Just a short one to cover the last two races. I am up at altitude for a training camp. The air is quite thin up here and apparently the thin air affects the internet as well. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to send an email. They have managed to find something slower than dial-up here.....
San Fran was not great. As the French say, un jour sans (a day without). I had an ok swim and exited at the back of the main pack. I rode in the main pack and then came off looking for a solid run. It didnt happen. I have no real explanation as to why I had such a bad day. My workouts leading up to San Fran were very good. Maybe I was a little fatigued....who knows. I ended up 15th on the day, which is not what I wanted or where I could/should have finished. Onward.
After San Fran I flew to Paris to start my european campaign numero uno. I took the train down to Tours to meet my new French team, Vendome. I really enjoyed the hospitality of Jaques and Patrick for the few days I stayed in Vendome. There were lots of home cooked meals, croissants, and even a little ratatouille. I raced my first French Grand Prix with Vendome last Sunday. I cant explain how FAST this type of racing is. It is half the olympic distance (750m/20k/5k) and draft legal. With nearly 90 guys on the starting line, it is quite a fight in the water. If you combine this with the sinking pontoon (pics below), you have a recipe for a not so fun swim. I was positioned right in the middle of the "pontoon" and got hammered. And it didnt stop until I climbed out of the water. Onto the bike I was the back of a group just meters behind the main group. Unlike the ITU races in the USA, FGP races are toujours au bloc. We were right there but after a few attacks our group shattered and we missed the train. Ouch. I had a good first k off the bike, and then settled into a solid pace for the rest. Running felt much better than San Fran, but still needs quite a bit of work.
Individually I did quite poorly, but it seems most people get housed their first FGP. No excuses, just more work that needs to be done. I do feel as though I am moving in the right direction with the training, and a good result is coming soon. Our team did amazing as we finished 6th (out of 14 teams). There are 4 "super-teams" in France so the others are almost always fighting for 5th place. The first 3 from each team are scored according to their finishing place a la cross-country in the USA. Hopefully I get another crack at the FGP later this year....It was a blast and incredible racing.
Now I am hunkered down in the Pyrenees mountains at Font Romeu. Font is a tiny French town situated in the mountains at an altitude of 1850m. The CNEA (Centre National Entrainement d' Alitutde) is a altitude training center where loads of euros come to train. Paula Radcliffe has an apartment here, so you know the running is pretty good. We actually ran into Paula as we were doing a long run down at the lake 2 days ago. Such an amazing runner.
Originally I was coming up here to train with Dirk Bockel (Luxembourg), but have quickly found out this is the place to be in Europe. It seems like half of the WCS/World Cup ITU circuit is here training. There are endless trails, plenty of climbs, perfect 50m pool, loads of people to train with, and zero distractions. The views of the mountains aren't too bad either! I will post some pics from here soon. I will be here until Tizzy World Cup August 9th. A bientot!