My third year back to Tiszaujvaros, my third year competing in the semi and final format, I was excited to get racing. Our trip started with a little overnight stay at the Adams family Budapest airport hotel. A very cute, yet creepy place, everything from the staff to the style of the room to the playing of the theme song as soon as we got into the bedroom, it was an interesting experience to say the least. Arriving in Tiszy, it once again turned on the heat when we arrived and it felt just like Vitoria has been over the last few weeks- nothing different to us. I was pretty lucky with our room having air conditioning, which was nice to get a good night sleep every night. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was complaining..Tiszy only being a small place has a great atmosphere and it was awesome to still see a triathlon to put them on the map.
I was ranked third going into the semi and I knew it was going to be tough to get through. This heat had very strong swim/bikers and if I missed the group, I would be made to run fast to qualify. I was pretty nervous but I knew that the 1 %’s were going to count even more. I went more to the left of the pontoon with Lucy Hall picking the spot next to me. Perfect! A three lap swim with it being 110m to the first buoy it is absolutely chaos if you are 1 second behind where you should be. I got a clean start with a few hits at the first few buoys but I found free space earlier and was able to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The swim was very strung out from the start. Getting out of the water, Lucy had about 15 seconds on our group. I made up a lot of time in transition and found myself in a group with 6 other girls.
I was surrounded by girls that would not call themselves strong runners so they wanted to ride hard to make it to the final. The pace was pretty solid for the 2 x 10km out and back laps. The pace was kept at a high standard for the whole ride with our group working well together gaining 2 mins 30 over the next chase pack of girls. We were told before the race that it was all about positioning in the semi final to what you would be ranked tomorrow, not off ITU rankings beforehand. I had a great transition and found myself running with 2 other girls for the whole 5km. We ran a good tempo for the whole run and were able to back off with the other girls being so far behind. I put alittle surge in at the end and got the number 1 position for the final on Sunday.
It was all about recovery- eating, massage, getting off the feet, compression and getting ready for the demands of the course tomorrow. I felt like a lot of pressure was off my shoulders, once I made it through to the final.
Another late afternoon start, we were able to flush the body out in the morning with a short swim and ride pre race to get ready to race another sprint distance. Having first pick on the pontoon, I had all the choice in the world to pick what I thought would be the best and fastest way to the first buoy. I went right, hoping the wider line would help me out. I don’t think I have ever been swam on top on more than that before and at the first buoy it was chaos with arms, legs and bodies popping up everywhere and I was one of them. I told myself not to panic and I was determined to get out of the fighting. The swim was once again strung out earlier with 2 British girls trying to make a break off the front. I moved my way up over the 750m and made my way into front girls out of the water. T1 was going to be important again and I made the most of it, being the first out of the bike with the knowledge the other 2 girls at 20 seconds on us.
The ride course today was 8 laps of 2.5km with a u turn being the only indicated of where the chase pack were behind us. Once again I found myself with many of the girls I rode with yesterday. We all worked well together, but we still weren’t gaining time of 2 girls up the road. The course was good as the chase girls lost motivation as they could not see us up the road. Over the 8 laps we were continuing gaining time on them which was exciting as the podium was going to come out of us girls. I put myself in a good position the whole ride and found out early who sucked at turning corners and doing a u turn. Coming into T2 we had 2 girls with 30 seconds on us and the next chase group being over a minute behind. I had a shocking T2, not being able to get my shoes on quicker enough and I lost contact with the front girls early.
The run course was 4 x 1.25km laps which kept every lap short and sweet. I didn’t feel fabulous and two days of hard riding was taking its toll. I was happy to have someone else to run with to help bridge the gap. Within the first 2 laps we caught the 2 British girls but one of them stuck with us. Podium was just up the road but I just didn’t have a different gear to offer. I knew the girls were coming from behind so I was thinking about keeping my cadence high and "popping". Coming into the last 500m, the other girl pulled infront of me and I was left in a sprint finish for 5th place. Equal best to two other world cup finishes, I know that top 3 was so close. I was pretty knackered by the end after 2 days of solid racing. I can take away two races that turned out near perfect. Although my run was not there on Sunday, I am looking forward to the races coming up over the next few weeks before London to continue to work on this.
Thank you to all the Triathlon Australia staff for the helping us out where possible over the weekend. Thanks to Beata for helping us to find massage in Tiszy pre and post race with Roland and Lazlou both being very friendly and offering a great massage service. On to Stockholm now in 2 weeks time..