Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Nice French Grand Prix


The 2nd last stop before heading back to Australia, this race was the final French Grand Prix for the year. In the middle of hard training towards other events later in the year, I was 99 percent positive that I was not certain how my body would handle racing.  I am always excited to spend time with my French team as I am surrounded by different people, a different environment and another language to get my mind around. Arriving the day before, it was the first opportunity to have an easier day with minimal training and spend time with my French team. Nice reminds me of home- bike paths, beach, sunshine, tourists and relaxed residents!

The sun was shining, a non wetsuit swim and my team was ready to go. With Tri Val de Gray being in 9th place were still do not get much chance to pick our team place on the start line. So I would not really call massive stone like pebbles a beach! Sand please? It was actually quite painful running down into the water and I was scared if I dove into the water to early, I might hit my face on the rocks. We actually picked a good spot that had some extra carpet rolling down into the water which was a huge benefit and a relief to my bruised feet. It is always hectic towards the first buoy. We started towards the right and with the current pushing us more right than what we wanted, the girls on the left got a benefit from starting where they did. I really enjoy ocean swimming as it is something that is natural to us within our home training environment. The normal chaos of costume pulling and near death moments happen but being more towards the front, I missed out on a lot of mid pack drama. Before turning the buoy to come back into shore, I had pretty much free space and got behind a few girls that were leading the swim. With no benefit of moving around them, I exited the water within the first few.

Coming out onto the bike, it was 5 x 4km laps that were out and back and flat. Within the first lap we had become a decent size group of about 25 girls. The ride was fairly crusiey with a few attacks that were short lived. With every lap we were gaining time on the chase pack which I was happy with as there were a few faster runners in the next group. I remained dominant in my position within the pack ready for attacks off the front and get into a good position going into transition. The ride was nothing special and it was over before I knew it.

Finally in a good position into transition, I had my feet out early and got around a few girls that were at the front. Having a good transition, I exited with my 2 training partners. Having such a good transition and no boxes within French races, I stepped on my goggles and they broke L. With a few errors in training as of late, I wanted to go out the first 1km with the girls as hard as I could. My cadence has dropped this year and being with girls I know helped as I kept with their leg speed. We had a group of about 5 of us running together. When we turned the first u turn to come back to transition a few girls dropped off and I was running with someone I knew fairly well. I wasn’t feeling that good but the pace was comfortable. When we started lap number 2, I could see the next pack of girls with a few of the faster ones catching the girls from my pack. I always wanted to keep the girl in front of me the same distance ahead. Nothing beats a sprint finish but I am happy that I was not caught by any of the girls from the group behind. Finishing in 14th place, I am overall pleased with the race and gives me confident in a few areas for next weekend and races to come. Once again, our team finished 4th and we moved up into 8th place to end the season. Being before the boys, we maximised the place we were in to go for another swim whilst cheer on the boys.

I would like to thank my team Tri Val de Gray for the opportunities, experiences, memories and the chance to be part of the team this year. Although we are not the best team, the girls always give it their all and I feel like a role model to them when they ask me questions about my life as an elite triathlete. I am happy to say my French has improved from “Bonjour” and “Merci” when I first started and I would like to thank my girls for teaching me French although with my accent it does sound not so much like the sexy language it should be. I look forward to racing again next year as French Grand Prix is a different sort of racing and a chance to be part of a team environment!



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