This was a race I was very nervous about as it is the biggest race in the World in 2015.
I had trained hard and felt ready when I left the UK. Nothing could prepare me for what happened when I arrived at the race start. The board I had arranged to use was not available and I had to spend the day before the race trying to borrow a race board. Hobie agreed to rent me a board but I could not get it until just before the race as it was part of their demo fleet. Board sorted, I decided to get some sleep as I was extremely jet lagged. I awoke at 3am on the morning of the race feeling incredibly sick. Looks like I caught a virus on the flight over. My temperature was high, my body felt exhausted and I was having trouble breathing regularly. I took some experienced advice and the advice I was given was, do NOT race. I had flown from the UK, so not racing was never an option.
I filled my hydration pack to the maximum and headed off to pick up the board I had rented. I did not get anytime to test the board in the water prior to the race. The race start was hectic and it was on a windy and bumpy ocean. I fell off 5/6 times in the first km getting used to how the board worked in the bumps. The next 4km was great, I now knew how the board handled and I was happy with its speed in the bumps. 5km into the race you enter an inlet into intercoastal water. I noticed there was surf leading straight into the inlet and I decided to take this wider entrance to keep my speed up into the channel, despite many people entering by hugging the bank. As I entered the inlet I realised why most people were taking the corner tightly. I hit a sandbank, a big sandbank. The briefing stated if you hit a sandbank you could not gain advantage or distance by walking off, therefore I walked off the sandbar to the side and losing about 10 places in the 12’6 fleet (male and female). I had been looking forward to the flat inter coastal water, however I hated every minute of it. I was paddling a wide ocean board that was shocking on flat water against the flow.
An hour into the 2.5 hour race I had run out of hydration, probably due to my illness. I just had to get on with this race. After 14km of flat water it was almost time to get back out onto the ocean, where this board was at its best. Sadly the wind had dropped and the ocean had flattened. Another slog to the finish.
I finished the race in 14th place out of 46 Elite females and was disappointed.
Straight to bed after the race and try to put this race behind me.