Natalie Milne End of Season Roundup
by Natalie Milne, Team GB
My 2016 racing season has come to an end. This doesn’t mean a break in the training – now is time to start my preparation for the 2017 season but I thought it was time for a roundup of the last few events for this year.
Scottish Standard Championships – 2nd Place
This was my hometown race. I grew up a couple of miles down the road so I know the course well, which was a definite advantage. The swim was a two lap course of 1500m in the loch. I was first out of the water and managed to maintain the gap through transition and onto my bike. Being a local lass, I felt confident heading out on the bike as I knew where to push and where I didn’t have to go full gas. The course was a single lap of a course which took us around Loch Leven and back towards Loch Ore Meadows. It was a great course – undulating and on fairly quiet roads with the added pleasure of riding past my old school. I maintained my lead through the second transition and out on to the run course, where I felt great…to start with.
It was all going well for the first couple of kms and then I went boom! Energy levels plummeted and the rest of the run was a complete struggle. I was just focused on getting to the finish. Toward the end of the first lap, Debbie Moore (who ended up as race winner) came past and I had nothing in the tank to go with her, which was very frustrating. I managed to hold onto 2nd place and, on reflection, I’m happy with that as my real target was the French Grand Prix the following weekend. I got things both right and wrong in this race – the start went well but my nutrition did not. On reflection, I didn’t take on enough fluids on the bike, and then made the mistake of not taking any fluid on the run. It would have been wonderful to win on home turf, but ultimately it’s the lessons that you learn through these mistakes that make you a better athlete.
Quiberon French Grand Prix – 13th Place
I arrived in France, as usual, the day before the race and met up with the rest of the team so we could head to the race venue to check out the course.
Race Day: It was a sea swim, with a fair distance to run into the sea. As our team was starting on the far left, I had a bit of work manoeuvring around to the first buoy, as all the swim buoys were left hand turns and I didn’t want to get caught on the inside. I managed to get away from the left but was stuck in the middle of the pack so I just continued to focus on my own effort. I had an okay swim and exited the water mid-pack knowing that the focus was now on transition and putting on the pace early in the ride to bridge the gap to the front group.
Our team all exited the water near each other, so we were all able to help each other chase down the first pack. Once we caught the first pack I made sure I was near the front as it was a big group and I wanted to keep out of danger. Before I knew it, we were on our last lap and heading into transition. Out on the run I was in the middle of the pack so I focussed on my own effort and managed to gain a lot of places, finishing in 13th place. This was the first time my parents had come to watch me race at a French Grand Prix and it was great to have them there supporting me.
Stirling Aquathlon – 1st Place
This turned out to be my best result of the year. The last French Grand Prix was meant to happen in Nice, but was cancelled so I was looking for a local race to finish my season in a fun way. The Stirling Aquathlon was fantastic – it was brilliant getting to race in a place where I do a lot of my training, and I came first – the perfect way to finish the season.