(picture: Preview of Madrid course with JT) Time has gone quickly from my last race in Yokohama. I flew directly to my summer home in Vitoria, Spain. The first few days were spent doing errands, mixed in with some training for Madrid. Vitoria has been great so far. My favorite thing to do is search out the best “menu del dia” (menu of the day). This is more food than you can imagine for less than 10 Euro. I have my own townie bike that I use as my grocery-getter and as transport to the pool. Vitoria is a very bike friendly town: all cars slow down to pass a cyclist. I wish every city was like this!
I was shifting my focus to thinking about the upcoming race in Madrid, but I was having flashbacks of Madrid being my first WTS back in 2011. That race started and ended before I knew it and the challenging bike course had me lapped out before the half way point.
The course in Madrid has remained the same since then, starting with a 2-lap swim in shallow water (the day before I was previewing the swim with my squad and I could stand in multiple spots, and the water was so dirty I couldn’t even see the bottom).
The bike course is on a 5km circuit with the first 2km being mostly uphill. The bike starts with a 1 minute kicker into a gradual climb. After a 2km climb, there is a fast descent which continues on to a flat section across the bottom and back to the finish. The profile of the run on paper would make one think you would need hiking boots, but in person, it proves to be rather flat.
This race was going to be a good test for me: I was back to a non-wetsuit swim, with a challenging bike course (both hilly and technical), and a tough run.
I was first out on the pontoon and decided to go left as that seemed to be the shortest way to the buoy. Looking back at the replay, it’s hard to tell, but I am pretty sure there was a false start and I ended up in the water almost last. I struggled through the swim and forced myself to go back to what Jamie stresses about keeping my form.
I had pre-rode the course with Pat on Friday, and we did efforts on the hill to simulate the race. Pat stressed the importance of being on the front, and how hard I would have to go the first time up the hill. I headed to T1 knowing I was going to have to suffer. I made some mistakes and wasn’t riding at the front, which caused me to not catch the front group. I was upset after the race, but I got some perspective when I remembered what happened two years ago.
Starting the run, I was over a minute down to the leaders. I knew I would just have to run my own race. The first lap always seems to start slowly, but I think I am just so happy and thankful to be running that the pain doesn’t feel so bad.
Next up for me is Kitzbuhel. This is a type of race that has never been done before in ITU: There’s a 750swim, a 12km bike with 9km climbing, and a 2.5km uphill run.
I don’t know what this race will bring for me, but I am excited to be a part of it.
Thank you to Jamie Turner, Beata Komlo, and my sponsors: Hincapie, HED, Specialized, ASICS, NYAC, Oakley, USAT, Blueseventy, David Hobbs Honda, and Shimano.