It has been an extremely busy but incredibly exciting 6 weeks are behind me of continual travel and racing almost every weekend. It’s been an exhilarating ride and there has been little time to fit much else in – including website blogs!
After competing at IM Switzerland on 19 July 2015, I moved to train in Slovakia, my home country. I come from a beautiful part of the country and, indeed, Europe, called the High Tatras – a Slovakian National Park located near the Polish border. In the winter months it offers superb opportunities for winter sports such as alpine skiing and mountaineering while in the summer, countless trails for hiking, climbing and mountain biking.
The area is ideal for summer training, as there are mountains everywhere around me (excellent terrain for building strong legs), quiet roads and endless possibilities for mountain biking in addition.
I traveled to Slovakia with two bikes – my racing time trial (TT) bike and my mountain bike. Along with other luggage I probably filled up the equivalent of an entire Global XRS luggage compartment :-), the type of the private jet I used to fly on as flight attendant.
Soon after I arrived I learned from a local bike shop about the Slovakian Championships in mountain biking (MTB) taking place the following weekend. The race was 75km in length with trails being very technical, rocky and of course hilly. With little training or preparation and mainly entering for some fun, I surprised myself by finishing in 4th place, which was extremely pleasing.
Five days later, I drove around 500km to Budapest, Hungary for my next challenge, which was Ironman 70.3 Budapest. On this race I did feel incredibly fit, managing to stay in the second pack of girls in the swim leg; was in the top four on the bike and only overtaken once just 2km before the end of the run leg. I finished 5th place female, a highly successful day for me given the strength of the competition which comprised a large number of pro competitors.
Photo credit: Ironman Budapest
My journeys and racing continued the following weekend with the European Championships – Xterra England (a MTB triathlon consisting of 1,5km Swim/ 35km Bike / 10km Run). Being the European Championships, the very best Xterra triathletes from Europe, US and Australia were competing and I had no expectations of achieving any significant placing. Being in the UK, the weather could never be accurately predicted and torrential rain the night before the race created some very difficult conditions on the bike. With the bike course already being technical enough, comprising many twists and turns, the resultant amount of mud from the overnight downpour made it a serious challenge for all competitors. Despite this I managed to somehow fight my way through to the top 10, finishing 6th!
One lesson and reminder I learned on this race was the power of self- belief. I can admit that I have always been a competitor with a somewhat low confidence, however here I realized that anything and everything is possible with hard work, complete determination and belief in oneself.
Photo credit: Light Trapper Photography
After this placing I qualified and made my decision to race at the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii, 1st November.
Before then I have one more major race this weekend (13th September) with another European Championship in Long Distance Triathlon – Challenge Weymouth, Dorset, a beautiful part of southern England.
In ‘normal’ road based triathlons, this is my pinnacle of the season and I am putting everything I can into the race to try and achieve a similar success that I have enjoyed the past six weeks.
Thank to the wonderful people around me and sponsors for your continued support.