I didn't have the chance to update my blog over the past few days, so I couldn't tell you about the typhoon scare that we had in Hong Kong! On Wednesday I ran over to the breathtaking Inspiration lake to get in a little run, and also to take some pictures of the mountains. I noticed that it was getting quite windy during my run, but didn't think anything of it. By the time I finished my run and was just snapping pictures like my life depended on it, I noticed that all of the people who were at the lake before all disappeared. I thought it was strange, but decided to head back to the hotel to take pictures on the Disney Hollywood Hotel grounds. Again, when I got to the hotel grounds, there was not a soul to be found anywhere! When I got to my hotel room, I saw that the phone was flashing that there was a Typhoon Signal 1 Warning in Effect! A Typhoon! I never imagined that I would travel to Hong Kong and experience a typhoon. No wonder nobody else was wandering around outside!
So from Wednesday through to Friday we really weren't sure that we were going to have an Asian Cup Triathlon at all. My friend and fellow Canadian triathlete, Colleen Latham, arrived on Thursday morning so I was in great company through it all. We had many adventures on the MTR, and we went into the city, road the ferry across to Kowloon, visited the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool and wild life exhibits, went to Harbour city, the Avenue of Stars, etc, etc. We just had a blast, typhoon warnings or not. However, we didn't get in much pre-race prep because it was forbidden to swim in the South China Sea, or to run where the run course was supposed to be. Everything just seemed to be on lock down!
After our race briefing on Friday afternoon, it looked like the triathlon was not going to happen, and it might be replaced by a modified duathlon, or just not happen at all. Ewww-I would not have been happy if we walked down that road! However, later that evening, the Typhoon signal was reduced from T3 to T1 so the Asian Cup happened after all! The swim course was made into 2 loops, instead of one, but our run from the water to get to our bikes was at least one kilometer long on solid concrete! The transition areas on top of that were another 4-500m, or so! This was going to be great for the runners...not so good for me, but what can you do? Just adapt!
Only the elites swam on Saturday, because it was choppy to say the least! I was among a field of great swimmers, and I was happy to exit the water with an Austrian woman who has been racing on the World Cup circuit for the past 2 years. I think the long run on the concrete with no shoes really did my quads in! Anyway, after a 6 minute long transition, I finally made it out onto the bike course. I was with 4 girls at the time, but was able to lose 2 of them about 4km into the bike course. That bike was one of the most mentally and physically demanding courses that I have EVER done! First of all, the residual winds from the typhoon moving east were unbelievable. I was holding on to my bike for dear life at many times. Also, it was much more hilly than expected, and more uphill then downhill. We did a series of 7 out and back stretches that were quite technical, and once you had a little bit of speed going down hill, you had to slam on the bikes to do some tight 180 turns and go back up hill. My legs were feeling really crampy already after the 2nd loop, and I was drinking more gatorade than I would normally over a 40km distance. I suppose the change in climate and travel could have left me a little bit dehydrated going into the race. Not sure, but I'll have to evaluate that a little more later. Anyway, as much as I felt like I was struggling on the bike, I still managed to pass some people, and I did my best to stay positive. That was Ming's advice before the race...negative thoughts will do nothing to help you! At that point, I was determined to push through the race no matter what. I was literally willing my cramping quads away!
After a bike that felt like eternity, it was another long transition before heading out onto the run course. The run was 4x 2.5 loops, and each loop had three 180 turns and about 6-800m on grass. I really wanted to finish in the top 10, so I pushed myself through the run even though my legs were seizing at every 180 turn. I could not have been happier to run towards the finish line on race day...I knew that I had pushed myself as hard as I could given the conditions and my leg cramps and I was thrilled with the result. I ended up coming in 9th place, which is the best that I have done so far racing on the ITU circuit. Best of all, I didn't get swallowed up in a typhoon, I didn't crash my bike, I still managed to average over 35km/hr on a bike course where I thought I'd be lucky to break 30, and I had the my best 10km run split ever!
My legs cramped right up 5 minutes after I crossed the finish line and I'm still a hurting unit today! Good thing I've got a two week vacation ahead of me in Taiwan. I'm already in Taipei, so once I get my camera charged back up, I'll post some more pictures.