2011 Monterrey ITU Triathlon World Cup

Sunday morning I compteted in my first World Cup of the season.  Originally I had the Yokohama WCS race scheduled on on my calender, but with the postponment of the race due to the unfortunate tragedy, I wanted to compete in an early season ITU race.  With Mexico being so close to home, it was an added bonus!

Triathon is growing every year leaps and bounds.  There were so many new women on the start line at this race, 75 women from all different countries.  The race took place all within the boundaries of a park, which included a man made canal and a motor speed way track, which was all smooth pavement that was flat and fast.  The race started at 8am, so that we did not have to deal with the hot desert like temps in the afternoon.

The swim was a first ever experience, in that it felt like swimming in a long, skinny pool.  The water was only 3 feet deep and you could always see the bottom….a first for an “open water” swim!  Many athletes were nervous about the swim being so narrow with 70+ athletes on the start line.  I always remind myself not to rush, and know that I have a whole 1500meters to make up time in the swim if I don’t have a perfect start.  100meters into the dive, I was feeling very bunched and couldn’t move, so I stopped, regrouped and moved to the outside of the swim.  By the time I got to the 400 meter ramp turn-around, I had bridged up to the main group and stayed on feet the remainder of the swim.  I did not realize at the time, but a group of six of us had 40 seconds heading into the first transition.

My goal for this race was to start off the bike hard (well, for any ITU race that is my goal).  I noticed that Flora Duffy and I gapped the rest of the four women very early on.  After a lap I mentioned to Flora to get ready to go, get on my wheel and we are going to have a break and start working together.  One of my favorite parts about racing ITU is getting together with an athlete, no matter what country they are from, you are teammates at that moment.  For the next five laps, Flora and I worked well and mantained around a 55 second lead.  I mentioned to her that we could step it up a little more to give us a little more cushion going into the run.  After a pull, I looked over my shoulder and saw Flora had dropped back.  At this moment I thought, “Do I wait?”, but with only 2.5 laps remaining I knew I had to go for it.  I put my head down and got into the TT mode which I am very familiar with (but only I was only my road bike verses my Fuji D-6).  I made sure to drink so that I was well fueled for the run and drank about 36 ounces of EFS.  I felt comfortable and smooth on the bike and that is what I have been practicing in training; being as smooth as possible around the corners so that I don’t have to jump out of every turn.

Heading off the bike and onto the run, I had 1:24 seconds.  I had a great T2 and realized how much easier transitions are when you don’t have 50+ people around you!  About 1.5 k into the run, I got my first glimpse of the group.  I have to say it was a little intimidating to see such a huge group charging.  I had no idea how my pace was matching up to theirs, but I just focused on moving forward.  I think I lost about 15 seconds on the first lap, but my second lap I didn’t lose much time at all.  The third lap I gave up a bit too much time and the last lap some of the women were really moving.  With about 1500 meters to go, I started to get a little nervous.  I thought to myself there is no way you can lead for 9.9k of the run and not cross the line first.  I ran the last 800meters focused on that finish line.  It was a moment when everything went gray and fuzzy, but I focused all my energy on that one goal.  When I got to the tape first, I was shocked that I actually did it.  Competing in an ITU race partly solo is physically and mentally challenging and I was spent.

This was one of the most emotional wins for me.  I was running that last 800 meters with everything I had and willed myself to the finish line.  I have to thank my teammates who were in the chase pack and helping me to extend my lead on the bike (Jill, Gwen and Alicia).

This was a good warm up before the real challenges of the WCS races down the line.  Looking forward to continuing on with my 2011 season!  Thank you sponsors, family and friends for your support.

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