Bonello Spiteri competes with world best at the Cross Triathlon World Championships.

Saturday, October 17, 2015, 13:31

Gavin Muscat

Following a series of top results whilst racing at Elite level, Danica Bonello Spiteri has turned her focus onto cross triathlon (offroad triathlon), in the latter part of the triathlon racing season. During the Malta National Cross Triathlon Championships, Bonello Spiteri showed her superiority in this sport by winning the overall spot, not only of the women’s section, but also from the male section.

This led Bonello Spiteri to up her level on the international scene in cross triathlon. Last year in her debut international cross triathlon race, she won her age group at World Championship level. This year, Bonello Spiteri has opted to push up the barrier and race at Elite level.

“It wasn’t an easy decision for me, knowing that the level in cross triathlon is increasing year on year and many of the girls racing at elite level are full time athletes who specifically focus on offroad mountain bike and trail running. However, a few of the girls, like myself, also race both road triathlon and cross triathlon”.

At the start line, Bonello Spiteri was lined up with the best cross triathletes in the world, alongside the likes of Flora Duffy (2014 Xterra World Champion) who eventually won the race overall. Bonello Spiteri exited the swim in 10th place, directly behind Katerina Muller of Germany, who is the current Cross Triathlon World Champion.

The offroad mountain bike section, 30km long, was quite technical and included 4 steep climbs and 4 sections of ‘hike a bike’, where athletes need to physically climb up rocky terrain and carry the mountain bike. There were steep, rocky descents with multiple 90 degree, sand covered turns making bike handling skills crucial. This is where Bonello Spiteri lost ground as the terrain did not favour her skills.

The 10km off road run was along the majestic Sardenian coastline, with 7km of the run being run over loose sand, making it a tough race till the end. Bonello Spiteri finished in the 21st place in the Elite category.

“It was a hard race for me, both mentally and physically. With cross triathlon you never know what the terrain looks like until you arrive at the race venue the few days prior to the race and practice the course. I now learnt that various Elite athletes head out  to the race venue some time before the race in order to view the route, then head home and practice accordingly. Unfortunately, such an option is not viable for me.  I was particularly pleased with my performance as the 24-48 hours prior to the race, I was unwell, which rendered me in bed, lying down with severe pain and barely able to move. Thankfully I was able to race on the day”.

Racing at elite level has shown me various weak areas, which I look forward to working on for next season.

I would like to thank my sponsors who kindly assist me in this triathlon journey: Ecco shoes, Quest vitamins, BBB cycling, BuffMalta and of course, the Malta Triathlon Federation.

Danica Bonello Spiteri

Danica Bonello Spiteri(No.523)

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