I wanted to leave myself a few days to reflect and absorb what happened last week at 70.3 Luxembourg .
Leading into the race I felt I had recovered well from racing 70.3 Krachgau two weeks earlier. The weather on the other hand hadn't changed since landing in Europe three weeks ago; rain, rain, rain and more rain. With flooding and landslides, the organizers made the call to change the race format to a 6 km run 90 km bike 21 km run.
Run - 1 loop flat Bike - 1 loop 40km flat 50km hills Run - 4 loops flat
I lined up with fellow Project M athlete and mate Matty Lewis in the barriers herded around like cows for my first rolling start. It was my first ever rolling start. They line up 6 athletes at a time and let groups of 6 leave every 5 seconds.
I ran the 6km loop at a good solid tempo being cautious not to go too hard too early. Into T1 with Matty about 20m ahead, shoes off, helmet and I was flying until yup I couldn't find my bike. It only cost 45 seconds or so, but when you're trying to stay calm and everyone else is leaving with their bike it's not the best feeling. Finally I found my bike and onto flat roads up the Mossel river.
The weather gods had been good so far with only random down pours of rain, but for the most; dry roads. I rode hard along the flat catching trains of up to 20 athletes, 3 wide looking like it was a bunch ride. I used this anger of blatant cheating to my advantage and made sure I rode even harder past the bunches so I had no passengers. I hit the turn at 20km in was smacked by the swelling head wind straight up the river. I stayed strong and kept my rhythm chipping away. I hit the first climb around 40km and felt strong. I rode solo repeating my tactics with every bunch I caught. Around 75km I started cramping so I dropped my effort back a touch keeping the pace up the best I could.
Into T2 and I was still in good spirits. I had worked hard on my run back in Australia leading into this trip and besides my race two weeks ago the signs were there that I was running good. I still had no idea of where I was sitting in the race, in saying that it means nothing besides getting from the start line to the finish line as quick as possible. I ran the first 5/7km at a good solid pace. I felt good for the first part but I started cramping in both quads badly. I shuffled along the best I could, taking fluids in at every aid station. Lap 3 was shit to be honest. My calves, quads and hip flexors were blown to pieces. By this stage my feet felt like I was walking barefoot on glass. I shuffled my way down the finish line always proud to get goal number 1 completed and that's to finish.
After some reflection of my race I have mixed feelings. I'm proud that I laid it on the line and raced from the front. Disappointing that I still haven't put together a 70.3 that I believe I am capable of.
I raced with my heart and with good friend and x-coach mark Scott's initials written on my hand with the word Belief next to it. Race day marked the 5-year anniversary of Mark's accident. I raced the race knowing Mark would be proud as he used to say "when you race hard you win some, you lose some, no use sitting in the middle"
Time for some rest and getting ready for second half of the trip in the French Alps.
Special mention to Matt Lewis who had a blinder and finished up 1st in the 18-24cat.
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