Challenge Sardinia | 6th Female PRO
Organised racing… in relaxed and beautiful atmospheric hands of the ‘Challenge Family’
They really are a ‘family’. My first experience racing Challenge was relaxed, enjoyable and magical. The race and information channels, access to intricate course details, are all at your finger tips. The foundation in which our race experience grew was consistently excellent. We arrived in Sardinia, flying into Caligari from London Stansted, and the race venue (Forte Village) is a short 40min journey from the airport. The beautiful location which boosts lovely beaches is well equipped to host athletes comfortably in a vibrant atmospheric setting. There is plenty of accommodation options in the village from comfortable bedrooms to luxury spacious beach front apartments. The race weekend also includes your extensive breakfast and diner options that caters for even the strictest of diets (not something I follow). The setting at meal time is breathtaking, you look out onto the Mediterranean Sea, most dream of having their very own home which such a view.
Stepping Up and racing in the Women’s PRO Field..
I explained to my coach, Mark Pearce, as we debriefed post race, the Challenge Sardinia set up relaxed and suited me perfectly. The atmosphere was calm, the event was well organised, there was a simple pre race procedure to ensure all equipment was in the correct transition point at the correct time. (T1 is located by the beach where you rack your bike the evening before and T2 is located a short walk from the beach where you leave your trainers/ nutrition etc. race morning). I was excited that the race attracted GBR athletes who I have followed during my Age Group triathlon journey. The race was no different for the PROs (other than starting in a smaller wave just 3mins ahead of the AG athletes) registration, racking and pre race briefing was for ALL athletes.
Racing my way to 6th
The race Yo-yoed for me… at 8.02am we were called to line up along the beach. I heard the Siren and whoooosh.. before I knew it I had a clean dive into the sea and swam with excellent company to the first buoy. The sea got choppy and my sighting let me down, I lost the fast feet I was ambitiously holding onto and sighted poorly into the shore before heading back out for lap 2 of the 1.9km sea swim. Ben shouted ’20seconds off the lead swim pack’. I was swimming solo for the second loop and a timely gap of 2mins of work was needed to get back up to the front of the race.
Onto the stunning bike course. It’s a fairly fast 20km of Time Trailing before the first climb. My power was looking attractively strong and I was eager to get in and amongst the faster girls at the front of the race. I was patient and consistently pedalled with grit and determination. The coast road arrives with 30km to go and the scenery is stunning. short sharp up/ downs keep you busy too!
I popped my very vibrant trainers on and made my way onto the half marathon run which was a 2xloop out and back on road surface. A big High 5 for Ben…
I was in 3rd place at this point (2minutes from the leader so Ben shouted). I had some excellent training in my legs and knew my run is improving as I hit a new 5km PB 14days previous. I had tapered my bike legs but run legs I wasn’t so certain, they were heavy but to be expected after cycling a solid 84km. I ran consistently however my pace is just not fast enough at this point in time to hold onto that podium spot. I was excited to finish 6th having had a good go at my first Challenge race in the women’s pro field.
I have 5weeks, time for more solid training so I can give it my all in the last race of the season.. 29th November in Phuket, Thailand where I will have my older brother to race!