This weekend I was competing in my last race for 2013 the Lanzarote 70.3. The last race of the year is never usually pretty for me. World Champs the biggest race of the year has usually been and gone and I start to get very tired and a little de-motivated. After 11 years racing I’ve finally realised I’m not a machine and even in the best years I need a mid season break if I want to last much past August in any decent shape so this time I took a week off a few months ago and it did wonders and didn’t cause any harm even directly afterwards.
I love the Lanzarote course. You swim in the Lagoon at Club La Santa before heading out into the hills climbing up to Soo, Teguise and finally the big one Tabayesco before starting a long Wendy descent back home to start 21k’s running along the coast and and back. That’s a tough course!
I had a decent swim coming out in the front group but I made a big gap 10 second gap in transition and from then I went for it on my own. I was kind of hoping that Ruedi Wild could come with me because I wanted to have him there to work with to stay away from Victor Del Corral who’s a rocket at the moment but after a while I decided to push on my own. Things were going surprisingly well and at 50k I had a 3.5 minute lead, I climbed Tabayesco 9k climb controlled (340w) hoping I was still putting time into the guys behind but looking down the hairpins I could see I was getting caught quite quickly by Del Corral! To be honest I had already gone ambitiously hard, I was getting tired and my weakest bit, the descent was still to come so it was only a matter of time till I got caught!
Sure enough Del Corral came past me and he was flying. Based on what I saw from him last week and my legs the odds were against me on the run so I concentrated my efforts on a podium finish. After my highest average Watts of the year of 320av. I got off the bike with a 45 sec lead on Ruedi Wild and co. and I was surprised to still feel reasonably strong! The first lap was key for me. If I could finish that and still have a gap then it was going to be a good day. I felt solid all the way round and kept putting time on the guys behind and with 3k started shutting it down because I was safe in 2nd and not near the winner. I’m super happy to finish off the season on the podium again. This year overall has been a huge learning experience.
The best way I can describe this year is that it’s been a learning experience through and through. I’ve had some absolute shockers where I’ve been way out of my depth and left wondering what the hell I’m doing here but then I’d get my faith re-installed from a top 10 finish in the World Champs and two 2nd’s in St Croix and Lanzarote 70.3. I’ve made pretty much every mistake in the book on my journey to figuring out how to be competitive in these. I’m so much further ahead in terms of experience and knowledge of where I started this time last year it’s crazy and I think that is super valuable to take into the winter, 2014 and beyond.
Lastly as usual a big thanks to my team: my wife Clare and family for their un-conditional support, my coach Mat Steinmetz for his great work, Loughborough coaches Mark and Gav, John Dennis for his Retul bike set up expertise, Gemma Lord for keeping my body together, training buddies and friends. Now it’s time to swop the lifestyle up a bit, good month off recovering and reflecting before my first child arrives and a big push towards 2014.