Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Double weekend racing

A little late getting onto this blog as I've been busy with work and study since getting home from our trip to Xterra Switzerland and Xterra France.  I'll keep them short cause I've got more recent news to share.

Clean before the start of Xterra Switzerland

Xterra Switzerland.
Ali and I flew out the morning of the Brexit announcement and you couldve heard a pin drop at Heathrow. We used our Avios airmiles to fly Britich Airways from Manchester to Heathrow to Geneva with the bikes included as luggage. Alsolute bargain and amazing service by BA. Car hire by Europcar was a Clio estate and perfect size for us. The hotel in Forcine le Haut was quaint and cheaper on the French side than booking in Switzerland and only about 15miles away from the race venue at Le Chenit. A quick recce in the dry on Saturday proved advantageous as the skies opened with thunderstorms late afternoon and drench the course turning parts into a mudbath. My swim didn't go particularly well and I choked on a bit of water but came out in 23+ minutes but onto the bike I thought I did OK on the first lap. It was so muddy and slippery though that I couldn't get any nutrition in as everything was covered in mud. Big mistake. The second lap was when I started to make mistakes and crashed a few times, the last crash only a mile from the finish would gash my knee open very deep. Onto the run and aware my leg was bleeding and aching I continued to catch people and ran my way back to 6th in the age group. Had I registered with British Triathlon in time this would have been an ETU bronze medal but I was here for Xterra European Tour points and i grabbed 63 from a possible 100. I was wiped out at the end and Ali didn't even recognise me as I was so muddy. I got into the small stream to wash off the mud and clean my cut then headed for the hot showers just as a bit of shock was setting in.
hard to recognise the make

Xterra France
We booked a lovely apartment in Gerardmer for the following week from a lovely couple Robert and Martine Schwarz and they were so kind inviting us to dinner. We laughed and joked about us being their first British guests ever and so soon after Brexit. We would go up to the course most days and Ali would go off swimming or road biking whilst I walked some of the run course and then managed to recce the bike course albeit very slowly with a painful knee. I got some hydrogen peroxide cream and dressings from the pharmacy but realistically I know it should have been stitched. By Wednesday I got some waterproof dressings and on Thursday I was able to swim the length of the Xonrupt-Longmer lake at ironman pace.
On race day the swim was manic. 1000 people crammed into a space about 25m wide so I went hard left into clear water and stayed there almost to the first buoy then joined the thinned out line of swimmers. I exited in 21:26 and chuffed to get out onto the bike ahead of a lot of Xterra Warriors. The bike course is tough.....really tough.....and really long....and really really hilly. Almost straight away you climb and climb forever and my Garmin read 5000ft of climbing over the 25 miles/two lap course and included a few man made structures to keep the spectators happy and entertained with crashes into the sand and falls from the ramps and jumps. The second lap was horrific know what is to come and its been churned up by the 1000 half course athletes in the morning and then a 100 full course athletes in the afternoon. My brakes were not brilliant, I've subsequently found out the front was rubbing and the back need adjusting as it just slipped and was non effective. I learnt not to trust someone else with the track pump as my tyres were too hard causing a few spills and managed to bash my poorly knee again which still hadn't healed.You live you learn! Onto the run I was smashing past loads of runners and made up nearly 50 places overall and was pleased with the 53 min run which also went up hill a lot,, but what goes up comes down and despite a little cramp going up I thrashed the downhill. I finished 10th in AG and gained another 45 points.
racked up for Xterra France

I now lead the series with 258 points with two more races planned; Germany and Denmark before finishing at the World Championships in Maui. Theres a few races left in the series for someone to catch me but I'll try my best to maintain the lead and I'll be learning how to ride an mtb from August to October.

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