After 2 weeks of training for the conditions that Huatulco was going to present us with, we went to Huatulco , only 6 months after our last visit. Not much had changed, it still felt like we were on a holiday looking over the crystal clear ocean. Taking the few days before relatively easy, I really wanted to smash it up! I felt like I was ready with training in the heat feeling good and strong.
Race morning, it once again was an early start to avoid some of the heat that Mexico brings. Down on the swim start, it was time to rock and roll. With the always daunting heart beat music, the gun went off to run into the warm, salty water to complete the one lap of 1000m and one lap of 500m. The water was a warm 28 degrees- never complaining about that. As soon as I dived into the water, basically a huge face plant, my goggles came off. I had to stop for 2 seconds to put them back on but I quickly moved up to the front pack of girls. I sat on a few feet with the swim feeling comfortable and strong. Most of the swim, I was next to Flora Duffy. Not sure how many girls were around me. I just wanted to keep with that front pack. Running into transition, there was 2 girls just behind.
Running out of transition to start the 8 laps of the hilly bike course, I wasn’t quick enough to get on the wheels that were just ahead of me and BAM my day was over with the front pack. I looked behind and there was no- body even close. The next pack of girls were over a minute behind. That 10 seconds extra, and I didn’t do it. Probably could not be any more frustrated with myself as I paid the price the whole race. I rode by myself for the first 2 laps- riding up the hill strong and doing my best on the flats. Finally the 2nd bunch of basically the rest of the field caught me. The temperature was getting warmer- SRM had 47 degrees from the heat of the road. The girls did no work at all, sitting up, no one rolling through and consequently we were losing about 30 seconds per lap. The 24 % gradient hill wasn’t as daunting this year as I expected and knew what was coming for me. I wanted to keep good position on the bike especially going up and down the hill as some of the skills of the girls were shocking and dangerous. Coming into T2, it was going to be a runners race with who can run after the heat and hard bike had affected them.
My day to me, did not get any better as I felt like I was suffering from the start. I felt strong going up the hills but I just had nothing to give on the flats- no speed and heavy to the ground. Pretty much all the girls that were in my bike pack just keep getting further and further away. It annoys me even more when the front bunch of girls did not run that much quicker and in my head I should have been there. Taking a drink from every aid station and carrying ice in my hands to try and cool my body day was important as the temperature was not getting any cooler. Finishing a very disappointing 20th was not how I wanted to finish today. I have learnt my lesson way too many times this year and riding in no mans land was not fun. Flora Duffy spoke to me after the race about her experience when she was my age. It gave me a good insight into how I felt many times this year and she gave me a few ideas on how to overcome these “barriers or challenges”.
People say don’t be too hard on yourself but that’s how I am. When little things I should have learnt by now go wrong, it’s frustrating and a negative experience. Its not worth the tears or anything like that as nothing will change it. Just something that I need to be 105% at next time. I knew that I had a good chance to perform on this course. Although I did not have the race of my life and times were quicker than last year, I am still feeling the effects of the heat and the killer hill on my legs today. Better things to come……