It had now been just under a month since I raced my first Basque race which I crashed out and broke my bikes forks. Thanks to Ruben Gonzales at VIBIkE for lending me his bike since then, I only just received my replacement forks on Friday night, just in time for San Sebastian on Sunday. I was very keen to do this race, heard a lot of good things for example the weather and epic ride course. The drive to San Sebastian was only an hour away from Vitoria so we didn't have to leave until 6:30am. Also making the trip was training partners Charlotte McShane and Natalie Van Coevorden, they both raced this event last year and had a very good result. I was unsure about my competition, there was a few people the coach pointed out that were pretty good but other than that I had no idea.
Jamie dropped us at the top of the hill so we could ride the last 10k into San Sebastian as the ride down was very sketchy and the rain did not make it any easier. We got to the bottom, weather was slightly better than up top, registered and prepared for warm up. This was an Olympic distance race, swim was in the bay, just a 1500m loop around the boats. The bike course was very hilly, 40k loop with several short sharp climbs in the first 20k and a 6k climb which was brutal but finished with a 8k downhill back to race site. The 10k run was 3 laps just along the beach front.
The girls were off first at 9:15am and men at 9:30am. With over 500 men lined up ready for race start, I was ready to go. The athelets saw smoke from the horn but no noise, I didn't stop them from running out into the water for race start, it only took the official another go about a sec later and the race was on. I love beach starts, especially when there are a couple of little waves rolling through, had a very clean run and was out in the water 1st. After a couple of 100m I could see one of the athletes pointed out earlier about 50m to the left of me, he turned around first buoy about 10sec before I did. I maintained this gap through the rest of the swim and exited the water in 2nd position. It wasn't until after the race I realised I was not urgent enough through T1 which could have saved me riding 40k by myself, as I just missed Godoy and could not bridge the gap in the first few km's. The ride was very tough, the small hills at the start hurt the legs early but with 15k of relatively flat road, I had time to recover before hitting the 6k climb up from Orio. It wasn't too bad the first few km's but slowly started to feel the effects on having a 23 cassette on, although it was raining on the way up so I kept nice and cool. Finally over the top and ready for the sketchy descent which we rode earlier. I was very lucky though as the road was dry on the descent so was able to ride down solid. Last 500m I turned around and noticed 2 riders just behind me, I saw them about 2k into the ride and they must have been just behind all race. If I knew that I could have saved the legs and got off the bike fresher. In and out of T2 no dramas and it wasn't long until one of those guys caught up and I began to run with him. I ran with him feeling quite good until about 5k which he made an attack and left me for dead, he only managed to get 100m up the road and then kept that gap for the rest of the run. Crossed the line in 3rd position not too far behind 2nd place.
Very happy with my race, placing 3rd overall and first U23 with a time of 2:01:08. Was very suprised when I saw the splits, having 2nd fastest ride time overall, even doing the full 40k solo.