A disaster from beginning to end! My worst race ever!
We flew to Taipei, and stayed for two nights before getting the high speed rail to Zuoying and then a car to Kenting. The first few days were very windy – the cross winds on the ride out to test the bike course the morning before the race was terrifying!
On the race morning, it was raining heavily when I got up. I went to the hotel restaurant and, as usual, found some hot oatmeal, a banana and some coffee for my breakfast.
I got the shuttle bus to the start where, at 5am it was announced that there was a typhoon warning and conditions were too dangerous for swimming, so the swim was replaced with a 6km run... not great for my weakened legs! I was quite disappointed given that my only training had been swimming for training for about 5 weeks prior. I tried to keep warm under a shelter in the transition area, but the starter horn went off 5 minutes before the announced start time at 6:15. Apparently when they announced the swim cancellation, they also announced a change in start time. I think I lost about 4-5 minutes in total (2-3 getting to the start line and 2-3 at least weaving through the crowd) – not a great start!
Then the roads were very wet. I attempted to avoid a pothole and hit another pothole which was hidden in a puddle about 5km into the bike - got two flat tires. I put some foam in them but the rest of the bike was very slow (mainly because I was so scared of more potholes, but also because I was frightened of coming off of my bike) and my tires were well under-inflated. I was very surprised to find at the end there was no damage to my wheels! I will need to replace both tires though. Neither will stay inflated now...
It seemed like there was an accident about every 100 metres with varying degrees of damage to bikes and bodies. It was a real mental battle just to finish. I went there with a view to qualify for the world championships again. Just finishing didn't interest me, and with such a bad start I was convinced I was coming last, so I almost dropped out, many times.
My weak legs were very tired by the end of the race, and even though it had poured with rain for all but about 45 minutes of the race, I had sunburnt shoulders! My husband and children were waiting at the finish line and so were an army of massage therapists. I grabbed a bottle of water, got in the (pretty chilly) pool and chatted to the kids.
When the results were put up, I was fourth. Seems that others also found the conditions hard! A few hours later, the results were changed and I was fifth...
The day that we left Taiwan, I signed up for the 70.3 in Putrajaya, Malaysia in April 2014… I think I am hooked!