Adiós European Season
On the weekend my Triathlon season in Europe came to an end at the Div2 French GP in Cognac. It was a great way to finish up with a 7th place, 4th fastest run and a very impressive 16th out of the water, 3rd for the team and finishing 2nd for the season meaning we move up to division one next year. The improvement and performance I saw in this race was unbelievable and very satisfying considering some decisions that have been made. All that will be explained later on.
After saying good bye to Spain on the Friday where I had been based for the past 3months I now head to London for a short break before heading home and getting myself ready to compete at my first ever Duathlon World Championships to be held in Adelaide in the middle to late October. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the back end of my season in Europe and fill you in with all the changes that have been made to my career.
The back end of my season has been very tiring and hasn’t panned out just the way I wanted it too. With a lot of racing on the schedule I had battled with a number of different hick ups but thankfully no serious injury. Things were not working smoothly and my performances were nowhere near the standard I expected of myself which made it very difficult due to throwing all my eggs in one basket financially. I think everyone can understand that Triathlon or any sport doesn’t always work out the way you plan and you have those obstacles that may hinder your ability to improve, race well and stay at a high level.
At the end of August I decided to head down to a Basque race in Spain to boost some confidence and chase some money. It was an Olympic distance non-drafting Triathlon that actually had a 45km bike, which consisted mostly of climbing. I always love the climbing on the bike and it works to my strengths especially going onto the run. I managed to have a standard swim exiting the water in 3rd place. Even though we had trained through this race and I was feeling tired I got onto the bike and felt strong straight away and I knew I was going to have a good shot at the win, with the bike most likely being the decider of the podium. I pushed hard on the flats knowing that at least 15 of the top 20 guys were on time trial bikes. I hit the lead very early on and found myself out in front by myself. I knew I had some really good guys chasing me down but I just tried to push as hard as I could especially on the climbs as I knew I could put time into them. With about 4km to go on the bike I was caught by three guys who apparently had hit speeds of between 90-100km/hr on their TT bikes heading down the descents. I managed to stay with them and by the 1km mark of the run I was in the lead again. It was a very hot and exposed run. All though I wasn’t happy with my run I was happy to hang on and take my first ever win in Europe and my first ever win over the distance.
With some more training under my belt I had planned to do a double of ITU races. One was in Latvia and one was in Turkey. I was confident heading into the race in Latvia but unfortunately things didn’t go my way. I had a good swim considering what I am capable of but I was off the back of what became the second pack. The pace was flat stick on the first of four laps and unfortunately I was at the back biting my lip to hold on and was caught up in a crash, which held up myself and another Australian. We rode a full lap chasing but ended up getting caught by the third pack. From there I just went backwards, ran horrible (All though I actually felt like I ran well) and finished mid 30s. I had a week to re-set and move onto Turkey but unfortunately in a small field of 35 in an Olympic distance race I had a horrible swim and my day was over. I managed to cross the line in a disappointing 19th. These were both very beautiful places to visit but the experiences were very much hindered by poor performances.
At this point I was very much in need of an evaluation and a needed break. The break had to wait until post my race in France but the evaluation I was able to make earlier. In February I packed my bags up, sold everything and moved to Brisbane to a coach to search for that next level. I had set some timelines, goals and standards to meet until the end of the season that I wanted to meet and had to achieve to be able to continue on due to how financially demanding it was. Unfortunately the move didn’t work for myself and I found myself not achieving anywhere near the results I knew I was capable of and not reaching the level of training I believed I had to be doing. I was fortunate to have a coach who gave me 100% into his beliefs however it just didn’t work for me even though I knew it would take time to adapt to a different training program. So after Turkey I moved back into my own schedule and shifted my focus for the French GP and Duathlon Worlds championships. With this decision I will be heading back to Tasmania and be coaching myself once again which I know has worked for me. At this point in time I am not sure what direction I will take with Triathlons, running, study and work. First its time to have a small break and then put 100% focus onto Duathlon World Championships.
All though this has been a tuff period for myself as an athlete I would like to thank my ever-supportive family who are really amazing and my sponsor’s 2XU, Look cycles and Andrew Jones Travel.