BUT, instead of reflecting more on the races and where I didn't go well specifically, I think it's best to look at the experience of racing professionally in Asia. As my sister said which I think is a good way to look at it all, I got some really good 'market intelligence.' Both events were very different, apart from that the field of athletes which was high quality! The whole idea of going to Asia was to race second tier pro fields, but that was thrown out the window pretty quickly and at the end of the day it was a good case of 'baptism by fire', and I believe it's better to race against the best, in environments I'm unfamiliar so that I know what to expect when I come back in the future, as a real contender for the win.
In both locations the weather played a role and especially in the Phillipines it was punishing! Learning quickly that it's far more than just swim, bike and running well in these locations but also managing the weather, the different cultures, which had a big effect on the food you can eat. Being to picky about Gluten free doesn't really work, especially for a leaner guy like myself. I can't afford to miss or minimise my food intake. By talking and observing the guys in the pro races they have been racing for a long time, even the younger ones, and have the experience to know how to manage all aspects of racing, where I still am a rookie finding my feet in the sport. It was cool to be able to meet other pros and good dudes like Guy Crawford (NZ) Johannes Molden (GER), power house on the bike and Kevin Collington (US), fellow Hoka Athlete. Kevin said to me that it takes time to find your groove in professional racing and that it will take a few seasons of racing to start to feel comfortably and understand the dynamics of racing, especially on the bike. Was nice to hear this from another pro, who has been doing it for a while and has had good success in the sport. Which made it cool to see him have a great race in Subic. Of course all of this has already been told to me by my coach and reaffirming what he has told me about being patient but I am the kind of guy who learns best through first hand experience, good and bad! There are some really clear priorities that have come out of the whole trip and again I am very lucky to have been able to go and see two more parts of the world I hadn't seen. It is because of this trip that I definitely know what the target is and where I need to get to. 'Research is all about understanding the current situation to help grow and capitalise on opportunities in the future.' I believe these races have been fundamental for me in my progression within Triathlon/Ironman. Time to reboot and go into a solid training/ training trips.