Monday, June 6, 2011

Madrid

I tried not to worry about going into the race with the number 1 tattooed on my arms and legs. It came with some added pressure, a few more stares, and some annoying cameras in my face during warm-up, but I approached the race like I do every other. I still sat in the pre-race meeting thinking, “Cool, there’s Gomez! And Emma Snowsill! And the Brownlees!” I did have a minor panic attack when I opened my envelope and saw my “1” stickers and realized I had a bit of a target on my back, but in general I stayed pretty relaxed and was confident in the training that I had done since Sydney. This is me trying really hard not to freak out before the start... ha.

I remember back in junior racing when I had no trouble getting out into clear water to have a clean swim instead of fighting for my life to stay above water. I’ve since discovered out that WCS races are at a whole other level and I often get caught somewhere in the middle by the first turn, forcing me to fight may way back up to the leaders. This was my first elite race where I was able to get on some good feet right away and I was in 3 rd position going around the first turn. Triathlons are actually fun when you don’t get stuck in washing machine chaos! I came out of the first transition in 2nd place, right behind Laura Bennett. That never happens!

The bike course was 8 loops around a beautiful park, with a challenging hill on each lap. There was a Specialized prime line at the top of the hill, with $500 up for grabs on each lap. I had no intention of going for any of them, but I was feeling great leading up the first hill and thought I may as well try. I stood up and went for it with another girl in a Tour-de-France style sprint to the line, slightly dramatic, and I actually got it! That never happens! I was in the same situation on the 2nd lap so I went for it with Lisa Norden, and just barely got it again. A solid swim and 2 bike primes to start the race, I was actually having fun! I knew that some strong runners including Emma Moffatt were in a chase pack about 30 seconds behind us, so I worked hard with the other girls to maintain our lead. The hardest part for me was the technical and steep descent, where I got super nervous and put on my breaks every time, leaving a gap to the girls in front of me. I felt bad for everyone who got stuck behind me! I’m a major wimp on down hills.

I had a decent 2nd transition compared to my usual dead last exit, but Andrea Hewitt took off like a rocket. I slowly reeled her back in and we were soon caught by Helen Jenkins. I was working hard but I felt in control and I knew that I had another gear in me if one of the girls decided to surge ahead. I was happy to run with them and try to make a gap on the last 180-degree turn towards the finish. This didn’t go exactly as planned, as Helen stayed with me right until the blue carpet. I managed to keep a small lead on her, looking over both shoulders all the way to the finish.

I’m more excited about how well things went DURING the race than I am about the actual result. It’s a big confidence booster to know that I am able to come out of the swim with the leaders and be strong on the bike. This course didn’t leave room for any mistakes on the swim, bike or run, so I’m thrilled that I was able to put together a smooth and successful race.

I’m so appreciative of all the support that I had this weekend, from Bobby and the Specialized crew (who replaced my cracked bike frame within 4 hours after I arrived!!), Patrick, Kyla, Kim, John, and the whole ITU and organizing committee who put on such a fantastic race. I could not be in this position right now without the help of these people and so many others!

I’ve just arrived in Kitzbuhel, where we’ll train for 2 weeks before the next race on June 20
th. I’m looking forward to the change of scenery and this is certainly a beautiful place to be.

Thanks for cheering for me!

Paula

16 comments:

Kristine said...

Girl, You are so fantastic!! :)

Cristo Socorro Artiles said...

It was amazing how you did it, I think we have to get used to it. Wish u the best!

Michael said...

Congratulations on a truly superb result, fantastic!

Robert Lejeune said...

Awesome job once again Pauly! We are really proud of you :)

kristen said...

Way to go Paula!

Vision Libertarienne said...

Good news. I bought my 20-euro-pass to see win.

Gregwh said...

"Don't be anxious about tomorrow... Live one day at a time." The pressure is on everyone else right now. It's just smooth jazz for you.

darcy brown said...

Congratulations Paula. The Cambridge Multisport Club is avidly following your success!

Karen Kozak said...

Congrats Paula, you are amazing!

len gushe said...

Absolutely awesome win!! You swam at the front, and really cool that you hammered the hills on the bike, and still outran everyone! Just like the Brownlee's do it! No weaknesses anywhere in any of the three sports. Think the rest of the guys out there are getting a little fearful of the Brownlee's going into next year's Olympics? Equates to how all the other ITU Elite Women are feeling about you, as you all head towards London 2012))
Well done!! Keep up all the consistent hard work, and you will continue to have superlative results in the months and years to come!

Heather and Andrew said...

Congrats on another win. Awesome to see you mixing it up at the front, helping to drive and make the race.

patriciacsank said...

You are fantastic! What an inspiration for young Canadian women(well, actually for us old ones too). Thanks for all of your hard training and wonderful spirit.
Wishing you all the best.

Alberto Bimu said...

Great..I was there. you are a crack :-)))

garfield4 said...

Congratulations on the accomplishments so far this year. I have been following you since retirement out here on Vancouver Island in Qualicum Beach. Hope your training is going well and you continue to be strong for your next race. It seems like yesterday when I watched you in the journal games or at cross country. You've come a long way!! My son Duncan sends you his best as well. We both watched your last race early in the AM.
cheers from Garfield Buchanan

Stephen said...

OMG PAULA - YOU ROCK!

It has been so amazing watching your races the last 2 seasons....you are on fire!!! WOW.....Seriously...you better be aiming big for the Sydney Olympics Girl....you just never know....look at what you have done so far. CONGRATS and all us fellow Canadians are cheering just for you!! YAY!!!!!

Kaidi said...

Wow you are amazing! You are most definitely someone to look up for!
I wish you all the best for the following races aswell!