• Suzie

Chronicles of a Newbie Pro: Marbella 70.3 Lost at sea, admiring the views and dreaming of a cocktail

I had no idea how to say "Where is the next bouy?" in Spanish.

That wasn't in the phrase book.

"Can I order a ham sandwich, please?" That was in the phrase book.

Fat lot of good that is for a veggie lost at sea, paddling next to a Spanish marshal sat in a kayak.

Things can change so quickly

Just a few minutes prior my thoughts had been....

Yes, success, I am on feet.

Hang'in here Suzie, keep on the feet

Sight at the crest of the wave, don't worry about the choppiness of the sea, you are on feet.

Turn at the furthest bouy, loose concentration for a few seconds, look up.

Bugger, lost the feet

Where the heck is everyone?

In-front all I see, is the glare from the sun, and an open ocean

​Before getting lost at sea!

5 swims a week, every week since October, sometimes 6 in the cold months, when swimming was the warmest activity (double swim day Wednesday) .Had helped me keep feet till the turn around bouy. That's a lot of early morning swimming, to end up lost at sea. Or the optimist could say, good progress, from my normal experience of being dropped in the opening meters. But now I was lost at sea, treading water, wondering where I needed to go. In reality, the group were only a few meters away, but due to the choppy conditions, the waves hid them well.

Losing the main group, meant losing a few minutes, I thought I was last Pro female out of the water, but transition indicated that there were a few others, also lost at sea. Onto the 90km bike, and some hills to conquer.

I had decided to come out on Monday, giving me 5 full days in Marbella before the race 1) Cheapest flights were on Monday. 2) Rainy, cold British, never ending winter had meant, very little riding on the TT bike out on the roads 3) Time in sunny Marbella or time in Leeds!?

This meant, I had ridden sections of the course, i knew it was hilly, I knew, I could easily go too hard too soon and the danger of legs popping too soon, was all too real.

"You are in the Pro race, and you are staying in the Youth Hostel?"

Well I had upgraded from the dorm room to the twin room, as my mum is coming to support

"Don't they put you up in a fancy hotel or anything?"

The reality of life for a newbie pro, trying to make their way in the sport, is very different to the image many have.

That was some of the conversation I had over the very beige breakfast, in the youth hostel dinning room, with some triathletes from Ireland.

Maybe the triathlon super stars get put up in nice hotels by race directors, but us newbie pro's, no it's survival of the fittest.

Back to the bike, If you love riding up and down hills on smooth roads, Marbella 70.3 is for you.

The switch backs on the course after heading through Ojen around 17km into the race

Heading up, up, up.

The strava file shows 89km (i start my garmin, once i'm away, so reckon it was pretty close to 90km) 1478m of elevation, avg speed of 31.3km /hr with max speed of 80.6km/h. The downhills felt pretty ridiculously quick! Ignore the avg power here, as I left the garmin running while i was on the run (hence 8hrs elapsed time!) in Training Peaks the Avg NP power was 185w. A fair bit down on my 200w aim, but good experience on a hilly course.

I was super happy to have chosen this race, the bike course was pretty awesome, either up or down, nice smooth roads. Having not raced a triathlon since March 2017 (Tri 122 in lanza-report here) I had one aim. To finish in one piece, to experience racing again, to have fun. Riding 90km hard on a TT bike and running 21km off it, was a pretty big unknown, so i kept the bike effort under control, the fear of blowing up on the run, was pretty big, so I kept reminding myself to keep it steady.

It seems fairly typical, where there is a hilly bike course, from the coast inland, it is followed by a flat run route, along the sea front. This was my experience at Weymouth 70.3 (2016) and Challenge Paguera ( 2016). It means lots of spectators along the route, easy navigation, out and back, again and again and again.

The strava run, can be seen here

My legs felt, the best they have ever felt, running off the bike, tell tale sign, the bike was maybe a bit too conservative? They gradually got more and more tired, though the music and enthusiasm from the aid stations, helped massively. A 1.31 half marathon off the bike, was a decent first hit out for the season. 7th place for me. One spot out of the prize money. No upgrading from the youth hostel I am afraid mum!

Mum and myself relaxing at the Youth Hostel in Marbella before the race. Thanks mum for taking the 10hr bus down the Spanish coast to come and support.

First triathlon of the 2018 season done. Lots learnt and great few days with Mum and fellow triathlon friends pre and post race. Always nice to have a beer and pizza post race with the Total Tri Training gang.

Well done to everyone who raced, if you are keen for a sunny race with a hilly bike to kick start your 2019 season, this is well worth considering.

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