Where did I leave off??  My Internet connection/blog inspiration has been sporadic at best the past few weeks-my apologies.  How about a little summary of my fast & furious 4 weeks of racing in Europe?  It’s a long one….

The trip started in Athlone, Ireland and as I posted previously, Race #1 ended with a DNF.  I did get to experience the local bus transport, found out that I can barely understand Irish cabbies, there is cctv on every corner in Athlone, the locals are very friendly, and it’s a wee bit cold in Ireland!  Also, in retrospect, I gambled with the jetlag effect on this race, unfortunately I lost.  Race lesson learned: arriving via trans-Athlantic flight 3 days before the race leaves me not-so-sharp for race day.

Moving on from Ireland I was greeted by my father at the Amsterdam airport and we drove to Lemelerveld, where my relatives live.  This happened to be ~25’ north of Race #2, Holten ITU World Cup, perfect.  The weather was hot, hot, hot, 30+ everyday and hardly any wind.  My parents and my niece stayed in a vacation rental down the road from my Aunt & Uncle.  In Lemelerveld I experienced the worst mattress ever, swarms of bugs in the forest, the peace & quite of the night, nice riding & running, and some good Dutch practice with the relatives!  The World Cup race in Holten went well, all things considered.  I had a good swim, 4th out of the water, uneventful bike, and started the run blazing.  Unfortunate for me the sun was also blazing that day… I suffered on the run.  I managed to hang in there and finish in 8th place.  A little bit of prize $ and some Olympic ranking points were earned on the day.

Next I spent 5 days in Sittard, the site of the Dutch training center, before heading to Hamburg for my second World Championships series event of 2010.  The competition was fierce, the race was full and had a waiting list,  Hamburg is known for it’s crazy swim, technical bike and fast run.  My intention was to come out of the water in the front pack, after a dunking and suit pulling at the bouy, I came out of the water farther back than expected…no panic, there was a motivated few girls with me on the bike and we worked hard to catch the front girls within 2 laps.  Onto the run I came out of T2 in the mix but my legs & back felt pretty smashed from the bike and I wasn’t able to keep the pace on the run, which again was disappointing.  I finished the day in 17th spot. Solid but I knowing I can run better.

From Hamburg is was a 5 hour drive back to Sittard, another short stay at the NTC and then a flight over to London for WCS race #3 of the season—only 6 days after the Hamburg race!  This course is the course for the London 2012 Olympic Games, so I wanted to use this race to scout the course and test it out. The race is situated right in Hyde Park, pretty cool place to have a triathlon!  We stayed right in Kensington…I’venever seen so many expensive cars in one area! Again, the field was strong as everyone was going for points and rankings.  This time I pulled off a front pack swim and made the front group on the bike without too much panic.  Unfortunately we were caught by another small pack and became a group of ~26 women.  I had a little trouble with my shoes in T2, so I was behind the pace coming onto the run, I made an effort to catch back up to the pack but just couldn’t do it on the day.  I lost a few spots the last 1.5km (legs feeling the last 3 races?) and finished 19th.  Again, a top 20 finish at a WCS race.

Overall my Tour de Europa was a successful trip.  My run is missing a bit of high end speed since coming back from the stress fracture last winter, which is a little disappointing, but that is something we (Coach & I) can fix going into the back half of the season.  Otherwise, all is on track for 2011/12.

Now, I’m in the Swiss mountain town of St Moritz for a bit of training before I head over to Kitzbuhelfor my last race before returning home.  I’m hoping to find a little more run speed over the next 3 weeks and to mentally and physically recover from my month of hard racing.

Up next: Aug 1st….or as I call it Swiss day.  I am promised fire, cheese & chocolate, all my favourite things in one night?! I’ll take more photos and update a little more regularly.  Also, I am expecting a visitor…more on that later!!