Today was Friday. The day when the rain came. The day the age group Sprint took place. The day Nicola Spirit reigned supreme at the women’s elite race at the ETU Triathlon Championship in Kitzbühel.
First things first though: as team captain for two age groups, I had organised a bike course recce. The cunning plan was to assemble shortly before the start of the Sprint races to get a fully marked, relatively traffic free bike course. And so a merry band of cyclists assembled and we trundled round the course.
The main purpose was to learn about the 3 climbs and descents. And it goes something like this: offt , man is this ever going to finish, what it’s still going up? Wow, look at the view! More uphill!? O!M!G! OMG! Brake! Brake! Gheez that’s a tight corner! Wow a crash pad on a tree! Waaash! Time trial section. Ah, this ain’t so bad, lovely roller. Uhhh, swish descent! Nice! Time trial. Oh, we’re turning off already!? Shit, shit, shit! Wrong gear! Wrong gear! Push, push, push! Ah, it levels off… Oh, that looks swishy! Zoom! Time trial! Urgh, and now the same thing again!
We did just one loop of that and greatly enjoyed the ride. It was confidence building as the hills are less worse than anticipated. We had also managed to get round the course in the dry, a feat as the rest of the day showed.
After my ride, I enjoyed a massage and a great chat with the lovely Kim Ingleby, before treating myself to some breakfast. Then back to the race course to cheer on my friends in the Sprint races and take some pictures. It was fantastic to see Michaela, Tanya, Marie, Gary and all the rest of Team GB giving it some despite the now horrendous conditions. Well done to all of them for staying in one piece and heal quickly to the few who had to go to hospital with broken bones.
Initially, the rain was start stop, but come the junior women’s race, it was pouring. By the end of that race, which ended with an impressive win by a German girl, it was the Elite women’s race. It would be part of Nicola Spirig’s return to triathlon.
Nicola has qualified for the European Athletics Championship, which will take place later this year in Zurich, in the marathon and the Swiss have high hopes.
By this time, I was sodden and frozen so I found a dry place in the tent. The toilets proved to be the warmest place, and it was interesting to chat with a Hungarian technical official. There was a spot in the tent from where you could follow the race.
Nicola Spirit’s performance was impressive, though not as dominant as some might have expected. She raced a smart race and played to her strengths.
Over coffee and Apfelstrudel, a fun social group chatted about the race, crashes, bike courses, doping cheats and other stuff.
One of the things I liked about today, is slightly controversial: the podiums were neatly mixed and the British team was, against expectations not as dominant as in previous years. In fact, I think there were very few wins and podiums.
Tomorrow, it gets real busy with parari, registration, team briefing, bike racking. Somewhere in between Alastair Brownlee is racing. Hope the weather improves.