I felt very honoured to have been invited to come and race at the first ever Dash 113 Brazil here in Floranopolis. It is a half –distance race, admittedly not my specialty, but as such the addition to the end of a pretty full-on 2013 race season (which included 6 Ironman races as well as organizing 3 training camps) seemed feasible. And a trip to Brazil in December was as just appealing as the chance of a new race experience and the chance to race on my recently acquired Airstreeem Air TT bike.
So, having settled into “off season” mentality and habits, gaining close to 5kilos as I did so…I quickly booked up a two week training camp in Lanzarote in order to recruit a bit of fitness, get used to the bike and build a bit of a sun tan. I managed to put in a couple of good weeks training from my base at Trisports Lanzarote who always look after me and their other favourite Pro visitors exceptionally well (let’s just say that I didn’t loose any of that weight!),
trying to be disciplined about limiting my training volume and maximizing focus on race intensity. Having Cat (Morrison) around helped with that - after a session with her I really had little desire to add in any incidental mileage!!
The three days between my return from Lanzarote and departure for Brazil were spent mostly avoiding the cold – which meant training inside something that’s pretty unusual for me, but having this race as a focus I was able to rather enjoy it.
The journey was as you’d expect long and tiresome ,but I eventually arrived on Thursday morning and was met by one of the race organisors ,with whom I’d been exchanging emails prior to arrival. Unfortunately the other British guest Pro, Jodie Swallow had to withdraw from the race…which made me the star guest! (No pressure then) And I must say that I have been looked after very well – both in terms of hospitality and ensuring that I have all the information about the race that I need. Triathlon is very popular in Brazil and I learned that this race filled within 20 minutes of it’s entries opening – mostly to locals. So of course all of the race information is in Portuguese , with English not widely spoken…whatsmore the Brazilian “way” is somewhat different to anything I’ve experienced previously - so I would have been pretty lost without Ina’s taking care of me.
The race courses are pretty straight forwards actually ,and very similar to those used by the Ironman race which also starts out of Florinopolis .There’s not a huge amount of options actually – as we’ll ride a serious of out and backs along the highways. I went out for a ride on the course yesterday with the motorways still open to live traffic. “Terrifying” sums it up quite well – but it was good to have a spin out and survey the topography (flat and fast) which we with thankfully ride on closed roads on Sunday. Cycling is not so common around here and since cyclists (as well as pedestrians) share these main roads, accidents are common .The local triathlon clubs have started initiatives to educate drivers about sharing the road with cyclists – and vice versa trying to teach cyclists to ride safely and with awareness and respect for vehicle traffic. However, for the race I am very impressed with the measures gone into ensuring safety and that traffic will be managed or stopped to allow us clear use of the roads.
At this point in time I’m somewhat confused about the variety of different bags we have been given and the three separate timing chips…but I’m sure that it will become clear in due course!
It’s also not clear whether we will be using wetsuits or not. Yesterday I went in and swam the course without wetsuit, and I strongly suspect that it’s too warm…which is unfortunate for me, but it’s best to be prepared. Having done that practice I discovered that those 5 extra kgs were responsible for some pretty bad rubbing in my Huub swim-skin, which I will have to try and counter with Vaseline. The forecast is for calm water – and calm cool weather in general, so although I’m not exactly looking forward to the swim, it shouldn’t be unduly difficult and my best bet is to try and stay connected with the small group of elite women that start together.
From that point on, with good conditions, I’m looking forward to the day and getting on with the task of making up lost ground through the bike and run!
better get some sleep - it's an early race start.