Trying to crack the USA!

April 16th, 2014 by

As usual another epic trip to the USA done and dusted and now back home before the next adventure in Mallorca for a Uplace BMC team training camp and race!
Its been a strange year so far. I’m not too sure where I’m at really. Ever since I started training this winter I’ve been struggling with my consistency and haven’t really strung together much good work for various reasons like illness, niggles and travel but on the other hand when I am training, I’m training really well. So I’m not sure where it’s coming from.
In spite of this I felt really good going to Oceanside 70.3 (California) and was quite confident. Before I left I raced a mile race and a 5k just 15 mins apart for a hit out and won them both in a sprint finish running faster then I have for a few years but in all honesty it was stupid. It was a fantastic tune up but my calves were so sore! I thought nothing of it and got on the plane to California.
The first race in California was really bad for me, I swam poorly, rode with good power but never followed the groups and ended up riding on my own the whole way. I’ve realised now that you really have to be a master at riding 10m apart, drafting but within the rules otherwise you get screwed over. The group rolls around together without you, you’re not part of the draft or the psychological benefit you get from seeing a rider in front if you and you lose minutes and minutes. Already deflated I hit the run and my calf pulled straight away. Race over…let’s get some Mexican food instead.
For the next few weeks I hopped between friends houses who I met while I was there and I really appreciate their hospitality. It really made my trip to get to know different people and see San Diego from the locals eyes. I can’t tell you how much Mexican food we ate and how many coffee we drank. Good times!
In this time I rode quite a bit and swam every day but barely ran for two weeks because my calf was completely locked up! Not the best considering I’m to run a 70.3 in a few days time.  Fortunately Gino one of the great physiotherapists down there helped me out and after a few sessions of therapy I could run again just in time for my next race San Juan 70.3.
It was good to be in San Juan (Puerto Rico). We were staying in a nice hotel by the sea which had a nice Caribbean feel to the place but it’s in the middle of a very busy city which is not how I thought San Juan would be. The roads were super busy providing rubbish opportunities for training while we were there but fortunately it’s just taper work so we didn’t need much! The main thing for me heading into this was to learn from my last race. Swim near the front, ride smart holding the pace of the key guys but just sitting at the legal distance and running with whatever I had left in the tank. It was sure to be a tough day especially with the Caribbean heat and hilly run course.
My swim was really nothing fancy and I definitely need to go home and get in some consistent kilometres, i felt like I was certainly missing some training but I was good enough to sit on the back of the lead pack and follow them around. Onto the bike it soon became apparent that I’d have to let Starky and Collins do their thing. They’re two of the best riders in the sport and I had to race my own race to some extent. Andi Bocherer came past me though fairly quickly and I knew that I had to ride with him for as long as possible if I wanted a shot in this race. He’s a top rider so it was good to follow him and learn how he races.  I was cheeky, I didn’t help him once in the whole ride, I was just content to practice the skill of holding a 10m gap. Towards the end I was getting quite tired and we caught a suffering Collins back up but after 90k it was a whopping 6:30 minutes to Starky!
6mins30 is an awkward gap for this guy. If he has an average day and I have a good one I’ll catch him but if he holds his own then I’ll run out of road. You never know how you’ll feel after a ride like that but normally as soon as your feet touch the tarmac you’ll learn your fate amd lickily for me I still felt like I had some gasoline for 1hr15 of chasing him!
I think Andi was pretty smashed so I passed him quickly putting me in 2nd. By half way I caught 3:10 on Starky and it was on track for a very close race which excited the locals!  However by then I was getting tired and my feet were very sore. The heat was beating down on me, I couldn’t get enough water and the efforts were taking their toll. I knew with 5k to go that I was going to run out of time. I was happy to take 2nd place just under a minute behind. Salvaging the trip and getting on the plane satisfied. Team mate Helle Fredrickson and Sofie Goos also got 1st and 2nd making it a great weekend for Uplace BMC again!

2nd at South Africa 70.3.

February 2nd, 2014 by

Hey everyone.  I’m just getting back to Stellenbosch after a pretty successful but epic weekend of racing in East London, South Africa.  I like coming to this race because it’s on my way to my favourite training destination and also gives me a chance to see where the form is at early in the year, it’s also nice for motivation during the winter months to have this on the calendar. I didn’t train super hard for this race, I did 4 big weeks in the Canary Islands and the rest of the time just doing what I could in Loughborough (I’m getting soft). I was feeling fit but still got the lions share of work to come when we arrive in Stellenbosch.
The race was really interesting with quite a lot going on for a long distance race.  The swim wasn’t too quick and I was very comfortable sitting on Marco Alberts the Estonians feet this year and three of us got a small gap on the rest of the field.  I went through transition as quick as I possibly could and was very surprised to get a really big gap on the rest of the field. I think I gained about 400m on everyone just in that space so I wound up on my own on the bike for the first 25k. I didn’t feel good at all though by this point. I didn’t have much power in my legs and had that feeling that it could be a very long day.  Team mate Romain Guillame came past me like a train but I didn’t really respond to him, then Faris Al Sultan caught me about 10k later and he was also riding a little too quick for me.  Luckily there was a group of 5 behind me so I rode my own pace till they caught and then vowed to stay with them as long as possible.  The boys were really jamming it and I was really on my limit for the next hour but I knew if I wanted a chance of a good result I couldn’t let these guys ride away from me!  I managed to keep with them till about 3k to go when I started to go too far into the red on one of the hills.
Setting the bike up
By the time I hit the run Romain was 4 minutes ahead of me, Faris 1:30 and James Cunnama managed to take 40 seconds out of me which seems pretty bleak doesn’t it? Considering I just rode 2.5hrs on my limit I actually felt pretty good on the first part of the run and set after them at a good pace. By 5k I caught James and went past him but on one of the downhills my feet really started burning up from the hot tarmac and the friction. I started to doubt a bit if I could keep running with this pain so I stopped quickly to tighten my shoes which helped a little bit. Meanwhile James caught me back again and we ran together for a while but by this time James was feeling better and I was going through a bad patch and he put a small gap on me. We soon caught Faris but I wasn’t sure if we had the gas to catch Romain but with 5k to go suddenly he appeared and it sparked the motivation to put my foot on the gas to make sure I caught him in time.  James was just stronger today though and he took the win 23 seconds ahead of me and my buddy Romain hung on for 3rd so it was a great weekend for my new team Uplace BMC having two guys on the podium.
These races are always epic and un-predictable, that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much.  You never quite know what’s going to happen.  I’m really happy with 2nd this weekend, James is a World Class athlete after his 4 place finish in Ironman Hawaii last year so it bodes really well for the year that I could fly here last minute with not a whole load of training and challenge him till the end.
BMC Bike Photo
Would also like to say a big congrats to Jodie Swallow who managed to win for her 4th consecutive time here and everyone else who got around, gruelling day and you should be proud to be in good enough shape to get round it!!!
Thanks for the support.

Introducing my new Team…

January 20th, 2014 by