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Posted: July 28, 2003

Triathlon: Natasha Filliol's Race Reports from Corner Brook and Salford

Race Report ITU World Cup Cornerbrook

This was to be the first race of four that I would tackle on my next journey of races. I had a decent few weeks of training leading up to this trip and I was looking forward to some solid race performances. The course was the same this year as last with a 3 lap swim in the Glynmill Pond, 6 loops on the bike consisting of a steep climb, descent and a flat bit along the water and finally a hilly 4 lap run, looping through transition each time. I had my family there to cheer for me and I would use all the extra energy I could get to challenge on this tough course.

My swim was strong especially the start, which is usually difficult especially when the distance to the first buoy is so short. It was very rough but I maintained my technique and worked my way through the thrashing. Things got stretched out pretty quick by the second loop and then I found some water. By the end of the swim I was in the front of the third pack. I had a fast transition and dropped my pack except for one other competitor.

We worked together trying to bridge to the chase pack, but it was a tough situation as we were really stuck in between packs. Eventually we got caught by the massive bunch behind us and in the end we caught up to the chase pack, forming a huge second pack. The problem was we were 4min+ behind the front group. There was talk that the front group got some draft from the lead motorbike, but all I know is that we had a huge pack full of lots of strong bike riders. For some reason my bike got more difficult to ride as the race went on. At the beginning I was flying, dropping the group I came out of the water with on the last climb into transition I was nearly dropped myself. Later I discovered my brake caliper was rubbing. This is not a course where you want to be riding with the brakes on the whole way! With difficulty on that last hill into transition I was not in good position at the front. I didnít panic- yet!

In transition we had to put our run gear in these big yellow boxes. Somehow my box got dumped upside-down and I couldn't find my run flats. Not good! I guess with all the mess in transition with these boxes it must have got knocked over. Finally I found them and set out for the run. As one of the last out of transition I just made more work for myself of course, but I knew the run had just begun, so I put one foot in front of the other to catch up. I ran hard but never to the front of my group. In the end I had a solid day but not stellar finishing in 13th. I was looking for a top ten performance here for my third Olympic qualification, but with the slow transition and an average run I just missed it. I still have a year to get my third standard, so I know I'll be able to do it.

Race Report Salford ITU World Cup

After Cornerbrook I headed overseas for my next batch of races. Leaving early in the week gave me the opportunity to get over the jet lag and to get adjusted to the time change. Revisiting Manchester was like dťjŗ vu as I had been here one year prior and raced on the exact same course for the Commonwealth Games. This time I looked forward to challenging myself one again, but this time in a more competitive World Cup race. Despite the big travel my legs felt very good all week, so I knew if I hit my taper right I would be strong. More importantly I found my swim form and posted some new PBís in training! This got me very excited and I wanted to get in there and mix it up!

The day before the race seemed to go by very slowly and I had wished it was race day already. I kept telling myself one more day to rest up was fine, but I really couldnít wait much longer to get out there and do my thing. I couldnít sleep the night before the race, but I knew this didnít matter so much as I had my feet up all week (when I wasnít training).

Race morning came and the first thing I did was peek out the window to see if it was raining. I prayed for it not to rain as last year it was very slippery and dangerous over the cobbles on the bike. Well the rain held off until the race start! I went about my pre-race routine as usual and did my best to stay warm. I had a good warm-up and felt energized and ready to go. My swim start was one of my best. I held my position to the first buoy and found myself on feet throughout the entire first loop. On the second lap things started to get stretched out but I could see that I was right in the thick of things, right where I needed to be. I remember on the last turn buoy I got pushed to the outside and lost a few positions, but worked very hard to stay in the pack. My lungs were burning so I knew I was working hard. At the swim exit I could see I was right at the back of the main chase pack! I knew I had swam a solid 1500. I had some silly difficulty in transition with my wet suit leg getting caught on the ankle (timing chip) and with my helmet, but I still mounted my bike with the main pack. I was very excited at where I was positioned out of the water, perhaps too excited! While I was still working on getting my right foot into my bike shoe, on the second rather narrow corner (I still wasnít into my bike shoes) my right bike shoe hit a pylon which caused it to unclip and fall on the road! I had to stop, turn around and pick it up. After getting my shoe back (and losing my great position from the swim pack) I hammered to catch up to the third pack which had gone by while I was retrieving my shoe with all I could muster. At this point I was disappointed that I had lost the chase pack, but did my best to work with the third pack. I felt better as the bike went on, but looked forward to getting off and running fast. My bike to run transition was a bit smoother than the swim to bike and I set out for my favorite leg of the race. A fast pace was set by the Aussies in my pack and I did my best to run with them. Soon I found my rhythm and picked off my competitors one by one. I wanted to test myself on this run to see how much faster I could run than last year. It was the third and final loop of the run that I ran up several places and really found my next gear. In the end I finished in 13th place posting the second fasted run of the day of 35.20, which was 3 minutes faster than last year! I was one place out of my third Olympic qualification, but Iím confidant with my good form that I will get it next time. I will also watch out for pylons!

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