free run of training in over the winter. Fingers crossed next year is a good year.

    I want to thank my family and friends and my sponsors for sticking by me and supporting me this year through thick and thin. I couldnt have really had the  kind of year I had without the support. See all of my sponsors here sponsors page.

     

    Stu

  2. Pre-Race

    I am sitting writing this blog in my hotel with one day to go before the Olympic Games Triathlon.

    Its Monday and I am going to admit I am a bit nervous but also really excited to race, its my first Olympic Games, and If tomorrow goes well then we could have two Olympic Medals in our sport. This is something that hasn’t been done before and it’s the 4th Olympics, the big incentive is that its our home Games.

    The Brownlee Brothers are unbelievable I have been training with then now for about 2months and I know they are ready to deliver, I hope it all goes to plan!

    Race Day

    Finally race day is here and I have woken up feeling good, ready to race, I just want to get on with the race now, I know the boys want to, so just had some poached eggs and toast for breakfast and although I struggled to stomach it with the nerves I am ready to get down to the start for my warm up.

    The plan is for me to swim well and try to push the pace on the bike with the boys to establish a breakaway. If this doesn’t happen and there is one big pack I will still try to keep the pressure on and keep the speed high on the bike and let the Brownlee’s rest as much as possible. I want to get them into T2 with fresh legs so they can really just go for it.

    During the race

    After a good warm up I felt relaxed, it was a wetsuit swim as the temperature had dropped below 20 degrees. The crowd down there was incredible and people were just supporting us like I have never seen before.

    The gun went and I had picked no 19 on the pontoon which was right in the middle, not the best position as once we dived into the water I got a bit squashed, I was having a pretty good swim and could see Al and Jonny in front of me, then a small gap had opened up and the guy in front had couldn’t hold on to the feet. Its hard when you are swimming that fast to swim around the person in front of you and had to stick as close as possible and stay confident that I was still going to come out close enough to the boys.

     I was 7th out of the water and swam pretty well, as I was taking my wetsuit off Al and Jonny were leaving T1, I was thinking just go boys and get a small break, I saw Al looking at me and knew this could be a good move and that the big players in my pack would have to chase. I was right and they reeled the front pack in very quickly by lap 3 we were a pack of 22 guys with some good cyclist and runners in there.

    Olympic Games bike

    I knew once we caught I had to get to the front and apply some pressure and keep the pace high so that is exactly what I did. I found myself taking big turns and the field were happy to sit and wait for the run. I kept checking that Al and Jonny were ok and we were trying to communicate, the crowd was so loud though it was hard to hear each other. So I just went with my instincts and raced with my head. I knew what I needed to be doing and just wanted to make sure the boys got to T2 with the freshest legs as possible as well as keeping the 2nd pack with some of the fastest runners in it as far away as possible.

    I rode all the way to the line and into T2, I had taken my shoes off so late that I had to stop unclip and carry my shoe in with me to the transition area. By this time It was now the part of the race which I could probably enjoy, since I haven’t run very much since being selected and the ride had taken so much out of my legs, I just wanted to get around and watch the boys fighting it out in front for the medals. When I saw the Al was leading and Jonny was up there in the Bronze medal position I started to celebrate with the crowds and they were giving out the biggest cheers.

    Olympic Games 7th Aug

    What a race! Such an incredible feeling to be part of the success of what the Brownlee Boys achieved, it will go down in the history books and to have been a big part of that is an amazing feeling. I have had so much support and messages after the race its been overwhelming and thank you to everyone for getting behind me.

    Olympic Games Winning combination

    I was in such a bad place in January this year and not much was going right for me, but with a very supportive wife, who got behind me and kept me in the sport, I have Michelle to really thank for having had this opportunity.

     I also want to thank the selectors for having faith in me to be able to do this job and do it well.  My sponsors who without them it would have been hard to keep going.

    What a journey and one I wont forget!!!!

     

    Stu