After Sables d’olonne we had another long day of travel and I ended up not getting any training in. What this meant was that I had from Tuesday-Saturday to get as “in shape” as I could for the Andora Sprint Triathlon in Italy. I was very nervous about racing for a few reasons, but mainly because I got hammered on the Tuesday training session. Leading up to this week I had only gotten 23 hours of training in over the last 16 days – normally that’s how much quality training I get in 6 days. So here I was with no food, no car, no internet, no phone, and worst of all no fitness… Great.
Luckily on Wednesday a team mate took me shopping and I got caught up on sleep, unpacked, and got to breathe a bit. Each day I could feel my fitness coming back and I was getting more and more excited about racing. After 5 hard sessions and 18 hours of training I was feeling much stronger physically and more confident mentally on our 2 hour drive from St Raphael, France to Andora, Italy.
The Race: (There are so many details I wish I could share, but that would make this post extremely long. So here are the basics of what happened)
The start was a very chilly 11-12c degree ocean swim with strong currents and hectic wind chop the entire way. I got to debut my new 2012 BlueSeventy Helix which kept me warm and comfortable and helped me to exit the water first. The rough conditions broke things up a bit and I was able to get out on the bike with one other team mate and a random Italian guy who was just sitting in. Around one of the corners I threw in a big effort and my team mate and I were able to drop him. We put our heads down and drilled it for about 5k and I finally looked back and there was another team mate bridging up. I slowed the pace a bit and he caught on at around 7k and the three of us went to town and worked together extremely well in the very windy conditions and after 20k ended up putting 1:30 on the rest of the field. About 1k from T2 there is a very sharp downhill 180 degree turn that goes through this extremely small bike tunnel (about the size of a doorway that goes under a road) and I was in 3rd position going into this turn and due to where I positioned myself I wasn’t able to make it into the tunnel and ended up running straight into the wall. I didn’t crash hard, but I did go down and ended up losing the other two guys and about 15-20 seconds. Luckily I was only 1k from T2 so I just soloed it in and transitioned as quickly as possible. The run was a 2 lap flat course where you could see where the other runners were very easily, so when I started the run I had both of the leaders in sight. I slowly built my effort until I had passed the 2nd place guy, and was running right next to the leader at about 2.5k. We then ran together the rest of the race and once we got to the finishing chute I knew position was very important so I surged just a bit to make sure I had the lead heading around the 90 degree turn into the final 50m sprint for the line. Luckily it worked and I was able to out sprint my team mate Karl Shaw for the win. Our breakaway buddy held on for 3rd place too which made it an awesome day for St. Raphael Triathlon Club.