Palamos World Cup
As we are driving away from the sea breeze of the Mediterranean sea, Palamos invited us for the first ever world cup in the coastal town. A little different from what I was expecting, the course was quite demanding especially with the heat. The place was beautiful but pre race I was definitely making the most of the air conditioning in our rooms. Although Palamos does offer ultimate people watching. My first ITU race back since Madrid when I had to pull out with my ribs, I needed to prove more to myself that this month of training has got me back in the game. With all things, training provides its ups and downs- the confidence boosters, the "oh that was okay" and the "well that was rubbish wasn’t it?". Always keeps you on your toes for a race with a high quality of field.
An earlier start to race morning to beat the heat, I felt pretty relaxed or I tried to put a chilled face, nerves are always around. Now that I look back at race start, I had so much choice being 5th and probably should have gone left rather than right. Too late now.. The gun went off and I had good water for about 10 arm strokes then BAM. All of the people on the left swam right on top of me. By the first buoy and much dodging, I made my way to the front but I could see a small group just ahead. I lost contact pretty early in the front group of girls which made it hard to make up any ground. I would say this race was more of a swim, run, swim, run, bike, run. After getting out of the second lap, it was a long run on the sand to dive back in the water. Diving back in my legs felt like jelly. The whole of the second lap, I felt like I was fighting with whoever was on my right and not really moving anywhere, which I don’t think we did. Running out of the water for T2, I was one of the first out of the main group and wanted it to stay that way on the run up the beach.
The ride course was exciting, winding its way through the town and descending back on the coast line. A few speed humps provided excellent air time throughout the course. I was pretty happy they remove some at the bottom of the descent; my bunny hopping skills are not that good at 60 odd km an hour ;). With a small rise
with a descent kick every lap and a few tight corners, I made sure I was up the front the whole race to miss any trouble. To start the ride, I lost some of my breakfast with a mix of sea water and milk not being the most combination. The most frustrating bit of every race is that we had 15 capable girls to roll through and make up time but only 5 of us choose to work to gain time on the girls up the road. We got organised and worked well together in the first few laps and put time into them. I was happy with my position and I wanted to ride solidly to keep the pace up otherwise the gap would have grown even more. I found out pretty quickly who had good skills and who were the ones to stick clear of. I wouldn’t say the ride was easy as one little mishap of lost concentration, a lot of things can change. The gap grew to over a minute by the last lap and I had to be confident in my run to run some of the girls down. After the 7 laps and a few pests that choose to show there face in the last lap, the sun also started to show its face and it was going to be a hot run.
The run course threw in a few unexpected surprises. A little climb out the back, winding streets and a nice descent coming back into transition, it was far from the described "flat". Coming out of T2, I didn’t feel great nor did I feel like rubbish. Training has been a hit and miss with running at the moment so I didn’t really know what to expect. The first lap of 3km, the run felt comfortable and we held good pace running through people. I lost contact some of the girls during the second lap and found myself running with one other girl that helped keep the pace up. The third lap was survival with blaring sunshine, although surprisingly this felt like my best lap. I picked up the pace and dropped the Russian girl I was running with. Coming down the last 650m lap that we had to complete, there was no sprint finish this time but the thought I could have got a few places better with 3 girls all within close contact.
I wouldn’t say it was my best day or neither was it my worst but a consistent result with a 10th place finish. There are plenty of things I want to work on and improve before the end of the year which hand in hand is an exciting development project. So where to now? This week is all about recovery before racing again in Hamburg WTS race this weekend.