Heather G’s race report

Posted: March 18, 2011 in KestrelBlog

DNF’s on the Men & Women’s side, glad I hung in and finished strong !!
The Abu Dhabi Triathlon was truly a remarkable experience. The race organizers took care of us every step of the way. We were put up at an amazing 5 star hotel. The travel was long but Todd and I actually got two sleeps in 24 hours, a short one on the plane and again when we arrived (it was night again)! Woke up feeling great – “gee this time change isn’t so bad after all!” I went for a little swim, had breakfast, ran into many friends and soon it was the afternoon. I did a little turbo trainer spin that afternoon with Caroline Steffen and Jo Lawn while we all chatted with Belinda Grainger who stood in front of us holding court.
WOW – this is the life, a beautiful city – the best of the best at the race are staying at this luxury resort, I was feeling great! The evening was spent hanging with Todd and JJ (Jesica Jacobs) a great mom, friend and triathlete. Then the wheels fell off that night ! I could not sleep a wink and was getting so frustrated (and concerned) so much for that quick time adjustment, but it all came around by race day and I was getting a little short (always a good sign – I am chomping at the bit!!).
I had the normal race day nerves, well maybe a few more – it has been awhile since I did a race of this distance. The distance is quite different, a 3k swim a 200k bike and a 20k run and It was a very Kona-like field of athletes with many of the biggest names in the sport at the start line. I had a great swim and stayed with a pack of women including Belinda, Melanie McQuaid & Jo Lawn. In years past I was typically hit or miss staying with these competitors but the swim work I was able to put in last year helped keeping contact fairly easy (I am sure my 5 lane outdoor lap pool at Club Med helps too!). Needless to say I was thrilled getting out and being in contact, “I was in the race” – unfortunately a mishap in transition left me out of touch with the group once I hit the road. So I pedaled away, a little lonely but I was enjoying it even with strong winds (think desert, sand flying across the road). The highlight was riding through the Yas Marina Circuit, a Formula 1 race track – very cool !!
The ride was HOT !! I was well fueled however and felt good coming off the bike. I was surprised when I learned there would be no special needs. I was so accustomed to WTC having an aid bag at the half way mark. I thought for a 120 mile bike ride there would be an opportunity for special needs – never assume!! So I made three bottles of EFS – two of which were triple strength, my plan was water only the first 20 minutes (always advisable after drinking down a lot of salt water on the swim). The triple strength bottles worked well as I added water at the aid stations until I missed (ie dropped) my bottle and let me tell you I love EFS but triple strength is well… a little strong.
When all was said and done I was pleased with how I felt. I was very happy to have a long distance race under my belt in 2011 and feel energized for my upcoming season.
If any of you ever get a chance to visit Abu Dhabi it is well worth the trip!! The days after the race we visited the incredible city of Dubai. The city is one of the cleanest and friendliest I have ever been to. There were so many amazing sites, tall beautiful buildings, underwater hotel, malls with 3 story aquariums an underwater zoo, and one mall with an indoor ski hill. I skied for two hours straight. It was a great trip
I want to thank my tremendous sponsors for their continued support. K-Swiss, many thanks to the entire crew, Erik, Ivette, Ben and Jon – you guys are the best and my gear is second to none.
To Morgan and the crew at All3 Sports – you guys rock!! Many thanks to Flex Power, your awesome line of products are part of my daily recovery. To Robert and First Endurance, my EFS kept me well hydrated in some extreme conditions. Thank you to Steve and Kestrel for my sweet ride, Brooke and the GU family – thanks for the opportunity to represent you in Abu Dhabi and for the Roctane Gels that gave me the boost I needed on the run!! To Ryan and TYR my new swimskin was awesome and no doubt helped to keep me locked in on the swim – a very special thank you for over-nighting another one, to Vinu and Colleen at Fuel Belt – many thanks for your support (Colleen it was great to spend some time together) and to my friends at Try Chips – I love your chips, athletes do yourself a favor and check them out.
All the best – Heather Gollnick

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