I felt that it was such a time in my sporting career that I needed to challenge myself and take the leap into international Xterra racing. In 2010 I had a taste of the intensity of the racing at the Xterra Switzerland, and with a good result at that race, I was motivated to race the whole 2011 European Xterra Series, with Xterra Italy being the opening race.
Sardinia, an exceptionally beautiful island off the coast of
The Xterra, a 1.5km swim, 34km mountain bike and a 10km beach run, was described as one of the most scenic but toughest routes on the circuit and definitely did not disappoint. After arriving in Sardinia on Friday evening I had Saturday to recover from the traveling, find the race venue, register, scout the race route, all while trying to stay hydrated and out of the extreme heat. A harder task than it seemed. But after all was done for the day, all I had left to do was relax and focus on the race to come.
With the transition area buzzing, I racked my bike, checked my gear (INOV-8 racers of choice: F-lite 195) for the last time. After a good warm up, nervously I jogged into the elite holding bin, glancing at the quality line up of athletes standing around me, I suddenly felt privileged to be in Sardinia, racing alongside the PRO’s(Renate Bucher, Carina Wasle, Olivier Marceau) living the dreamJ.
The Pro’s were led into the water first, and got a few meters ahead of the age group athletes, which made the swim start a bit more bearable. A quick countdown and we were off!!
From the start the intensity was high and I tried to swim as hard as I could but by the end of the first lap I knew it was going to be a tough day of racing! It was a wetsuit swim and luckily I had my SAILFISH G-RANGE wetsuit to keep me afloat as I wasn’t feeling fishlike myself in the water, but I entered T1 third Pro female and just tried to keep the intensity high and not loose focus.
The bike route was very tough; quality long climbs, steep loose rocky descends, hike-a-bike sections and a bit of smooth forest roads, all mixed together to produce a really hard 16km loop. I was passed by Renate Bucher and Carina Wasle, and tried my best not to loose any more positions. It took me about half a lap get into a good rhythm and by the end of the second lap I had kept my position, but had no idea how the bike leg had placed the girls in front of me, so when I ran out of T2 I decided I had to keep a good fast cadence and catch as many people as I can, men and woman! The run route took us through some bush sections next to the beach and then wound onto the beach, stunning but hard to run on!!
I saw, Jacky Slack from GB just in front of me and suddenly my motivation doubled, upping my pace I caught her and then passed Carina Wasle at 7km and I tried not to look back and just up the pase over the last few km’s. Running down the finishing shoot it hit me for the first time, I had a podium position in a European Xterra and I was overwhelmed!! I couldn’t stop smiling and babbling like a little kid!
The excitement was drawn out by a TV interview and very well presented awards ceremony. Suddenly I went from nobody from
Now back to reality and working hard towards my next race!