Xiamen Race Report
It was my first trip to China or a triathlon and what a great time we had. Travelling with Keeley, Claz and Tegan was a blast, not to mention having a great race.
Xiamen is a large Chinese city of 24 million people and hosted a wonderful 70.3. After a couple of days settling in with a Long Island Tea here or there and a training ride amongst the chaotic traffic it was race morning.
In China races can’t start until after the Opening Ceremony which starts at 7.30 pm so it was an 8:15 am start for age groupers. A couple of funny things happened before the race – we lined up for the toilets only to find they were squat toilets – not a god start to the race and Tegan was almost sick at the thought of the toilets.
As the time neared, we went to the race start and seeded ourselves towards the front, along with all of the Asian athletes who can’t swim but insist on being the first to start. It was the most relaxed race start that I have ever had- talking with friends and other competitors right up until the gun went!
The water quality was OK and the usual hectic start until the 400 metre mark where I was able to find some clear water. The swim was well marked and aside from some congestion around the buoys the swim went well and I exited the water in around 35 minutes.
The bike course was two laps on a highway that was entirely closed for the race. Prior to the race I somehow had in my head that the course was fast and flat! Whilst the road surface was good, the course was undulating and at times I found myself alone on the course unable to see any other competitors, which made it hard to concentrate on racing and I definitely didn’t know where I was in my age group.
At the end of the first lap I was thinking “I’m a bit over this, but I better keep going” and luckily, I did. The second lap of the the bike was better with more competitors around and I managed to get my head back in the game!
By the time I got off the bike the weather had warmed up and it was noticeable on the run. The run was also a two-lap course, relatively flat but with minimal shade. I had decided that because I didn’t know where I was coming in my age group that I would go as hard as I could for the whole run – which I did- counting down the kilometers one by one. I was really happy with the rune but pleased to see the finish line.
After crossing the line, I headed straight to the massage area where I was talking to a fellow competitor who checked the results and let me know that I had won my age group – I was absolutely ecstatic and I went into the race on minimal training!
The age group win meant that I had the opportunity to go back to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii which was something that I had been wanting to do.
After catching up with the girls after the race and a quick change at the hotel we went to presentation where I was up on stage for the age group win and to claim the Hawaii spot!
What an awesome experience I had in China – thanks to the great crew that I travelled, particularly to the fun times with Tegan, Keeley and Claz and to Nathan for the training and support throughout the year
Bring on 2020!