CHALLENGE SALOU

EUROPE 2015

Race 2 – Challenge Salou

After the disappointment of pulling out of Pays d’Aix 70.3 four weeks earlier, I set out for my second European race of the 2015 season. It is always a hard decision to pull out of a race and to know when you should push on and when to stop. For me, I felt that it was important to have a wider perspective and leave some in the tank to reach my major goals for the season.

After one week of complete rest and a 3 week block of tweaking my training schedule with my coach Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching, I started to get back on track.  This would not have been possible without the amazing support of my network in Girona which consists of CENIT (nutrition, osteo/physio), the FISIO-CENTER (massage, kinesio taping) and VeloLoveFit (bike fit). The pieces fell into place a week before Challenge Salou but, to be completely honest, I was quite nervous leading into this race. I knew that I was fit but there was still the uncertainty of whether my calf would hold up under the stress of racing and I was unsure if I was even going to be able to race until a few days before.

IMG_2062

WEEK LEADING INTO RACE
Kilometers driven to race 216
Number of question asked by my Mum 136
Hours Training – Bike 5
Hours Training – Swim 3
Hours Training – Run 2
Number of English Tourists spotted 2,691 approximately
Magdalenas Consumed 2,691 approximately
Coffees Consumed 12
Cheese consumed A lot!
Pre Race Dinner Rice, sweet potato mash
Pre Race Distraction Michael McIntyre 

 

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

The swim was a beach start with shallow waters and a lot of dolphin diving was required. This was not ideal for someone with a calf issue.  I started very timidly and by the time we started swimming I was further back than I wanted to be. I swam strongly and gradually made my way back to the front of the race to exit right in the mix.

SWIM
Wetsuit ROKA Maverick Pro

 

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

I had a good transition and started the bike in 4th position. I quickly made my way to the front of the race by kilometer three. I then surged to break clear of the group that I had no intention of getting caught up in. I like to race a certain way and to dictate the race as much as I can. I have been advised many times to maybe hold back a little on the bike so I might run better.  I disagree. Riding easier opens the door for the weaker swimmers to catch up and the weaker riders to save their run legs.  This is not how I race.  I want to know that when we all get off the bike, no one is feeling good.  I can only control one aspect of this and it is a real shame that the refereeing is abysmal these days. I am sick and tired of hearing post race about athletes “sitting too close” and “saving themselves” on the bike.  If that is how they want to race then they should go back to ITU or not bother racing at all as winning like this must not feel that great anyway!

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

BIKE Trek Speed Concept
Saddle ISM Podium
Helmet Rudy Project Wing57
Shoes Bontrager Hilo RXL
Wheels Bontrager prototype disc; Aeolus 7 D3 (Tubular)

 

My new Wattie Ink custom Contender Tri Speedsuit in my new team colors and design was fantastic. It was very comfortable and aerodynamic.  I have never matched so well with my bike too!

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

I came off the bike 4:30 in front of the group and stuck to my plan of building my pace on the run as I gained confidence that my calf would hold up to the task.  Through half way, I was holding 3:30 per kilometer and my lead to Ritchie Nicholls was down to 75 seconds.  I definitely doubted that I could hold on for the win at this point but stuck to my plan and picked up the pace slightly.

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

Through the next 5km lap, Ritchie did not gain as much time and I still had 40 seconds lead.  I was in with a chance.  My calf felt good so I went full gas and full stride. With 3km to go, I still had 35 seconds and was on my limit but holding strong.  The rubber band snapped at the final turn around with 2km to go and I went on to win by just over a minute.

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

The relief, excitement and the underlying feeling of knowing that I can go to that place of pain again in a race was amazing. Winning in front of my amazing wife, Sage, who was standing alongside my lifelong supportive mother, is something that I will never forget.

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

RUN
Sunglasses Rudy Project Rydon

 

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

Thank you to the Challenge Salou race organizers and to my amazing sponsors, Trek, Bahrain Endurance 13, Rudy Project, Roka, Bontrager and ISM.

#bahrainendurance13, Challenge Salou, Joe Gambles

Thank you to the Bahrain Endurance 13 photographer Sascha Deforth for all the support on race day and for these great photos. For more photos from Challenge Salou check out my Gallery Page.

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