After UK 70.3 and before challenge Aarhus I had a little thought in my head about going race Alpe d'Huez. My coach Mark and another Mark were going so I thought I might to go along with them. I seemed to be having a bit of trouble recovering probably because Wimbleball was a tough race and challenge Aarhus was quite soon after, which put me in two minds about whether to make the trip to Alpe d'Huez or not. Eventually I decided to go with the thought that if I was still feeling under the weather I would change to the short course race... Some chance.... As soon as I got out there I knew I'd be doing the long course whether my legs were up for it or not!
We arrived very late on the Thursday evening/Friday morning before the race so we could watch the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez, as we were driving up the mountain we knew it was going to be one crazy party. There were people everywhere, drinking, partying and painting the road! Being there for the tour was an amazing experience and I would love to go back for that alone.
The race was.... Well a bit of a learning experience. The swim was a bit of a punching match at the start but that was to be expected. I thought it was a one lap swim but they changed it and some of us didn't know. Luckily Tamsin Lewis told me about this just before we got in to the water. I came out of the water roughly where I expected to and having made the decision to only wear my arm warmers on the bike, (and my trisuit J) I had a swift transition and was on the way to our first climb of the day. The bike was a tough course but we all knew it would be, however I was soon regretting my decision not to wear more clothes on the bike as it was raining lots and very cold especially on the descents and it just seemed to get colder and colder. I think this made me descend pretty swiftly as I knew It would be a little warmer in the valley. The bike was going pretty well until I got about half way up Alpe d’Huez and suddenly I felt like I was going backwards, which I kind of was as I slipped from 3rd to 5th on the last part of the climb! I knew then that that 22k tough run was gonna be hard. When I got on to the run it was tough! I started very slowly with the intention of building in to it as I found that this worked at Challenge Aarhus, however it soon became apparent that there would be more hanging in than building in to that run. As the run continued my stomach became worse and worse and there was nothing I could do but stop for some toilet breaks on the way which I knew could cost me some places as I could see Lou Collins was chasing behind though I managed to hold on for 5th place. Although I'm happy with the result I know that I have a lot more to give and I'm already thinking of coming back next year for another go at it. I seriously need to think about my nutrition for the longer races as I don't want to have that experience again! It's been a while since I have done any proper training due to racing quite a lot over the last two months so I'm looking forward to getting back to it and getting set for the rest of the season. I have a little plan in my head for the rest of the season and let's just say my season is far from over!