Edmonton is now done and dusted and it’s time to move to Florida for my next short stint of training before the World Series grand final in Cozumel Mexico in a week and a half. I got up to go to the bathroom and stole a sneak peek at my watch...2.40am, what?! Oh man my alarm was set to go off at 2.50am for the most ridiculous shuttle time departure of 3.30am. Actually when I was told to be in the lobby at 3.15am I thought it was a joke (30minutes to the airport and recommended check in time not until 6am for our 7.30am flight!). Anyway let's just say lots of time to write an update from Edmonton WTS.
I arrived in Edmonton a few days after the Olympics and had a nice apartment to myself for the first week or so of training, it was great – I found a nice place not far from the swimming pool and shops so I was nicely set up and self-contained. I stayed here until the team accommodation started on the Wednesday before the race where I moved into the race hotel with the rest of the New Zealand team.
The race itself was a sprint distance and was very close to being a Duathlon due to the weather – it warmed up just in the nick of time! The weather was not unlike Wanaka temperatures during the Autumn and I wasn't too phased riding to the race at a balmy 5 degrees. It did get up to 8 though so the race was able to go ahead and we were allowed to swim. It's not the swim that makes you cold though that was nice at 18 degrees but it's the bike. Riding around in pretty much your underwear is not ideal for these conditions😉.
I decided to do an extra-long warm up in the water to really try and nail the wetsuit swim for this race and get one right for this year. Well I failed again. I have the ability to be comfortably sitting within the front group out of the water in a non-wetsuit swim but I just don’t seem to be able to get the benefits that other girls do from a wetsuit as my body position in the water is good without a suit. Well this is what I put it down to. I was very grateful to Roka who got a new wetsuit to me pre-race to try a bigger size (a Small Tall) which fitted great, I just didn't fire, a gap happened and I was too trapped to get there and once clear I couldn't jump across, I was prob 20 seconds down out of the water, just a little too far to shut down on the bike which was disappointing.
Anyway onto the bike it was rather chilly. A lot colder than I thought it would be actually. Tucking in was the warmest thing to do and keep working. I was surprised the group wasn't very motivated to ride as a group but that's what happens when there is that many people. Our group was caught by the groups behind and the group continued to grow, by the end of the bike ride we were around 30 seconds down on the lead group of 15.
I positioned myself well and was perhaps first into transition and last out, no actually I was first in second to last out (Lisa Norden spend 1.09 in there!). I spent 49 seconds in there. During the bike my hands and feet progressively got colder to the point where I couldn’t feel them – this meant I couldn't get my helmet off (I had to bite it off) and also couldn't put my shoes very well either!
I got there in the end, and slightly quicker than my 1min 15sec transition in the cold I had in our Commonwealth Games qualifier in London WTS 2013 where I learnt from that how to bite my helmet off! Ha! Knew that would come in handy again one day!
Running initially was kind of funny, you couldn't feel anything below about mid shins, my hands were deathly cold however apart from that nothing else hurt because it was cold or numb - so I found I could run pretty hard with no problems what so ever. It was a really nice feeling actually to be able to push a bit more, but kicking myself that I wasn’t in the front group and then spending so long in transition also impacted on the end result too. So I finished in 15th place and had a sprint finish for 14/15 but it seems photo finish didn't play in my favour and got relegated to 15th later-funny.
All in all I don't think I did too badly considering I spent the last 2 weeks with the flu from Rio which laid me up for 4 nights of that horrible feeling not moving with fever etc! I think I was actually lucky to get so soon after Rio because if I had got it any later I wouldn't have even made that start line in Edmonton!
Edmonton is a great race to do though, so organised and so well run but perhaps they need to rethink the time of year, although I admit I was so relaxed at this race and just really enjoyed it despite the weather. It's fun to have other challenges in our racing and interesting to see how it affects different people.
I'm now on a plane to Florida and looking forward to this next little stint of training and a new location. I’m not looking forward to the heat & humidity in Cozumel, I'd rather race in 8 degrees ;) but with the heat comes a non-wetsuit race which I am looking forward to, and to finishing off the WTS season will be great.
For now, I still a couple of hours to wait here at the airport then the day of travel can really begin, thanks to all for your continued support and to my amazing sponsors for looking after me so well.