I had the ITT on Friday and although I had to race just after 7pm I did the fastest average speed ever, 35.48 km/hr, officially. We, the T2 category only had one lap of the course to do, 11km. It was a fairly flat course but had one small climb over an overpass, so I knew that my strength was going to lie in that little climb. I also knew that it was going to have to be a full on hammer for the entire 11km. I had a great first half of the race and felt like I was slowing on the second half but data from my Garmin showed that I was definitely faster coming back home. I had 5 girls starting in front of me, with my main competitor, Marie-Eve of Canada starting one minute behind me. I decided that I wanted to try and pass all 5 women in front of me and as I gained on each woman I counted them to myself. I wasn’t able to get them all as I missed the first girl, Madre, from South Africa by about 100m from the finish line. But I knew that I had gained on Marie-Eve, I just didn’t know by how much. In the end I had won by 1:30min over Marie-Eve, with Madre in 3rd.
I had a rest day on Saturday, so it was just a small ride to shake off the affects of the TT from the day before.
Sunday was Road Race day and to say it was hot is an understatement. We raced at 1 pm with the T2 men and considering I don’t handle the heat very well I was a bit concerned. I had done some testing in the heat tent at the VIS in the last few months with Nick Owen, the sport scientist who helps me out and not much had worked. It wasn’t just that it was 36 degrees it was also very dry, no humidity at all, which made it really hard to breath.
So I took all this into account and decided that my warm up would be short and on a wind trainer in the shade of our team tent. I also had a “cool scarf” around my neck, drank copious amounts of cold water and completely soaked my jersey and head before I headed to the sign on area. I also had a towel that had been soaked in ice water wrapped around me waiting for the start. This was probably the best thing I have ever done!
We were called up to the line, 24 trikes, men and women, with the World Cup leaders and the World Champions at the front. About 100m from the start was a very tight U turn and you guessed it I got the inside by the way I was called up to the line! On a trike not the best position to be in. We like to be wide and cut the apex, as it makes it easier to get around the corners. I had decided, after riding the course over a couple of days, that I was going to make sure I got around the corners safely, I could always sprint out of them and catch up to the others.
The race started and I was able to stay up with the fastest men and my Canadian competitor, Marie-Eve, through the first lap. I was very cautious on the last corner before the finish line as it was cobblestones and very uneven. This dropped me back a fair way but through the next technical section I caught up to Marie-Eve. We had a slight rise to go up and I heard her groan and realised that she wasn’t enjoying this race so hammered it up the rise. The 6 fastest men at this point had gotten away, but I caught up with the American, Steven Peace, and said to him “come on lets catch them”. We worked together really well and eventually caught the main guys.
A couple of Km’s later they slowed right down and being concerned that Marie-Eve would catch us, I jumped to the front and took off. I think the guys were a bit stunned as it took a few moments for them to realize and come after me. I stayed at the front for just over a kilometre and then decided that was it for me leading them and tried to move off to the side. Bugger, the Columbian guy who was sitting behind me refused to take the front, so after weaving all over the road for about 100m I hit my brakes, which made him go around me and I was able to then jump on the back of the men again.
We had one last lap to do and after the cobblestone corner the men decided to just hammer it, which left me with one of the French guys. We took turns back and forth and eventually with about a 1km to go he pulled away from me. I came into that last cobblestone corner and probably had the best line for the entire race and was able to sprint out of it for the 200m to the finish line. I had no idea how far ahead of Marie-Eve I was and found out in the end that she was most likely on the verge of heat stroke on the last lap. Me well I had started out soaking wet but when I finished I was extremely dry…it certainly paid to be completely soaked at the start.
All in all it was a great weekend,, result wise for me with two wins out of two races. I had some fantastic training while I was hear and I am now looking forward to the World Championships in 4 weeks time. Thanks goes to Peter G for making sure I was staying cool at the start of both the TT and RR, Peter S for getting my hips and legs ready with massage an Peter G and Ben for making sure my trike would stay working over all those cobbles!
Our Aussie Team had fantastic results on Sunday with Alistair Donohoe (VIC) winning the C5 Men, Sue Powell (ACT) winning the C4 women and Hannah MacDougall (VIC) claiming the Bronze medal behind Sue in the C4 women. Over the entire weekend we came away with 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze.
We are all now looking forward to the World Championships in Greenville, South Carolina in 4 weeks. So it is back to training now and preparing. With the same competitors but with a different course and a different type of heat it really is anyone’s to win there. But I’ll be giving it my best just like the rest of my competitors.