While there have been no enormous festivities in the Basque country this month if I look back, there is at least one mildly exciting event each week. When your life consists of sleep, train, eat, train etc. many moments can often become foggy, merged or forgotten all together. With the main focus of August being the build up to the World Championships in early September in London, I think it is best for you and me to have these moments neatly ordered week by week…
Week One: Thursday 1st – Sunday 11th
I know this is over a week, ideally August would have started on a Monday for this update so this is my quick fix. Following some short and sharp sessions, I was off on my first trip to Hungary which included an overnight stay in a quirky Budapest hotel that resembled ‘The Adam’s Family’, staff members, décor and all. A very different ITU race format with heats and finals on consecutive days. Definitely a race I would happily have on my calendar for 2014!
Week Two: Monday 12th August – Sunday 18th August
Familiar faces started to flock in to Vitoria to experience the great set up we have here with the Australian Junior team basing themselves here for a pre-worlds camp and a number of Canadian athletes as well. I really enjoy having a few extra people in open water sessions as it stimulates a race situation that little bit more. The highlight of this week was a team dinner organised by a kiwi long distance athlete AJ Thompson who has based himself in Vitoria to train the past two years. Even though the group sees each other day in and day out at training sessions, there never seems to be a lull in conversation and this may come as a surprise but it is not always ‘triathlon talk’!
Week Three: Monday 19th August – Sunday 25th August
While the majority of the ‘Wollongong Wizards’ were preparing for the upcoming World Series race in Stockholm, my head was down and bum was up continuing normal training. At times I felt like I was missing out but to be honest, I quite enjoyed some different company or no company at all. Luckily on my 3 hour solo hilly ride day I was more than content to hit the countryside and hills ‘el solo’. In saying this, I also made my way up to San Sebastian to race the local athletic club’s 3km Open Water swim. Coming from an open water swimming background I was really looking forward to the event and despite the choppy water enjoyed the event, coming home with a 2nd place behind an extremely quick 19 year old Basque athlete.
Week Four: Monday 26th – August – Sunday 1st September
It wasn’t long before we were back into some tough sessions as a training group again. One bike session in particular is labeled the ‘Hour of Power Loop’ or ‘HOP Loop’, this is a hard hitting session that I have love hate relationship with. If you are feeling good it’s great but if you are struggling just a little bit, it can be woeful. The worst part about this session this week was having to wash and pack my bike to travel to France to race a French Grand Prix in Sartrouville on the Sunday. A quick flight to Paris on Saturday, casual three hour wait for my team in Terminal 2G (one of my longest café sits ever), race around midday on Sunday then back in Bilbao by 7.55pm Sunday night. Coming off some tough training, I was fairly happy with my performance, finishing in 12th place, my best French GP position yet.
So here I am staring at an empty suitcase which is failing to pack itself for my week away in London to race my first World Championships. I have been eager to reach this week for a while now but when I break down the month like that I realise how quickly time is passing. I would only be worried about this if I felt like I was achieving nothing on a day-to-day basis although I am continuing to learn in the environment I’m in so I am content with this.
Time really does fly when you are having fun!