After learning a major lesson post WTS Madrid, I regrouped and got back into MY training program. It felt great physically and mentally! It was definitely challenging to be doing 90% of my training by myself, but after having been in France for a month I was able to adapt much easier. The past two weeks have been the best weeks of training I’ve had since I’ve been here, and I was finally back to the volume I was doing in Santa Cruz. I’m on a three week block of training which is preparing me for the weekend of June 16-17 where I will be racing a French Grand Prix race in Toulouse, France on the 16th and ITU world cup Banyoles, Spain on the 17th. Since some people from the Saint Raphael team were driving to race in Cremona, I decided it would be a great (and inexpensive) opportunity to get race experience, ITU points, and hopefully some cash. Since a bigger focus for me is getting through the FGP and Banyoles WC races next weekend, I came into this race completely unrested.
This race was a VERY technical and fast sprint race with a separate T1 and T2 which mixed things up a bit. We had to ride our bikes from our hotel down to the race site at 8am to put our shoes in T2 even though the men’s race didn’t start until 11:30am (It’s a weird feeling only leaving shoes there, you feel like you’re forgetting something the whole time). After we set our shoes down, it was business as usual.
I was #6 out of 75 competitors and was able to get a sweet starting position on the pontoon. I had a good start and was in fairly clear water from the get-go. Even though I had team mates from Saint Raphael French Grand Prix team, I wasn’t racing tactically for St. Raphael because this was an ITU (International Triathlon Union) event so I was flying solo representing USA. On my right after the start was a St. Raphael team mate, Igor Poliansky from Russia, and since I knew he was a strong swimmer I got in his draft right away. Approaching the first buoy, another St. Raphael team mate, Raoul Shaw from France, was in the lead with two Russians in front of me. From the first turn buoy to the second turn buoy Raoul gapped the Russians and had about a 10-15m lead heading towards the swim exit. Since the Russians weren’t bridging up I decided to cruise up to Raoul on my own. I went around Igor and swam up to Raoul and exited the water at the same time as him.
I had a great T2 and was on the run in 3rd position. Once I bridged up to the leaders I just stayed right behind them comfortably and was planning on being joined by other runners shortly. I played this card hoping that the run would become one lead group and be a tactical race rather than a straight 5k TT, but around the 2nd corner eventual winner Tom Bishop came flying through. That broke our lead group up and strung everyone out and after that it was every man for himself. On lap two I came around a corner and rolled my ankle on a crack in the cobbles. I think my skateboarding experience came into play and I was somehow able to stay upright. I lost a lot of momentum and my ankle felt funny the rest of the run, but I ended up holding my own and finished in 5th. Racing a sprint triathlon on legs that aren’t fully rested is a challenge, so I’m very happy with that result and being able to see first-hand the benefits of getting back into my own personal training groove.