by Natalie Milne (Banner image courtesy of Imac Images Photography)
Rabat ATU Cup
After my season opener at the East Fife triathlon it was it was time to head to Morocco an the Rabat ATU Cup on Easter Saturday. With it being a Saturday race, I flew out on the Thursday.
It was a fairly early start as we all had to travel to the race venue which was just under 60 minutes away from where the majority of the athletes were staying.
We had a bit of time to burn before our race as we had arrived at 0930 and I was off at 1150. So I decided as I hadn’t been to the pre race familiarisations that I would go and ride 1 lap of the bike course before starting my usual pre race warm up.
The swim was in a river (and therefore a wetsuit was needed) with a strong current pushing us from right to left. The official decided to start us far left rather than far right which meant that with the first buoy being 50m away from the start it was going to be carnage heading out to the first buoy! Fortunately, I managed to get round the first buoy without too much bother and then it was a case of finding space before turning 180 degrees to head back into transition. However, with the strong current it meant that heading back to transition seemed to take forever. I exited the water in 7th place and headed to transition where it was time to get the wetsuit off and helmet on as quick as possible before heading out on the bike course.
Once over the mount line I spent too much time trying to get my feet in my shoes rather than chasing down the group of girls that were less than 50m away so I lost the chasing pack (there were two girls off the front). The bike course itself was flat and only had two ‘dead’ turns. That kind of course doesn’t really play to my strengths which made any attempt at a breakaway from the group that I was in even more difficult. Once we had finished 4 laps of the ride course it was time to head back into transition and head out onto the run course.
Heading out onto the run, 3 of the 4 girls that were in the same bike group as me went flying out of transition. I didn’t try and go with them as I knew I would be able to bring them back given the speed they had exited transition. Sure enough, by the end of lap 1 of 2, I had caught and passed the Italian girl that was in the group and then turned my attention to chasing down the 2 remaining girls from the group.
By 3.5 km I am pleased to say I had caught them so I sat with them for a while, realising that I had more in me. I made a couple of surges when one of the girls dropped off leaving just two of us to battle it out.
With around 600m to go, the girl from Azerbaijan made a big move and I was unable to go with her but I was able to maintain by rapid pace and crossed the line in 7th place. I was fairly pleased to have closed the gap from 10 secs to 5 secs.
Overall I am pleased with the race in Rabat. After my season opening race at East Fife, it was great to get back out and race at international elite level and helped me to reassess what I need to work on for my next couple of races.
Watch this space!