Europe DreamingAndre Barbieri
I’m here today to write about my 2 weeks of training in Portugal and racing in Italy.
I met Brazil National Paralympic Team for a camp in Portugal, which consisted of eat-train-sleep-repeat. It was quite epic: Country side, beautiful roads to ride, amazing temperatures. These were intense days of swim-bike-run-gym in a state of the art facility that attracts teams of different sports & nationalities.
We then flew to Milano and drove to an idyllic place called Lago d’Iseo. Stuff of romantic dreams… and also amazing food, cycling and landscapes. Blessed are we that get to race in dreamy locations; swim in crystal clear and pure lake water; ride bikes among wineries & castles & around the lake, and run around in narrow old Italian alleyways with cobblestones and people strongly supporting you in every corner!
Well… now the bad news. Level of competition was extremely high, everyone in my category but myself was a Paralympian. I knew it was gonna be extra hard, with the hilly course and the opponents.
Because fighting for a podium was not a reality here (unfortunately), I approached this race differently: I trained hard up until the very day of the race. No usual tapering & resting a lot: instead, strong ride around the lake & hard swim the day before race; 30min-run activation with sprints on the morning of the race. End result: my worst race in years 🙁
I was fired up and primed, but honestly, I didn’t realize I was racing on my “reserve tank”. Couldn’t give my all, felt the lack of energy as the race unfolded. Lesson learned… other details made it tough: 6pm race time, temperatures were close to 100 degrees F; hills on the bike, lots of turning on the run. Definitely a challenging course.
Now it’s time to go back to the drawing board and develop a new plan. I am blessed to be able to do what I do. I did work hard for all of this.
Following the race, we flew back to Portugal for some heavy training. Those were hard days with the coach pushing us, it was truly great for our personal growth. We suffered, but at least you see your friends suffering together; and when you see results in fitness, that makes us happy. I learned a lot in those days: about my boundaries, my weaknesses, my lack of technique in many aspects. I am now a better athlete. I would like to acknowledge the Brazilian triathlon governing body for making this opportunity possible. Between Team PossAbilities and Team Brazil I’m fully taken care of as far as racing/training/traveling goes. Bless all of my supporters and sponsors’ hearts. It takes a village…
My Brazilian teammates will stay most of July training in Portugal, then they fly straight to Canada for another race. Unfortunately I had previous work commitments that didn’t allow me to stay/train longer. And I will miss the race in Canada because of a more important happening, the birth of my daughter Stella! -Due date is very close to race day, I can’t risk it.
After Italia I fell 1 position on the World Ranking, I am now 9th in my category. We keep fighting! Next one up is World Championship Grand Final in Australia!
Thank you faithful readers, I salute you.