There was lots on my mind in the lead up to the race, I had come back from Loughborough with enthusiasm, some dread, and fear about Kona, especially after the heat prep sessions! So I was looking forward to racing, especially as it meant I would be riding my bike outdoors for the first time in over a week.
Race start was at 11:30am so none of the usual early morning alarm calls, it meant that there was longer to get nervous, and longer to get some food inside me. I made sure that I had breakfast, then something else to eat at around 9:30-10am. I drove up with my mum, Patrick and the boys followed on later.
The Swim. Garmin data here
We had a bit of time to acclimatise to the water before the start, which I was grateful for, as it was a bit colder than I was expecting! Then we were hauled out, to start on the slipway to run through an arch. I positioned myself to the left and a couple of rows back from the front. I started hard, to get a good position, and then had a pretty uneventful swim round the first 2 buoys. On the way back to the other slipway for the Australian exit I started getting bashed by someone, it must have been something to do with the current because it happened again on the second lap. Had a quick glance at my watch when I got out and I was pretty happy with my time.
It seemed to take a bit longer getting stuff in my pockets than normal, but everything went smoothly and I was soon out on the bike.
The Bike. Garmin data here
The first part of the bike is mostly uphill and then it was undulating but into a headwind up to St Davids. The first part I was feeling good I had %FTP power and 3’s average power on my screen and they didn’t seem to match. I realised that they may not be right, as I had done a factory reset on my Garmin a few days before, and although I had synced it I’m not sure my settings had synced across properly. I didn’t pay too much attention to it and just tried to push by feel, it was pretty hard as there seemed to be a group of men who kept overtaking and forcing me to drop back. It was made even harder as we were riding into a headwind, so anytime anyone overtook, they were then immediately slower. I tried to put some distance between myself and them on the way back to Goodwick with the wind behind me. I was in front on my own, but as soon as we turned right to get back on the main road the pack caught up again and passed me. By that point it was mostly downhill with a bit of sidewind, so I didn’t worry too much about pushing at this point, and got to T2 safely. My power was lower than it could be, but I had not tapered for the race and had been doing heat prep all week.
As I came in to T2 I heard the commentator announcing that the first female was on the course so I got through as quick as possible.
The Run. Garmin data here
As I started running I felt pretty bad, my legs were heavy and I felt like slowing down almost immediately. I didn’t know how far ahead 1st woman was so I just got on with it, hoping I’d see her at some point. There are plenty of places to check how far you are ahead, and as I ran on to the breakwater, I saw her coming towards me. I thought this was probably too far to make up, but you never know, so, I got on with running, also with 3rd place behind me in mind.
Before the first feed station I took a gel, it tasted disgusting, and a quick check revealed that I had accidentally packed ALL caffeine gels, eurgh! Luckily I had one “normal” gel and I supplemented with a handful of wine gums for my next feed. On the way back to Goodwick I spotted 3rd female quite a bit behind, but I made a note to check on her on the 2nd lap. The second time onto the breakwater, I saw the 1st female a bit further down, which meant I was starting to catch her. She was still along way off, but it gave me a boost to see that I was outpacing her. I also clocked 3rd place losing time to me, so I felt strong and in control. I managed to make up 3 minutes on the run which wasn’t enough to win, but I came in a close 2nd.
As a race that came in the middle of a fairly high training load week I was happy with my result. The time that I did was faster than previous winners of the event, which may be down to course variations/conditions, but I think that the top women raced well. I was feeling stronger throughout the run, and in the second half of the bike I managed to maintain and push more power. The course itself is fantastic, and there was a lot of support, as it was a local event. This makes a lot of difference, and it was great to see people who I knew, and coached racing too.
Full Results here