Wrapping up 2015 with GoldAndre Barbieri
Saturday, November 7th was the final race of the National Circuit of Paratriathlon in Brazil. It happened in a beautiful beach town called Ilhéus, in the picturesque State of Bahia, northeast of the Country.
It was so hot at race time, 2pm, that when I was walking en route to prepare my transition, my tire’s tube exploded! (I put extra pressure for the race, and with the heat it dilated and pow!) Thankfully that it was an easy fix…
I chose to swim without a wetsuit just so I wouldn’t “cook” in the water. We as athletes are always in doubt when it comes to swimming in warm water –because there’s the advantage of floating more which allows you to swim faster.
The race, as far as competition goes, was very leveled, my opponents and I all have similar times. I came out of the water in 2nd, with the other racers behind very close. With extra effort I assumed the lead on the bike course, and then worked hard to keep the advantage I built on the swim + bike.
The bike course was tough: very technical with a lot of curves, a lot of head wind and about half of the course was coated in brand new asphalt (too soft still, and sticky, very slow).
It was on the run that the race got electric with excitement! I started very tired from the bike already, but with the new leg adjustment I feel way more confident. A little after my run start, I stopped for a couple seconds with a parched throat for a water sip, and then I looked back for my competition. My opponent that is known to have great form in the run was VERY close! That very second I started feeling hunted… I tossed my water away and the rest of the course was with a dry mouth. I sped up my run in a pace I didn’t believe I would be able to keep for the whole way, but I had to try. Every so often I would look back and the closeness of the 2nd place “injected” me a dose of adrenaline that wouldn’t let me slow down.
On the final .5 mile I was already visualizing the top of the podium… until I saw my number on the penalty board:( I was devastated (later I learned that I forgot stuff outside of the box in transition -hence the penalty). I had to stop for 10seconds to pay my dues, and believe me, it was a moment of agony. I was watching my opponent closely, afraid he was going for the glory and run like the wind in the final yards. Turns out his tank was almost empty and when they let me go of the penalty area I was the one that took off! My energy was almost gone but as I got closer to the finish chute I let myself be carried away by adrenaline, just hearing the crowd screaming! I threw my arms up as I crossed the line, in a mix of relief and happiness and tiredness that I can’t explain. I was about 15seconds ahead of the 2nd place.
It was my first time in that State, and I have a special feeling about that town and the people there. Their warming welcoming and gratitude is priceless. Thank you Ilhéus. I had a long journey of flights and delays to get there, but it was worth every minute!
On the previous race –the most important of the year, that I trained and battled so hard to be in the startlist (the World’s final in Chicago) I was disqualified because of a stupid mistake on my part, and I fell a couple of places in the international ranking. With that I made my Olympic Dream a little further away, so now it’s time to put my head down and work extra hard. I will get there! #Road2Rio
It was really good to finish my year with gold. Thank you Team PossAbilities and Quest Diagnostics for the constant support.