A few weeks ago I decided to do this race after Eneko suggested it would be a very similar course the the World Champs here in Vitoria. I thought; “what a great training day, I’ll ride strong and take the run easy”…. How wrong I was!
We travelled to Valladolid on the morning of the race, as it was a 4pm start! So plenty of time to get up, do some training in the morning, drive the 2 hours to the race, register, have a siesta and still have a few hours to get ready! It was really heating up in the afternoon, getting hotter as the day went on and also getting windier – with it about 30 – 40km/hr when we started.
The swim was in the river of the town and despite being in a relatively small front pack, managed to get a solid hit in the face and a good ol fashioned black eye, quite a funny start to the race! I was happy with the swim, as I managed to hold this front group, just, with a few others out in front, including Eneko.
The ride I thought would be pretty straight forward, again I was wrong. It was 60km out into the very strong head or side wind, then 10km of hills, followed by a quick run back into town, where I achieved my new bike speed record of 88km/hr! That said, I still pinch myself at racing through the fields of Spain and going through the small towns that are lined with what seems to be the whole town coming out to support. An amazing experience.
Coming into transition, I was worried that I had ridden too hard, as it was part of my plan to test pace and nutrition to the limit. And with the weather being very hot – the Garmin was saying 34degrees, it was a real test. When I started the run, I saw my cheer squad of Megan and Mary-Anne, a good friend from home who came to visit for the weekend, standing on the side of the course, enjoying a few Vino’s! Half their luck, they were very noisy supporters from then on in!!
I came off the bike in 4th position, but caught 3rd place within the first 1km. So there we have it. I was now in 3rd, with the ‘3rd Masculino’ cyclist guiding me through the course and the streets lined with people…. My idea of taking the run easy went straight out the back door! The run was 4 laps, going through the old part of town, down some of the cobble stone lined streets and turning around at the huge Cathedral – pretty amazing. I felt great through the run and managed to hold on to 3rd until the 18km mark, when a Spanish pro athlete past me, going too quick to hang onto…. So close to the podium! That said, I was quite happy with the end result, 4th in a strong field and a great event to be a part of!
Thank you very much to Eneko for organising the race, ICan for a great event and to the support crew, Megan and Mary-Anne, who seemed to have a great day!! Also a big thank you to my supporters – Dextro, Cervelo, Champion Systems and EKB Creative. 3 weeks of training to go before the big one, the ITU World Champs Long Course race here in Vitoria-Gasteiz. I cannot wait to taper properly, to race and represent Australia!