Off the back of a podium finish in the Mooloolaba World Cup and some solid training I was excited and ready to make my World Tri Series debut at the Auckland leg of the series. I was stepping up into the unknown, having not raced at this level before, so I had no expectations on myself to get any particular result. I was here to experience, and get a feel for the racing of the WTS and the level I need to exceed in the future. So skip to the end, and I finished 38th. Certainly not a great result, but remember I wasn’t here for results. I was here to race in my World Triathlon Series debut and that I did, it wasn’t pretty, but the first is now out of the way and now I’m ready to take all that I didn’t know and use it to improve and get myself into the sort of position that I am actually capable of at the moment.
With everything completed as per usual with pre-race routines, we were lined up and selected starting positions and the race was underway. I got off to a pretty good start for the first 200m at least. There were two formed groups from the start, one to the left and one to the right, and then there was me and a few others somewhere in the middle. When the two groups came together around the buoy I got caught up in the fighting and ended up second best. And by second best I actually mean 3rd last, I went from a great position in the top 20 to that, before I could take in a breath of air... literally. I tried to compose myself and get back in the game, focusing on everything I could to finish the swim up in the best position I could from there, without much success. I’d lost the feet of the good swimmers and would be playing catch from then onwards. Anything can happen in a race and unfortunately this happened to me on arguably one of the toughest bike courses on the circuit to makes it even worse. It’s really not a great feeling to be running into transition and seeing just five bikes left, and it’s not something I’d like to experience again. I rode hard and with some help caught up to the next group in front after lap one, eventually making our way again up to the next group. This is starting to sound a bit positive, and I was at least recognising the names of some of the riders in the group which was something, but we were still two minutes plus down on the lead pack, really not an ideal situation. With not many contributing to the pace I found myself off the front of the group with two others including training partner Brendan Sexton but eventually finished the ride back in the group and onto the run.
A transition ‘mishap’ with my unset glue holding my orthotics had me behind in the early stages of the run and the extra effort in the swim and on the bike was taking its toll, my legs were smashed. I was doing all I could to get the most out of my first WTS experience but I was very glad once it was over.
I’ll be taking things a bit easy for a few days before getting back into the swing of things in preparation for my next race and the beginning of my overseas triathlon season.
Once again it’s been quite some time since I have bothered to sit down and write up an update, but this one I think is quite overdue now the season 2015 is underway and things are moving in the right direction. I have spent some time on the top step of the podium in claiming the Australian u/23 and elite sprint and standard distances championships as well as the Oceania u/23 and elite standard distance championships in my first two ITU races of the year. Both races were on home (ish) soil with the first in my home state at the Devonport triathlon and then in my home away from home, Wollongong for the sprint titles. The win streak was in for some tough times though as I headed to Mooloolaba to race the first world cup of the year. I was super excited for the race knowing I was in good shape and ready for my second world cup start after racing Chengdu in 2014.
A swim in the ocean this year which I think a lot were very happy with, particularly the Aussies, a four lap hilly ride then a 4 lap hot and hilly run to finish. I got off to a good start in the swim through the breakers and managed to hold a good position for the rest of the swim until the feet I was chasing just managed to drop down onto a wave on the way back into shore. I was the first to miss the wave and by the time the next wave came around I was in too far and it broke right on top of me with a bunch of athletes with it. After a sizable run to transition I found myself just off the back of a small lead group that I chased down and caught by the top of the hill on lap one. The group had a lead for the first lap but was caught by the large chase pack mid-way through the second lap. From then on it was a matter of staying up the front and out of trouble. After a few close calls on the final lap while everyone was fighting for positions we were underway with the run in the hot early afternoon heat of the Sunshine coast. I ran with the leaders through the first lap until David Hauss stepped it up another gear on the hill and got a gap to the rest of us, I tried to go with him at first but thought that would have been the end of me had I kept that pace up at that point in the race.
The tough battle then began with Tony Dodds and Vicente Hernandez. I was really fighting to hold on at points but just knew I had to stick with them, I’m pretty confident with my kick so I knew I would have that extra gear no matter how tired I was at the finish. And that was that, on the final lap while trailing Hauss by around 20 seconds I picked up the pace on the hill and managed to surge away from Dodds and Hernandez. I had no idea how close they were to me in the last 600m, I didn’t want to turn around and there was no chance of hearing their footsteps with the amount of noise coming from the sidelines so I was just running as hard as I could all the way to the line. I thought for a moment that I was going to catch Hauss the Frenchman while approaching the finish line and I ended up finishing just 2 seconds behind him.
The race was another step up for me as I prepare to race in my first World triathlon Series race at the end of the month in Auckland, NZL. I’m looking forward to getting out there on arguably the toughest course in the series, bring it on!