It’s been 5 weeks since my AG World title win in South Africa. Deciding to take my Elite/Pro Licence was a big decision but one I needed to do to really see what I could do in the sport before age really does catch up with me. Rather than waiting 6 months for the new season to start and wondering whether I had made the right decision I decided to go all in for one last race just to get a feel of what this really is all about.
I managed to drag my usual TTT crew of Phil, Hammo & Tom over to Lanzarote so they could chase their early qualification slots for Nice 70.3 Worlds next year. The weekend felt exactly the same as any other race we have done together other than the fact that I had to go to the Pro Briefing without them, they get to wear a wetsuit – I didn’t and I started 4 mins in front of them. Well that’s how I was trying to approach it anyway!
It didn’t quite feel like that on the start, lining up with some pretty big names from the triathlon world.
As usual I will give a very short summary of the race. The gun goes off, I swim hard for 200m and manage to find some feet. I feel like the field has pretty much gone without me. I basically swim at 100% for just under 25 mins. No idea where I am in the race (I actually come out in 8th) but don’t know this. I have 15k of climbing, I am finding it very hard until I reach the top and can recover a bit. Couple of gone past me and I can’t go with it. I have definitely swam too hard! Eventually I settle in with a couple of riders including GB Pro Colin Norris in a pace line. It doesn’t feel so bad now. I don’t ride anywhere near my potential but I’m happy that I am actually doing ok. Run – I suffer from red lining it, lots of times I think about pulling the plug thinking it’s not my day. I decide it’s only ego that would stop me from finishing so plod on to the finish. Hmmmm…..steep learning curve or what. I finish 9th Pro and actually get on the podium for a Top 10. Don’t be fooled, this was a far from impressive performance.
In an AG race i mastered going 90% for 4 hours. This was my comfort zone and I guess I became quite good at it. The Pro race you have to do one of 2 things: get good at going 100% and being able to recover or ignore what is going on around you at just do your race. I obviously didn’t!
There are guys happy to go on a suicide mission and it’s do or die. I saw a number just implode and pull out.
Swimming is massively important to get out with the leaders and have a better chance of getting in the stronger pace lines. I need to swim more!
You have to do races that suit you. I am a fairly big guy at 75kg would you believe? I generate pretty good power but my w/kg won’t be as good as the 60kg boys. Sticking with flatter rolling courses in sensible temperatures is better than a hilly course in the tropics.
It was a great race to go and learn from, Phil & Tom managed to bag their Nice slots with Tom getting on the podium, and we even managed a few drinks to celebrate the end of the season. Now it’s time to rest up and then get working on 2019!