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CREMONA AND KITZBUHEL RACE REPORT

Last couple of weeks have been busy in my life. I had 2 weekends in a row of racing and I had to travel from France to Italy back to France then across to Austria. I was excited for the travel and with a road trip planned for Italy I thought it would be a great opportunity to see some amazing scenery and hang out with some fellow Australian athletes. The mountains dwarfed us in the van and to see the mountains towering over us and kissing the clouds and the road winding through the hills like a snake was fantastic. I just wish I had a quick car so I could drive and enjoy the roads.

 

So the first race was a sprint distance race in Cremona Italy. The course was insane with 16 corners per lap and it was a 4 lap bike course for the 20 km. It had a mixture of carpet, tiles and cobbles so it was going to demand full attention. I was pumped as the technical bike courses suit me and the run was twisty so I felt like I could have a good day. The swim was a 1 lap swim and it was a rough swim with arms and legs going everywhere and felt more like a group wrestling session than a open water swim. I did not have good position exiting the water so I attacked the start of the bike to get to the front of the race.  I managed to reach the front of the pack before we hit the super twisty laps in town.

 

I remained at the front of the bunch through the twisty section but would then slide backwards on the long straight to not work to hard then go to the front through the corners. I felt very comfortable and controlled and was enjoying the race. Last lap I hit the last few corners in 2nd and then jumped off the bike first out of a group of around 25. I was first out of transition and the run was mainly on coble stones and was twisty. I tried to control my first km so I didn't cook myself early and build into a good rhythm.  It is hard to hold yourself back when you are leading a race and as the bunch started to catch me I realized I did run out a bit to hard and struggled to go with them. I dropped off the front group and just tried to keep them in sight and try pull them back. I wasn't able to but I did run hard and push my speed. I ended up in 14th position and I was reasonably happy with the result. It was a good hard fast race to get ready for the following weekend. I enjoyed my 2 days in Italy and the coffee and pizza was amazing.

 

The drive home was great and I was able to catch a bit of shut eye. The next week was all about recovering from the race and making sure the body was ready to go for Kitzbuhel, Austria. It was a good few days back in my French home with the other Australians. Then the off we went to Austria. The coaches drove with all the bags and bike so we just had a quick flight.  The other bonus of travelling with no luggage is that we got a lift fro the airport to the hotel in AMG Mercedes so down the Autobahn we were hitting 200km/h, It was fantastic.

 

Kitzbuhel Austria is one of my favourite race destinations of the year and it is a sunny place surrounded my some enormous mountains and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. The lake was just warm enough for it to be a non-wetsuit swim but due to the air temperature being 17 and raining they allowed wetsuits.

 

I wasn't ranked very well for the race but that also meant that I had no pressure I could just go out and race. The swim start was fast and I got swamped and had to try and fight my way back through the field but with everyone in wetsuits it was just a huge swim pack about 8 athletes wide. I jumped out of the water back in the field but knew that I needed to get on the bike and push hard. The roads were wet and the temperature was dropping, as the rain just got heavier with the pass of every minute. I managed to get to the front of the bike race at the end of the seconds lap out of 6. I just was positioning myself so I could conserve energy and still keep the heart rate pumping so I could stay warm. The challenge of cold races is to stay warm and I think just keeping the heart rate up helps.

 

I knew the run was going to be quick as the front bunch contained over 50 athletes and it is a fast flat run. My running form is slowly return but is still off my best. I was well positioned coming off the bike and I was top 5 out of transition. I knew I had to run my own pace and build into it but the first kilometre was smoking fast. I was dropping down through the pack but knew I would build into it. The rain was really falling hard at this stage of the race and the temperature was around 12 degrees now. I didn't notice how cold it was until I finished. I was running on the spot and wasn't running well. The body started to loosen up and move forward at around the 5km mark. I started to pick guys off in front of me and in the last 2.5km lap I passed 6 guys.

 

I finished the race and then I started to struggle to breath and couldn't stop coughing for the next 10 minutes as the air was so cold. I finished 44th overall and it is not the best result but it was a great marker to see how the training is going and also to see how my form is against the best in the world. I was the 32nd Australian in Italy and 3rd Australian in Austria. There is a few weeks now where I can put my head down and get some solid training in before heading to Canada for the next world cup.

 

It is an uncertain time for me at the moment with my coach no longer able to coach me. Change can be scary but change can also bring opportunity so I am positive about the possible outcomes.

 

 
 
 
 
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