I just finished the Challenge Rimini Half here on the beautiful Adriatic coast in Italy. I raced the world junior duathlon champs here in 2001 and I was hoping to relive the magic from 13 years ago but I will have to settle for another 6th place finish after a tough closing 10km of the run where everything seemed to fall to pieces pretty badly. It may have been all the travel and crossing time zones but I felt great through to the half way point on the run so I am going to put it down to the epic crash I managed to get myself in at the 45km mark on the bike. The road rash on my arm was not too bad but it wasn't until after the race that I managed to assess the damage to my hip and there was some pretty good damage.
It has been a great week here in Rimini and I have really enjoyed the change in pace. It seems Italy time is a lot like "island time" and when it comes to meals this place is off the chart. I love good food and there has been plenty of it the past few days, but I have been hanging out for some good italian wine so as soon as I finish this update …
The race was put on by an old italian legend triathlete – Alessandro Alessandri who I used to race with back in the ITU days and he did a great job organizing a tough and challenging course and making it a great race for the spectators. I must admit I did like the leisurely race start time of 11am, it was a nice change to the system but I still managed to seem to run out of time before the start.
Beach start for the swim which I always like and this seemed to go very smoothly and soon we were onto the bike. The front group seemed to stay pretty tight until about 25km where we started climbing, first gradually into a head wind then not so gradually. There was a group of 4 of us that got away but just before the turn around we were joined by ex pro cyclist Dominico Passuello who would go on to win the race and he blasted to the front and picked the pace right up. My goal was to bridge back up on the downhill section, but my mistake was thinking bridging a gap to a pro cyclist on a descent was easy and trying to close the whole 10seconds in 1 corner, not the smartest move of my career. I was so so close to coming out the other side and if I did who knows what would have happened but after a good slide on a good European road there was no doubt in my mind about getting back on the bike and I managed to do this in good time, the 2 guys who were just behind me a minute ago passed me as I was mounting my reliable stead. I could feel my hip was sore but I tried to put that behind me as much as I could and focus on the job at hand and things were going okay.
Off the bike 2minutes down and soon we were closing the gap, after 7kms I was on the chase by myself and had brought my deficit down to 90seconds, I didn't think this was the best it was going to get but it seemed as each kilometer went by my pace slowed and I wasn't able to hold my stride together, quite possibly from the damage to my hip as using your gluts and core are essential. Ritchie Nicholls – another one of the fastest runners in our sport on his day, caught and passed me at 11km, I tried to go with him but could not change my pace and this was the start of a line of 3 other guys who paced themselves well and chewed me up and spat me out. I was now on Italian time… And soon fellow kiwi athlete Gine Crawford who was on her 2nd of 3 laps ticked past my with here beautiful cadence – I did manage to get back past her before she turn for her last lap and I turned for the finish but it was great to be racing with another Kiwi.
A great experience, one I wish I could have shared with Kelly, counting down the weeks until I see her – at 2 now.
Next stop Barcelona for the new 70.3 race next weekend. Looking forward to a nice relaxing week and all going well I should arrive on the start line with no aches and pains and 2 solid races under my belt. Again it is going to be a stellar field with the winners from this weekends Challenege Rimini and Malorca 70.3 taking to the start line.
Until next time – stay upright