Glasgow 2014: NI hopeful Aileen Reid wants fast triathlon bike pace

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Aileen Reid
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July to 3 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Northern Ireland medal hopeful Aileen Reid believes the pace in the 40km bike leg will probably decide her fate in Thursday's women's triathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Reid, 32, fears that team tactics could effectively mean a "slow bicycle race" and set up the event for strong runners such as Australia's Emma Jackson.

"I want a fast bike to try and get rid of the fast runners," said Reid.

"But the bike course is quite hilly and I have to be content with that."

With her team-mates helping to slow the bike leg pace at the last World Series event in Hamburg, Australian Jackson was able to power towards the lead group and eventually took second place behind American winner Gwen Jorgensen, with Reid in ninth spot.

Aileen Reid factfile
Born in Londonderry on 15 June 1982Represented Ireland in distance running events before switching to triathlon
Achieved podium finishes in European Cup events in 2008 and 2009Progressed to World Series and World Cup events and went on to achieve numerous top-10 finishes from 2010-12
Competed in London Olympics but hopes dashed by a crash in cycling leg as she finished 43rdMoved to training group of renowned triathlon trainer Darren Smith, November 2012
Finished second in World Series Grand Final, September 2013Glasgow is her first Commonwealth Games

However, with a number of strong cyclists in Thursday's field, Reid is hoping for a tactically different race.

"I am a strong swimmer and I have to make the front pack and it will be game on to stay away from some of the stronger runners," she said.

"Hopefully with the likes of Lucy Hall, who is competing for England, and Vicky [Holland], we'll have some strong swimmers up the front who maybe can help make it go my way."

The Londonderry woman, who took to the sport late and only joined the international triathlon circuit in her mid-20s, achieved the best result of her career when she finished second in last year's World Series Final in London.

Despite being bothered by a back injury in the early part of this year, Reid has produced encouraging form in the two most recent World Series events as her Hamburg finish was preceded by an eighth spot in London.

"I've come through all the injury problems now and had a really solid summer's worth of training," she added.

"I'm as fit as I can be and I've got no excuses."

While Reid believes a slow bike pace will boost Aussie Jackson, she accepts that England's 2013 world championship silver medallist Jodie Stimpson has to be regarded as one of the favourites.

"I would be very happy if I was anywhere near her for a sprint finish because I think Jodie's got the potential to medal here."

At 32, Reid is at an age when the term 'veteran' usually starts being applied but she is having none of it.

"I might be an older model but I have less miles on the clock," she laughs.

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Aileen Reid

"I've not come from a background of having lots of stress fractures or the sort of thing that some of the younger athletes have had from training really hard in their teens."

Reid's potential to become a world-class triathlete was spotted by the man who was later to become her husband, the former Athletics Northern Ireland high performance manager David Reid.

"I had a [normal] life and job at one stage but my husband was then the one who pushed me into doing this and being serious about it and I'm very grateful for that."

The couple were married in New Zealand in November 2012 - a couple of months after Aileen's crash-affected London Olympics outing - but their time together is often fleeting because of the triathlete's sporting career.

"By the time I got home last year, we were married for 11 months and I had been away for nine.

"But I'm not going to be doing this for ever.

"Athletes have short careers and I'm going to do the best I can in that short time.

"When it's all over, I'll hopefully sit down and put my feet up and enjoy having a family."

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