So the season begins. After a hectic few weeks getting everything, including getting a working race bike together I am now back from my first race in Porto Colom, Mallorca. The overall placing (15th) wasn’t quite there but overall I am happy with how the race went for a season opener and there are plenty of good signs for the season ahead.
Apart from the setting the swim was nothing spectacular: the low sun made sighting difficult so I found a pair of feet and followed them. By the half way point fo the swim the pace was a little slow but sighting on the way back was even worse so I moved up a couple of places and sat safely in the pack.
Once onto the bike I soon regretted not having been able to ride the course before-hand: the course was hilly and had long technical sections but unaware of exactly what was to come I did not take on enough fluids in the first few kilometres of the ride; instead I stayed focused on sticking with the pace with the plan of sorting out nutrition once the initial rush had calmed down. Unfortunately this plan ended badly as the pace continued to stay high and the climbing started in earnest: With the early signs of cramp starting to set in I eased up a little to take on some fluids and stop it in its tracks. This meant that I had to let the group go at the least opportune moment; heading into a fast technical section that I had not ridden before. With no other riders ahead to get clues on the corners from, and on a bike that I was unfamiliar with having only had the chance to ride it a couple of times prior to the race, I started to loose big chunks of time through cautious riding! Back on the flat though everything was going well and I pulled back ground fast. Unfortunately for me in terms of race position there just was not enough flat!
Coming off the bike I knew I had to make up time and was pleased to run through a few people early on. Again the run course was a little tougher than I had anticipated and I had to ease off on a couple of the climbs to once again stave off cramp.
As I say, on paper none of my splits particularly stand out but in terms of a race to build on for the season I’m very happy with how things went: I sustained a MUCH higher power output on the bike that I had planned, or even thought I could, and was still able to run at one of my target paces (albeit intended for a longer distance) afterwards. I could really have done with some fast company to run with as it always seems to get me going a bit faster!
So in summary, apart from the more boring breakdown of the power files from my shiny new race toy the key lessons learned are:
- Recce the bike course!!!
- Make sure I come off the bike with some company!