Abu Dhabi International 2010

March 16th, 2010 by

It’s been a while since I have been able to log a race report, so i’ll throw a quick one together here. I’m back in Stirling, it’s not raining, Spring is coming and I have (more than) survived my first long race of this year. It’s all good really.

Crossing the line to congratulations from 2nd place finisher Dirk Bockel. He was 7th in Hawaii 6months ago…

I won’t lie, I was pretty nervous leading into this race. Our long term plan for the start of 2010 was quite simple; try to win South Africa 70.3 (box ticked), before focusing on a solid block of training leading into this race. I managed that well enough (bike crashes on my penultimate day aside) before jetting off to California for my new involvement in the Trek/K Swiss Trathlon team. – All superb fun and a great experience, but I was worried that the travel and loss of training time would have an impact on how I could execute a performance in Abu Dhabi. The fact that the distance was such a new venture for me also sat heavily on my mind. More than heavily to tell the truth!!

However a few last minute phonecalls home settled my mind and reminded me that I was in a great position; I had trained consistently and with some fantastic training partners, plus I wasn’t injured or sick, which was half my battle in 2009. All that was left was to get on with it, enjoy the whole experience and above all, learn from it for the furture Ironman racing later in the year.

I had se disrupted sleep in the race week – my body didnt really know where it was, but on Saturday morning i woke up fine. We were on the beach ready to go at 6.50am and once i hit the water I felt good and loose. I led the 3k swim out of the water and after a tardy T1 hit the 200k bike ride inside the top 10. There were up to another 15 guys not far behind me!! I wasn’t entirely impressed that after 80ks we were still a long long pace line of 20+ aero machines. I started to wonder if it was simply going to be a procession all the way back to T2. Not a chance!

We were lucky enough to get to race on the F1 circuit at the Yas Racing Circuit, which was finished last year. In a race where we essentially rode up and down a straight highway for 180ks, 5-6k circuit represented the sole technical aspect of the course, and provided the launchpad for a few boys at the front of the race to drop the hammer. The pace went supersonic for 10minutes and guys were shelled right left and centre. Luckily I was on the ball mentally; saw it unfolding and was also lucky enough to be strong enough to go with said supersonic-ness. Others were not so vigilant – essentially this created a front group of 10 of us, which eventually comprised the top 10 overall at the finish.

I am delighted to have gotten through this bike ride as well as I did. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to cope with the extremes of that disntance in my TT bars. I managed easily, and that is testament to the comfort of my new Trek TTX race bike. I also stuck to a simple nutrition plan – eat and drink regularly throughout the ride and have little but often.

I climbed off the bike feeling ready to tackle the run, and given the lenght of time on the saddle I am amazed I wasn’t sick to death of the bike, but I wasn’t, and i think I knew then that should I start off at a good but not suicidal run tempo, I was going to be able to compete for a good result. Sure I had some low and I shuffled a bit more than I ideally would have wished, but for the most part I was running out there, and particularly on the final 3-4k run in. – I caught and passed Fred V Lierde for 4th and oh so nearly caught the legendary Rasmus Henning on the line – I think he was even more surprised that I was?! Next time.

So there we have it. The most anticipated race of the season so far has been and gone and I came away from it having raced way past my expectations. Onwards and upwards. Have a look at the below footage for a sense of the race and course.