Jodie Stimpson: 'When you get off the bike on a triathlon, you know from your legs if it's on'

British athlete is one of the favourites in the World Triathlon Grand Final in London this Saturday. She describes what it feels like to put your body on the line

Missing out on the Olympic triathlon was one of the hardest things I've ever gone through in my life. I missed my Olympics at home, and I was absolutely devastated.

But it gave me more motivation and I have my chance to shine in London on Saturday at the PruHealth ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. I've since moved to a new coach in Darren Smith and I'm right up there in the world rankings.

Throughout London, which is free to come and watch by the way, I'll hear Darren's voice in my head with the techniques he's been drilling into me since we started working together. It's the technical stuff he's really concentrated on with me, as well as nutrition.

The first thing to focus on obviously come race day is the dive. With that, you're trying to get to the front, to get to the first buoy in great shape. The swim may only be 1.5 kilometres but, if you don't go well, sometimes that can mean your day is over in terms of being competitive. So, you're aiming for that first buoy in the quickest time possible. If you're out front, it means you can swim more and not fight so much, and there's plenty of fighting in the water.

The good swimmers don't tend to fight as they don't need to, being out in front. There are certainly some girls you want to avoid being near in the water, ones to contend with more than others. I can certainly fight my own corner if I have to. If you don't, you go nowhere, so you have to be prepared for it. But the dream is to come into that first transition without having to fight.

It's at that transition that you really find out whether you've got the legs or not that day. In transition, I used to panic as you want to be as quick as you can, the hands get shaky and that's when things go wrong. But the key thing is to stay calm above everything else, ignore your mind thinking "I don't want to miss the pack". Everyone else is in the same boat, so you need to make sure you don't panic.

'The swim may only be 1.5 kilometres but, if you don’t go well, sometimes that can mean your day is over in terms of being competitive' (Getty) 'The swim may only be 1.5 kilometres but, if you don’t go well, sometimes that can mean your day is over in terms of being competitive' (Getty)

 

On the 40km bike ride, there's no chance to settle into a rhythm because the hammer goes down very early on. It's always a hard pace wherever you are. If you're in the leading group, you're pushing to pull further clear. If you're in the chasing pack, you're pushing to catch the leaders.

Your tactics on the bike very much depend on where you are in the race but the transition is key here. It actually starts about two kilometres before the actual transition, as you're pushing to get into a good position to make sure you avoid any sort of crash. That's the most likely time in the race for a spill to happen.

It's understandable as there are so many of you there and just a touch of wheels can end your race. I touched wheels with a rival in Hamburg in July and nearly went down but I just avoided it.

Jodie Stimpson during the cycling phase of the triathlon (Getty) Jodie Stimpson during the cycling phase of the triathlon (Getty)  

You need to stay calm in the second transition, just as in the first. When you get off your bike, you usually get a sense of how your legs are. You can know it's on immediately or sometimes it takes a while for them to get their running rhythm. Sometimes, it's just not your day.

In Stockholm two weeks ago, I just didn't have the legs. Actually I felt horrendous on the run and, in that situation, you just have to do the best you can. In my case, that was fifth overall, which I guess isn't too bad, but it was frustrating as I'd done a really good block of training.

Your tactics in the run, which is 10km, depend on where you are. Obviously if you're leading with a big gap you don't need to push as much but, if you're the one chasing, you have to push to the limit for the whole of the 10km. Some days, you just surprise yourself.

I wouldn't want to make a prediction of where I'll finish in London. I'm confident I've done the work and I'm in the best shape I could possibly be. If that's good enough to win, I'd be ecstatic but if it's only good enough for 10th then so be it. If I've done everything I can but been beaten by better girls on the day, then so be it.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy