My First Elite Race
It’s been a few weeks since I raced my first elite race in Richmond, VA so I’ve had a bit of
time to look back on it and analyse my experience. I won’t much talk about how the race
went for me, this won't be a detailed race report but rather what I learnt from stepping it up to the “big leagues”. I was in the states for about a month going from training camp to training camp to racing so maybe that entire month deserves it’s own story but for now, let’s talk about what it was like racing my first elite race.
This was by far the most organized and well put on race I’ve ever been to. I can’t seem to
recall a part of the day where I was frustrated with the timing, the limitations, or any real
gripe against the schedule. We raced at 3pm (okay, I was kind of upset with how late the
start was but it’s better than 7am) and it was smooth sailing all the way up to race start. We
had access to bike trainers for warm-up, 30 minute swim warm-up, tons of water, extra
number tattoos, it was great. These things might sound pretty basic and not that exciting but
when you come from age-group racing where you get no warm-up at all and have to rely
entirely on yourself, it’s nice to have some people there looking out for the athletes (it’s nice
to feel special).
This was a pretty humbling race for me. I’ve watched some of these guys race in the past
but without actually being on the course with them you can’t really feel just how quick they’re
moving. The level of competition here was nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and this
was only a continental cup. It taught me a lot about parts of racing I need to work on that you
really can’t practice in training. There were certain areas of the race that I was able to get
away with in the past but not at this level. Every second counts.
Although I didn’t finish where I wanted to for this race, it got me very excited for the rest of
the season. It was hard to know exactly what to expect at this level without actually racing it
so even though it didn’t go as good as I would have liked, it had to be done. I have a few
more ITU Elite races planned for this year to try and improve the little things and hopefully
come out further up. It’s an exciting first step into this world and I can’t wait for the next one.