Last season didn’t end on a positive note. The whole season was not as good as the previous one and last race on Hawaii was another level below that. That reflected on my motivation and self-confidence. I felt that I need a change and decided to part ways with my coach and started coaching myself.
I had some ideas on how I could improve and felt like those ideas work. Dubai was a chance to test if it was really the case, but on the other hand the race is very early in the season. It’s not a good idea to be in top shape when your next race is in more than 2 months. That’s why I wasn’t sure if I should go there and made a final decision about one week before the race.
Water temperature was just over 22 Celsius, so professional field had a non-wetusit swim. I had one of my best swims over this distance and only lost about 2:30 minutes to the front group. Some guys that usually swim much faster were only 30 seconds in front of me. Last year my swim was really poor (even for my standards), so I’m happy that it finally started to improve.
The bike course was the same as last year but the conditions were very different. Last year we had tailwind on the way out and this year it was the opposite. It made for a very fast second half of the ride. I lost Plese in transition and he later caught Billard and Wild. I could still see them 50km into the ride but then they started to pull away. For the most of the time I rode with Degham. In the first half he managed to pull away a bit but I caught him again on the way back. I averaged 43,7 km/h and set a new PB over this distance.
Run reminded me of last season. It never felt very hard but legs wouldn’t move faster. Obviously, I’m lacking speed. So far this season, I was trying to increase my mileage and didn’t have time to work on speed. I’m sure I can improve on that, I only need some time. I lost two positions in the first half to Degham and Ruttmann, but I felt better in the second half and managed to repass them.
There were plenty of races where I had good placement but still wasn’t satisfied with the performance. This time it was the opposite. Final position (13th) is nothing to write home about, but performance was quite good. I got what I came for, a boost in self-confidence and motivation. The changes I made in training are working and I feel like I know how to improve areas where I’m still lacking.