Race reports from Diane Lee, 6th in Poland 5th in Germany
TEAM RFS BACK ON IT
Watch the action for yourselves here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1b3P40gNsk&t=99s
It’s the first time I have done a double week of Xterra so it was always going to be a new experience. First Poland followed by the oldest Xterra Gold Standard race Germany.
How to sum up Poland, I have rarely done the same events more than once, but for some reason Krakow just called me back, probably the Polish food, but also the event organisers were brilliant, helpful and friendly and they welcomed us to come back. I knew the course, I knew the swim and I knew what to expect from last year, however this didn’t really ease the nerves. I wouldn’t have made it to Poland with Gary McCaffery’s advanced driving (over 12hours on the road). Once at Krakow, I felt a bit more relaxed, I pre rode the course and nothing major had changed.
The swim went ok, I came 2nd overall with Nicole Walter a very short way ahead of me another GB Pro athlete, so it was GB girls 1st and 2nd in the swim, I think both me and Nicole benefited from a non wetsuit swim. Into transition 1, I was caught by one and then I was out on the bike. I had a fair ride no major drama’s and finished the bike course in 6th place the course is very forestry and basically nearly all single track I knew I needed to keep focused on the MTB, I can let my concentration slip on the MTB, it’s sometimes hard to keep your mind on the right things in a big race. Plus the men seem to fly past me so fast, always at a point where there is a large drop off by the side of me. However I try to remind myself I can do it, it’s what I do and I have some awesome people out there supporting me. Also that one coaching tip that I need to keep constantly telling myself – look down the bloody trail, not at the things your sh*t scared of. As Gary and Phoebe remind me “that bike will go over anything”, just point it in the right direction sit back and relax. Over all I was very happy with the performance and held 6th place on the run, my run was smooth and consistent from start to finish, I do have a secret love for off road runs.
Going into the Pro Category has definitely made racing harder, Jo Barnet has kept me injury free and always has a positive attitude to all my events, and I do need to say Thank you more often. Thank you as always to all my sponsors VELOBICI, HIGH5, BLUESEVENTY, Results Fitness & Swimming, MARK ANTHONY BIKES – BUXTON.
Next up Germany, tomorrow 19.08.17, I have no expectations on positions I’m just going to go out there positively, I will attempt to enjoy the 3675ft of climbing into the Czech Republic reminding myself I love hills and trying to keep those legs spinning (I need faster legs – more rollering is required). Until tomoz……………. Much Love Di
Sometimes you surprise yourself, Germany sort of filled me with a bit of dread, it was the first Xterra gold standard race I had done, there were more pro’s than I have ever raced before, and I didn’t know what to expect on the bike course. So I pre rode the course on the official group ride, which was actually me and two French guys. However going out with those two, helped fill me with some positivity, I watched their lines, their choice of routes etc, and they kindly waited for me so I didn’t get lost. The route was up up up, 3675ft of climbing, so I kept telling myself I will be fine it’s all uphill, you’re good at uphill. However I also knew I had to come down. The descents were hard, but broken up with fire roads between.
Race morning came, a still overcast day, not too hot, the race started at 11.30am, giving me less time to get nervous. The swim was simple, a two lap course of 750m it was easy to sight, and easy to see you just had to swim it. However, the start was horrible with it being a short loop, the group stayed together, smacking each other everywhere for the whole 750m, I couldn’t really progress massively on the first lap it was just too busy. Once out on the second lap, I found my own space and got a little lead on the girls that now have realised I’m a pretty good person to draft off. At the turn around point to come back into T2, we hit the age group swimmers, slowing things down, but to be honest this is where being small is good, I managed just to swim though most people with no problems. It’s the start where I get totally battered. So I came out of the water 1st, the start I really needed.
The bike loop was one long loop, with the feed station only providing cups, so I decided to use a camel back for hydration High5, as I was riding my full suss Cannondale Scapel I can’t get more than a small bottle on my bike. This is totally psychological but I told myself it’s just a ride, it’s just like a ride you do at home all the time. At the highest point was a tower, in my own head I have decided it was just going to be like going over shining cliffs and black rocks at home. Obviously the tower was now Crich in my own mind. Also I was wearing a full tri suit covering my shoulder and back, so I felt a little bit more like I had normal bike kit on. Again totally psychological but wearing a very small tri suit on very rocky conditions does make you feel very vulnerable, and the thought “this is going to kill if I fall off”. So I semi tricked myself into thinking I was more on a day out, I told myself I would push every flat section, I would ride at threshold on all the hills, and walk/run as fast as possible on any point that were unridable. So the bike course went really well to the top of the hill, muddy conditions,the hill I can’t explain how steep these were, but I was in 6th place at the top of the tower. On the way down, every technical section I hit, I thought about what to do, had a little mini celebration I didn’t crash after each bit, and then pushed on again. I guess I set myself mini goals on the bike course and this kept me focused. Plus I knew I needed to get back as Gary would be worrying where I was, plus my Dad would be at home tracking my progress over the internet. I told Gary I predicted to be 2hour 15. I arrived back in 2hour 13, feeling good.
I went out on the run course and took over someone virtually straight away my legs felt fine, so I was now in 5th and that was the position I needed to hold. The run wasn’t as hilly as normal but had some good muddy sections, steps, ditches and bridges. All the sort of things I like, I had no problems on the run, I knew I was going to be getting chased down I just had to hold on. I saw Gary 500m from the line, shouting at me to get moving there was someone 20 seconds behind me, I pushed on over some large steps, dived into the hay bail at the bottom and sprinted to the finished line. Finished 5th and very pleased to get on the podium.
The journey took us 2500miles of driving, 9 hotels some beautiful some terrible, loads of training and determination, however the last day consisted of a rest day on the beach a perfect way to end my European adventure. Thanks everyone for the support. Love Di