So to my 6th and last European cup race. This was to be my toughest race as there were 42 on the start list, many of whom were seasoned tri-athletes. Having done tests in Sports Institute NI a week previous my iron levels came back low, and my run treadmill test was poor compared to what Chris had expected of me. This had played on my mind and I lacked confidence and motivation going into the race.
I met Mark in the airport in Vienna and we pushed, pulled and tugged my 3 wheeled bike box along to the hotel which was about 15m walk from the race venue.
A slight lack of organisation (compared to the other races id been at) meant no one knew much about the actual race routes. Pre-race-day morning at the venue (an island park) still there were no maps, leaving me to ride what I thought was the course, and run out and back through the park. The transition area looked to be long and narrow. At the mount/dismount line there was a ramp, making for potential disaster during t2. I didn’t get a chance to practice this and the turn around (also narrow and dangerous) so I came back early race morning before breakfast to make sure it was actually possible. This put my mind at rest. I had also spoken to Chris that night and he said a few things that bucked up my ideas and helped me put on my racing head.
I tortured Samantha Herridge (GBR whom we had met previously and befriended in Turkey) and Mark with ‘I am fast, I am fit, I am strong’, followed by kissing my guns. I was ready.
I also texted this to a few people to help convince myself!!! Hee hee.
The swim start was ridiculous, diving from the edge of a walk bridge. I swam strong for the first half, leading a group to the first bouy, another group had formed and I was around the bouy in about 4/5th. There was also a lone swimmer out front I knew would be Samantha. During the second half I lost my form and swam all over the place. Out of the water behind a big group I knew I needed to make it with them as they’d form a pack. Up the long steps to the transition, (mine was poor), and off with my bike. There was another girl just beside me and the two of us worked hard to try catch the lead pack, only 25meters in front. I cycled faster and harder than ever, my legs burned, and I couldn’t breathe properly I was trying so hard. The other girl made it to the group and I was still killing myself. 2 girls came up behind me and I was ready to fall off my bike, I didn’t even have enough energy left to stay on their wheels. Totally pants as I knew they could make it to the lead group. Fortunately they crashed (sorry girls) on the turn around and I worked with one of them for a while. 3 others joined us and we had a chase group of 5. Only one girl did any work, and she kept overtaking me when I did my share, so I just ended up letting her go, and just injecting some pace when we slowed down.
Off into T2, and I near fell over that girl as she (had crashed and) couldn’t move her arm, which you can imagine would make jumping off your bike at high speeds difficult.
I was behind those girls in my group, but I quickly made up time. I felt like I was flying and passed 2 people every lap. By the 3rd lap I could see Samantha and aimed to catch her. By the turn around on the last lap I had caught her, and was finishing strongly. I crossed the line with lung burn- a sure sign id given the race my all. I was pleased with 12th, as my run was good, and my swim was ‘promising’ despite having missed the front pack. Looking at the times my run time was 8th fastest, which I am also pleased with.
Only the first 10 got prizes so I went off Into Vienna with Mark, Samantha and the another British girl Jackie. We stuffed our faces with pizza, ice-cream and I got drunk on 2 glasses of wine. Home by 12 (I know we’re sad) and packed up bike etc. In the morning I woke up at 6 unable to sleep and so went for a 40m run (again I know I’m sad, I apologise).
I was luck enough return through Heathrow with my bike (it got lost last time) and in good spirits in preparation for my next race- a WORLD CUP race in Lorient France. Holy moly. Am I really ready for a world cup race???