Monday, 28 August 2017

August Update - The end of a BIG second Summer Racing!

Hey Guys,
& Hey August when did you go flying by? 

 Just like that my first Olympic Distance World Series Race done, my last German Bundesliga race for team Lemgo Komet & some priceless time away with Mum & Dad!!
 It sure was a busy month & I’ve only just realised today that my second summer for the year has come to an end (yep roll your eyes hehe #athletelife) & we head into the European Autumn for our last month over here before heading home!

 But before I get too carried away with the racing to come, I’ll fill you in on what I got up to over August!

I lined up for my first shot at an Olympic /standard distance World Triathlon Series Event, which would also be my third WTS race. This meant the distance doubled from a sprint (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) to the Olympic distance of 1500m swim, 40km cycle & a 10km run. I was headed from our base in Vitoria Gasteiz Spain, to Montreal Canada with the Aussie squad. Continent hopping for my first trip to the land of the Red maple leaf!

 Travelling back in time we landed in Montreal with a few days pre race to settle in, get our bearings & body clocks adjusted before laying down the finishing prep work for race day!

I wanted to race Montreal WTS as a great lead in race to the ITU World Championships 6 weeks later in Rotterdam where I would be lining up in the U/23 race, again over the Olympic course. Montreal offered a great chance to see where I was at over the distance with plenty of time to get back to “work” after implementing what I’d learnt!

Montreal as a city was awesome, the mix between Canadian & French culture was very unique, with French being the main language spoken. And I must say, the food was brilliant, I’ve never felt so spoilt at a race for delicious quality vegetarian choices!! 

Staying downtown us Aussies soon found the top local coffee shop & could be seen here a few times a day having very important “business meetings!”

Race site was down on the Old Port, surrounded with typical European French architecture of narrow alley ways, cobbled streets & many cathedrals! 

Lucky for pre race course familiarisation where we could take in some of the sites, because there was none of that come race day! 

The course was a 1500m 2 lap swim, in the freshwater river with a run around dive re-entry after lap 1, before a steep climb up a ramp to run from the swim to transition, legs burning getting on the bikes for a 9 lap loop of 4.5km, with some cobbled sections & 2 climbs. Getting off the bike in the second transition down on the port for a 4 lap 10km run, looping onto the cycle course, keeping a climb & some cobbles in there just for fun! It was a tough one, but I’m a big fan of tough, the challenge is exciting!

Us Elite women were off at 1.36pm (to be exact) on the Saturday, followed by the Elite men the following day. Waking up race day it was a cool & rainy morning but the sun decided to poke its head out by lunch & we were treated to sunshine for the race & a non wetsuit swim!

I headed in as number 20 & took my position to the left of the pontoon. The ITU famous heart beat thumping music sounded just before the silence falls & the gun goes, race start!! I got off to a great start & was leading the swim out with Katie Zaferes & Caroline Routier on my side. 

Katie soon took the lead & I could feel the pace was pretty comfortable in the swim. At the run around point I got my first run & dive attempt (& Loved it) Jumping straight back in for the second lap, & exiting the water after Katie who was just up ahead. 

Up the ramp & the pace was on, with no big gaps emerging in swim between athletes meant the pace was going to be hot from the start to see who could stick that front end of the ride when you're on the rivet!

I knew this was what we call a critical moment, make or break! Unfortunately, on the day it was exactly this, you either made the front pack (of 12 athletes eventually) or you didn’t & you formed the chasing pack! For me, I made the mistake before the race had even begun of not raising an issue I was having mechanically with my bike derailer & cables after travel, I had a fiddle and it all seemed fine on bike familiarisation & pre race, but of course come race day & really putting the pedal down, things weren’t A Okay. After the first climb on lap 1 of 9 I was left unable to shift up from the small to big Cassette. Leaving me spinning as I watched the front pack power past & head up the road! My swim had set me up in an ideal position but my poor management in this area gave me a steep learning curve as I watched the race ride away from me. It took me until the 3rd lap to figure out how I could get my bike to shift up to the Big Ring, giving me the torque & power I needed to ride & compete with the rest of the field. Frustrated but trying to stay collected, it was time to start working on minimising the time we were losing to the leaders up front!!

The chase pack wasn’t working too well together, with the majority of the work being done by the minority & it was frustratingly clear we were losing time each lap to the front pack! On the last lap my nightmare ride continued as we reached the top of the last punchy climb I went to my impromptu move in this race to get the chain to shift from the little to big ring & instead I was treated to a dropped chain, straight off the cassette! 

At this point I was fuming with myself & felt like I was just in one bad dream & that this wasn’t actually the real race! But it was & I don’t throw in the towel, we work too hard for that!! So I climbed off my bike, put the chain back on, got back on my bike & tried my best to hunt down the chase pack up ahead, but being lap 9 it was time to get running! Transition from bike to run is something I’ve worked hard at to now pride myself on executing well, on this occasion I was getting off 30 seconds behind the entire field…. 

Heading off onto the run, focusing on keeping my head cool & taping away to try & catch back one runner at a time! At halfway I found myself back in the mix of chasers off the bike, and I had Sato from Japan on my tail & we started a great little battle over the next 5km. 2 years ago I would have subconsciously dismissed any battle on the run, ruling myself out of the game, now I chase them- relish in the oppourtunity to battle it out & push yourself one place further! Taking the “little win” here in the end & pleased to see the end of that race crossing the line in 17th.

A result that on paper against an 11th & 16th place in Gold Coast & Hamburg World Series races doesn’t look too shabby, but I was walking away disappointed & frustrated with myself, it wasn’t  the race I had worked for nor hoped to execute on the day! BUT it was a valuable learning experience, picking up many factors I know I can now work on & improve, along with lessons learnt in regards to the “controllables” like bike mechanical issues which could have been avoided. I got the Olympic distance race nailed down pre worlds, I kept my head in the game & I didn’t take the easy escape when things weren’t going right, that I can walk away happy with!

On the other end of the race was Ash Gentle running away with her first World Triathlon Series win!!! Sharing the podium with Flora Duffy & Andrea Hewitt. A huge congratulations to Ash, 6 years of hard work in the making, a result many dream of, & what a pleasure it is to watch her hard work daily in training!  A lovely evening dinner & champagne cheers post race with the Tri Australia girls to celebrate Ash’s win together, as it should be!! 😊  

Enjoying a scenic recovery run the following day with the girls before brunch, coffee & of course some shopping before watching the Elite Men’s race & flying out overnight back to Spain!
It was straight back into the office, with a few days settling back into the Euro time zone & that whole swim, bike, run routine we do.

 Getting the body recovered & ready before biting back into the real quality work! I had 2 weeks back in Vitoria Gasteiz in a quality block of training, working hard in the summer heat before it was time to pack again & get racing in the last German Bundesliga Race of the Season for me!

It’s no secret I was also counting down the days until my beautiful Mum & Dad landed over in Europe, meeting me on Race Day in Grimma, Germany!! Spending 1 week with me before traveling on to spend another week with our best family friends.

The Bundesliga Races are always so much fun, it’s a great reminder of why we do what we do. I always enjoy my time with my team- Lemgo Komet, & they always take care of us like we're royalty! This Bundesliga was in Grimma, about 2 hours South East from Berlin and 1 hour from Dresden. It was a pretty spectacular site for a race, the towns narrow cobbled streets, main town square & church, plus the river & forest trails surrounding were awesome to explore pre race for … familarisation!!

Racing on the Sunday at 12.05pm the Elite Women kicked off! But pre race I had the best “boost” ever, as I was putting my race shoes into transition I heard a familiar voice call my name which I haven’t heard in 2 months, turning around to see Mum & Dad on the fence line!! THE BEST! Mum had already started crying happy tears 10 mins earlier as they neared race venue much to Dad’s delight. I had already won that day, it was just brilliant to have Mum & dad over in Europe, at a race there to cheer & watch me do what I love & work so hard for!

The racing got underway as the spectators watched from the bridge above us over the river! We had a 750m wetsuit swim in the river against the current on the way up around the river bend before tuning the buoy and heading back around the river bend to exit the water. I was pleased to take the swim out and exit the water in front! 

Getting on the bike the intent was clear from us up front, we wanted to go & get away from those just behind, we were able to really push the pace on lap 1 of 3 over the quite technical, cobbled & hilly course, getting a large gap early over the chase pack! Our lead group of 5 had Laura Linderman, Gillian Backhouse, Emmie Charayron, Anja Knapp & myself all working hard & very well together to increase our lead over the 20km ride. It started to rain on the bike leg & the advantage of having a smaller front group was made clear as some athletes came down on the sharp downhill corners & cobbled sections!

Heading off onto the run feeling great, with 4 laps through the bustling town streets & narrow cobbled streets! I entered a battle over the run with Emmie who was sitting on my tail! With the added joy of having mum & dad bouncing around the course to cheer away as I worked to not let Laura out of reach who was just ahead in the lead. With 1 lap to go I surged & broke away from Emmie & set my sights on Laura up ahead, making up ground but not enough, crossing the line with a very Happy 2nd place! 

I was thrilled to execute on great race and so stoked to have Mum & Dad be there to watch the whole thing! You beauty! My second place, along with the hard work of Tammy & Lena in 8th & 9th also secured out team Lemgo Komet the overall win by 1 point! Cheers to that!!

Enjoying the post race celebrations & presentations before I got to head back on the train with Mum & Dad to Dresden for a few quality days away with them!! I got to be the only child for a while ( I already know I'm the favourite hehe) as we explored Dresden Germany before making our way to Switzerland, our families favourite country aside from home! 

We’ve been coming to Zurich Switzerland since 2011 & love it, from the city river which is so clean you can drink it, or float down, swim up, & jump off the many bridges & diving pontoons, along with our favourite restaurant which serves some of the Best thin crust pizza @ Henrici, & not to forget the chocolate, or that the city is spectacularly surrounded by the Alps!! 

Needless to say we loved our time here once again!!

 Heading to the South of Switzerland to a town called Lorcano on Lake Maggorie for our last 2 days! A beautiful part of the world I had been longing to see since eyeing off my good friend Kimi’s pictures from her family visits here over the years! Exploring the lake side European towns of Lorcano & Ascona with their colourful alleys, delicious restaurants, great wine & beautiful lake front Swiss Alp views! 

Able to make a day trip up 2000m into the Alps on a Gondola & chairlift ride to the top, before a hike up another 500m  & some paragliding back down for dad… Surprise! Never to old to tick off the old bucket list one by one! 

And my favourite, a visit to Valle Verzasca for a swim in the most insane water holes I’ve every laid eyes on (do yourself a favour & add it to the bucket list)

They were some of my favourite pics above, now I've stopped clogging the Instagram feed...  #sorrynotsorry

It’s always hard to leave family but I never say “goodbye” it’s always “see you soon” & that’s not to far away! SO Thankful for the quality time I was able to spend with Mum & Dad, beautiful memories which I'm so happy to have shared!  

The next few weeks ahead left in Vitoria Gasteiz will just about fly by!!
 With September almost here it means it can only be a few weeks away from the ITU Triathlon World Championships & World Triathlon Series Grand Final! 

This year the World Champs will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands! I will be lining up in the U/23 World Championships on Saturday the 16th – BRING IT ON! All the racing will be live on ITU Live online at –

I can’t wait to rip in & give it what I’ve got! But for the meantime we’ve got 3 weeks left to nail down some hard work & final prep! Stay tuned, next month is going to be a BIG one!!

Thankyou as always for my team of Support, without which the work I do would be impossible!
Hope you enjoyed the update 😊

X EM. 

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