Kitzbuhel 2013, consisted of a 750m lake swim, a 12k bike but not just a normal 12k bike, it was all uphill as we had to climb up the Kitzbuhel horn which had gradients as high as 22% in parts, followed by a 2.5 run up and down hill.
To most I guess this sounds like their idea of hell, to me I couldn't wait!! Having a background in mountain and fell running, this was right up my street, even though its been a good few years since I did any form of fell running. However we have been out training in Morzine in the mountains for 4 weeks now and I felt the most prepared I have felt all season after finally having some good consistent work under my belt.
So race day everything all went to plan, despite a bad swim. I cant actually call my last few races swims really, as from about 25m in it has been a matter of survival. In this particular race I had someone pulling on my legs all the way to the first buoy. Not just an occasional tap of the toes, but full on arm half way up my leg, pushing my legs down. I think I was just swimming with my arms only at one point, and was pretty vertical several times!
Obviously this didn't really help to coming out in a good position, but I stuck to my own plan and that was to pace the bike at my own pace and not get carried away with the pack being ahead at this stage. I felt really strong as the climb got going and got into a really good rhythm, which resulted in working my way through from 35th to 7th by the end of the climb. I had to settle for 7th overall as I just ran out of road on the run to pull back any more places. Having achieved my first top 10 in a World series race was really pleasing and a good breakthrough.
I rode on my F4 felt road bike which was great, with a compact 50/34 and 28 on the back. I have to thank Adrian Timmis my bike sponsor of Cadence Sport for sorting this out, along with Mavic Cosmic race wheels which were super light. Amusement point of the day was the journey back home from the mountain. I got a puncture descending back down the hill and had to flag down a car for a lift back to the hotel. If you ever wondered if you could fit 3 people, a bike and several cameras into a smart car, the answer is yes as one of the camera men sat in the boot with the door wide open, hanging out with my bike across his lap. Thankyou this would have been a long walk home and it did cause quite a few beeps and smiles as we drove through town!
I have to give a special mention to my fellow British team mate, training partner and roomie Jodie Stimpson who totally smashed the race. So pleased for her, she is one incredibly focused, hard working lady and what a well deserved win, very inspiring.
After a nice chilled day with my family after the race it is now back to business as next on the calendar is Hamburg WTS on 20th July which I am really looking forward to having heard great things about this race.
Highlights of the kitzbuhl race will be shown on BBC2 at 10.30AM on Saturday 13th July.