Transportation; Euro Style…..

In the water at Dutch Nationals…..

On the bike with Birgit….

Rain, Rain, go away!! Dutch Nats and Euro Champs (it’s a long one…)

We’ll I’ve been here for 2 weeks now and I think I’ve seen rain, sometimes in the form of torrential downpours sometimes just sprinkles, everyday since my arrival! Oh wait, it was sunny and 27 the day I landed, but then I think it rained that night!!??

Dutch Nationals were on the June 23rd in Stein, which is in the south of the country (Limburg), between rainstorms! There were only ~15 women on the start list and 2 were sick and DNS. Right from the horn it was only myself and Birgit Berk in the running for the title (we had a 3 min lead out of the water!). We swam side by side and biked together for the whole 40k. Onto the run I knew I was going to have a difficult time as my lower back, hamstring and glute muscles were super tight! I tried to push through it but had given up too much time to Birgit on the first lap, so it was pretty much a survival run after that—just finish so you can stretch your leg!! So, second place at Dutch Nationals, not how I wanted to finish, but I will take it considering the circumstances!

The following week I moved in with the Dutch National coach-Adrie Berk (yes, Birgit’s father) and Sander Berk (the top Dutch male athlete and Adrie’s son…bit of a family affair here!). We did some good training, managed to sneak in a dry, but windy, bike ride and a scenic run in a national forest. I stretched and worked on my hip as much as I could leading up to European Championships in Copenhagen.

We left for Copenhagen on the Thursday, june 28th and arrived at our hotel, whose logo is “sleep cheap in luxury”….the whole thing is a bit of an overstatement!! Cheap means 120 Euro/night and luxury means the smallest room for 2 people I have ever stayed in—including in the UK!! At least we didn’t have to share a bathroom!

Race day the weather had improved slightly from the rain and wind of the day before. The water was only ~15 degrees with Jellyfish (my nemesis…), there were some threatening clouds but the rain held off for our race, unlike the wind!! I was psyched to have a good race, it was a strong start list but there were only a few strong swimmers, so I knew I could be in that top group out of the water. This looked likely up to the second turn buoy. I was swimming along nicely and in a good position in the lead pack when out of now where, this girl swam over to me and dunked my head down. I was a little pissed but worse had happened to me before, so I took a couple strokes and shook it off. Then I realized that something was wrong….my wetsuit was filling with water!! My wetsuit (which is a reverse zip) had been unzipped by the girl that dunked me!! I panicked at first, kept swimming, then stopped and was lucky enough to get it zipped back up! This caused me to loose touch with the lead pack in the water and created a lot more work on the bike! Luckily there were some strong cyclist that missed the lead pack as well and we managed to all group up on the bike anyway. Onto the run, again tight back (agrhhh!!!), I held my position pretty much the whole way after the first 200m, finishing 22nd overall.

So far my run has been letting my down (although getting a little better with each race), but there are good things coming out of every race. I am seeing a therapist here to see figure out my back issues, so hopefully I can resolve it quickly! Next weekend is the Holten points race (which has a start list the size of a World Cup) and then on July 22nd is Kitzbuhel. First though, I need to find my bike…it was lost on the way home from Copenhagen!!

I hope everything is going well at home—Happy Canada Day!!!


–more pictures to come!!