The Czech Republic for a weekend
The Czech Republic for a weekend
On Friday the 23rd I packed my bags for my last ITU race for the season, Karlovy Vary ITU European Cup. I was accompanied by fellow Australian Tim George for the weekend and the two 500km car trips there and back. I had heard many stories about how beautiful the town of Karlovy Vary was but what intrigued me even more was how it is renowned for one of the hardest Triathlons on the world circuit.
Race day came around quickly and the weather did as well, it was raining, windy and the water was a cool 20.5degrees. What seems to surprise me whilst I have been racing and traveling in Europe is the diversity of courses and places that we go to race. Karlovy Vary didn’t disappoint… With it’s three lap swim course which consisted of swimming under a bridge half a meter high and running along a board walk and diving in, an extremely hilly, technical ride course that was seven laps once you had ridden into town, and a four lap run course where you had to run up stairs. The course alone was set to be exciting yet extremely challenging especially with the weather conditions.
As I had predicted yet again the swim was brutal especially with the first buoy 150m from the start line. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capitalize on my good swimming form and exited the water at the rear end of the field. The race wasn’t over yet though. It was a tough course and I knew it could play into my hands if I was willing to take some risks and go for broke. As we rode into town and onto the first lap of the bike course myself and some frenchy’s had caught many athletes and were moving up through the field fast, especially on the 21% climb. However my plan to go hard and take risks was momentarily halted when I was going down a steep hill towards a hairpin corner and my brakes locked up and I hit the deck. Luckily I wasn’t injured and I was riding at the front of the bunch so I was able to get back up and get on to the back of the bunch. I continued to ride strongly and stay at the front of the group, as it was the safest place to be. I knew that we had ridden through a lot of the field so I was confident If I ran well I could put a respectful result on the board after what looked like it could be a shocker. I was unable to run with two guys who ended up running the two fastest run times but I tried to keep in touch and I was able to finish 20th overall. It was a tough day at the office for everyone with only 38/75 finishing the race that included a lot of crashes from people who finished and didn’t finish the race.
Even though it wasn’t the result I was looking to finish my ITU racing season with I was still able to finish the race with a smile, I had achieved a lot of goals in the race that I had set out to work towards it was just a pity that my swim was not one of them. I was thankful that this race had many of my good friends racing and watching so it made it a great experience for the weekend. Even though it was pouring with rain and freezing cold speaking with friends after a hard race is one of the many reality checks for myself to why I do the sport and how grateful I am to be doing what I do.
As I made my way back to the hotel I found out that James Chronis another Australian and friend was in hospital after a crash. When I arrived at my hotel, the receptionists told me “You need to go to the Hospital and bail your friend out with 1,785 Koruna otherwise they wont let him go”. James had broken his hand, and it was another eventful little story to add to the list of European racing.
With only one more race to go this coming weekend in the Bundesliga training would be at its minimum and it would be more focused on rest and recovery. With Prague only 130km away and our hotel booked until Tuesday, Tim and I decided we should check out the scenery and another one of Europe’s most iconic and visited Cities. As we ventured through the streets of Prague and checked out the popular sight seeing areas it was like I was with a local as Tim has the knowledge of 100 men. Another great experience was swimming in a pool in Prague, it is amazing that a swimming center can be so unique and different to what we have at home but every country I go to seems to have different rules and swimming culture, but nothing comes close to the breastrokers and sidestrokers in Germany.
So after staying the night in Prague the next day myself and Tim made the 630km journey back to Germany. I must admit these road trips are made a lot quicker with the help of autobahns. So one more race and then it is time to end the season and start my break.
Thanks to my Sponsors 2XU, Look cycles, Active Physio Launceston and Jailhouse Grill for the ongoing support throughout this season. Also thanks to my family and friends who are my core support network. I look forward to writing to you after my final race.