• Nikki Bartlett

Challenge Paguera-Mallorca

Pre race

Getting to the start-line for this race was a bit of a mission to say the least. Due to a foot injury (MRI to show it wasn't bone related - thank goodness), I had to pull out of Hever Castle - gutted as I love the Castle Series. My 6 weeks prep for Paguera went a little bit like this - -Mainly swimming -Mainly turbo based cycling when the pain died down -Probably about a two intensity sessions on the bike -50mins of running -Pain free about a week pre-race So, not ideal but everything was booked up. So why not try? Go out and see what I could do swim/bike wise at least. Last year I raced here, which hosted the European Champs, and I came home 1st Age Grouper overall. At the prize ceremony, watching the top 10 Pro's be awarded, was the moment in 2014, that I looked back on the year and decided, right lets get stuck into the Pro world. Race day: Gorgeous, not as hot as 2014 thank goodness. A still and calm day! Swim: Starting at 9am (12pm last year - roasting!), the tide was a lot further in than last year, so the run out was a lot longer, but I managed to stay upright and get a good start in. Choppy out, and a mission to site, meant for some eventful swimming. I didn't get onto the feet of others, so a lonely swim meant I was into T1 with a lonely ride to find people! Bike: Although I had some poor (well felt like I was into winter mode), bike prep coming out, my aim was to overcome my dreadful first 40k at Dublin - which probably cost me a few places, and push for a strong bike split/first half of the bike. I managed this and caught the group with about 40k left on the bike. With two draft busters and a big group, I was stuck on what to do! From my experience this year, I've pretty much cycled alone on all races, so I haven't had the experience of overtaking, especially with the eyes of the busters around. So I basically had a poor ride back and settled to stick to the 12m off the group at the back. Right up there with one of the fastest bike splits of the day, I had done what I set out to do for this race. Even though the last 30-35k was pants. I know there's a lot more to come bike wise. Run: Can I even run? Well I was pain-free but oh gosh I was run unfit. Usually I at least keep my position on the run, and more likely gain positions. However, not this time. The run course is brutal here, your pretty much running up or down, the ups hurt so much you're battered to push down the hills, lots of corners, and stairs on top of this. 4 x laps of this, run unfit = ouch. Usually my run splits are around the 1.25/26 and this course last year hurt me to a 1.44 and a drip. This year I felt in a similar way - jogging and true IRONMAN shuffling. The women's field was an exciting one, with close gaps. I wish I could have been run fit to truly compete on the run. Hills/difficult run courses suit me. But I was literally surviving. I managed to get a 1.35, which isn't too bad on this course, but I still felt like I couldn't race it. Last year I said I needed to come back and nail this run course, I've still not done that, so I will be back again - unfinished business ;). 9th in a close field, was enough to leave me pleased, but still not satisfied. It was a challenge to make the start line, but I'm glad I was able to make it, and still somehow go 14 mins quicker than last year here. The support on the course was brill, the 500+ volunteers were fab. And the crowd we came here with were unreal. A massive thank you! Time for some R & R, and to plan an exciting 2016. Thanks to friends and family for your amazing support in my first year as a Pro triathlete, and my fabulous sponsors - -Financial Fitness -Lacey Thayers -9bar -Leisure Lakes Bikes Supporters - -A1 Multisport -nuun -Yakult -Aqua Sphere -Stirling University -Cheltenham Leisure Centre -Cheltenham Lido

#triathlon #halfironman #703 #challegepaguera

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