Last weekend I headed to the Gerardmer XL half ironman in France for the last of my pre Kona lead up races. I raced Gerardmer last year and people were dropping out because of the heat but there was no chance of that happening this year. Caroline and I arrived at our hotel the afternoon before the race and when I looked out the window it wasn’t quite snowing, just sleeting. I was pretty negative about the prospect of racing at this point because I’m good in the heat but the flip side of that is I’m useless in the cold.
Race morning and the conditions hadn’t improved, I was half expecting to get a text from Sutto saying to give the race a miss but it never came so I got on with things. I got in a bit of a swim warm up and just before the gun went off I glanced across and saw an old mate from the ITU days, Russian Ivan Vasiliev giving me his usual pre-race grin with a missing tooth. That gave me a good laugh a got me in a better mood for the race.
The race itself was pretty uneventful for me. I swam towards the front, lost lots of time in T1 rugging up for the ride, rode OK but again lost a lot of time taking extra care on all of the descents, lost more time in T2 and then ran fairly well and moved up into 3rd.
I’ve got to say here the skill level of the Europeans on the bike is really far superior to the Australians. I was being ultra conservative on the wet greasy corners because there was no way I was going to risk breaking a collar bone 6 weeks out from Kona but the speed that the European blokes can get their bikes around a wet corner was really impressive.
It’s a good feeling to have all the lead up races in the legs now. Just a few final weeks of preparation here in Leysin and then off to Kona for the big one.
All the best.