Tiszy 2014 - My first World Cup Race

Time for the next adventure on my list: my very first world cup race in Tiszaujvaros (Hungary). But this wasn’t just an ordinary triathlon – there were three semi-finals held on Saturday with the top 9 of every semi-final plus the three fastest losers qualifying for the final on Sunday. With both races being sprint distances I was expecting a painful weekend – and the weekend lived up to my expectations.

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The last two weeks I spent in Germany training with my coach and a few guys from the Bavarian squad and my coach’s daughter - living with my coach’s family. I really had two amazing weeks – it’s nice to be training with so many people for a change and really awesome to have my coach there watching me train and being able to give me direct feedback. Plus his family is always really nice and welcoming and I always have a good time with them. And apart from a minor bike crash on the first day training went really well and the weather played along nicely (I even managed to get a proper tan swimming in their outdoor pool almost every day!).

On Thursday we then arrived in Tiszy (after a long drive and a night stopover in Vienna) and it was warm… After unpacking and the race briefing we then saw almost all the nation’s teams at dinner at the only Italian in town haha – I was starting to really enjoy this. When we then looked at the courses the next day I realised just how small the town really was… but there was something special about it.

Come race day the nerves kicked in a little… I was looking forward to race, was really keen to get out there and work hard (even though I knew it was only semifinals… I REALLY wanted to get into the final!). Luckily it had rained most of the day before so it was warm but not boiling come race time. The swim was brutal… it was 3 laps of 250m each and consisted more of “trying to keep swimming and not get kicked/beaten” than actual swimming – but I suppose that was part of the fun of it. On the bike me and two other girls caught the front pack of four and then the seven of us worked together really well to get into T2 about 2min in front of the chasers – that was a spot in the final guaranteed J. An enjoyable steady run later I ended up crossing the line first – with the fastest time of the day! So I ended up with start number 1 for the final… pretty cool but also scary. The day was over pretty quickly after the race – and it was time to get back into the pre-race excitement!

I’m not going to lie… the next morning my quads were a little heavy from the hard cycling the day before, and during the swim warm up I had managed to slip over and fall on my knee in the water – and that was painful as well… but hey, I wasn’t going to care about either come race time! Sunday ended up being even hotter than Saturday. Believe me, when it is 33 degrees outside you don’t really feel like warming up! My run warm up also ended up being a little more of me starting to boil… But soon it was time to get ready to race! Since I was wearing number 1 I was literally the first one to be called on the pontoon – but how do you decide where to stand when there’s no one to stand next to?

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The swim ended up being similarly brutal as the day before (I was even pulled back and dunked not long after the start!) but after a while I found some clearer water and just swam as fast as I could. I ended up on the bike in the third group, with the first two groups joining within the first lap. So there was me in a group of five trying to chase down the lead pack of 12 – about 20s ahead of us. We were working hard (my legs were in pain for the majority of the way) and managed to reduce the gap by a few seconds before it getting bigger by a few seconds again… it was a bit depressing at times, but we all kept encouraging one another and kept trying. In the end all we could do is keep the gap where it had been for the entire bike (and not let the pack chasing us catch us!). It was time to run! But my body didn’t seem too happy about the whole running thing… I started to get a stitch pretty soon and my run didn’t feel as smooth as it normally does. I didn’t really feel like I was running/going anywhere. But somehow lap after lap passed (and I was getting hotter and hotter) and I somehow managed to catch a few girls in the front pack. Going into the last 200m I was in 10th, but then Charlotte Bonin headed into the penalty box for her 10s penalty literally 10s ahead of me. She got out of the box as I was running past – all I could think was “no, not more pain please!” and went for it… as hard as I could until I fell over past the finish line – I’d just made it into 9th!

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Top 10 in my first world cup and fastest German… I am happy with that! Even though the run wasn’t as good as I know I am capable of and I was maybe a bit unlucky still in the swim I had a great weekend and my legs really are feeling it today – but it’s a strangely satisfying feeling (until you get to the next set of stairs to go up…). The legendary show and after race party in Tiszy also managed to live up to its expectations – and I’d never ever thought I’d enjoy dancing on a stage to collect my trophy for finishing 9th haha! Now it’s time for another week and a half of training before it’s time to head to Canada for the next big one – the U23 World champs J

Big well done also to all the other Germans (and others) racing this weekend – and a special well done to my friend Anabel who managed to bounce back after screwing up her race at the German junior champs to finish third in the Junior European cup yesterday!


© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum