Heading into the World Long Distance Championships in Ibiza a fortnight ago, Britain’s Joe Skipper was amongst the favourites to take the world title.
The Norfolk-based triathlete, who last year won IRONMAN Wales and IRONMAN Arizona, had recently pulled out of IRONMAN Texas to give himself the best chance of performing in Ibiza, with expectations high on race day.
Unfortunately, Skipper had a rough day out in Ibiza as he finished 22nd, with the 35-year-old sharing that he had a tough time of things right from the gun.
Despite the disappointment, Skipper acknowledged that professional sport has its share of highs and lows, as the Brit prepares to kickstart his season at Challenge Roth in June.
“One of the worst races I’ve had”
Having taken some time to process the race and result, Skipper took to Instagram to share a breakdown of the day, as he reflected on what he called one of his worst performances to date.
“It’s taken me a while to post anything up from this weekends race as honestly I was so disappointed with my race, it was probably one of the worst races I’ve had.
“At the start of the swim I slipped over which put me right on the back foot as I then had to start off at the back behind everyone.
“I actually practiced the entry quite a few times before the race and was entering really well and was confident of a good start so this was very disappointing and to be honest the stumble at the start of the swim really just summed up my day.”
Skipper added that whilst the swim didn’t go to plan, he regained his composure and put together a solid bike leg, and it wasn’t until he got on to the run that things really started to unravel.
“Onto the bike and I was riding pretty decent the numbers were good and felt like I was doing a decent ride for me. I lost time to the couple of guys right at the front but rode very similar to the big chase group ahead of me. I took the last 10 minutes easy as well as it was downhill and wanted to make sure I had a good run.
“Onto the run and I just felt absolutely terrible, I felt sick and my legs just felt like they wouldn’t go. Since the race I’ve actually looked at what my heart rate was and it was very high for the pace I was running.”
“Support kept me going”
Explaining why he didn’t just pull the plug and call it a day, Skipper revealed that even being towards the back end of the field, the support out on the course in Ibiza was amazing, with the fact that he was representing GB another incentive.
“The support out on course was amazing. I had loads of support from spectators, other athletes that were racing as well and from some of the pros that raced the PTO race the day before.
“Racing for GB is a great privilege and I didn’t want to be someone that took an entry for the race from another athlete that would have at least finished.”
The Brit, recognising that the performance fell way short of what was expected of him, described his embarrassment upon finishing, but did manage to find some silver linings for the future.
“It was an embarrassing performance and I really felt like I let a lot of people down. Sport definitely feels like a rollercoaster and you get some amazing highs like when you win a race, you get a new personal best or a breakthrough performance.
“If it was easy and it happened every time you raced it wouldn’t mean as much. This was definitely one of the lows and I actually booked a flight home the night of the race as I was that disappointed with how it went.”
“My training had been going really well so I was going into the race with expectations of a decent result. I guess if I had to pick a positive from the race it would be at least this proves I wasn’t doping!”
With any luck, Skipper will be back firing on all cylinders when he toes the line at Challenge Roth on Sunday June 25, where he will take on what has already been billed as a “world championship” calibre field.