The difference between coming second one year, and winning last year, was all done before race day. Preparation was the reason for success, explains our columnist…

I got physically weak when he mentioned certain scenarios, but I grew strong again when he relayed a story of forgiveness and
love for all

I’ve talked before about my mental preparation for big races, but one big addition to my armoury before racing in Kona came from a kinesiologist who I have seen over the years that found a weakness in my heart. I got physically weak when he mentioned certain scenarios, but I grew strong again when he relayed a story of forgiveness and love for all. Using the word love to clear my mind of doubts, negative thoughts of any kind, and make me more aware of my passion for what I was doing made me stronger than I was before. I went to Kona with a motto, a mantra, and it grew everyday with the songs I played race week, with more friends and family arriving, and on race day it was unbreakable thanks to their support.

Now for the physical differences that can be measured. The days I rested instead of trained. The sessions I took easy instead of pushing against my will. The days I felt great and trained over six hours. The massages I scheduled twice a week and diligent self massage between. The physio exercises I repeated again and again. The naps I took. And so much more with every ounce of my mental capacity I weighed up these decisions – what was best for me, what I needed to do, and what might just push me into a big hole. Having confidence in my own decisions and fitness got me to the line in the best shape of my life.

The sacrifices I made are less defined, but no less a part of my win. I told Jaimie I couldn’t go out to dinner with people, because a long time sitting in a chair is not good for my muscles, and it’s also time I could be lying on the floor at home stretching. I also didn’t have the energy, or couldn’t use energy on those types of social outings. Meanwhile Jaimie was cooking all the meals and freeing up more time for me to train a little more, but mostly recover more. I did nothing but specific exercises for my improvement at swimming, riding, and running. I cut out ice cream for three months, and ate more meals of brown rice, tuna, sweet chili sauce, olive oil and nuts than nights the sky was dark. I’d mix it up by adding alfalfa, sweet potato, or leftovers of any meal. I just know I train best when I eat those foods consistently. I also eat a lot of apples.

Rest days were not just days off training. They were days to catch up on eating, sleeping, stretching, massage and physio. And the race day drew closer the focus on race gear and nutrition grows. Luckily in Kona the Sram, Zipp, Quark team took care of everything on the bike, and Darryl from Shotz helped me go over my nutrition plan the day before the race.

Asking people for help, particularly with my taper program for the bike, but also my nutrition plan, my wheel choice, and all the other little things took away stress, added confidence, and left not a single subconscious doubt in my mind. On race day I was on autopilot. My experience and natural racing instinct guided me to the finish line for my best ever race, because it was my best ever preparation.