Banyoles ITU World Cup

It feels like I was just here but just under one year later, back to Banyoles for my third World Cup of 2012. Everyone waiting for the anticipated 8 blocks of chocolate and beer in our race pack but too many people’s disappointment it did not arrive. In the days leading up, I was confident in the training as the weeks leading up after Madrid had been going strong, focussing on key aspects that I knew I needed to work on.  Basically looking into the present and understanding how this will impact my races into the future.

Lining up for race start in a low number was a bit of a shock with somewhat of the best 4 girls in the world infront of me. On the pontoon everyone went far left, so it was just one position after another filling up. With the heart beat music playing and without any on your marks and still a metre back from the front of the pontoon, the horn went off. Everyone just takes a little look at each other- are we meant to go? I didn’t have the best start getting caught up in the usual bashing about rather than swimming. I never really found any rhythm within my first lap, more just trying to move my way around people. If anything, it would be to try and get some power to improve my front 50’s and 200m pace. Sometimes I feel like one pace Natalie, Diving back into the second lap, I was able to get some free space and move around people being out of the front of our main pack of girls seeing a few bodies ahead of me. Coming out of the water in 6th, I already had a brief idea of who was up the road.

We quickly caught onto the back of Erin and Andrea. The 6 laps began with the attempt to catch the girls up the road. The bike was a lot faster than I remember from last year as the quality of field is much higher. I had to find good wheels as I found out from the earlier laps that being behind a bad wheel behind a corner meant more accelerations than I needed. I know I wasn’t dominant enough on the ride to keep good position and this cost me. I was caught in awkward positions or boxed in the middle and couldn’t get my way out. Coming onto the last lap where anyone gets antsy, I was stuck in the middle of the bunch with the lead girls having about 15 seconds on me. I was in the worst position possible as when I racked my bike, girls were already running out.

Consequently losing that good 20 seconds, already meant I was 20 seconds behind where I should be. I should be with the group up the road. It is much easier to push or not let the elastic band snap within your self when you have alittle help around you from others. A 3 lap run, I was comfortable on the first lap, feeling like I had good rhythm and form moving my way through the field. It was getting warm outside so water was a necessary for cooling and hydration. The second lap just felt flat, like I was going more upwards than forwards and I was not gaining any time on the small pack of girls infront. I was telling myself, keep tall, keep strong, don’t lose form. The third lap I did feel better but it is all too late as I just gave the race to other girls infront of me as soon as I came into T2. On a positive, the basic strength work that we do for our glutes and flexibility feel like they have been working but I know it’s just not there yet and I can’t expect a few weeks to change it with a click of the fingers. I did have my best World Cup finish so far, finishing in 12th place.

I have lots to think about after this race especially in big running weeks, taking the easy, easy and making the quality, quality. Onwards from here….


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