Originally it wasn’t meant to be the last race.
Half way through the season I was determined to extend the year and keep racing through october.
I was disappointed my plantar issues had prevented me from racing and I wanted to make it up towards the later months of the season.
This however – was based on the optimistic outlook that my feet would be well and truly recovered by then.
Unfortunately this was not the case.
Bad went to worse and my plantar problems escalated to a rupture in the tendon.
Enough was going to be enough.
China and the Beijing International Triathlon had to be my last trip for the 2013 season.
I took a few days off after the Vegas race. My body was in pieces, one foot injured the other ripped apart by severe blisters. It was only in London a week later I started to move again, and by the time I came to Beijing I still felt sluggish and a bit off.
The travel and the time zones I had crossed in the past weeks had been quite substantial and my head was tired.
IMG is a company that for sure knows how to put on a race and how to treat their athletes.
I can honestly say I have never been treated better ever before in my career.
Everything from the logistics and boarding to the care of the little details were looked after.
The hotel was wall to wall with a water park and on what was to be the bike course for the weekend.
Training was easy and with little transport and logistic rest was plenty and social time enormous. Which was nice considering the pro field was small and all people I think of as friends.Â Race day morning we all met down in the lobby at 6am to ride down to the venue as a group.
The race was being held at a park and recreational area nearby – a scenic setting with trails, ponds, pagodas and chinese locals enjoying the weekend.
The challenge was going to be a one lap swim, a bike loop on flat fast roads but with a major climb and a technical decent followed by a two lap run including off road and stairs.
I felt average in the water, like the engine was stuck in the third gear. Already after the first 300meters, just about the time we rounded the first bouy I had lost contact with the front girls. I always knew the swim was going to be a challenge. With three of the worlds best swimmers on the startline it was going to be hard not to loose too much time. But I had hoped to stay in touch for at least half of it.
Out of the water the damage had been done and I knew I had some work cut out for me. It was a fairly long run up to T1, just short of a kilometer. We were allowed to use shoes for this one so the race actually had two run legs. Carolina Routier, Sarah Groff and Laura Bennet were up ahead. I was out with Jenna Parker and Ricarda Lisk, time check about 90seconds down. My initial worry was my foot and I was glad when I got to my bike without any dramas.
The injury is in no way gone and I haven’t been allowed, or able to, do any run training since the week before the ITU race in Stockholm.
I had no idea how well it had pulled up after Vegas, and if it’s was going to hold up for this last one or not. I had taped it quite heavily before the race, but lesson learnt from Vegas you never know if it’s going to last throughout the swim or not.
So hitting the bike I knew I had no time to mess around.
Down in the bars checking cadence and wattage and gaging my effort level against the time gained on the other girls. I quickly found a good rhythm where I slowly brought back the time.Â At around the 12k mark I had taken over the lead.Â This basically mean I had ridden myself back into the race – but in no way put myself into a good position. Coming off the bike I needed a good gap. With girls like Sarah Groff in the field, who just posted a 33min run in London, I needed maybe 2-3mins I figured.Â So I kept pushing hard, riding straight lines and keeping an eye on the watts so they stayed high and consistent. I was hitting numbers I haven’t seen before for such a long effort, which was very encouraging. I guess all the biking in Boulder finally paid offâ€¦
Coming into T2 I had no idea what the gap might have been. I put on my shoes and hoped for the best. The run course was spectacular and kept me focused all the way through. The first section went through a beautiful park with a few zigzags and smaller hills. Then there was a 20m log stretch of stairs down to a cross country section all on semi dried mud. Absolutely beautiful to run on, and a surface my foot deeply appreciated. Back up on the stairs and then down to transition to start a second lap.
Coming out on the run I had caught up to Fraser Cartmell from the mens field (they had started 1min ahead of us). Obviously he didn’t have the best of days, but for me it was nice as I had someone to pace off for the run. We were moving about the same kind of speed and just having someone else around makes the effort easier to take.Â Into the second lap I finally got a back time to the other girls. 2.15 down to second place and 3mins and a bit to 3rd. Really?
That can’t be right.
I kept up the pace for the first half of the second lap. Then once back out of the dirt section I got a good view backwards along the lake – realizing there was no one coming up from behind.Â I could afford to nock the pace back a bit saving my foot as much as possible (damage control) and enjoy the moment.Â About 400m from the finish line we went up another sets of steps and these once were much steeper and quite brutal. I was very appreciative not having to sprint with someone up these stairs for the win.
It was lovely.
To finish the season with a win and the sweet feeling of breaking the banner knowing you have done a good job.
Let it be with a sore foot and a frustrating feeling – I still got to start and finish the season with wins.
The whole race including the recovery area was nicely set up. I got a massage, smiled for thousands of photos, ate weird egg sandwiches and had a beer. The presentation was grand but confused and I ended up being sprayed with champagne by one of the Chinese VIP’s. For the mens presentation they realized Gomez was the one to get the bottle to shake.
I got back home, packed my bike together and sat down in the couch absolutely drained.Â A few moments of rest before the post race celebrations of ping pong tournaments and bowling was about to start.
It had been a grand weekend indeed.