Aileen Reid insists she has learned some ‘valuable lessons’ from her disappointing sixth place finish at the inaugural European Games in Baku on Saturday morning.
The Culmore Road woman is the leading European competitor in the World Triathlon Series where she lies in sixth place, and would have been hopeful of making a spot on the podium in Azerbaijan.
However, Reid finished the race at Bilgah Beach in two hours three minutes and 58 seconds, three minutes and 30 seconds behind winner and Olympic champion, Nicola Spirig of Switzerland.
So Reid, who finished fourth at the London Grand Prix two weeks ago, was disappointed but she claims the race was a ‘reality check’ and she’s promised to come back stronger when she returns to action at the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg in four weeks time.
“This is my sixth race of the year and it has been a lot of time on the road, so I am going to have a mid-season break now which I am very excited about, and I will be ready to come back in Hamburg, which is four weeks away,” she said.
“I prepared properly for these Games and I was feeling good. I was expecting higher than sixth, but I don’t feel sorry about not finishing first because I did my best and I came in the top 10.
Obviously I wanted to do well and podium, but I am going to take away some valuable lessons and it is important to do that. I want to be a better athlete and when you make mistakes you have to learn from it and build on what you’ve got.Aileen Reid
“It was a reality check and I know what I need to work on, which I have always known, but it is an important reminder ahead of the test event in Rio this year.
“I know it will be a tough bike course, so it is a reminder that is what I need to work on and I now have a whole year and a little bit to make my biking a lot better.
“It was a great race to come to. Obviously the atmosphere and everything else was fantastic and this is not going to impact my rankings in the World Series.
“Obviously I wanted to do well and podium, but I am going to take away some valuable lessons and it is important to do that. I want to be a better athlete and when you make mistakes you have to learn from it and build on what you’ve got and hopefully be better.”
Sea conditions were tougher than expected with a stiff wind creating some chop for the 1,500m swim leg, however, Reid refused to blame the conditions for her under-par performance.
“It was windy and wavy, but that is part of the race and I enjoyed it,” she said.
And Reid dealt with it well, emerging from the water in 20:46 and posting the fastest first transition to remain within reach of the leaders.
Onto the bike and Olympic Silver medallist, Lisa Norden and Rachel Kalmer of the Netherlands made an early breakaway pulling out a gap of some 30 seconds.
Olympic champion, Spirig recognised the danger and managed to bridge over to the two early leaders. Reid was unable to match her strength and was receiving little help from the chasing pack she was a part of meaning the gap grew out to over two minutes by the time they hit the second transition.
With a sizable gap there would be no catching the leaders over the final 10 kilometre run. With the temperature beginning to sore Reid kept up a strong pace clocking 35:37 for the distance to come home in 6th place in a time of 2:03:58.
The race was won by Spirig (2:00:28) with Rachel Kalmer second (2:01:44) and Lisa Norden third (2:01:46).
While an automatic Rio Olympic qualification slot slipping away, Reid remains comfortably within the qualification zone, ranked 6th in the world.
Next up for Reid is a return to the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg on July 18th where she will look to continue her rise up the World Triathlon Series leaderboard.