The last 14 days can be summed up as: 5 plane rides, 2 countries, 3 races – a sprint, super-sprint and Olympic distance - countless bowls of rice, a 4th place and 9th place finish. Here is the race recap from my Asia tour.
Chengdu World Cup: May 6-7, 2017
The new prelims-finals format of the World Cup in Chengdu, China delivered on its promise for fast and furious racing. After winning my heat on Saturday to qualify for finals on Sunday, I prepared for what was sure to be a very fast super-sprint comprised of a 400m swim, 10.2km bike and 2.5km run. I just missed the lead pack out of the swim and rode the first lap in limbo between the lead and chase pack. When the chase pack caught me on lap 2, we worked together and almost closed the gap to the leaders coming into second transition about 200m behind. However, I poorly positioned myself going into the chaotic T2 losing valuable seconds. With my racing shoes on it was a mad dash to close the gap to the front runners. I ran myself into 8th by the end of the first 1.25km lap, then to 3rd with about 1km to go, then 2nd with about 600m to go, but both Laura Lindemann and Kirsten Kasper hung right on my shoulder. Non Stanford already had a gap ahead for the win, so in the final 100m it was three of us women in a sprint for the remaining two podium places and unfortunately, I ended up 4th. Nonetheless, I am proud I fought until the end and hats off to my tenacious competitors. This format of racing requires complete focus and leaves no margin for error, (as I perhaps learned the hard way), but there are many key learning points I can build on in future races.
Yokohama World Triathlon Series: May 13, 2017
Following such a short sprint race, I was really looking forward to my first Olympic Distance race of the season in one of my favorite places on the circuit: Yokohama, Japan. Moreover, I was fortunate to have a homestay with my fellow squad mate Yuko Takahashi. Her family were very welcoming and made my stay comfortable and easy, helping with training sessions, logistical details and preparing delicious home cooked meals.
I quickly found myself in the big second chase pack on the bike, but due to the slick conditions and our large size, everyone was fairly cautious and it was difficult to gain ground on the first chase pack, let alone the Flora Duffy-Sophie Coldwell duo up front. We came into second transition nearly 3 minutes behind the leaders, but with a 10km run still to go, I knew the race was not over yet. I committed to closing the gap to Non Standford and Ashleigh Gentle who had come out of transition before me, but started to detach in lap 3. Nonetheless, I kept my focus on catching as many girls as possible finishing in 9th.