I am not sure which is worse – telling everyone you’re gonna win a race, only to have your body make a liar of you… or telling everyone you’re in bad shape, only to have your body make a liar of you! Actually, that one is pretty easy – I was pleasantly surprised by my performance at the Avia Wildflower Tri in California this weekend. And it is a good feeling. I am not sure my fellow Pro’s appreciated the surprise, but I can assure them I was not playing mind-games and was as surprised as anyone that my body had the power it it had, and kept going as long as it did!
I came into the race off 6 weeks of dealing with injury niggles which put me out of Ironman SA and meant I had done almost none of the normal training I would do in the lead-up to a race like Wildflower. Add the that the fact that I flew literally half-way around the world 48hrs before the race, and I was standing on the start line just hoping to keep going for the full distance. But you can keep fitness with very little maintenance training, and muscle memory is a wonderful thing!
I exited the water a little down on where I wanted to be, but I know where I went wrong, and overall was happy with my swim. Onto the bike and I knew the top guys were not too far up the road. But I was not sure I could bridge that gap without blowing up. I rode hard, but tried to stay in control for the first half. My legs just felt better and better though and when I noticed that I had inadvertently dropped Dan Hugo and Chris Legh I knew I must be riding well. I kept the pressure up and soon the top guys were in sight.
The tough run course was where I had predicted my form would fail me though, so even after a good ride I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence. I decided it would have to be a steady-state run, with no surges or racing – if I caught guys, great. If not, so be it. Starting the run in 5th I was already happy with where I was. Two of the guys ahead did come back to me on the tough course though (although it took some digging deep up the final climb to reel in Paul Matthews) and I finished in the same place as last year, 3rd.
The result bodes well for my return to form and the racing season ahead so I am, for the first time in months, excited about upcoming races and what they hold. A big thanks to everyone who has helped in the last few months of struggle, and to all my sponsors for their continued support, especially teamTBB, Cervelo, Campagnolo, 2XU, 3T and Cobb Saddles. And of course to my biggest fan, Jodie. She is probably the only one who has seen all the recent lows and can appreciate the high I am now on!
Onwards and upwards…
(Images courtesy of Kevin at TriLounge www.TriLounge.com. Thanks for the support Kevin!)