By Merryn Sherwood on 07/08/11 at 11:17 pm
Hundreds of fans got an inside look at London’s Olympic course when five of the world’s top female triathletes sat down for a Q&A session at the Oakley O-Lab at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series this weekend.
Australia’s Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffat joined Canadian Paula Findlay, the USA’s Laura Bennett and the toast of Great Britain, latest series winner Helen Jenkins, to interact with spectators gathered around the stage set up by Oakley, ITU’s global partner, just before the men’s race started in London on Sunday.
Between their seven World Championships, 12 Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race titles, two Olympics medals and dozens of World Cup wins, these girls know what they are talking about. The session was moderated by Australian triathlon legend Greg Welch and the overall message was while London’s course is mostly flat, fast and technical, it was tougher than it appeared.
Laura Bennett, who has designed sunglasses for Oakley in the past, told the excited crowd she found the course around Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake challenging.
“It’s an entertaining course, when the bell goes you run through historical areas, all these elements are entertaining. It’s difficult to get away from everyone. The swim was the most difficult, it was hard to get away from everyone. Girls were popping up in the air, when they should be swimming,” Bennett said.
Helen Jenkins, who gathered huge cheers for her dominating performance around Hyde Park on Saturday, also said the London 2012 Olympics race was going to be a tough one.
“I found the swim challenging, I was one of the girls who was popping up. I need to work on my swim. The run was also challenging, it was about getting used to the camber,” added Jenkins in response to a question about what the athletes had learned from the experience in London.
Some of the competitors wrestled with the changing nature of the weather in London, particularly those from Australia.
“I’m not that used to the English summer, I found it quite cold out there, which is unfortunately part of what we do, we have to deal with the elements. It was a very unusual race but it gives us a good idea of what we may be presented with. I found the run very unrhythmical, on the course these are flat, fast roads. I found this one like a school cross-country, like going over speed bumps, changing direction and speed,” said Emma Snowsill.
Paula Findlay, who pulled out of her last race in her home town of Edmonton due to a hip injury and struggled in the run with limited preparation, said that last 10km’s had been trickier than expected.
“I was instructed to pull out if it was getting worse, if it would affect my preparation for Beijing. But actually it felt good on the run. I was determined to finish and it was not the result that I would have liked. I found the run was the most challenging, not only because I’m not running, but there’s lots of changes in direction and changes in surfaces, hills that you do not mind when you are running easy but you do when it’s hard,” added Paula.
For more information on Oakley and their partnership with the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, click here.