What an amazing weekend of racing! I don’t think I have ever worked so hard over two days…well maybe I lie, maybe some of those power sessions my coach Helen has given me equal it. But I do know that those power sessions have certainly helped me this last two days.
It all started with Time Trial on Friday. The Trike category was the last group of the morning session. The weather was pretty good, a bit of cloud cover and the wind had dropped considerably from the day before, it was however still present. Because the second half of the course was extremely technical I wanted to really push hard through the straighter parts on the first half. I was really happy with the way I took the corners on the second half and at least I got through it safely. I knew I had a great race as my stats on my Garmin were showing some amazing numbers, some which I could hardly believe. But I had to wait to see if I had done enough. In the end I certainly had beating home the reigning World Champion by 1:07 minutes. I had held my fastest ever average speed at 34.99 km/hr (hoping the coach will let me say 35!) and an average 240 watts! So I had the first win under my belt.
Today I felt was going to be trickier as I know that Marie-Eve, the Canadian and reigning World Champ is an amazing technical rider especially when it comes to corners. We both took off from the other women right from the start and once we were about 1.5 km ahead we chatted about what we wanted to do. #1 was stay ahead of the other women, #2 was to catch the men T1 riders, then I suggested that we try to catch the men T2 riders. She looked at me like I was nuts. They had started 2 minutes ahead of us, but I knew I was fit enough to pull it off. She had told me that she wasn’t that fit due to surgery she had just undergone, but I didn’t know whether to believe her or not. So wanted to put it to the test!
We did catch the men and in fact they were so busy playing a cat and mouse game with each other that we rode right past them. I am sure it took them all by surprised as in the next five minutes they then picked up their game. We definitely stayed fairly close to them though throughout the entire 3 laps.
Marie-Eve kept telling me we were going to fast and that made me push harder! At one point she took the lead and slowed us right down to a crawl, at least that’s how I felt, so I said, “No, too slow!” And jumped back in front. But she kept up, so I knew she was not telling me the whole truth about being unfit. Towards the end of the course there is an 11% downhill into a 90 degree right hand turn and I let her take this first each time. This last time unfortunately Jarrad Langmead our Australian T2 male rider was face down on the corner and they had us slow right down to get around him and the emergency staff. This kind of threw me and as I slowed to get around the corner Marie-Eve took off and I had to sprint to catch her. But the last two corners I overtook her and after a clash of our back wheels I still had the better line and decided to just hammer it home. Stupid me forgot how far the finish line actually was .and with about 100 meters to go I heard her coming up behind me, the with about 20 to go saw her front wheel just to my right, it was the head down and try to hang on. That finish line couldn’t come any sooner! I got her by about the width of a tyre! We were given the same time but I was given the win. We also for the first time ever posted a faster time than the winning men by 1:03 minutes!
Once we were off our trikes we had a hug and knew that we had had a great battle. But it gives me the confidence going into next week and I have learnt that she isn’t as unfit as she says she is. I have also learnt that sprinting early is not an easy thing to do, so it is time to sit down with the coaches and plan my strategy for next week!
A footnote about Jarrad: although it looked really bad when I saw him, he was taken to hospital and luckily he has no broken bones. He has however lost a lot of skin and will be battered and bruised for a while. He was released from hospital tonight and is back at the hotel with us. Not sure if he will be racing next week but he will be travelling to Baie-Comeau with us on Monday.
I look forward to next weekend to see if I can emulate what I have done this weekend…never say never! I will give it my best!