3. The Roth Challenge was next. Hearing so many great stories about Roth this was a race I really wanted to do. It was a star studded field and had a great atmosphere. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great and was bucketing down from the moment I got up. The swim was 1 loop in a canal about 12km from the town centre. I was 10th out in 53 minutes along side former World Champion, Leanda Cave. The bike was wet and cold. It was 2 loops with an extra section back into Roth and T2. I felt good early on the bike but lost about 10 minutes with a flat at the 35km mark. A couple of kms later it didn't feel quite right so I stopped at the bike mechanic stand and they put a new front wheel in pretty quickly. I got back into a good rhythm and continued. The spectators over the bike course were awesome. The famous "Solar" climb was lined with cheering fans despite the rain and the other climbs had commentary and music too. I had a tough time over the last 60km feeling the effects of the awful weather and by the time I got to T2 I was out of the top 10. However once onto the run I felt totally different. The run was along a trail that followed the canal with a few sections through towns with more commentary and music blaring. I managed to pass a few girls who had passed me on the bike and I was holding a good pace. I finished strongly, trying to catch fellow Aussie Charlotte Paul who I had in sight but couldn't quite catch. I crossed the line in 12th place stopping the clock at 9.41.36, my Ironman PB. My marathon split of 3.16.33 was also a PB. So even in a day with a couple of mishaps I was stoked with my race. The race finish at midnight was amazing. The fireworks were the best I have ever seen. I'm looking forward to racing in Roth again one day.
4. The final race for the trip was Ironman Canada. Although I recovered well from Roth, I didn't have an ideal lead into IMC. 3 weeks out I hit my head pretty hard and had multiple layers of stitches. A forced rest enabled the cut to heal well and I had the stitches out a week later. However that wasn't the end of my troubles. The race started well. Penticton is a beautiful place and the swim was 1 lap in the lake. I had a great swim exiting the water with the leading group. The bike course was also 1 lap with basically - a pretty quick section to start, followed by a big climb, rollers, an out and back section, another tough climb, and a fast finish into T2. Although I couldn't go with the girls early I still felt like I was riding ok. On the out and back section I could see that the lead girls were riding well, but the rest didn't seem to be too far ahead. But around the 140km mark my back started playing up. Over the next 40km I could hardly ride on my aerobars and therefore lost speed. I started the run and didn't feel too bad on the flat but as soon as I went up a rise my back was hurting. By the 20km mark I was in too much pain to continue and had to stop. Needless to say I was pretty devastated. It turned out I had a couple of discs out of place, most likely a result of the impact from my head injury. Looking forward, I can't wait to have a go at IMC again one day, It was a great course and a beautiful place.