Thank you, Danke, Gracias, Merci- I still don’t think I knew what country I was in or what country I was from. Hamburg is spectacular with beautiful buildings, the best shopping (window shopping unfortunately), an awesome place to run around the lake and thanks to the organises for mapping out the 45km training ride loop. The country side of Hamburg was something different to the inner city life and was perfect for pre and post race spin. I actually got really tired with no traffic lights to let me take a breather ;)
After Palamos World Cup the weekend before, the week leading into Hamburg was all about soaking up abit of R and R or “mad chilling” as I like to put it. After racing Hamburg last year, I knew what was coming for me- fast swim, faster bike and an even faster run. I made vital mistakes last year that I didn’t want to make again. Speaking to Jamie I knew I needed good positioning from the front end of the race to get more near the front at the end. A later start to race day, which I love, allowed me to think about what needed to be done in the afternoon- processes and intent in place to be able to perform. The weather put on a show being warmer than I expected which was perfect for a non wetsuit swim.
The Alster would not be the cleanest place I have ever swam in with the sight of your hand being lost in the murky waters. My ranking has moved back in the WTS rankings as I have missed a few due to my ribs. The field split up on the pontoon and I slotted myself in about 24th spot with a few good swimmers on both sides of me. Last weekend in Palamos and even in French GP races, I haven’t been having a swim I knew I was capable of. A non wetsuit swim and fresh water is something that suits me to the tee. I didn’t want to get bashed around from the start and end up fighting. Until the first buoy I put my head down and was determined to get there up the front. One of the cleanest swims I have had in a while I found clear water early and good position on the feet of the leaders. Coming back in under the bridge, the darkness and a big field is always a chance for an odd wack to the head; not this year. Running out of the water in 4th, I knew the swim doesn’t finish till I got on my bike was comfortable in the main group. We had about 6 girls with about a 10 second gap on the field. I got alittle bit flustered in T1 and couldn’t clip on my helmet. I didn’t want to get dropped like last year.
The whole ride I wanted to make sure I was in good position at the front and not getting strung off the back around the u turn and skinny streets. The word technical defined by google means something that requires technical knowledge to be understood. The course demands lots of accelerations- high power, low power, high cadence, low cadence efforts due to the corners. It means holding good wheels, weight on the outside foot and taking the corners big. The pace was on from the start and I was happy to roll through to keep my position near the front of the pack. This allowed me less effort to get back on and use my skills to my advantage. As soon as all the coaches were calling out time splits to Gwen the girls knew they had to keep that gap if they wanted a chance to win. I found myself alittle further back on one of the laps and had to work much harder to get back on. Two corners was enough of that and made a change straight away. The German team rode very strong and were dominate within our group. The ride felt comfortable but I knew all the efforts would impact my run. Coming into T2 it was mayhem with everyone leaning down to take off their shoes in the skinny streets.
Palamos was abit of a disappointment with my run so I wanted to go out and see what I could do over 5km. I don’t know if I have lost abit of confidence in my ability to perform run wise as I haven’t been doing that much speed work into Hamburg and unsure where I am at. It was going to be fast from the get go and I didn’t have the lungs from the start. This weekend my legs wanted me to go but my lungs were holding me back. I had a group of girls to run with that helped me keep pace and a sprint finish is always a way to make sure you are still alive. Finishing in 26th, am I happy? Yeah. Is there still plenty to work on ? Definitely. I look back on the race and realise that I have learnt so much from the two years I have done it and are more confident in my ability to perform in the front end of the race. Although I didn’t run was fast as I wanted to and needed too, it was still progress from last year with a 20 second quicker run and something that I can look at a positive as. Another 20 seconds is 10th place…
Now it is back to the drawing board and it is going to be something that is more self driven to improve in areas that need development. I am looking forward to abit of a self change to get me into good shape for the later races of the season. I would like to thank Bernard for giving me the chance to start and the opportunity for development, Amelia for the keeping my body in working order and Jamie for always knocking some sense into me. Next stop Tizy World Cup!