Erica Hawley glad to fill void left by Bermuda cancellation
Erica Hawley conceded the upcoming World Triathlon Cup events in South Korea have given her a vital boost after the cancellation of the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships Bermuda.
Having battled her way to highly respectable 22nd-place finish in the Under-23 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Edmonton, Canada, in August, the 23-year-old had been relishing the opportunity to team up and compete alongside Olympic champion Flora Duffy, Tyler Butterfield and Tyler Smith in front of a home crowd this weekend.
However, because of a spike in active Covid-19 cases, the local organising committee and World Triathlon opted to cancel the event last month after extensive discussions with Bermuda’s health and government authorities, much to the dismay of Hawley, having seen the prospect of a potential career highlight curtailed.
“Obviously I was devastated when Bermuda got cancelled,” she said. “Not only was I going to have the opportunity to race at home in front of family and friends, but also we were going to have a team for the mixed relay, which is something that doesn’t come round often for a small country like Bermuda.
“Competing in this event at the Commonwealth Games was one of the highlights of my career and this time I would have been competing alongside an Olympic gold medal-winner, which is definitely not something that happens every day.
“I just hope that Bermuda can host a World Triathlon Championship Series event in the future and that all four of us are fit, healthy and able to race if there is an event in 2022 or beyond.”
Amid her disappointment, Hawley was handed the chance to move on from the setback and redirect her focus on a different competitive opportunity, with two races scheduled in South Korea; the World Triathlon Cup Haeundae event on October 23 followed by the World Triathlon Cup Tongyeong event a week later.
“After hearing about Bermuda being cancelled, I had a couple of hard days mentally, but I was able to get back into a solid rhythm and carry on the momentum I had before,” added Hawley, who feels her experience with coping with Covid regulations in Canada will prove invaluable once she arrives in South Korea. “Once I had found these races in South Korea and had an event to work towards, it helped me get back into my groove.
“I’m really glad that the South Korea races are around the same time as Bermuda was going to be. This has meant that my training plan hasn’t really changed.
“I knew that I was fit now and that I wanted to race sooner rather than later, so it actually worked out great that there are two World Cup races in two weekends, just a week after when Bermuda was planned to be.
“South Korea has its challenges such as being in a bubble and not being able to leave the hotel except in designated training, a hard travel there, coping with the differences in food and time difference. However, with these things I can only control what I can control!
“Racing in Edmonton and that bubble situation have really helped me prepare for these races because I felt like I managed that really well.”
Turning her attention to the upcoming races, Hawley, who has been preparing from her base in Boulder, Colorado, is determined to build on the momentum of her encouraging performance in Edmonton as she aims to end the season on a high against a competitive field.
“I was overall pretty happy with my race in Edmonton; since then training has only increased and I’ve been able to manage it really well,” she said. “I feel like I am going into these races with confidence.
“Since racing in Edmonton, I have been based in Boulder. My coach is here and this in my mind is the best place for triathlon training.
“My build-up to Bermuda was amazing and I was obviously very motivated. Although my training shifted slightly since the race in Bermuda got cancelled, my overall preparation has been going really well.
“The start list looks really good for Korea. The field seems to be smaller than a normal World Cup event of around 40 athletes, but it will still be a competitive race.
“I of course have my own expectations, but at the end of the day I want to showcase all of my hard work that I have been putting in and end the season on a high.”