What’s a professional triathlon like?

15 June 2024

CES pro Lizzie Rayner talks us through her first race of the season taking a solid 6th at 70.3 Valencia.

Expecting chaos from a 2m dive start with 30 other girls I started the swim hard and was one of the first to the turn buoy around 200m away. Then came the chaos… punched in the face, clashed hands and swum on top of. Grateful for the otherwise smooth waters, I finally settled into a rhythm just at the back of the front pack and came out of the water in 7th position with a time of 25:34.

Out onto the bike and I rode hard, passing athletes, hoping some of them wanted to come with me and share some of the work to make some time to three girls up the road who had managed to get up the road, alas. An athlete in front hits a huge pothole and her front wheel caves, thank goodness she didn’t crash. Looks like it’ll be a long solo ride for me, stuck between the leaders and the main chase pack including Laura Phillip. No idea on the time gaps but I’m shifting, thanks to my latest dialled bike position and fancy new wheels – CES 88 on the front and CES disc on the back. This setup was decided on due to the very little wind, very few technical sections and only 700m of very gradual climbing. Most of this I was able to do in the TT position and stayed aero which led to an overall average speed of 38.6kph despite some slightly disappointing watts in the end – I think I was probably holding a bit back, wanting a good run and being conscious that it was all a bit unknown in the first race of the season. Overall though, I was really pleased with my bike handling and descending, you know it’s good when you have thoughts of “I’m glad my Mum can’t see this!”. My nutrition went perfectly and I executed the plan.

Onto to the run in 4th with a group of three coming into T2 as I was leaving. They went off hard but I stayed within myself knowing that I could still run well and that they might blow. I didn’t feel great until I hit about 30 mins and then something clicked and I felt like I was flying, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good on the run. I picked off one of the girls from that group and started closing to Laura Philip and Charlene Clavel. The front three were out of touch at this point. I focused on fuelling well, keeping myself cool, and just enjoying it. This worked really well and I got the gap down to 10 seconds but couldn’t quite close it! I finished in 6th, less than four minutes to the overall winner! I’m really chuffed with that as a season opener and probably my strongest performance ever! Nothing to change at all going into my next race, just need to roll the dice, take some risks and ride a bit harder. Overall a really positive experience with lots of boxes ticked – my pro licence for 2025, prize money, good PTO points and a huge run PB. Consequently I moved up to 69th in the PTO world rankings from 81st at the start of the year. Road to top 50 is a go!

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