Tuesday, 30 May 2017

MADRID WORLD CUP 2017


Since Yokohama I’ve settled into my ‘Winter’ home in Vitoria Gasteiz in the Basque Country of Spain. It always feels like home and we have been spoiled with perfect weather since we have arrived. Vitoria is ideal for training and coming back every year I realise just how fortunate we are to have it as our training base overseas.




Last weekend I travelled to France to compete in the first GP of the season in Dunkerque with my French team Poissy Triathlon. I was unsure how I would go after a long week of travelling. My swim was not the best and I had to play catch up on the bike to get on the first pack. I felt really strong when I started running and ended up in a group of five girls with four girls up the road. The pace was fast with our group sprint finishing for top 10 places. I finished in 8th place with only nine seconds separating 3rd to me.

We had a solid week of training in Vitoria before driving to what feels like a home race in Madrid with it only three hours away. I haven’t been to Madrid since the WTS in 2013 so it was nice to get my bearings again and explore this year’s course. Riding the course on the day before was essential as the bike course was complex. It involved a 1.2km climb, tight downhill sections, a dark curvy tunnel with speed bumps and cobble stones everywhere which had to be negotiated on each of the six laps. I knew the course would be perfect for a small group to get away and I had to get comfortable with a lot of uncomfortables.





We were lucky on race day that the weather gods were kind to us and we got a cooler day then the previous days. We were getting highs of 37/38 degrees which made sleeping at night awful. I dove in with the intention of a fast first lap and by the second lap having an idea of who was around me. I was placed about 5th out of the first lap with three girls in pretty close range in front of me. I have a lot of confidence in my threshold swimming and by the first buoy I had latched onto the back of two
of them.  The run to transition was a long way and I knew this was a critical moment to making or not making a group. By the time we got to the exit of the park to join the actual course to start our six laps, we had a good little group of eight up the first climb. I really enjoyed this course and after the first lap I got a good concept of what lines to ride especially through the tunnel. The long climb was definitely something I took advantage of to set a good tempo as it had straight and switchback sections. The course never really allows you to stop working physically or mentally. We worked really well together and every lap we gained time, having a 1:45 minute advantage by the end of the bike.






The run was described as flat but it was far from it. It doubled back on the ride course and it was undulating out and back. Thankfully the clouds gave us some relief from the blazing sun. For the first two laps I was chopping and changing out of 3/4/5 position. It took some time to get into a good rhythm and I found this towards the end of the second lap where I moved into 4th place. Third place was just ahead of me but I think after racing the past two weekends, you lose some of that top end speed. I finishing in 4th place about 17 seconds off the podium. I am pretty happy with how the race turned out and the course played into my strengths well.









It has been a consistent three weekends of racing with lots of processes executed. I know I have plenty more to work on and I am excited to keep progressing into the season. Next up is WTS Leeds in two weeks time.










Monday, 15 May 2017

Yokoahama WTS





Leading into Yokohama, I was training down in Canberra apart of a sleep high/sleep low carbohydrate study based out of the Australian Institute of Sport. It gave me an interesting insight into my daily nutrition and how to fuel pre/post session. More than anything I realised how mentally ingrained certain habits are e.g. fuelling post session.  Although we were a part of this study, we incorporated normal training and specific Yokohama sessions. Being based out of Canberra, I am very grateful for the use of the world class facilities and the amazing training grounds Canberra has to offer. It is the best place I have trained and I look forward to going back hopefully in the future to make the most of it. With a month in Canberra, I gained consistency in our weekly training which gave me a great indicator of my form and the opportunity to go into Yokohama with a positive mentality looking towards the race.










My last time in Yokohama was in 2013 which felt like yesterday when I landed into the land of the rising sun. Unfortunately, the sun decided not to rise for us on race day and the rain started to pour down. I know a lot of people lose sight of processes when the heavens decide to open up and I know that myself when I crashed here in 2013 on slippery white lines. I decided to stay out of the water for warm up and keep warm. Most people lined up to the right on the pontoon and I followed the trend. I always know when the pace is on, when we are in single file but to be honest, I actually couldn’t see a thing because my goggles fogged up. I dove back in for the 2nd lap and found myself sitting on Flora Duffy feet for the rest of the swim. I exited the water in 6th position and the only thought going through my head was “that’s your race right there”.  




After you jump on your bike, those first few km’s are the critical moments to get on or get left in no man’s land. I didn’t have my feet in my shoes for ages but I got on good wheels and found myself in a small chase group behind the two leaders. The roads were wet and Yokohama is known for its love of zebra crossings on every corner. I was constantly reciting the basics in my head of pressure on your outside foot, break going into corner; not around and looking through the corner. Our group was constantly changing throughout the ride with people hitting in the deck on the same corner on the new part of the course. I was lucky that I found myself in a good position every time to have enough time to react and get around the chaos. I was actually so happy to finish the 9 lap course upright and I felt like I had this weight lifted off my shoulders.




In Canberra, we did three performance trials where we did a specific ergo session and a run off the bike on the track. Although this session was by far the hardest, it was perfect stimulation for the race ahead and I enjoyed pushing myself. I knew we had a pretty decent time gap to the big group behind us but this never means the race is over. I wanted to run strong and keep my form under fatigue. The girls went out fast but I kept to myself and wanted to do my best work in the back end of my race. I lost of one of my gels in the race so I didn’t know if my nutrition was going to affect me. I kept ticking away and by the third lap I had caught three girls in front of me. The u turn on the run course was a good chance to see where people were. After just hitting my final lap, I got over taken by three girls from the group behind us but with not much running to go, I knew I had it in me to have a solid end result. I kept pushing all the way to the line for a sprint finish for 10th place. It’s been a long time coming but I am excited to put the hard work on show and have a consistent race. This definitely makes me hungry for more and I am looking forward to the races to come.


Photo Credit- Etienne Van Rensburg