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GENEVA RACE REPORT

After a slow start to my year with some terrible results, I took a step back and decided that what I was missing were a few months of 'grungy' training. The type of training where you are pushing yourself as hard as you can and just ticking the days over! I have managed to start this process and have got through a decent block of 'that' training, with another few weeks of it to go! Even though my focus at the moment is training I am still going to do a few races. On the weekend I travelled down the road and across the border into Geneva for a Continental Cup. I was excited for the race as it was one that I have never done before and I always hear how strenuous the course is.

I went into the race under full training load so my body was a bit sore and stiff but I had the mental approach of a fresh athlete. I had a good ranking so a good starting position on the platform on the beach. It was a tricky start with a wooden start platform then a steep drop on concrete onto a flat beach, we ran into the water some stones, certainly a bit of a different beach start to the ones we are used to in Australia. I was out to the first turn buoy in about 5th place, from there I settled into the pace of the swim and followed the feet in front of me. From here I concentrated on swimming conservatively and focussed ahead on attacking the transition onto the bike.

There was a group of 12 of us out of the water, I had a fantastic transition and was mounted my Cervelo in second and quickly took the lead setting a fast tempo. It was like the 'good old days' as my old training partner Josh was racing and he was quick onto my wheel and helping to keep the pace on the bike high! I lead up the hill for the first lap of six and put some pressure on the pedals. It hurt the first time up but I just knew I had to keep the pace up so we could establish a front group and get rid of the weaker cyclists straight away. With help from Josh we kept the pressure on over the top of the hill and down the descent. We had established a group of 6 athletes off the front that wanted to stay away and we worked very well together to establish our lead. We held the chase group at 40 seconds for the first 4 Laps, then on lap 5 the time gap blew out to a 1:20. That jump in time helped give the athletes in the break a boost of energy to finish off the bike strong, my legs were heavy and sluggish so this was definitely a boost to keep it going. On the final lap it started to rain a bit heavier and as it does in Europe, the temperature dropped quickly.

I led off the bike and was first in and out of transition. I couldn't feel my legs or feet as the air was so cold. I thought I was running ok until the other break away companions ran past me like I was standing still. I then didn't worry about them and just focussed on starting to feel my legs and then make them do what I wanted. After about 3 kilometres of numb, uncoordinated running my legs started to feel connected to my body again and I started to run better. The run loop was 4 laps around the park, each loop contained a couple of hills which was a nice break from the usuall y flat runs in most races.  I was starting to catch back up to my break away compatriots and pass them, my legs were coming good and feeling better and better. I turned the corner to enter my final lap and could see the chase group chasing hard and coming fast, I put my head down and just pushed. Two athletes came past me so I jumped in behind them and held on for as long as possible.   My legs started to fail and loose power after about 1.5kms of running with them and I knew I needed to hold myself together and finish strong! My heart rate was sky rocketing and my breathing was heavy, I ran as hard as I could to get to the finish line and just collapsed. My body was 100% empty and I was cooked, but happy!

 

I ended up in 9th position over all and 2nd Australian home. I was happy with the result as it was a step in the right direction and it was able to give me some confidence in the hard training I was doing. It has helped me improve my mental approach to training and the following few days after the race I have been training fantastically.  I am looking forward to the next couple of races I have planned as they are being approached in the same process. I will go into the race under full training load and use it as a 'hard as I can go training session'. It helps me perform better as it is no expectations and no pressure. I tend to put too much pressure on myself and I am trying to learn how to switch my head off and just go without thinking! It is a often a tactic that athletes need to learn at some stage of their career and I am enjoying the learning process. I would like to thank Chris "Macca" McCormack for helping me in changing my mental approach to training, racing and life.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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