The Saipan Experience- 1st race of 3

I am writing this at Seoul airport business lounge (nice upgrade thanks Korean Air)

14127_378910195727_581395727_4272409_6015720_sThe 3 week trip to the pacific was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end, and potentially a life changing experience for me. To explain  I had no real expectations on the trip when I left that cold wintery evening in Heathrow, except I knew I was going Pro. That after only 2 years on the Xterra and traithlon circuit. I was either going to sink or swim.

I arrived with super jet lag and settled in to the condo in Saipan , joined by 2 friends form the States whom I met in Maui Xetrra Worlds last year. The humidity hit me first, then the ocean view was an  overwhelming turquoise  colour and clear as crystal. 

My bike was a prioritry getting  built so I could get on and do some training. Couldn’t wait to get into the water too. Smashing. I was there only for three days prior to the first race (one of three in three weeks) So no time for acclimatization or getting over jet lag. So inevitably a got a cold the very next day, Traveling for 36 hours and training straight away being the culprit.

Sleep averaged only around 4 hours a night, so I came into  to the race very tired as we waited in the rain (?) and the dark at 5am ready for race start. I actually thought I couldn’t get through as I was feeling so rough. 

The gun went off at 630am and I was surprised to have swam well, staying close on Renatas  feet  and reaching transition just before her. It took a lot not to start chatting. ( All the Xterra athletes are all so friendly, fun and relaxed)

So after faffing there for a while I jumped on my lovely Cannondale RUSH full susser and was away. I then felt great  on the bike and I had a steady climb on the first hill called Navy hill I soon  passed by Shonny V who was making it look easy as she smiled her way passed me.

I soon came onto the track/jungle with a nice Korean man with the smae bike as me, we zoomed down the descents together, and suddenly BANG -hisssssssss, my tyre exploded, couldnt believe it I screamed in frustration it sounded like I went over something metal like a rake as there was a farm we  passed by.; I went about getting  the back wheel off, and saw what looked like ahuge gash in my tyre, I then thought it may not be with repairing but I then thought if I didnt finish I would feel bad it’s a race!25882_1378737273188_1374579174_31061404_4126907_s

As I was battling with the hole, cyclists were beginning to filter passed me, some asking if needed anything, others not. It took for ever to get the tyre in  a reasonable shape to ride and I was off again about 10-12mins mins down.

I just thought I had to now just get through it. The bike leg was tough as there was much climbing ( more than Maui??) I did preride it  2 days before and got up all the hills, no such luck this time I was so full of cold and hot that I really struggled.

I was so glad to get off the bike and run it was another good run with lots of natural obstacles including a second world war cave and giant boulders, just up my street. It was pretty slippery on the steep rock sections and I of course fell and hit my knee badly, so, hobbled the rest of the way. I finshed 5th in the pro field, not hard as there was only 5 of us!! Ah well learning curve.25882_1378740353265_1374579174_31061410_4490093_s

Next time I will not be wearing no 13 ( it may not be unlucky in Japan…)