Back on her bike for the 2017 European season
Asteron Life sponsored triathlete Anneke Jenkins takes us through the highs and lows of her most recent racing endeavours.
After spending a lot of 2016 recuperating from surgery, it is wonderful to be back into racing again this year.
I’ve managed to achieve greater training consistency, and although it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, I’ve been running more km’s in my training sessions and my body has been feeling great.
This year I was again based in Spain for the European summer triathlon season. It’s been exciting to compete in a variety of local events in Spain and France, and I was also invited to race in Beijing, China.
My first race of the season was a sprint distance race in France. I was quite nervous because I hadn’t raced for a while, but I was feeling fit for the swim and the bike, and really happy to be on a start line.
In June, with some steady training behind me, I entered the Olympic non-drafting Galician Championships.
Baiona, Spain is a tourist town with a medieval historical center set in a beautiful environment on the wild Atlantic coast, just north of Portugal. Racing along the exposed coastline felt great, and I was able to extend a two minute lead in the swim to three minutes after the bike.
My first victory of 2017 was rewarded with a giant 6kg jamon (ham).
After a near miss at the Spanish Clubs Team race in Pontevedra (which was still a great day for team Fluvia!), I arrived for my next race in Pobra do Caraminal, Spain.
We raced alongside the men this time and were able to gain an advantage by drafting off the men on the bikes, which is unusual and this added some excitement and another dimension to the race.
I had a great swim and the bike course was a tough one with some good steep climbs, which suited my strengths.
I had a 40 second lead on the next girl at the beginning of the run, and the improvement in my running over the season meant I was able to push my lead out to win by 90 seconds.
I loved this event, especially as there was such great support from the crowd!
Facing challenges in China
A few other races and a bike crash meant some recovery time and return to training in preparation for the prestigious Beijing International Invitational.
This is considered a true bucket list race, and I was excited to be invited, especially with my fitness increasing.
Unfortunately, on arrival in Beijing (after the long 17 hour trip) I woke up with a sore throat and splitting headache, only a couple days ahead of the race. It was so frustrating to have done everything I could to get fit and healthy for the race, and then get sick!
On the start line I felt weak and shaky, and the whole two hour duration of the race felt like an eternity, but I was determined to finish. Coming in 5th was surprising and incredibly satisfying.
Beijing provided an amazing course; a tough, technical bike and a crazy adventure of a run with hundreds of stairs and corners.
After a solid year of competing and training, I am ready for a rest (mentally and physically).
I’m looking forward to coming back to New Zealand for some time to recuperate, before I get into training for next season.
A strong and consistent pre-season will be key for me to set me up for a good season next year.
I cannot thank Asteron Life enough for their continued support on this journey. It has been so filled with ups and downs, just like life – but I couldn’t have done it without them!