I fall in love quite easily. Well at least I think it is love, other people may beg to differ. This was definitely the case in Palamos, Spain over the past 4 days, a coastal scenic town, 2 hours south of Barcelona by car. The numerous water front restaurants serve an aquariam; salmon, codfish, sea bass, cuttle fish, prawns, squid and the list goes on but it’s not your average cutlet or calamari rings, it is generally a full fish, head, skin and tail! De-boning is great when you have got the time so I guess the relaxed atmosphere Spain embraces goes hand in hand with this cuisine. Apart from this, Palamos comprises of great weather, clear blue water and of course putting on a hard, fast and fun ITU World Cup race!
You would think a race start at 9am with a water temperature of 22 degrees would be a little chilly although things started heating up pretty early and this was far from my mind. To be honest, I was rather nervous on the start line due to a number of factors; my first Olympic distance for a while, second World Cup and of course my own pressure to perform.
The first lap of the swim was a battle, at one point I stopped and swam around the back of an athlete to find clear water. The 100m beach run in between laps allowed me to take note of my positioning/gain some places before diving in for lap two. With five girls off the front, I noticed a small gap opening up between me and the main pack, commonly referred to in our training group as an “ohh sh*t” moment, but easily covered by a 15-20 second surge allowing me to position myself in the main pack for the bike.
The bike course incorporated tight turns, narrow streets and some short and sweet hills, a course that tests positioning and forces you to constantly think ahead. I usually feel uneasy for the first few laps of a bike course despite going over it numerous times in the days leading up. It may be not knowing who has a reliable wheel to follow or how athletes are going to tackle the 40km ride. I am currently in search of building the confidence to be more aggressive on the bike and looking back on the race I could have moved out of my comfort zone more.
The biggest disappointment of my race struck in T2, I don’t know what I did but it took me three times as long as everyone else, resulting in a hefty gap before the 10km run even began. With my current run fitness/speed/ability, whatever you want to call it, this was not ideal as I had limited athletes to pace off and found myself in no man’s land. Feeling far from comfortable throughout the run, I managed to catch a few athletes finishing in 14th position.
So I came to the conclusion my race wasn’t atrocious but I have left with a list of aspects to focus on come my next race. Confidence, transitions, confidence and getting back to where I can run. I have a few weeks to work on these elements and I am looking forward to testing myself and improving.
Thank you to Triathlon Australia, particularly Emma Whitelaw for her organisation and Bernard Savage for his support and willingness to make the weekend as easy as possible for us athletes. Also congratulations to my training partner/friend (yes, we do become quite close living in each others pockets for most of the year), Tamsyn Moana-Veale for taking out 3rd place!
Until next time,