“12 months ago, I raced my first 70.3 middle distance race at Challenge Mallorca and learnt a load of lessons about racing the distance. Things like nutrition and pacing became more important than just putting together a good swim-bike-run. To say the least it was tough. Since that race 12 months ago; I’ve contemplated my position in triathlon, had niggles, raced another 70.3, trained more specifically to 70.3, invested in a time trial bike and learnt how to fuel myself for this style of racing. It’s been turbulent and unsettling at times but it’s what has made me love triathlon and what I am able to do even more than ever.
My build up to Challenge Mallorca had been good, swimming and riding was going really well, racking up the kilometres. Running was a little bit less on the consistent side with a niggling Achilles but from around 7-8 weeks out I was able to get a good consistent block of running. Running some of my longest runs, certainly gave me confidence but there is definitely still lots of room to grow from my 3 runs/week.
The morning of the race I felt content and calm with a fire in my belly to get out there and race. Complete trust in my fitness and pacing, I would only have to focus on nutrition and technical aspects of my form. Two peanut butter and jam sandwiches, a Belvita bar and two bottles of electrolyte water later, it was time to line up and listen to Pirates of the Caribbean. Silence fell. Klaxon sounded. We charged in to the choppy swell of the Balearic Sea.
I had a great start, out and clear of the majority of the field still dolphin diving and wading their way out. Throughout the swim, spotting the buoys was challenging for the best part. I often spent my time visualising and semi-guessing that I was swimming in the right direction, back sighting to the beach and other buoys I had past. A kick ass body surf on to the beach got me a 5-10 second gap on a couple of guys that missed the wave! I exited the water in 2nd, up the heavy sandy beach and through T1.
Challenge Mallorca, has just the most spectacular bike course - hills, fast sweeping descents and fast flat sections. Something for everyone, one could say. Out pretty much on my own for the majority of the first lap going through half way in 1hour 13 mins and backing that up to finish the bike in 2 hours 29 mins. Admittedly, the wind did pick up on the second lap but regardless pleased with my pacing across the laps.
Through T2 and out on to the run, feeling good but the heat of the sun was growing lap by lap. I worked hard to hold on to pace and use the aid stations to focus on running too. The aid stations were most useful with ice cold water filled sponges we could grab and cool yourself down. By this point I knew my nutrition was going well. I wasn’t cramping, bonking or bloated, all things I had experienced in the past with some interesting nutrition tactics. Crossing the line finishing in 4:29:50, around 16 minutes faster than last year, 3rd In AG, 12th AGer overall, 40th inc. pros and qualification for the Challenge Championship 2020 - I was pretty pleased with my result and hard work. This was definitely a really good personal step closer to my pro licence.
Now its time to rest and relax with a bit of an end of season break before getting back to work and preparing for 2020!
Big thanks to everyone who has supported me this year!”