After seven months of racing around the world the World Tri Series has finally come to an end for 2018. The racing was intense at every stop from the first event in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of March right up until the Grand Final this past weekend in Gold Coast, AUS.
After a 5th place, 2nd, 5th, 3rd, and a 3rd place finish I was entering the Final event in second place on the rankings behind 2016 and ’17 series winner, Spain’s Mario Mola and just ahead of training partner Vincent Luis from France. I knew I would need to race well to hold onto a podium position, and thankfully I did enough. **Spoiler alert, I finished 3rd overall in the WTS rankings for 2018**
We were faced with some tough conditions as winds approached 40km/h on race day which made for tough going in all three legs with the choppy water and then high winds on the bike and run. I got off to a great start in the water and eventually managed to exit the water in maybe my best position all season which had me confidently onto the bike and soon in the mix with the leaders. An aggressive ride with plenty of attacks and close calls switched the focus to marking the right moves and staying safe. I rode towards the front of the group for the most part and eventually lead the large group out onto the run with just two athletes up the road.
I was feeling great in the water and on the bike and continued that early on in the run leg but after not too long I was starting to feel the fatigue creep in and once that was set it became a long hard grovel to the finish line. The six leaders at this point had put some time between us and I was now running with Jonny Brownlee in 7th/8th place in a battle to keep up the pace and stay focused on those ahead of us. The two of us worked together swapping turns into the wind but as we closed in on the finish line it became clear that we had become too far removed from the leaders and were then racing for 7th. Without knowing the exact position I had to finish to hold onto my series position I knew I had to fight for every place and I eventually ran away in the final stages of the run to claim 7th place.
Far from my best day, but it was still such a relief to cross the finish line and be done for the year, it was a nervous wait to find out if I had done enough to claim the overall podium finish and I was so glad when I finally heard the news!
To stand on the podium at the world championships has been a huge goal of mine for as long as I remember and it is a moment I will remember for a very long time! Bronze is the starting point, so now I’m already excited for the years to come. But first I think I’ll need a bit of time to relax!
Montreal in 2017 was one of my worst ever World Tri Series results ever, after a long day I finally crossed the finish line in 40th place, and even with a performance like that, I loved the race. The city itself is an amazing place that I think is really cool, and then the race site, and the crowd set this event apart from others in my memory. Every event I go to I am there to give it my all, but at certain events there can be another incentive to perform. This year in Montreal I had two reasons. Reason one; redemption for last year, and reason two; the world series points standings.
My number one goal for the year was to win at the Commonwealth Games in March and at the time I had not really thought much ahead of that. The Commonwealth Games was part of a bigger 3 year plan, and for that reason it was my one goal. I knew once that was over I would be pretty quick to switch focus for the next task as that’s the kind of person I am, that’s why I’m competitive and why I live to race. So onwards with the year of racing ahead and the focus on the WTS ranking. It took me quite a while to feel like I was getting any traction on the overall rankings and mainly due to the way my race schedule was set out I have been able to make a late surge for overall points. I am sitting in second place overall between training partners Mario Mola and Vincent Louis after this past weekend’s race in Montreal. Here’s how the action unfolded.
First noteworthy thing to mention from race day; rain, a lot of rain. I don’t mind racing in the rain, I quite like it actually but there is no denying it sucks pre-race when trying to prepare and get everything sorted at the venue.
I got off to quite a good start in the swim, I had some space and clean water and managed to hold a good position through the early stages which unfortunately didn’t last too long. I began to have a bit of a hard time through the water as groups started to bunch up. I was doing all I could in the back end to hold it together and I eventually exited the water in an okay position, certainly not where I wanted to be but I was around some good athletes and was still in contention. The bike dynamic changed quite a lot during the race, between being aggressive in fighting for every position to being conservative on the wet rain soaked roads. Some tactics came into play during the bike leg as the main bunch was put under pressure by a small breakaway and for a period there was a race within the race of those in contention for the world series podium.
As transition two approached the gap to the lead 5 had grown to over a minute which would make things interesting however the lack of class runners in the group meant only one stayed away to eventually finish second. Mola was running super fast right from the start as myself and Richard Murray tried to hold on. After 2.5km the three of us split up and began to set our own pace for the remaining 7.5km. I entered the final kilometre in 4th place still behind Murray but with only a small gap. I made a real effort to hold my pace during the middle stages of this race and it paid off as I entered the closing stages of the race once again within striking distance of the podium. I needed to produce a big final surge and really give it everything to eventually make my way into the bronze medal position which I managed to do in the final 200 meters. A bronze medal for me and in doing so I jumped up the rankings to enter the final round in the silver medal position.
I have spent the last week at home in Tasmania and am now off to re-join my training group on the Gold Coast for the final preparations before the grand final on September 16th.