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
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

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?