My first time racing in China was an incredible experience and winning the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen in 2016 left me excited to come back to race in Asia. So Justin and I took the opportunity with both hands to come back and race 70.3 Liuzhou. It was a new race on the circuit, this time located in central China.
One of the best things about racing in China is how well we are treated as professional athletes. I really do appreciate the hospitality and respectful culture. A huge thank you to Wanda and IRONMAN for hosting and taking care of us during our time in Liuzhou.
Swim: Point to Point down river swim. Time: 21:40 3rd out the water.
First time I have ever worn a neoprene swim cap!
I was a bit disappointed with my swim. I have been working really hard on my swimming in the off season and would of liked to have swum with Radka, who managed to put just over a minute on me. The water temp was only 58F/14C and I had a terrible start. I found that I struggled to push hard in the beginning as the water literally took my breath away at first, but it did get better as the swim continued.
T1: 80 Steps and I could not feel my feet!
80 Stairs coming out the water to T1.
I could not feel my feet at all after that swim!
Bike: 2 Loops, out and back. 2:23:15 3rd off the bike.
So stoked to be riding a Trek Speed Concept.
My legs felt terrible for the first 10 miles of the bike leg. Just from being a cold in the water and it took me a while for my legs to come around. I did my best to stay calm and I focused on building my power, progressing the effort and riding as smooth as possible. I rode solo for the entire bike portion and just stayed within the watt range my coach set out for me in the race plan. This was a key component that set me up for a strong run off the bike. With the cooler temps I only had 2 x bottles of EFS (First Endurance) and I didn’t take in anything on course.
Run: Personal best: 1:17:15.
My new watch of choice: IRONMAN TIMEX GPS watch, coming out in July!
Yes the run was a bit short at 12.9 miles and the condition were VERY favorable, but I still had to run like I stole something in order to catch the women ahead of me. I was 3:50 down coming out of T2 and did my best to control the first 2-3 miles but there was no denying that I was on a serious mission! My legs felt great, caffeine levels were high and I was honestly running a bit angry after not having the swim and bike I now I am capable of. I only caught Radka with 1km to go and had to find an extra gear to dig really deep and put one last surge in when I passed her. I was not sure if she was going to come with me but I put my head down and ran as hard as I could, and didn’t look back until last left turn coming back into the finish. It made for an exciting and really close finish! It is honestly one of the best feelings to be able to push myself that hard. I was so stoked to execute the best run of my career and close out the win. Full race results are available here at the IRONMAN site.
My top three tips when traveling to race abroad
1. Be adaptable:
The travel and time difference to China is no joke and this is coming from a South African! Try to listen to your body and be ok with not being on the local time zone leading into the race. I literally fell asleep at 7pm and woke up at 2am even on race day.
2. Keep food simple:
Try to bring all your on-race-day nutrition as well as a few snacks. Along with all my First Endurance nutrition that I needed, I like to bring some snacks like dark chocolate, Kind bars, Nature Valley bars, applesauce and whey protein. At the hotel buffet I stuck to simple foods like rice, eggs, fruit (without skin), bread and nuts. I only drank bottled water even to brush my teeth.
3. Bring a trainer with you if you can:
When traveling abroad you never know what the road conditions are or the degree of safety so I like to bring my Feedback Trainer. It is super light and fits in my carry on luggage. Keeping things low stress is vital for me during the days leading up to a race and I can train right in my hotel room.
I am incredibly grateful to have an amazing team behind me and would not be where I am today without all the support. I am very proud to represent my top notch sponsors. A huge thank you must go to:
Timex, Timex Sports, First Endurance, Castelli, Trek, Bolle, Stages, Shimano, Bouldersports Chiropractics, Kristen McFarland (Colorado Triathlete), Brooks, Feedback Sports, Cobb, Republic Cycles in Boulder, ICE friction, fortyninegroup, my coach Jesse Kropelnicki at QT2 systems, Will Jurkowski, my family, Beth and Steve Metzler and Justin Metzler.
Good or bad, one of the best things about racing together is having Justin Metzler at the finish line!
I am looking forward to testing myself against the best at 70.3 St George, North American Championships on 5/6.
A few more photos from Liuzhou:
Post race spin with some friends.
Pro Press Conference 🙂
Pre race shake out jog with some age group triathletes.