Well after numerous security checks (they unpacked my entire bike box on the return home) and interrogations (one women didn't believe that my last name was Dutch...), I finally made it home!
Eilat hotel area, very Cancun-like:
The race went well for 2/3 sports. I had a less than favourable start position which put me back of the lead pack on the first lap of the swim and made me work really hard the second lap of the swim to close the gap. I managed to get back with the lead pack going into T1. I was happy with this since my last few swims have been rather weak and I would fall behind on the last lap.
The bike was good too, I had to cycle strong to make sure I was with the pack on the first lap leading into the hill (see pic below, doesn't look too bad, but when you do it 7 times, your legs start to feel it!). There were quite a few motivated women in the group, so the pace was pretty full-on for most of the 40k ride. We managed to up ~1:50 on the large chase pack behind us. I came out of T2 in about 4th place....but it was downhill from there!
I knew my run might not be strong (since I only started a walk/run program 4 weeks ago!) and I also think I was dehydrated--so that didn't help! I developed a headache on the last couple kilometers on the bike and was really thirsty on the run! I managed to focus on my form and hold off as many girls as I could, but only finished 31st (63 girls started the race, 49 finished), with a weak run split.
Overall I was happy with the race. I swam well; front pack, biked well; second fastest split, and ran without pain; which I haven't done since June!
The 'hill', ~600m long @ 6-8% grade: Looking across to Aqaba, Jordan (there was a World Cup race there last year):
I took a day trip to the ancient city of Petra, Jordan--one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It was very cool. The intricate building facades were carved into the sandstone (for the geo-geeks in the crowd, I have a ton of rock pictures!!) by the Nebeteans (Dad, you can correct my spelling here) and subsequently added to by the Romans with free standing buildings--many of which were destroyed or buried (currently being excavated) after an earthquake and subsequent flooding.
Think Indian Jones--The 'Treasury' (that's me at the bottom):
Had to throw this pic in...it was cloudy that day, so my camera doesn't do the colours justice! The inside of the caves were all very colourful:
Anyway, it's been a very long season full of travelling, racing and learning! Now it is time for a little break and some Christmas goodies....I am officially in the off season and will probably start back up in the New Year (have to talk to the coach first!).
Special thanks to those that have been so supportive this year; Paul Regensburg, Richard (my biggest fan), all my family, my friends (who understand my absence and sporadic communications), The guys at Speed Theory (best tri shop in Canada!), Gord, Pat, Alex and the NuVista crowd--thanks for the e-mails, keeps me motivated! To the NTB and my Dutch team mates, dank jewel! Adrie & Ted en Henk & Marianne dank u voor uw gastvrijheid!!