I started my triathlon season at the Porto Colom Triathlon in Mallorca, a race which I had won twice before in 2011 and 2012 . It was the first race I ever did (and won) as a professional so it was quite special for me to go back to the race. I'd say it's one of my favourite races, I like the 1k swim 100k bike 10k run format and I particularly love the tough bike course. It was also a great race to do as I had been training for a while in Mallorca at Ferrer Hotels (in Can Picafort).
I knew what to expect from the course but what I didn't expect was the tough woman's field though I knew it would be a good test to see where I'm at and a great way to kick start the season and blow away the cobwebs. I won the race by a narrow margin of 8 seconds after running down super strong bikers Julia Gaiger and Eva Wutti. I wrote a little update/race report for Planet X and Viner which you can read here. http://www.planetx.co.uk/news/teams-and-riders/q/date/2014/04/22/a-great-start-to-the-season
After that I had 2 hard weeks training and headed off to Challenge Fuerteventura. This is another tough race and it was my second time here and my second time coming second at the race. I had a bad swim, an ok bike and a very good run as I managed to run my self up the field to finish in second. I was a little concerned with my performance as although I pulled off a good result I had to rely a lot on my run to get me there so I went away from than race with plenty to work on. You can read a little more about this race here on the Viner bikes website http://www.viner-bikes.com/news/getting-ready-for-challenge-rimini/
Straight from Fuerteventrua I headed to Italy to prepare for Challenge Rimini. Recovery after Fuerteventrua was good, I rested and slept a lot, ate very well as the food it Italy is hard to beat and though I kept training consistently I did a little less volume than what we had done previously which made the legs feel a little fresher on race day. The hospitaly form the organisers was the best I've ever experienced and it was great to be looked after so well.
My race at Fuerteventura was pretty rusty and I was looking forward to having a go at fixing a few of the things that didn't go so well there. I was much more relaxed in the swim and I managed to find some feet to follow. This helped my navigation which is one of my major open water swimming problems. I swam a little better and was around 3 minutes down out of the water.
I changed my position on my bike, straightening my handlebars (for some reason they were pointing at the ground in the last race, maybe my own fault after travel!) and thanks to FSA/Vision I now had some very fast race wheels. I biked well making up time on the faster swimmers and following coaches instructions I went for it on the more challenging and hilly first half of the course. I took the lead on the last climb just before the turn around to come home but Tina Deckers passed me again on the downhill section and I came in to transition just under 2 minutes behind her in second place.
My run was different from my usual down to the wire hard run and sprint finish which I seem to do quite frequently these days. I took the lead on the first section of the run and stayed there till the finish. It wasn't an easy run, it's very flat and a 3 loop straight out and back course. It sounds easy but I think I prefer the hillier courses as you can get some recovery on the downhills and it keeps the mind more occupied instead of thinking of how much is left to run or how you feel. Although I had a good lead I was very pleased to see the finish line and if felt great to take the win in Italy.
After two good races it was back to Ferrer Hotels in Mallorca. My next race is UK 70.3 and I'm really looking forward to racing at Wimbleball again this year.