On Sunday I competed in my first race of the year down in Malaga. I picked this race as it was fairly close considering it was a big race. Well I say fairly close it was still a 300 Kilometre drive and considering I hadn’t drove a car for 4 years I wasn’t even sure I would make it there in one piece for the race! Before I even left for the race the drama started with me managing to hit the bloody wing mirror on a parked car, luckily everything was o.k. though.
As well as getting to the race I had another mission which was to pick Holly Lawrence up from the airport. All I knew was that her flight was going to get in to Malaga Airport at 23.20, I had no phone or internet so we couldn’t contact each other, I just hoped that she would be on the flight, and to be honest I think she wondered whether or not she would make it home.
So back to my little drive to the race, the drive I have to say went really smoothly to Malaga, well I didn’t manage to prang the car on anything and I got there in one piece so I’m taking that as my first victory of 2013! To be honest the drive was actually one of the most stunning drives I have been on as the motorway ran literally a stone’s throw from the beach as was constantly meandering around small mountains with the massive snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada’s to my right for most of the way.
Once I arrived into the actual city the next task was to find my hotel, I had opened up a load of google maps tabs on my lap top so every time I stopped at a red light I quickly hit a few keys on the pad and would take a brief look before the lights went green. This actually worked surprisingly well and I managed to find the hostel.
Being a bit of a pleb, I actually forgot to bring a bowl and spoon to eat my cereal I did however bring a cup to have a tea in the morning, unfortunately there was no kettle so I had to settle for eating my cereal with my hands out of the cup, tasted pretty good considering.
Mass start swim with age groupers and Pros starting together. I much prefer starts like this as I think you get a better atmosphere and plus everyone knows what place they are in during the race. I actually thought I had a good swim; I managed to get in with a good group and felt as though I was swimming pretty well. My swim time was 27 minutes 38 and I exited the water in 15th place and T1 in 10th place.
On the bike there really isn’t much to say here apart from I just put my head down and tried to get as close to the front of the race as possible. I was working with one other guy and it was going pretty well with me us getting our way up to 2 & 3 positions on the 2nd of the 3 laps. The guy who eventually won came past me on the 1st lap and was an absolute machine, I bet he had a bowl to eat his breakfast out of, must have had at least 6 Weetabix as well!
I was actually racing with an SRM today for this race, it was really good actually as it was like a constant kick up the arse if I started to slack off! On the last half of the 2nd lap I started to blow, I was pretty hanging if I’m honest but then I managed to get a 2nd wind on the last lap. I did a big turn and then the guy I was riding with must have had his turn of going through a bad patch. It was a bit like a magic trick really, now you see me, now you don’t and just like that another one bit the dust!
Nicholas Ward came past me on the 3rd lap at some point and I have to admit he was going bloody well. I was blowing a bit as my power was going down but I was still pulling away from other people so I knew they must have been blowing just as much if not more so I just kept plugging away. When Nick came past me it was a pretty decisive moment if I’m honest in my race as I knew he was a decent runner and I wasn’t actually sure if I could beat him on the run so I knew I had to bury myself and try to stay with him if I was to have any chance of winning. As well as this I knew Miguel Blanchard was behind me and he ran me down at Barcelona, I thought I would need at least 1 minute at the start of the run and 2 minutes to definitely hold him off (as it turned out he put 3.5 minutes in to me so fair play to him and a fantastic run!). The guy who came storming past me on the bike earlier in the race I thought must be a super biker. I thought he would blow up on the run as I figured that if he can bike that well then surely he can’t run as otherwise he would be world class. I thought that if I was within 2 minutes of him maybe 3 minutes and I could take a chunk of time out of him it would pressurize him and he might blow up. (he had almost 4 minutes on me at the start of the run and held it together pretty well on the run so fair play to him for winning.
With me starting 4 minutes behind the leader and with a chase group behind it was just a case of holding it together as best as I could and just digging in. Miguel came past me on the 2nd lap and then on the 3rd and 4th lap I had a bit of a battle with the guy that came 4th. I was always ahead of him but he did get me down to about 20 seconds at one point during the run. I conjured up a little plan that if he caught me I would dig really deep for 1-2Ks straight away and try and break him as I knew from experience that when I’ve caught people in the past you put so much into catching them that you are so spent and then are just hanging on after that. He didn’t manage to catch me anyway in the end and I managed to hold on for 3rd.
Here is a video of the race:
Post Race thoughts:
Really pleased with getting 3rd place, it was my first podium in an international race so that was great as it’s a bit of a breakthrough and good to do it in my 1st race of the year. Performance wise pleased with the swim, the bike I’m pleased with the power I held and feel that there’s a few equipment changes I can make when I get back to the UK such as getting an aero helmet, deeper rimmed wheels and faster tires, all small changes but marginal gains and all, Run wise I was pleased with it. My run time was 1.13.16.
Also Congrats to the guys which beat me they were definitely better than me on the day and I’ll take 3rd. Also ICAN put on a great race, excellent organization, great pasta party, and fantastic atmosphere plus best of all a sociable race start time of 11.30 as anyone who knows me will be able to testify that I’m not an early morning person.
Oh and I did actually manage to find Holly at the airport and make it home in one piece. Next up is Elche Middle distance this Sunday. I forgot how much these half’s take out of you and after Malaga I felt absolutely battered but I’ve been recovering well and feeling a bit better every day so hopefully I can get on the podium again!
Also I want to just give a big shout out to my sponsors who are amazing and without I wouldn’t be able to do it Mail big file for helping out with the expenses, Starley Bikes, Clif bar, On running shoes, and Sigvaris recovery products for helping me actually return to one piece for this weekend’s race!