Thursday, 20 July 2017

First half of 2017 season

I tend to start a lot of blogs like this;

It’s been a while … but it has.

The last time I updated this I had just finished a training camp in Arizona with my new Squad which I have joined this year; Origin Performance.
With so much happening since then I’ve had plenty to write about, so why haven’t I? Well mainly I struggle to sit down in front of a computer and actually start typing. I know I need to get better at promoting myself and getting my story out there, as it now seems to be a big part of being a sports person.
On top of that it is always much easier to write and promote oneself when things are going well, its much harder when things haven’t gone to plan.
I don’t want to start off too negative, I am training well, I’ve been based in some really awesome places, just results haven’t been where I have wanted them to be.

So, a proper update.
So after being based in America for three months my squad decided to base themselves out of Banyoles, Spain (90mins North of Barcelona). It’s a popular training location for triathletes as the whole town revolves around an amazing lake, (which hosted rowing at the Barcelona ’92 Olympics). Great cycling, awesome open water swimming, decent running trails and consistent, sunny weather; if not a little bit too hot at times.

My first set of races from here was an Asian double; Chengdu World Cup in China and Yokohama World Series in Japan at the start of May. Chengdu was a slightly different format than previous years, a Sprint Triathlon Qualifier on the Saturday with the top 9 out of each of the 3 heats progressing through to a super sprint final on the Sunday.
I felt good on the Saturday comfortably qualifying in 6th in my heat to progress, but in the final I just wasn’t fast enough. I finished an Ok 17th , a mere 26secs behind the leader … small margins make all the difference.

Onto Yokohama the following weekend for my 1st WTS race of the season. I think this might have been some of the worst weather I have ever raced in and that weather was to come to the demise of my race. It all started quite well in the swim with making it to the 1st Buoy in the lead for the first time in a WTS race. I died off a little but made it out of the water safely in the front pack.
With the weather being resulting in a lot of surface water as well as notoriously slippy white lines on the road, it made for a very sketchy bike leg with all competitors rather nervy.
Unfortunately on the 3rd lap of the bike I crashed, I would love to be able to tell you what happened but I don’t really know. The whole pack was lined out in single file, going in a straight line, one minute I was upright the next I was sliding on my ass in the same direction we had been cycling in. On review of footage it looks like it was possible that I was touched from behind, but it happened too fast and the weather was so bad, I can’t even put the blame on anyone.
On top off crashing I managed to damage my rear skewer, which resulted in being unable to secure my back wheel into the frame. I ran to the next wheel station, got a spare wheel and tried to continue, but the time I lost was too significant; I got lapped out.
Post Yokohama, I had three weeks to get ready for Leeds WTS and with no 10km in the legs after not being able to finish the race I was able to get back into training sooner and fresher than I would have (I had to find some positives from it).
Leeds last year was my best performance to date (11th in a WTS), so I had put a little extra pressure on myself to have another good performance this year and I was feeling good, training was showing that there was no reason why a similar result wasn’t possible.
With another good swim, I exited the water amongst the front group and was ready to get into the mix, but managed to seriously fluff up T1.
Everyone knew that T1 was going to be crucial in this race as the exit was on a steep hill. As I ran out with my bike I clipped someone, which broke my elastic and sent my left shoe spinning on my pedal. With the added difficulty of having no momentum on the hill I managed to get flustered, and made a meal of getting started; every time I placed my foot on my shoe it seemed to be on the sole and not the top.


Frustratingly this small but crucial basic element of triathlon cost me the front pack and resulted in me finishing 10-12 places lower than I could have after the strong swim I was able to have.
That’s racing, fitness is only one element of triathlon and although mine was good, I messed up the basics and it cost me dearly. I still biked well and had a solid run to finish 23rd, a result I would have been happy with last year, but not this year.

One week later I traveled to Kitzbuhel for European Olympic distance champs. As much as it would prefer it not to be, this will be a short update…
I must have picked up a bug and the morning of the race I was throwing up right up till the hooter went. I lasted the swim (just about), onto the bike I was very nauseous and weak. I tried to push on but continued to vomit and I knew I had to take the decision to pull myself out of a race for the 1st time ever.

Once again it was back to Banyoles for another training block before Hamburg WTS, (last weekend). Thankfully after a week or so to get over my illness from Kitzbuhel, training actually started to go pretty well once again.
Although going into this race it was hard to concentrate on the good training done, when going into all the previous races I was happy with my fitness yet crashes, illness and the basics let me down. So although I wasn’t overly happy with the final result I came away from the weekend mentally stronger to have put a full race together.
Hamburg has always been a fast and furious race where the margins are small.
I tired near the end of the bike resulting in a very poor position leading into T2 which put me on the back foot going onto the run. With tiring on the bike previously and heading onto the run in a very low position I didn’t move up much and finished the day in 39th.

Moving on from these races that have been below average, I am looking at this as a turn around point in the season. There is still plenty more races to come and I am excited to prove that the hard yards have been put in and the fitness is there to put a very big performance together.
I have to remember that this is a transitional year, that I have moved to a new squad, new coach, training with new people and in very different training locations. Things are just taking longer than I would have liked to fall into place, but there are still much more racing to be done this season.

On Monday I head off to Canada for the next two WTS races, first in Edmonton and then the following weekend in Montreal. Time to get some decent results on the board!

I’ll check back in post Edmonton, apologies for the novel.
  
Russell 

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