It feels like such a short time ago that the season was beginning, and come the end of March it’s now all over again. A successful season it's been and the past month one of the highlights was clocking my first of hopefully a few international travels for the remainder of 2013.
March began with a trip to Wellington in New Zealand for the
final race of the 2012/13 junior Australian series. This race was also the
Oceania Championships. I was travelling with training partner, Dylan Evans and
NTA coach, Jan Rehula and we arrived on the Thursday before the race so that we had a bit of time to locate ourselves and familiarize ourselves with the
course. I'd just received some brand new ZIPP Firecrest 404's so I enjoyed
being able to ride around and get use to them while riding the technical parts
of the course and commuting through the city down the hill to the course area
hardly having to pedal. Coming home was not as much fun but I still enjoyed
being out on the bike in an unfamiliar city. The race went well with a few
things for me to work on. Overall it was a good race and I'm happy to have
ended the season with another win.
Back to school, Five days, two tests and an assignment later I
was off to the airport again. This time for the World Cross Country
Championships held in Bydgosczcz in Poland. During the week I had seen the
weather forecast so knew to prepare for the worst, lows of minus 16 and highs of minus 5. Thankfully after meeting the whole team in the Dubai airport we were off to London for a few days first to climatize to London's near freezing
climate and take in some of the London sights. I'm glad we got to be tourists
for a little bit in London because there wasn't a great deal for us to see in
Bydgosczcz apart from snow. I'd never seen snow like that before though so I was pretty excited, and as a group we managed to turn almost every moment outside into a snowball fight, even getting some British, Brazilians and Rwandans into a snow ball fight post race waiting for the bus.
I didn't race as well as I would have liked although once having
seen the conditions I knew my running style would suffer more than most. I like
to get into a rhythm and apply pressure when I run but on a course with so much
tight zigging and zagging on ice, snow and mud, with my stride length I knew I
was going to struggle a bit. But 41st in the world is still alright!
I'm home now on a break from training for the next few weeks, I
have had heaps of homework to catch up on but am beginning to get pretty bored so cannot wait to get back into some training!
Thanks for reading,
The past month has been pretty full in terms of my training
program and also the beginning of year 12. I’m not 100% sure what I’m planning on doing after year 12 but at the moment am verging on the side of a university Business degree, I’m studying business this year and am pretty interested by it so I can see myself doing something similar in the future. Coming into this month I had just started a heavy three week block of training, probably the most intense I’d ever done, with the aim to be in peak condition for race three of the Australian Junior series. The race was the Aus u/20 Champs and also one of two Automatic selection races for the world championships later on in the year. Being in my home state on a course I knew we had planned this to be my focus race for the season.
First up though, and after starting school on the Wednesday I
flew out early Saturday morning to Geelong to race the Australian Open Sprint
Championships. It was the first time I’d raced in open elite so I knew it was
going to be tough and going in without my usual taper- in order to peak at
Devonport, I was a bit unsure how I would go. The race was a big learning curve, there were a lot of things I did wrong but I was still able to finish
5th overall and become the U/23 Australian champion. After completing
a quick drug test we quickly packed up and made our way home. This was my second drug test and in the space of 3 weeks, as awkward as I had always imagined they would be it is also kind of cool; it gives a bit of a taster to the professional world of sport.
Jan Rehula was coming down to supervise some of my sessions
before Devonport and Ben Anderson, another junior triathlete, also came to do
some training. Unfortunately for all three of us though I had somewhere picked
up a cold and on their second day in Tassie, with one week to go before the
race, Craig, Jan, and I decided it was best to rest up. I had done the work
already so I just needed to be healthy for the race- I just had an extra taper
Come race day I would say I was about 98% healthy, I was just in
the very last stages of the cold but was not enough to hinder my performance.
The surf was up at the Bluff Beach which made me a little bit nervous as I’ve
seen what happens in these kind of conditions when watching the Ironman series on TV, people can come from last place to first from just one wave, or vice versa. And I wasn’t sure whether this would help me or not. Luckily (or not so much luck) it all worked out in the end I took the win and was able to book my
automatic selection into the 2013 junior world championships!
I’m super excited about all the travel I’ll be doing this year!
Just in this next month I’ll be going to New Zealand for Oceana Triathlon
champs, then London and Poland for the World Cross Country Champs. I still get excited with all the travel, unlike most people time spent in airports doesn’t
really bother me, I enjoy not only going places but the process too. I’m sure
this has to be a good thing in triathlon as if all goes to plan I’ll be doing a
fair bit of travel in the future. I still have my suitcase on the floor in my
bedroom with clothes from AYOF in January (much to my parent’s disgust) so I’m sure I’d also manage living out of a bag.
That’s just about it for February, I’m now going to have to get
into some serious study before I head off to Poland so I don’t miss too much!
Until next time- Jake Birtwhistle