When I arrive at a race, the work is already done and it all comes down to executing mentally on race day. I arrived in Yokohama fairly early. Usually I arrive three days prior to the event, but because of the 10 hour travel day, I arrived five days prior to the race. Japan is one of my favorite places to race and visit (one reason being the food: sushi, sweet potatoes, and bubble tea).
On race day, as I walked my bike to transition, I went through my mental checklist. ASICS racing flats? √ Specialized Amira? √ SRM? √ Helmet? √ Oakley sunglasses? √. I racked my bike and checked my tires to make sure there was no debris or dirt or glass that could cause a potential flat. After that I checked the tire pressure. As I rotated the wheels, I checked the brakes to make sure they weren’t rubbing. Once everything looked good, I checked once more that I had everything I needed (at a previous race, I once almost forgot my ASICS and as I double checked everything, I realized in panic that I forgot my shoes!).
The swim was unique as it was a non wetsuit swim in choppy water. There was a strong current coming from the left that hit the shore and then pushed the water back to the right (making it appear like the current was pushing athletes from right to left). However, once I dove in, I felt a current from my left. It was extremely choppy, making it difficult to move up and break away on the swim. This caused a massive pack to exit the water together.
Once on the bike, a pack of 42 formed. When there is a big group, it is often hard to get everyone motivated to work. Yokohoma was a selection race for many nations, which also can create a slower bike. I was hoping for a hard bike--and my bike split was minutes faster than last year--but it still didn’t feel as difficult or fast as I would have anticipated.
I got off the bike and ran my own race. I am known to negative split (get faster as the race goes on). This time, I got off the bike and my legs felt fresh, so I ran my own pace and before I knew it, I had a lead. I tried to maintain pace, but began to slow on the last lap. Crossing the finish line in first was amazing. It was my fourth time winning in Yokohama. The fans were incredible in Yokohama. I don’t think there was any part of the run course that wasn’t lined with spectators. Thank you to all the volunteers and fans who made the race safe and fun.
I am now in Vitoria (Basque Region), where I will remain until the Rio Olympics. I couldn’t ask for better training grounds or training partners. The riding is beautiful and safe. Salburua, which is a trail less than one minute from my doorstep, is my favorite place in the world to run, and there are multiple world class pools to train at.
My next race will be in Leeds, United Kingdom, which is a new stop on the WTS circuit sponsored by Columbia Threadneedle.
Thank you to everyone for your support, help, and cheers. I had so much fun racing in Yokohama, which wouldn’t have been possible without my enormous support crew. A special thank you to Jamie, Patrick, and the Wollongong Wizards. I’m looking forward to the upcoming work as we head towards August 20th.