International Triathlon XXVII Atletico San Sebastian

Good enough to be a great World Cup course. Challenging, hilly, hot and the atmosphere that could not be asked for, San Sebastian or known as Donostia to the Basque people, is a race to put on the race calendar every year.  With my own smiling face on the race posters, it was time to see if I could back up again from last year.  Thanks again to Inigo for giving us free entry into the race and giving us an opportunity to race some tough competition on Spanish soil.

A 9.15am, in Spain you are faced with the most intense entry to transition with your id, helmet, bike and race belt being checked making the process a lot longer than normal. With only a few minutes to spare, still trying to see the changes to last years swim course, I didn’t get the chance to a swim warm up. Before I knew it, the horn was blown and we were off. I had a pretty good start, heading straight out finding my rhythm early. This week in swimming, we have been focusing a lot of drills and technique and finding out basically my learn to swim level skills. Having my own space, allowed me to focus, concentrate and execute the skill. Exiting the water, I had just over a minute gap but I knew it was important to keep whatever advantage I had.

My personal goal for the ride was to hold Ashlee off as long as I could as this year I had no Spanish male bike packs to help me as they started behind us. With lead motorbikes and a car to help navigate and direct me around the course, it was exciting to be out the front. I put my head down and tried as hard as I could as the course does not get any easier. It is probably one of the hilliest courses I have ever ridden on. 20km into the ride, I was still out the front. This is weird? This is when the most steep and long climb began.  I tried to emphasize on keeping my cadence high and trying to over come the crank torque that can’t be controlled. We got to the top to a false flat and I could here someone behind me. Ashlee put on a surge and before I knew it she had about 100m on me. I didn’t want her to get anymore on me. Coming back into town, it is all sharp, descending corners. I wouldn’t say I am the best at descending but I was catching back up. Coming down the hill, I retook over her. I was going to take to advantage everything I could. It was good to feel strong on the bike and comfortable riding by myself.

Coming into T2 basically together, it was going to be who could run the faster. I went out strong and I felt comfortable, setting a good pace for myself. Within the first 5km, it was nice to be running at a good pace and feeling I suppose back to normal. I think in my mind, I became abit complacent with how I was running. Probably not the best thing to do, as with 8km to go, the same thing as the ride, Ashlee came up right next to me and surged. I got straight back on her feet. We were running together for next 1km and I knew if we had to sprint, I had absolutely nothing to give. With a km to go, I tried to surge but it was basically at the same pace as what I had been running before. She surged and the elastic band snapped pretty quick. Finishing in 2nd after a tough race and backing up from the weekend before, it was nice to race San Sebastian again.

I thought I might look back from the results from last year, just to see some development especially in my swim and my ride. With a massive improvement of 9 mins from last year on my ride, I wonder what I was doing last year. With San Sebastian once again putting on a beautiful day, the beach and sun was a perfect ending to our Spanish day out.


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