Tom Bishop produced a superb display to take fourth place at CLASH Daytona last week, holding off eventual winner Vincent Luis until deep into the run.
It was a great way to round off a season which has seen the Brit move into middle-distance racing and he’s joined us to report on the experience and look ahead to 2023…
Positive vibes from the start
I got to the race early – I’m staying with Leo [Bergere] and Angie [Ed. Angelica Olmo], so we got there to help her and get to the start early and prepare for her race. So I was just chilling in the lounge, watching the women’s race and trying to learn what I could. Obviously, I saw that Angie won which was amazing, and I think the vibes from Leo winning last week just carried on. We had a really nice time this week; unfortunately Leo was sick and couldn’t race, but still everyone was in a good headspace I think.
The gun went off and I tried to find some fast feet – obviously I knew there were a lot of fast ITU swimmers there, so I just got onto some feet. I didn’t want to go too deep on the swim because I knew the bike was going to be hard. I just tried to keep it controlled and position as well as I could.
Getting onto the bike, I’d lost a few spots in transition but I wasn’t really rushing it and there were plenty of people around.
First couple of laps on the bike, I just wanted to drop my heart rate and recover a bit. I was finding it pretty cruisy, and I saw we had maybe a 30 minute to the the front, and I was controlled, and so I decided to move up the pack, and assumed that I’d be bringing people with me, but I looked around and I was on my own. I made it up to the next pack and same situation again – recovered, then went around – and I was catching the front and it wasn’t too tricky, so head down again.
Setting the pace
I got to the front after about 40km. I was super happy with my set up, and obviously the work I have done with the WattShop team, Vitus, Prime and the sponsors I’ve got to make me fast, worked. I wish I’d kind of gone earlier in hindsight, but I’m just learning, and before I knew it I was with the front pack.
I thought that if I’m going to do anything here, I need to kind of have a gap off the bike, because my run isn’t quite where I want it at the moment, with a few injuries. I needed to push on the bike, and over the last 15km I think I got maybe a minute lead. I was so surprised, I didn’t expect that whatsoever, but I guess looking back I’d done my first real training block for this distance. In five weeks I didn’t expect to make so much difference, but obviously the long rides in the rain and cold paid off. I’m glad I committed to this race.
The first lap of the run went well, and I think I’d only lost about 10 seconds to Vince. I was still expecting to get caught, but I was moving well, not going too hard and nutrition was good as I’d fueled well with Precision. At the end of the second lap I got caught but I’d started to get some cramps in my hip. I think it came from my crash in Mallorca. I’ve been having a few little issues with it and I just wasn’t able to run fluidly like I had in the first lap.
It started to twinge a bit more on the last lap and I lost a few more spots, which was frustrating because it wasn’t from working too hard, it was more that with my form I just couldn’t keep the pace that I wanted to.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this race, I just wanted to go in and have fun really. I kind of did, and out on the bike was one of the best experiences that I’ve had, enjoying riding again, enjoying racing again to be fair. Being at the front – I’ve not really been there in a big race for a long time – that feeling of confidence, I was so happy.
The biggest take I’ve got it that I’ve really enjoyed racing again and got some confidence back.
Coming into the home straight with the crowds, I’m just happy to have finished this year on a solid note, which was all I wanted to do, to deliver something I’m happy with where nothing’s really gone wrong, I’ve stuck to a plan and it’s gone well. Really delighted.
It was a great race; I loved the organisation, the crowds, the organisation, the race officials and the volunteers who helped create the race were great, really supportive, such a great experience. A really great note to end the season on and I’m really looking forward to a break now to recover and then let things sink in before I start planning for next year.