Ailbhe (Alva) Carroll is part of the Team Triumph triathlon coaching team who are all Sundried ambassadors. She gives us a race report of the Malmö European Triathlon Cup 2017 which is a sprint distance triathlon held in the city of Malmö, Sweden.
I raced here last year and absolutely fell in love with the place; the area, the coffee, the pastries, the people, the pick 'n' mix…everything. My visit this year just reconfirmed all my thoughts about the place.
Heading to the race, I was a little apprehensive because I had found myself in a bit of a sluggish state over the past few weeks. My training sessions weren’t up to the usual standard I set for myself and I wasn't getting the usual results despite putting in a lot of effort.
I was staying in the same hotel I stayed in last year. I ate in the same restaurant I did last year. I knew where things were. That familiarity can be very settling. I went into the race very relaxed and although the course was new and different to last year, the recce the day before was enough to settle my mind. There was very little that could be messed up with the course they had laid out for us.
Recently I have been struggling with my bike handling skills; the power is there but corners and descents are just not my things. Saturday's course was a little technical with corners and a few sweeping roundabouts and for this I felt extremely comfortable and was happy getting off the bike that maybe I had found some skills again!
The swim didn’t go as planned for me this weekend. I missed the front pack by a handful of seconds and although I was in the chase, we just never closed the gap. In fact, we let it grow to a minute. The winds were a really difficult element of the race with a massive head wind for half the bike loop of which we had 4 to do.
We hopped off the bike and with 5km to run we were 1 minute down. I ran well I think. I wasn’t far off my fresh PB for 5km so came over the line in 20th place but most importantly, I was within the time percentage and I gained my first ITU points to give me a European and World ranking. These important points are what allow you to start in bigger races down the line so it's great to add some to what was an empty bank account.
The biggest thing for me from this race was to fix the mistakes I made in Tartu a few weeks previously. I came over the line satisfied I had done that.
I race again next weekend in Belgium where I will get another opportunity to get things right and have a good race.