The 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series got underway yesterday in Auckland, New Zealand. Just five months ago we were here wrapping up the 2012 season with the Grand Final where I had my best performance of the year with a 6th place finish. That performance was a huge step forward for me in my career and I was very much looking forward to taking that momentum into this race. Courses like this one don’t come around often and it’s one that suits me well so I was excited to come back here. I had a great winter of training in Clermont with my coach Joel Filliol and a stellar group of training partners, including Mario Mola from Spain. Mario and I have logged many hours of training together in the last 3 months and over the past few days we chatted about how cool it would be to share the podium together.
On to the race…everything was going really well. I was right where I needed to be in the swim, then rode in the lead group up until the 7th lap of 8 when a couple of athletes in front of me collided and took me out. Everything happened so fast, I’ll have to take a look at the coverage to see exactly what happened. My initial reaction was to get right back on my bike and continue riding but my chain had come off and was jammed in my derailleur. I eventually fixed it but lost nearly 4 minutes in the process. I finished the bike solo and headed out on to the run. I could have easily packed it in but to come all the way over here and not finish, while being in such good form, would be even more of a disappointment. It was quite a challenge to motivate myself to run hard knowing I was well out of contention and with no one in sight. About half a lap into the run I crossed paths with Javier and Mario leading the race going the other way on the course and used them to gauge where I was at in relation to their pace. The following lap at the same corner I was still within seconds of them and decided to keep pushing. It was motivating and yet very discouraging at the same time knowing what could have been.
Seeing the run splits after the race was very difficult for me. Had I not crashed and come off the bike with the group I would have been well in contention for a podium finish. But, it is what it is. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair but that’s sport. Of course the prize money would have been nice but to stand on the podium is what I have been training for and hopefully I can make that a reality this season.
Special congrats to my man Mario! Very proud of him!