7th and final race of the year in sunny Mallorca. Up, Up, Up.
After Weymouth 70.3 I was keen for another hit out. Due to achilles issues, earlier in the year, my run training had only really got going and I was keen to build on this and see where a few more run miles could lead me.
I had heard about Challenge Paguera from other athletes, a good end of season party venue. Not that cocktails were the only thing on my mind.
I was hoping to get another solid 70.3 result to help gain my pro licence for next season.
The British Triathlon rules indicate you need to have a result within 8% of the winners time. At Weymouth I was 4th but 8.15% behind winner Emma Pallant.
In Weymouth my run had let me down. Dam, if only I had been 1 minute quicker. So I was keen to try and put together a decent run.
I headed to Mallorca, with two aims. 1, to enjoy a sunny end of season hit out and 2, to get within 8% of the winners time.
"Great day for surfing"
The sea the day before race day. I enjoyed a smash, dash and crash in the sea with Tor, my all round super star friend and race crew domestic aka she gives me fuel and encouragement when I look like i just want to lie on the side of the road.
Myself and Tor were staying in, 'modest' accommodation, more Faulty Towers, than Hilton Hotels. Where you needed to buy your own gas canister for the cooker! That was the least of my worries, mine were mosquito's and a lack of bathroom window which meant i was easy prey for the little buggers. I was well and truly got.
We weren't here for a luxury hotel room, or a calm ocean, we were here for some fun and that crucial 8%.
Scenic Transition area. Nice palm tree back drop.
I was super impressed by the organisation of the race. The transition area, was buzzing, lots of volunteers on hand to help, all located between the beach and main high street. So this is why races abroad are so popular? I had been watching fellow athletes and friends travel around Europe all season, hopping between sunny locations, it all looked very cool. I can confirm it is, well apart from when we got stuck in a thunderstorm cycling sections of the bike route, two days before and ended up huddling under a tree sheltering from the rain. Thanks for waiting for me to reccy the route Phil, Hamo and Lindsay. But it dried out and the sun came out.
The pro field was pretty strong with 20 females on the start list, and had attracted a high calibre of athletes. I was one of three Brits towing the line.
The swim was a lesson in jumping over and under waves, and trying to sight over the rolling waves to the next bouy. A fun experience and I exited the swim in a group of pro women.
We ran up the beach, through the shower that had been set up to help get the salt and sand off the body before jumping on the bikes. A nice steep ramp greeted us in leaving T1 and then 2 laps of the bike course. In my Weymouth write up, I had discussed the 'should you race to power or not' conundrum. So I decided to just ignore it, head down and go for it, not too hard on the first lap and then give it the beans in the second.
I wouldn't go crazy on the hills, 90km is a bit to far to go crazy on, a definite crash and burn would happen!
Unfortunately my 'giving it the bean' didn't amount to much, I struggled to keep down my gels and liquid, something that has never been a problem before. Maybe it was the heat, or the increased energy expenditure from the rough sea swim.
The bike course was a good rolling honest course, with a bit of everything, long drags, short climbs and some nice descents.
What i have learnt from Weymouth and Paguera was the different dynamics between racing as a Pro compared to an Age group athlete, The Pro field sets of 5 minutes or so before the age group athletes.In the Pro field, in the swim, you are surrounded by a handful of athletes compared to 1000 athletes all swimming together, far more space, less elbows flying and less draft effect.
The bike, as a pro, you generally cycle with far more open empty road in front of you compared to starting the bike with hundreds of other age groupers. There are positives and negatives for both, but a key learning point I realised was that it vital to adapt and be able to race hard in which ever format you are in.
I came off the bike and started the run, well i say run, my legs felt terrible, a slow shuffle was all i could manage.
"Just do one lap" i thought, it was a 4 lap course. Out and back along the main high street and then diverting around the bay. I realised i wasn't the only one suffering with 'the jelly, non co operative' legs. I felt bad, but then i saw people sitting on the pavement, some throwing up and I realised, my body was OK in comparison to those guys!
I focused on just putting one foot in front of the other, on moving forwards. I got caught on lap 3 of 4 by American Joyce Mccauley who had a few weeks before won Ironman Mallorca, she gave me a shout of encouragement.
The further I ran, the better i felt, so thoughts turned from, completing one lap, to have a go at to and finally, come on lets finish this race. I was super relieved to finally cross the line.
In the finish area, i collapsed into a chair next to fellow Pro athletes Cat Jameson, Emma Bilham and American Joycelyn. Sharing race stories, it appeared to have been a tough day out all round. I was happy to have dug in and to have finished with a smile,
I finished 15th pro female, 2nd of the three Brits, with Cat Jameson just ahead in 12th. The fact that Emma Bilham, who has had a fantastic year finished 7th, shows the standard of the athletes at the sharp end. Seeing the front females, running past, recording sub 1 hour 20 for a half marathon after a hilly 90km ride, really gave me a kick up the back side. This is what I need to be able to do, if I want to be competitive. Good winter motivation to put in the smart, hard work.
That wraps up the year. 7 races; 3 wins, 2 podiums and 2 Pro 70.3 races complete.
1st female Slateman Triathlon (3rd win in 3 years at the epic Slateman race)
1st Female Leeds ITU age group race 2.10.41
1st Female Snowdonia Triathlon
3rd Female, Olympic distance race Castle Howard
3rd Female Equalizer 70.3 Race, Devon
4th Pro Female IM Weymouth 70.3
15th Pro Female Challenge Paguera Mallorca 70.3
All results and race reports can be found under the 'About me&race results' section of the site
Fingers crossed my results will qualify me for my pro licence so i can continue racing in the pro category in 70.3 races next year.
A BIG THANK YOU to the following Raceskin, OTE sports, Mostmotion, Revolver Wheels, Computrainer, Always Aim High events, Aquasphere and TopFlaps. Who have supported me, through nutrition, kit, bike wheels, shoes, treatment and generally being top sponsors. Thank you.
Cheer's to a good year, lots learnt, and lots of motivation going forwards. Time to take a break, starting with relaxing with a croissant on the beach!
Enjoy your own end of season break.