Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Xterra Italy 11th

Xterra Italy 2009 saw the biggest field ever in a European race, with 500 competitors in total and about 50 pros including the guys that got 1st and 2nd in the recent world champs. It was going to be damn hard. The race was also combined with the ETU (European Triathlon Union) Cross Champs, which is off road title they promote. This in turn attracted some more ITU road triathletes. Great Britain fielded a large contingent of nearly 30 athletes, making us one of the biggest teams.

The hot weather of Thursday, Friday and Sat, had made the water temperature 21 degrees, which according to ETU rules means it was wetsuits for the age groupers and no wetsuits for the pros. Race morning however was a lot colder, raining and over cast as the pros shivered in the ocean with a 20 metre headstart waiting for the age group athletes to swim over us in their much faster wetsuits. Sure enough this happened, but I still made it out of the water in about 80th place.

Onto the bike I was on a mission and immediately set about making up the lost ground. At the end of lap 1 I was in the top 10 and on the 2nd and final lap I passed Michael Wiess who got 2nd at the world champs, which put me into 5th position approaching the transition area to change for the run. It was here I made a very costly mistake, I hadn’t checked out the exact entrance to transition (which turned out to be on a high speed blind corner), as I came to it I was caught up in a battle overtaking back lappers and we were waved onto another lap, continuing on the course. Around the next corner, and the next I expected to be waved into transition, but after 400m I realised I was embarking on another 16km lap. I quickly turned round and headed back to transition, but this costly mistake lead to a big argument in transition with an official for riding in too fast, left me in about 8th place, and more importantly I lost my focus and had a bad run.

In the end I finished 11th, whereas I’m sure I deserved to be about 6th or 7th. I was and still am annoyed with the amateur errors which I can’t afford to make now this is my job, and it cost me several hundred euro’s. Well done to the British age group winners in which we had considerable success.

Oh well, time to put it behind me. I am sitting in Kuala Lumpur airport currently, on route to Xterra Malaysia. Several top pro’s are making the trip including the current US Champ Mike Vine, South African Champ Leiwe Boonstra and other New Zealand, Japanese and Australian pro’s. One thing is for sure, I’ll be double checking out the entry and exits to transition this weekend!

1 comment:

Rick "man of leisure" Vircavs said...

That's the craps. Tough lesson to learn or maybe a good one given it actually cost you. Anyways, glad the racing is going well - Malaysia should be over as i write and i hope that went better than Italy. Take care. Rick.