How did she do? What sort of surprises did she encounter? Where does the sport go from here? Our industry expertDave Ragsdale sat down with Alicia to answer these questions and recap the three-day race. If you missed our sit down with Alicia prior to the race, check it out here.
First off, congratulations from the entire RacePartner team on your 4th place finish at the inaugural Island House Triathlon. How did the course live up to your expectations going into the race?
It exceeded my expectations; the course hurt me more than I expected it to. Even though I had been to Highbourne Cay before, I had forgotten how rolling the island is, how hot it is and how difficult the terrain is. Every single day was so hard. The competition was at its best, everyone showed up fit and ready to race.
Going into the race you felt that the short course athletes from the ITU circuit might have an advantage, this turned out to be true as the current ITU World Champions prevailed. Did the opening day format set the stage for short-course specialists to dominate?
I think the race directors did everything they could to even the playing field as much as possible. What suited the short course athletes more than anything was the course. The bike course was technical, which the short course athletes are far more used to. I thought I had done enough training to adapt to it, but it really caught up with me on day two. So even though we had two non-draft days (day one and day three) the distances were too short and the course too technical for the non-draft athletes to maximize their abilities.
How do events like the Island House Tri raise the profile of the athletes?
What Mark Holowesko did for our sport and for each athlete’s individual profile by creating the Island House Triathlon is huge. There was tremendous following of the event on social media, particularly via Periscope. Multiple triathlon media sources were in attendance, writing articles and completing interviews daily. There was also a photographer who submitted and published daily photo diaries. A TV crew was there to cover every aspect of the event and it will air this spring. No event in the history of our sport has brought together athletes from all disciplines of our sport to participate in a three-day event. That alone would have made it special, but Mark put $500,000 on the line, and had the event on a private island in the Bahamas. How could a fan of our sport not be interested in watching that? I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of it.
What were your thoughts on all of the bike segments having to be done on road bikes? How do you feel this impacted the race and how the athletes trained for it?
The race directors had given us plenty of notice that we would be required to ride a road bike set up. They were accommodating to both myself and Leanda Cave, allowing us to ride our time trial bikes with road bars, since our bike sponsor, Ventum, currently only makes a time trial bike. The interesting thing was that all the ITU athletes showed up with aero bars on their road bikes, while many of the long course athletes did not put aerobars on their road bike. Furthermore, it is likely that the ITU girls were more familiar with their set up in comparison to the non-draft or long course athletes since our racing utilizes a time trial bike.
What sort of measures are you taking so your body can properly recover from this triathlon?
Thankfully this was my final event of the year so as soon as the event was over I stopped worrying about recovery! I watched the men’s race and finally let myself relax and enjoy paradise!
What is next for you, Alicia?
I am in the middle of my post-season break and I’ve been enjoying it. I have started planning my 2016 season but nothing is set in stone yet.