This past Sunday I started my triathlon season at the Bridgetown PATCO Sprint Continental Cup. The event took place in Bridgetown, Barbados.
I arrived in Barbados on Wednesday night only to find that my bike was still stuck in Miami, however it did arrive the next day. I was greeted by Ann, our host for the week, and she whisked us away to her house where she so graciously put us up in her lovely home.
Thursday I took time to get a short run in to help my body acclimate to the weather. It never ceases to amaze me how tough it can be to train and race in the humidity. Growing up I never had an opportunity to race or train in it and my body is still developing a feel for it. After resting the remainder of the morning Ann took us to pick up my bike as well as show us the race course for the first time. After checking out the course we cruised through the beautiful town of Bridgetown for a bit. The beaches are beautiful, the town square and parliament building are stunning, and the remainder of the Garrison surrounding it is simply beautiful and filled with history. I learned that the parliament building is the oldest parliament building in the entire Commonwealth and that Bridgetown had been an important trading and shipping route for many European countries throughout the years.
|Barbados Olympic Aquatic Centre|
On Friday we headed down early to the Barbados Aquatic Centre for an early morning swim and a shakeout on my bike. The pool facility was amazing and the staff was so generous by letting all the triathlete use the facilities. After the swim-bike workout we headed to one of the local beaches; I found a great shady spot to take a nap and enjoy the Caribbean Sea, as well as enjoy some local cuisine. Thank you Nikki for finding us some great food!
Saturday we headed down to swim at the race venue, as well as a short run on the run course. It was extremely hot so I made sure to stay cool and not push too much as this was only a familiarization. The swim course was so clear and beautiful that I saw hundreds of fish! After the familiarization we headed down to the pre-race meeting and home for an early night.
Race day quickly came and went. It started out very cool and quite pleasant when the women went off. I was struggling a little bit to keep my stomach calm, but I think it was just pre-race nerves because it was the first race of the year. As I was closer to the bottom of the start list I had one of the last choices for pontoon selection. The gun was off and the swim began. I made some poor decisions early on and ended up getting pulled out of the first pack. The swim was a fight for longer than usual and things didn't calm down until nearly 250 meters into the swim. I came in from the swim in the back and headed to transition with three other athletes. I came out of transition with one athlete and didn't commit fully to bridging the gap, which ended up being my next mistake. I bridged up to the next athlete but he was not willing to split the work and ended up holding onto me for dear life. My stomach at this point was angry with me and was no longer able to keep food down. After discarding the insides of my stomach I felt much better; I did my best to keep the fluids going in, but it was a tough struggle. Once out onto the run course I was starting to feel pretty strong. I dropped the athlete that was riding with me and was cutting into the remainder of the field. Unfortunately I did not commit at the key points of the race so I ran out of room to catch any remaining athletes in front of me. I finished the day in 20th with plenty of lessons learned. A quick congratulations needs to go out as well to Alexander Hinton of Canada, Tommy Zaferes of the USA and Manuel Huerta of Puerto Rico for rounding out the podium. Some great things to take from the event includes: commit to all the moves that look to be successful, and don’t be afraid to fail. The worst thing that will happen is you fail and learn something new in the process. I am really happy with how my run turned out, as well as how well I stayed hydrated and acclimated to the heat.
On Monday we had the opportunity to drive around the entirety of the island with our host and the race director, Christine. We got to see some historic places, such as the Caribbean’s largest and only working sugar windmill and the oldest college in Barbados, which was built in the 1630’s. We also got to see some wildlife including monkeys and various birds and to top it off we saw Rihanna’s private villa!
I want to thank the Barbados Triathlon Association for hosting yet another successful and enjoyable event. You guys truly put athletes first, which creates a world-class experience for us. Thank you Ann for opening up both your home and refrigerator to us. I learned so much about the country and saw first-hand how much of yourself you pour into the event! I am so grateful to have met you and look forward to keeping in touch with you! Thank you to my sponsors Carbon Lite Racing, the Belize National Triathlon association, and Hypercat Racing. I wouldn’t have made it here without you guys. Lastly I want to thank my family and friends for all of their support. My next race will be the PATCO Pan America Cup in Ixtapa, Mexico on May 24th.