Cremona ITU Triathlon Sprint European Cup
Ciao! My first ITU race in Europe…..
As you all may and should know I am currently training in the south of Germany in a small town called Sigmaringen with my Bundesliga team. Fortunately living and training in Europe means that I am closer to a lot more countries and thus races than what I would be when I am back living on the little island of Tasmania. After surfing the net, speaking with my travel agent and the “locals” I decided that the cheapest and most efficient way to get to my first ITU race in Europe that was in the north of Italy was by a 530km car trip with my ALZ team mate who is also from Australia, Chris.
Friday morning and we were set to leave the cold and wet climate of Germany. A bonus that came with driving to Italy meant that we drove straight through the middle of Switzerland, one of the most scenic AND expensive places in the world. As we neared our destination of Cremona the temperatures began to rise and I once again found myself complaining about the weather except this time it was the heat.
I have been asked the same question from my family and friends numerous times “Do you find it hard that you speak very little German?” and my reply has always been the same, “It’s fine, most people speak English and if they don’t they are very helpful”. I soon found out that in Italy it makes for a much more pleasant and smooth journey if you know a bit more than a few words. After searching for our apartment in the small town of Cremona for 45mins because the GPS wouldn’t find it and the Italian people were being Italian we were eventually settled in to our apartment and off to find a nice big feed of Italian Pizza.
So, the race. The field of 75 was packed with high-class athletes and a handful of talented juniors. The day before the race we always have course familiarization where the athletes can check out the course. The swim was to be held in a river that was absolutely disgusting so I made the decision to go to a local 25m pool that in the end wasn’t much better. The bike course made for a lot of fun with all male and female athletes to be escorted through the middle of Cremona on the very technical course that had a large portion of cobblestones and corners. The large amount of people made for even more fun when the weather decided to bucket down on us.
Race day and it was fair to say my body was ready to rumble after a tough two week training period except I was struggling to breathe because of my hay fever. At the swim start I was really excited, 75 people waiting anxiously on a small wobbling pontoon about to go hard to the nail for less than an hour, unfortunately a few were to excited and had a false start meaning we had to come back and start again. This was something I had never seen or experienced before. The swim was a hectic mess as usual but with a little bit of experience up my sleeve and a good pontoon start I managed to stay out of most of the trouble and came out of the water towards the front of the field.
I knew that I needed to get on my bike and absolutely hammer it to ensure I made the bunch and was near the front out of trouble on the technical course. The plan nearly worked…. I dropped my chain on the first U-turn so I was then on the back of the group with every corner like a sling shot with athletes dropping from the pack. I kept telling myself you need to get to the front what ever it takes. I worked hard and took a few chances and managed to get myself nicely positioned at the front of the pack but by this time there was a break away of four up the road. It was time to run and I was off the bike in a good position. I had no time to think and I just had to go hard and even with a big sprint finish I finished 13th/75. It wasn’t what I was looking for from the race and my run wasn’t the fastest but I have to move on.
To take my mind off things I went for a bit of sight seeing for the afternoon with Chris and his friend Eric. If you are into your Violins then this is the place for you! The brand of Violin called Stradovari makes the town of Cremona famous with its original maker “Stradovari” coming from the town of Cremona. I also climbed to the top of the town bell/church that was a 500-step journey, not the easiest thing to do after a hard race. More Pizza and more Gelato and it was time to drive back to my European home, Sigmaringen.
The racing has begun and now I have another six races in the next 5 weeks so hopefully I’ll have some good news for you all to read each week.
P.S. Sorry for the lack of racing photos, it's hard to take them when your racing haha