Here’s me just after the race beaming with pride alongside my ex-coach and inspiration to do this crazy sport, Julie Dibens (3x World Xterra Champ and 2nd placed pro this year). I beat my amateur time in 2008 by almost 30 minutes; nice to see I have something to show for all my hard work!
I knew I was in good shape in the build up to Maui after a great block of training in September in the Swiss Alps. I arrived with plenty of time to spare and you may have seen I even had time to do a mini duathlon the weekend before. My taper freshened me up nicely but you never know how you’re going to go until the gun goes off.
We all were feeling the pressure of the occassion and especially so for me as this was to be my first time racing the world championships as a pro up against the strongest pro woman field ever. My race plan was to go out hard but try not to overcook it or work too hard too early and fade in the latter stages. I was pleased to follow this plan through and started with a speedy swim, exiting relatively unscathed in a respectable time and ahead a lot of the girls who have been beating me in some cases by several minutes earlier in the season.
Out onto the bike and there the race was to be won or lost. The winning was done by the mountain bike legends, Stolz and Vanlandingham, interestingly both riding 29ers, whilst the losers battled against the trecherous course which threw up mechcanials, injuries or punctures amongst both the amateurs and pros. There’s no pre-ride allowed so no-one knows quite what to expect.
The Hawaiian Gods fortunately looked after me on the bike. I felt strong throughout and pedalled well to bring myself into contention and inside the top 10. The course was so tough and unpredictable. Loose volcanic rock and sharp thorns were my biggest concerns but you had to keep alert and react to anything that could throw you off. We climbed to about 1400ft and ocassionally between the puffs and the panting, I took brief seconds to look at the incredible views of the bright blue Pacific Ocean below.
The run was super hot but my legs had clearly benefited from the taper week and they didn’t even feel sore after the bike. I was running well but not quite as well as the 2nd placed finisher from last year and renowned Scottish runner, Lesley Patterson who passed me on mile 4 who was then quickly followed by another of the pro girls. I was unable to react, my lungs already at threshold. I held my nerve, kept my pace and then all of a sudden I seemed to be catching the girls in the final stages along the beach and through Spooky Forest. I put in my final last big effort, going totally into the red and did everything I could to catch them. I believed I could get them but in the end it was just 20seconds that split 7th to 9th place. Next time girls….
Now it’s time to pack my bike and head to Thailand. No, not for a beach holiday but for the next block of training and to do the Phuket 70.3 Triathlon in about 6 weeks time.