Photo : James Mitchell
Here’s a fact for you: winning never sucks. Yes, I know they say you learn more when you lose – and that’s totally true, you do – but winning teaches you plenty too. This weekend I raced at Challenge Fuerteventura and was delighted to take my first wire-to-wire win.
Having spent a lot of time at Playitas in Fuerteventura over the winter, it seemed like a great idea to return here to race this as an April hit out. The race was to act as a “tune-up” prior to the Ironman 70.3 events I have coming up in May and June. If it went well, great. If it didn’t, I would know what needs to be worked on in the coming weeks.
Since racing Abu Dhabi in early March I’ve been based at home in Oxford and have been training hard, but had recently been feeling like a change of scene was needed: I wanted sunshine, I wanted to be racing again. Within minutes of arriving at Playitas last week I instantly felt relaxed and ready to race. Seeing the finish chute being erected was all the mental preparation I needed: I want to reach the finish line first! Remembering how good it feels to win gave me an instant lift and I wanted it all over again.
Photo : James Mitchell
During the race, as I was coming to the end of the bike course a Spanish policewoman on a motorbike rode up alongside me and said “You are numero uno. It’s special!” With that, she put on her “blues and twos”, whipped up the crowds lining the road and led me into T2 in style. I still had 21.1km of running to do at that stage so I didn’t want to count my victory chickens before they’d hatched, but it gave me that all-important taster of the finish line buzz.
Out on the run course, fellow purplepatch pro Rasmus Henning was dominating the men’s race and as we passed each other at one stage he said: “Go EK! You want this win!” Oh yes, I do! It was awesome to hear the crowds give him such a huge roar as he turned into the finish chute and just a few kilometres later, sure enough, it was my turn and it felt GOOOOOOOOOOOOD! I love winning, I love the feeling of winning, but more than anything, I enjoy learning what helps you to win.
Big thanks to coach Matt Dixon of purplepatch for his guidance, expertise and good humour. Huge thanks to all of the sponsors who help get me to the start and finish line especially Wiggle, Morris Owen and Virtua. A speedy swim split was courtesy of Sailfish wetsuits and Sable goggles. Fast Forward Wheels, Speedfil, ISM Saddles and Lazer Helmets certainly helped me deliver the fastest bike split while High5, Cherry Active and Neovite all played a part in my fuelling and nutrition. Thanks also to Pearl Izumi (I love running in the Iso Transitions) and Compressport for the vital post-race recovery compression gear. Final thank you to Stephan, Andres and all of the team here at Playitas for welcoming me back and making my stay such a great one. I’m almost beginning to feel like a local…