The journey from Sands Beach in Lanzarote to Playitas in Fuerteventura was so easy. It was great to go to a race where we could just pack up the car and drive there with just a 20minute ferry trip between islands. In that way it felt like a ‘home’ race which made the whole trip feel very relaxed. We arrived on the Thursday before the race so we had time to drive the bike course and check out the swim course. I knew when we started out on the bike course that it was going to be one that I would enjoy! It is tough, hilly and has a little bit of everything.
The day before the race we had the press conference and briefing, it was very strange for me to be sitting there beside the likes of Lisa Norden answering questions about the race and how I thought it might go. We all knew that Lisa would be well in front out of the swim and that the rest of us would be chasing but I felt like I could be in with a shout of a podium spot if things went well.
Race day arrived and though I didn’t feel quite so anxious about the swim I did feel that sense of relief when the gun went off and it all started. There was a bit of slapping and punching as we set off from the beach start and though I didn’t have a brilliant start I did for the first time ever find myself swimming in a small pack with some other pro women. I settled in with that group and it felt quite relaxed so at the 3rd buoy, just before half way I went to the front of the group. Having not swam in a pack before I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea but I just carried on. When I couldn’t feel anyone there I begun to think I had gone the wrong way so I looked to see if they were there. I saw I had a small gap so just swam alone for the rest of the swim. The swim was much better than before for me as I have been working on it hard with Bella back at Sands Beach but I know that there are a lot more improvements to be made there.
After a pretty long (and slow) transition I set off on the bike and I was quite excited at the fact that someone shouted at me that I was in 4th position out of the swim! I’m usually way further back than that so that was good to hear. I passed one or two women just out of transition and by around 10-15k was in second place behind Lisa Norden and I basically just kept riding the best I could for the rest of the bike course. My good old training bike had a few problems in the run up to the race but I was very lucky to have been able to borrow a Bottecchia bike for the race from Flintstones bike shop in Puerto Del Carmen. This was thanks to Markus from Papagayo Bike shop who has been our amazing mechanic since we arrived at Sands Beach!! It was a lovely bike and felt pretty fast even thought it was a good bit too big for me.
On the run it can sometimes feel like a little bit of a lottery as to whether you are going to have good run legs of the bike or not. Sometimes you can get off the bike and the legs are just not there. As I ran through transition I couldn’t tell what way the legs were going but as I set off out of transition I was surprised to find that they felt quite good even though we were headed straight up a hill to start. The run felt quite strong comfortable for me on the trough run course and my new ON RUNNING Cloudracers felt great and kept me flowing well throughout the whole run and got me home with the fastest run split (www.on-running.com)
I think I had a fairly strong race for the first one of the season but there are many improvements to be made for me in the swim, bike and run. I feel that having the opportunity to work and train with Bella (who finished a great 4th in the race) is helping me a lot and I am looking forward to continuing our training throughout the rest of the season.
Challenge Fuerteventura is a great race and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a tough early season half distance race (the after party was pretty fun too ;)) Staying at Playitas was a great experience but we were very happy to return to our home from home at Sands Beach and were soon ready to crack on with some more training. Next up we have the Volcano triathlon at Club La Santa which will be a great training race for us and I am really looking forward it!
If you fancy trying some ON RUNNING shoes and would like a 10% discount you can use my personal discount code TBB0303ON you can use the code on their website. I race in the Cloudracers and train in the Cloudsurfers and find that they are great especially over the longer distances!