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Tenerife, Fuerte' & Volcano Triathlons (03.05.15)

At the end of last year, I knew that I wanted to race more in 2015. I wanted to do some shorter events, gain some more experience of racing and start hitting some higher heart rates outside of training. Therefore, with the European season of triathlons kicking off, it has been great to be able race a few early season openers in the Canary Islands. 

First up was Tenerife (08.03.15) with TriSantaCruz a middle distance tri with 1.9/82km/21km format. A beautiful island to train on, well known as a cycling destination for the pro-tour teams, and has considerably more vegetation than some of the other islands. This race was smack bang in the middle of a training block and therefore perfect as a training race. I'll not do the #humblebrag about how much training there was or wasn't that week though! It was a novelty to lead the women's swim and it served as a decent reminder how important being able to sight is, and the importance of knowing the swim course, since I couldn't just follow the bubbles or the splashes of swimmers in front of me. I was a bit disappointed with my bike time, but on further consideration of the 10 dead-turns and cross winds, perhaps it wasn't so bad. Besides, it served the purpose of galvanising me in training to better myself. The second take home lesson was picked up on the run. It was a nutritional scatter brain moment and I neglected to pick up any gels in T2. Given that I'd just spent 82km hammering the bike, going for broke, treating it more like a time trial and wondering if I was ever going to be able to run at all; I then found myself in the first kilometers of the half marathon, legs feeling rotten, realising that I had no fuel and not knowing what the fuel was on the course or even if there was any other than the water-stations each 5km. ERROR! Message to myself at that moment was to run for as long as I could, as fast as I could, it was 'only' 21km and I'd done it plenty of times 'empty' in training. Needless to say I survived and lesson learned. 

Next up was Challenge Fuerteventura (25.04.15), a standard 1.9/90/21km format. As you can see, the topography is a touch different to Tenerife. I think that it has rained this year on Fuerte' and this is the island looking lush... goats seem to survive just fine here though and if you are a fan of goats cheese, you're in the right place.  It also helps if you are a bit of a goat on the bike. The course is not flat by any stretch of the imagination, but the climbs are shortish so you can push hard on the up and recover on the down. Basically I think that I was out-raced here. I've still to get the most out of myself at 70.3 distance and take home message was that I'm still not pushing hard enough. Obviously I wasn't cruising the course, but the timing clock doesn't lie and I was some way off the front by the time I reached the finish line. On with the work. 

Podium Winners - Podium Grinners!

And so to the most recent race. Volcano Triathlon hosted by Club La Santa on Lanzarote (02.05.15). A stone's throw from our sponsor training destination at Sands Beach in Costa Teguise, it would have almost been rude not to participate! Having said that, I didn't actually realise that it was on and it was a bit of timely social media activity and a phone call from Ben our team manager that put the race onto my radar. So I was lucky to procure a last minute entry.  I was straight back into training after Fuerte' and so once again, it was a race to load up the legs, gain some race experience and push myself mentally and physically.  I'm still learning the triathlon trade in many respects and as we know, racing long course is not the same as racing short course!  I entered the race the day before and it did occur to me that I didn't have a clue how to fuel properly for it. This was my 2nd ever Olympic distance race, I think the last being back in 2004. I spectacularly failed on any kind of rationing; I'd successfully squeezed goopy gel all over my handle bars within the first 5km of the bike (very little in my mouth) and I'd finished my bottle of drink by the bike turn-around. Oops. Push on. It did perhaps mean that I stopped thinking about fueling and concentrated on pedalling instead.

It was so nice to finish the event (obviously having won) but also to be done and dusted in the morning, home for lunch, a nap, and then back out for a recovery ride in the afternoon! Also, there was such a nice atmosphere at the Volcano Triathlon.  There were lots of happy faces and exhilarated people milling around at the finish, and a distinct lack of the exhausted emotional and physical zombie that you see at longer course events. So that was enjoyably refreshing and I'm looking forward to some more middle distance and shorter course racing after IM Texas!

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