After my crash last weekend I was keen to get back racing and couldn't think of a better place to go than Cremona, Italy. This was my first major race in Europe and with 83 elite men on the start list, it looked to be a tough race. Travelled to Italy alongside Tamsyn Moana-Veale (from my training group) on Friday morning with a short stop over at Frankfurt. We arrived late Friday evening, for some dinner and off to bed. Saturday consisted of some pre-race training, seeing the sights and race brief in the evening. Race start for the men was 12:25 Sunday afternoon. This was the first race which has two separate transitions. Had to put the shoes in at T2 at 7:30am and rego/T1 opening wasn't until 11am at the race start which was a 15min ride from the apartments. Arrived just before 11 to register, rack bike and warm up. Just before the start we lined up and it was officially announced there was 75 starters, I don't even know if the pontoon fits that many athletes.
Each athlete was called down in order of their number, I was ranked 27th. Ran down to the pontoon after being introduced and decided to start on the left as there was only a few athletes.
Everyone was now lined up and ready for the start. After a minutes silence for a soldiers death in Afghanistan the race was off. Had a clean dive in the water and the fight was on, others were swimming ontop of me, grabbing me feet, elbows, legs, I copped a bit of a beating but wasn't long until I found some cleat water. After about 150-200m of swimming, athletes just stopped swimming and yelling out stop, I looked up and the boat was in front telling us we had false started, that's just great! Everyone started swimming back ready for 2nd attempt, when I got a bit closer I notice about 30 athletes were still on the pontoon. Climbed back up and ready for race start, only took a couple of minutes and we were underway again. Very similar start a lot of getting bashed except this time I could not find clear water and struggled until I found myself out the back by the first buoy and was hurting, couldn't find any rhythm and knew my position was not good. It felt like I put everything into the swim but found myself coming into T1 towards the back of the field and just missing a big pack ahead of me. Had 3 other athletes to ride with but after a lap it came down to only 2 others as one couldn't keep up the pace. Didn't feel very comfortable on the bike, think it may have been only doing one ride this week and also being on a different bike because of what happened last week. Came off the bike and with a very quick and smooth T2 I was out onto the run. Felt ok on the first lap of the run, by the end of first lap I could see a couple of groups from bike pack that got off over a minute ahead. Lap 2 I was starting to pass some athletes and gaining a couple of extra positions. Although the back half of the 2nd lap my shoulders started to get really tight and I felt a little fatigued and started to slow up. I shook it off pretty quickly and started picking off more athletes. By the finish I had gained several extra places but was still a long way back thanks to my poor swim at the start.
Finished a bit disappointed 58th in my first ITU European Cup, the race started bad and was very hard to recover. I now have 2 weeks training and on the 23rd of June I will compete in my first French Grand Prix race. Very keen for a good result there, very lucky to be apart of an awesome team Issy Triathlon who I will race for the first time that weekend.