Nicky Samuels is a leading Kiwi triathlete and is about to head to Rio for the Olympic Games.
I am back on the plane heading to Font Romeu again for my last 2-week stint after a weekend in Hamburg for the 7th round of the World Triathlon Series, this time raced over the sprint triathlon distance.
We travelled to Hamburg on Wednesday from Font Romeu which is a 2.5hr drive to Barcelona airport followed by a 2.5hr flight which made for a pretty long and full on day of travelbut we made it on time and all our bikes and bags arrived in one piece so that's always a bonus!
I swam for an hour and a half at 5.50am that morning in Font Romeu and then snuck an 80min run in when we landed in Hamburg so managedi to get in some training. I got a run through of the body with Roné our incredible super human Physio who is now back with the group until Rio, which was needed for sure.
Thursday was a much needed rest day and I spent the day unpacking my bike and just hanging in the hotel relaxing with a few walks around the streets in Hamburg for some fresh air.
Friday was rather a long day getting the final checks and minor tune up for my new Olympic bike with my sponsor's Deda Elementi's pro-tour mechanic which turned into a bit of a long day. He spent 5hrs working on my bike but finally got everything sorted and ready for Rio - I actually learnt a lot in the process - his knowledge of bikes and products was amazing! I also did a light swim, bike and run but was glad to get that day ticked off and get into bed early.
Saturday was race day and with my race not starting until 4.49pm in the afternoon it becomes a long day waiting to raceand keeping your mind busy so you don't use up any energy and then that followed by a late night when you are still pumped full of adrenaline from racing! I did have a thought for a couple of friends racing the Challenge Ironman race in Roth though as they sent me a message earlier in the week andeven though they would start over 8hrs before me - I was still going to beat them to the finish line! Long distance races aye-now that's a lonnngggg day...
On race day I went for a morning jog much like in Stockholm and then hoped the body was ready for a fast little hit out afterfeeling really tired the last week with the load of training I had put my body through over the last 10 days I was interested to see how it would go because it could have gone either way.
There was hope on Thursday at briefing that it might be a warm enough for a non-wetsuit swim which would have suited Rio preparations better but the weather had other ideas raining much of Thursday night and on and off on Friday - dammit!
I decided to start far left on the pontoon to get some space but this turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Thinking I would get clear water on the side but the referees had obviously counted wrong. So when the last girl went to line up there were no slots left so she stood to my left - there went the outside position advantage! Secondly, I wasn't fast enough and didn't make it to the first buoy in time before the group joined together so I was swimming the widest route around the buoys and from then onwards I was in amongst the washing machine traffic jam. Through the tunnel a girl in front of me was swimming back stroke just to get some air because people kept dragging her down so needless to say I was in the wrong position already and being a sprint distance swim it's pretty much all over before you really get into it - not where I wanted to be out of the water.
Coming out well down from where I would normally exit the water did also lead to having to push hard to get on the group in the bike which was good practice but once everyone was together it was just messy and you could see the race was going to be won up ahead where a group had got into a breakaway. For me it was into safety mode at that point and on the last lap of the bike (which I somehow missed that count-rookie!) I just rode in the bunch and stayed out of trouble - staying upright amongst some heavy over excessive braking from others was also a key goal in this race! Last thing you want to be doing now is crashing 5 weeks out from Rio as poor Gomez knows all too well!
So onto the run I was near the back amongst the carnage again coming into T2. I did a typical "Nicky start" slow start then building into it. Being a sprint I found it very fast and I was rather off the pace but as this was just a training session for Rio I wasn't too concerned. Half way through the first lap I started to pick up the pace and by the second lap I was running well but just ran out of pavement to catch any others - even 500m more I could have caught a lot more girls as there was only 6sec separating 6 girls in front of me. I felt good once I got into the run but 5km was all we were given today and the rest left in my tank will have to wait until Rio.
All in all it was a good hit out, I would have liked to have finished a little higher up to make some pocket money but Rio is my goal and I am happy that everything is progressing nicely towards it. I have four more solid weeks left to fine tune things now and progress some more so that is really exciting.
It was also great to finally meet my bike sponsor in Hamburg, Sabino and Deda have been great and I really appreciate their support and knowledge - so that added to a good weekend in Hamburg.
I am looking forward to heading back up the mountain for the last stint at altitude then a bit of faster work down from altitude in Banyoles (Spain) for the last 2 weeks combined with a bit of heat prep.
Until Rio, thanks to all for your help and support.