14 August 2013

European Adventures and Miss-Adventures

Triathlon has given me so many opportunities to see some very cool places. The amount of work and money to put on an event like an Ironman or a World Triathlon Series event, tends to require a large amount of travel. An adventure from North America to Europe can have its challenges but with challenges come opportunities.

Kitzbuhel WTS ----"Dude, What the f*** were you doing in the bush?" -Jarred Shoemaker----

Brianna and I landed in Munich and hopped into a taxi which climbed further and further into the mountains till we arrived in a fairy tale town. Kitzbuhel is a beautiful village sandwiched between the Horn Mountain and the Hahnenkamm.

I had been focused on this event since Yokohama. I have always loved climbs. In Victoria I had been riding up and down Finlayson-Arm continuously to prepare for the 14-22% grade climb up the Horn. I was ready. Everything was in order.

Race day, the general mood in the athletes lounge was that of excitement.

The gun went and we started fast. I got a bit caught up in some fighting around the first bouy but started moving up on the later half of the swim.

I excited the water in descent shape and with a fast transition I was out and riding hard. I jumped onto Alistair Brownlee's wheel and was quite content to stay there. Unfortunately about 500m into the ride when I began slipping my feet into the shoes, Alistair swerved right and so did I. In doing so my shoe twisted loose of the pedal. At 50km/h the shoe went bouncing into the forrest next to the road. Several thoughts went through my head including, could I race without it? Quickly realizing that I can't ride a H.C. climb with one shoe, I stopped quickly and began backtracking against the flow of traffic. After fishing my shoe out of the bush, I quickly slipped my foot in and jumped back on the bike just as the last rider went by.

Frankly, the race was over but I made the best of the situation and began time trialling as hard as I could along the flats, nearly making the back of the pack at the base of the climb. I worked hard all the way to the end of the race. I came to Austria to race up the Horn and so I did. Not the way I'd hoped but I finished.

Vitoria, Spain

To keep cost down, Brianna and I joined the Training camp in Vitoria, Spain. Traveling was a bit Chaotic...... After arriving In Bilboa we missed the last bus to Vitoria. Somewhere in Bilboa Brianna and I settled in at the Bus station. Brianna and I took turns one after another taking a 45min nap....
The next morning after a 1 hour bus trip my phone was finally dead and we spent the morning wandering the streets trying to find the Hotel Boulevard while dragging our bike boxes through town.

After one of the worst travel experiences it took a few days to get into the flow.

Once back on track training was great! The Basque country has some amazing cycling and Vitoria itself was a very cool place. Fun Fact: The Battle of Vitoria was the last stand for Napoleon's army in the Peninsula War as depicted in the main square.

Travel to Hamburg from Vitoria was much smoother.

World Triathlon Hamburg

Another Sprint distance Triathlon meant I had to have a fast start especially on this tight swim course. A breakaway of a small group has been quite successful in the WTS series and like Yokohama this was my goal.

I lined up between Bryukhanov and Vasiliev. Both being strong swimmers I was confident that if we work together we would be in good position coming out of the water. I had a descent start and got fairly clear but upon arriving to the first bouy a group on both sides collided. It was absolute chaos with arms and legs everywhere. 500m into the swim I began moving through towards the front but it was too little too late

Out of transition however I missed the front pack.

In a large second pack I tried to maintain a good position but I felt like I was in stuck in second gear. I was trapped in poor positioning sprinting all out after every corner burning one "match" after another.

I arrived at the run over worked due to poor positioning.

Needless to say my european trip was not what I had hoped for but I can take a lot from it going forward. Kitzbuhel was a very unfortunate experience but for Hamburg I sure did crank down those pedals of mine.

Hamburg I can take a lot from. A) I need to work on my start speed especially for Sprint distance. I have a strong 1500free but could use some work on my 400m speed; B) Positioning practice. Since I have been home I have entered into every road race, Criterium or race-like bike group with the goal of maintaining a top 1/4 position in the pack; C) General strength on the bike.

Progress in running continues with healthy legs. In Hamburg, I ran the exact same pace as Yokohama. So I have that 10km pace from Yokohama down. Kind of a default. It is time I push this. So through plenty of track workouts and challenging myself with new pacing goals I am seeing my running reach new levels.

For the next month I will keep pushing myself with London on my mind.

Hope all is well,
Andrew McCartney

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