Bilbao triathlon wasn’t in my plans for this season. On the way back from Rimini, I got an invitation to race and it didn’t take me long to decide. The race was a day before my birthday, so a good chance to give myself a birthday present.
The swim was held in a river in city center. There was football game that day (Atletic-Barcelona), so the city was buzzing and crowd support was greater than usual. I had a good swim and came out in second group with about 2 minutes gap to the leading four.
I felt very good on the bike and soon started to distance my swim companions. At the top of the hill I was already in 2nd place and at that time Gustavo Rodriguez caught me. He’s last years winner and ex-pro cyclist. He attacked a few times but couldn’t get away. I decided to ride with him and wait until the hill in the second lap. After those few attacks the pace felt rather comfortable, but I decided to play it smart and wait this time.
At the bottom of the hill Krylov still had 2 minutes on us. Once on the hill I went to the front and pushed some good watts. I felt like I have Gustavo on the ropes but he was still with me at the top. On the descent we caught the leading Russian and entered T2 as the lead group.
This was 3rd weekend in a row that I’m racing races with long transitions. My feet were sore from all that barefoot running so I lost a few seconds there and started the run 5-10 seconds behind Krylov and Rodriguez. I wasn’t in a hurry to catch up. They were surging so I was hopeing they’ll kill each other. The gap stayed constant until the end of 1st loop when Rodriguez surged and got away. Few moments later I caught Krylov. We run together for one lap but then I started to struggle and he got away.
Overall I’m happy with 3rd place finish. Swim and bike went great and maybe I lacked a bit of freshness for a better run. If a former pro cyclist asks you after the race if you were a pro cyclist as well, probably means I rode ok :). The race was very nice and I’d be happy to go back and try to climb a step or two on the podium next year.