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Mon 24th Feb 2020
Jacqui Slack: XTERRA Switzerland
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Friday 14th September 2012

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On Running athlete Jacqui Slack finished second in the European XTERRA Series this year, in what has been an exceptionally busy, long and successful season - with more to come yet!

Last weekend saw the final European XTERRA Tour race in Switzerland, where she finished third behind XTERRA World Championship medallists Helena Erbenova (CZE) and Marion Lorblanchet (FRA) to secure another 2012 podium finish. Her boyfriend, Ben Allen also finished third in the race.

Another great performance, and we got some of her thoughts from the day.

XTERRA Switzerland 2012 - Jacqui Slack

How did you feel on race morning?

The sun was shining and I was excited to race. I love to race in the sunshine. Ben and I had loads of support and I wanted to put on a good show for our friends and family who came to watch. I enjoyed riding the course in practice. It's probably the flattest XTERRA race I have ever done and it was a refreshing change from the huge mountains we usually have to climb. I knew I had to race well as I needed a forth place at least to hold on to second place in the European rankings - so there was some pressure.

How did you view your competition?

The European races have the strongest females on the off-road circuit. I was up against Helena Erbanova from Czech who finished third at the World Champs last year and Marion Lorblanchet from France who has finished on the podium in the previous two years at the XTERRA World Champs. Also Carina Wasle from Austria who has competed in XTERRA for over five years with many podium finishes under her belt. All these girls are tough, experienced world-class competitors in every race you have to be prepared to give your all.

Jacqui Slack

What was your race morning preparation?

When the race starts at 2pm like this one I usually wake up around 8am after a good nights sleep. I will have a breakfast usually consisting of bread, jam and a croissant with a glass of fresh orange. I will prepare my kit and try to rest or read. About 11.30 I will have a chocolate PowerBar. I will head to the race about two hours before the start and ride for around 30mins warming up gradually. I will set up my transition area with my Trek bike, Ekoi helmet, bike shoes and my ON cloudracers and greeper laces. I will then go for a jog with a few drills and couple of strides. I will then head to the water around 30mins before and do a 15min swim warm up with four sets of sprints and I'm ready to go.

What was your race strategy?

I generally lead the swim, which I did today once again, but I also tried to sit with Marion and not push too hard. I wanted to see if I could stay with Marion on the bike she has raced XTERRA Switzerland before and I wanted to learn a few things about how she rides in prep for Maui. I usually build into the run and get strong towards the end. This was what I did, however I am working on my run speed; if I want to win Maui then there is no time to build into the run, you have to got hard from the word go.

Jacqui SlackWhat was your objective?

To finish on the podium and hold on to my second place in the series rankings.

How was the weather?

Perfect conditions for me - 28°c, sunny and dry.

What was the atmosphere like?

A wonderful atmosphere, the venue is beautiful and the support from the crowds out on the course was mind blowing.

What was your nutrition plan?

It's always the same and I don't tend to get many problems. Two PowerBar gels on the bike. One half way and the other before entering T2. I have PowerBar energy in my sports bottle and collect water from the aid stations when necessary.

How did the swim go?

Loved the swim - it went really well. I've not been swimming as much because I've been working harder on the bike this year so I was happy to be first out of the water and it didn't take too much effort. I knew my swim was good and I was excited to get out on the bike course and see what I could do in the rest of the race.

How long did it take you to get into the flow of the bike?

I was behind Marion at the start and the pace felt comfortable for me. I know she is strong and I wanted to try and stay there. I struggled on the river crossing and that's where I was losing time to the other girls. I need to get better at picking up my bike and wading through the waters and non-rideable technical sections.

How was T2?

All went smoothly I had no problems. My greeper laces meant my transition was smooth and speedy.

How was the run?

The run went ok. I started off too slow but after 5k I got into my rhythm and started to overtake people running myself onto the podium. The On Cloudracers were awesome and super sturdy and with the Greepers laces it was a breeze running on the trails and I loved it.

How did you feel after you crossed the finish line?

Relieved as it's been a long hard season. The off-road triathlons are really tough and wear you down both mentally and physically. XTERRA Swiss was my 11th off-road tri this year and I was happy to finish second in the XTERRA European tour and be on the podium along with Ben in second place.

What's next for you?

XTERRA USA Champs on 23rd September followed by world XTERRA World Champs in Maui in October.

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