My training, racing, things that go through my head, memorable moments, and such.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some talk of France and Spain and Racing

I am currently sitting in my kitchen in Victoria, after having one of those weird zonked out sleeps that you have to claw your way out of. The ones that only really happen after you've travelled for 15 hours or so, and can't figure out what your body is meant to be doing.

My kitchen is lovely. The balcony door is open and I can smell Victoria summer from out the door. I just ate way too many blueberries because it is blueberry season. I am drinking some local tea I bought from the Sydney market before I left. Life is good. The France and Spain camp/race experience was awesome, but there is just something about being home that makes you wonder why you ever leave. (Although to be honest I needed a little break from routine when I left, so I suppose that is a good reason.)

The camp was great. Not only did we have access to physio, physiologists and massage (Thanks Marilyn, John, and Kim) but our house hosts were amazing ( Thanks Jenny and Mike), and the location was incredible. Training went well and I loved the change in scenery, the buildings, and the culture. Although the weather in France left something to be desired.

On our last week, Jon Bird and I went down to Banyoles, Spain for our first European Cup! It was a 4 hour trip to get there, complete with searching a fairly abandoned cat filled town for our hotel, before finding it at least 5 km up the highway (I had to speak Franglish to some locals). Banyoles itself was 15 k away along some tiny country roads.

The race was by far the best course I have ever done. The lake was 25 degrees, a beautiful green colour, and clearer than most pools. The bike course was six laps around the lake on smooth undulating roads, with a fun chicane section at the end. The run was 3 laps on the road with one decent sized hill.

My race didn't go as well as I had hoped. Here is a brief race report. I was ranked 7th going in, so on the pontoon I was lined up to the left along with most of the girls ranked ahead of me. When the horn went off (they forgot to say, "On your Marks" in English as they were supposed to, and so I heard, "blahblah bleeboo HORN!") almost instantly I was faced with choosing to go left with about 5 girls, or right with the mass of everyone else. I chose to go left, seeing as all the girls to my left were ranked top 7. I stuck with them, working hard but confident that I was in front pack, until close to the first turn. At that point our little pack began to merge with the main pack, and I was shocked to find out that we must have veered too far left, and so we were merging at the back of everyone else! This was bad news, because then I was at the back of everyone, with no one to fall back on to. I don't know when I got dropped, but at one point I looked up and it looked like all thirty girls were all together, then a significant gap, and then me all by myself. I did plenty of surges, and when we ran out for lap 2 (It was a very long run out, we think at least 100 meters, but likely closer to 150) I ran as fast as I could to try to make up time. Needless to say I didn't catch anyone, and spent the next lap of the swim all alone.

The bike was interesting. I jumped on all alone, and tried to wrap my mind around biking by myself for 40 k. Luckily at about the halfway point of the first lap, 2 girls caught me from behind (guess there were some girls who swam slower), and shortly after we caught another girl in front of us. The problem with coming out of the water behind is you generally end up with people who don't have much experience, so your bike ends up being slow as well. This race wasn't an exception. I made myself feel better by telling myself that if the girls had caught up to me, then we must be biking faster than I was capable of by myself.  For the next 6 laps I spent most of my energy trying to get our little dysfunctional pack to work together, to take small pulls, and in one girl's case, to take pulls at all! Some parts of the ride were good. We ended up losing 4 minutes to front pack.

Onto the run I felt better than usual coming off the bike, likely because the bike hadn't been as hard as usual, and so I ran as fast as I could! I am pleased to say I had my fastest run off the bike so far! Yay, a positive. Because of our 4 minute deficit, it took me until the last bit of the last lap to catch girls from front pack, so that was too bad. I finish the race in 19th, disappointed but with no regrets. Also, it was only a 2.5 hour trip on the way back to France after the men's race, because we took our own route and Jon is a race course driver.

I am very happy that I went down for the race, and very happy that I got to see France and Spain! Matt, Kyla, Jon and I had an awesome evening in Barcelona the night before we flew out, where we swam in the Mediterranean and I had a sangria on Las Ramblas. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Here is a video of Jon's Race that I made:

France-Spain from Alexandra Coates on Vimeo.


Barb. S. said...

Alex.. LOVED the video.. even if Matt wasn't in it!! You are very good at these.. next career maybe on the side :-)

Alex Coates said...

Thanks Barb!!!

Christine Ridenour said...

yeah great videa...wish I knew how to do that stuff!