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HUANGSHAN CONTINENTAL RACE REPORT

Huangshan Continental Race ReportHuangshan Continental Race Report

Last weekend I competed in an ITU Premium Asian Cup in Huangshan China. I have never raced in China before and I was looking forward to the new experience and the opportunity to race in a field where I knew very little about quite a few of the about the athletes I was competing against!  I was ranked number 1 for the race and with that the expectation that comes with it.  The days leading into the race were sunny, hot and humid so staying well hydrated was high on the priorities list. I woke up on race morning to overcast skies and cool temperatures.  I didn't mind it being a bit cooler for racing so I was not too worried.

 

This race was different to most as we had to set-up two difference transition areas. First things first I set up my bike to run transition area and the jumped on the bust provided to take us to the start and first transition zone, the race was bussing our bikes to the start for us. Being ranked number one gave me first choice of starting position on the pontoon, the first corner of the swim was a right hand turn but looking at the pontoon and checking out the swim I decided to go on the far left

The gun went off and the madness of a swim start was on and we were battling some choppy water to make things a bit tougher! I had a great start but before too long I felt like I was swimming in soup, I was stuck in slow motion. It was a little bit frustrating as I was in a good position I just didn't have the spark in my arms to accelerate to the front. It was a two lap swim that had us exiting the water after the first lap. At this point I could see that there was a small group forming off the front so I dived back in and put my head down to make up the distance. I got to the front grouped and exited the water with them and attacked the 350m uphill run to transition. I got to my bike had a good transition and stayed towards the front as much as possible. Most of the bunch came together after about 5km of riding so I did my best to take some strong turns but at the same time so my legs for the run. Unfortunately I hadn't lost that feeling of 'swimming in soup', my legs were not at their best on the day so looking after myself in the group was my main focus.

The bike was a 23km point to point ride then 4 laps around a small circuit. The front group had a decent lead over the chase pack so it was going to come down to who could run quickest. I was first out of the second transition and a group of 5 of us quickly formed, with the athletes that I was expecting to push the pace there.  I felt better on the run than I did on the bike and swim so I stayed well positioned and just pushed the pace as much as possible.

 

The run course was a dead flat straight out and back loop that we had to do four times. Being a straight out and back course made the run seem a bit longer. After the first lap the five of us were still together with the two Chinese athletes inthe group really working on surging and splitting the group up.   One of them got away with another athlete, i followed the acceleration and managed to open a small gap on the other two from the group. I kept pushing myself hoping that my legs would wake up and get going as the run went on. Towards the start of the third lap I was caught by two of the chasing athletes, they came surging past and I was unable to get on the back of them. I couldn't go with them and kept plugging away at my pace. I was caught by another athlete with about 2km remaining and I knew I needed to get away from him as he has represented Australia the Olympics as a track runner. I spent the last 2km surging trying to get rid of him but I was never able to open a big enough gap and he beat me in the spring for the line.

 

I ended up 6th in the race and was semi happy. It was nice to have a decent run after having a shocking swim bike and feeling like my body was stuck in slow motion all day. After the race we enjoyed a great dinner that the local people put on for us. I have now travelling to France with a training partner to begin a good block of training! I will be based here for the remainder of the season with the AIS squad and fellow Australian athletes. Coming out of this race I know that my fitness is much better and has improved greatly following my collarbone operation.   I look forward to hitting some good training here in France and having a solid season, thank you once again for all of your support.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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