• My Yokohama World Triathlon Series adventure

    The big black bike box is finally dragged to its resting spot in my tiny, matchbox Japanese hotel room. I kick off my shoes and flop on the bed. One of the first things I always do if I’m staying somewhere new is to Google map my location to see what shops and restaurants are nearby for me to get some essentials eg. Bananas/water and to find a decent looking place to eat my pre race dinner.

    So I Google map my location and I’m not where I’m supposed to be. I should be near the baseball stadium and about 600m from the race venue. But no, for some reason I’m about 2.5km away. Not a train smash, I can deal with that. So off I go for a little walk and after about 2mins I have this sneaky feeling that I’m in the Red Light District. The pictures of scantily clad women plastered all over a bit of a giveaway. Now usually when booking a race hotel, and if on a budget, there are 2 musts, cleanliness and location. The hotel reviews all mentioned how clean it was, which it was, check. Location…well, fine I’m not as close to the race venue as I wanted & am in the Red Light District. Never mind, lets not panic, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, it’s all good. To my relief, for the first 2 nights I was there I never saw or heard another soul on my floor…until Saturday night post race, which we’ll get to later.

    This was my 4th time in Yokohama and the hotel I usually book was full due to a big baseball game in the city. I was also on a budget as our federation is battling to obtain funds for us so the trip was self funded. I love Yokohama and I love racing in Japan….and like Gwen, I also love rice ;-). The food is awesome, the city is spotless, the people are crazy about triathlon and the Japan Tri Union always look after us with total precision and warmth. I also battle to sleep, something I was mentally prepared for from previous experience. I managed about 4 hours the night before the race, which was better than last year. Come race morning I didn’t feel quite as dopey as the previous year and was quite happy with my pre race build up and how I was feeling.

    The weather was beautiful and quite a bit hotter than the previous year. The humidity on the bike and the heat coming off the road felt very dense and my face felt like it was going to boil up. That however could’ve just been down to the effort we had to put in to catch the front bike pack, which we managed to do after the 4th lap (of 9). It was then a matter of settling down and cycling in a massive pack for the rest of the bike. I had an awful T2 and lost about 15 sec to the front girls, which is my own fault. I felt awesome on the run but just lacking a bit of sharpness and aggression, which I found on the last lap. I ran up to 10th which is my equal best WTS position. I was happy but not entirely satisfied as I believe there is more to come and that I could’ve been more aggressive on the run. I was a mere 45sec off the podium. Hopefully I can carry on progressing as the season continues.

    Back to Saturday night….

    Now I’ve stayed in many a nice hotel in lots of big cities all over the world throughout my racing career and but for a few, they all blend into one another after a while. However, I will not forget the funny little hotel in the Red Light District in Yokohama. There I lay, wide awake yet exhausted at 3am. Then, through my earplugs and the paper thin walls, I could hear the shenanagins of the night unfold in the room next door. Without going into too much detail (and I could’ve been delusional due to no sleep) I firstly thought I heard what sounded like two men and about and hour later, definitely a lady and a gentlemen. So Saturday night is obviously the night when all comes alive in the little Red Light District of Yokohama as I got a reasonably interesting education through that paper thin wall that night. As the morning light started to filter into my room I could only giggle at what I’d been subjected to and with a smile, I thought, this is one of those hotels and trips that I certainly won’t forget.

    I’ve taken a few easy days recovering from the race and the travel especially and then it’ll be all guns blazing for London WTS in a weeks’ time. No travel involved, get to roll outa my own bed and down the road to Hyde Park! If you happen to be in London, do come down and support!

    Thanks for reading,

    Gill.

    Photo credit: Delly Carr/ITU Media

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