Welcome to the biggest stage of your career, so far.
I always get asked if I get nervous, and generally the answer is no but this time around there were some feelings creeping in the closer we got to racing. Not the same type of nerves that I would get as a 12 year old though. It was more of a realisation that this Commonwealth Games, these next two races were going to be the most important of my career to date.
Choosing to stay at home in Tasmania was the best move I could have made. Being the only Commonwealth athlete from my training group meant I would go through my final preparations solo, which is fine for me, and no other location makes more sense than home did. Training in Launceston gives me access to some of the best training in the world, and the most convenient and it allowed me to stay out of the spotlight and avoid the build up hype as the Games approached.
I was in the best shape of my life, and was very excited to get on that start line.
I was in a familiar scenario out of the water and on the bike with very few people willing to help close any gaps to the leaders. Richard Murray and myself did the bulk of the work in our large bike group and eventually arrived to transition with time to make up. Onto the run.
Once I was running, it was one step at a time. I wasn’t concerned with where I was or if I was catching, I just wanted to run as fast as I could. To run my way up to the silver medal position was an amazing feeling. It is all a bit of a blur still, but I remember the noise from the crowd was incredible during that last run lap which helped me lift.
Next up the Mixed Team Relay two days later.
Coming in as the current world champions and the locals, all eyes were on us and teaming up with Gillian, Matt, and Ash I knew we would be hard to beat. We raced in that order with me as the anchor, and right from the first leg it was a two horse race between us Aussies and the English. We know first hand that anything can happen in a relay after coming behind to take the world chamionships last year but I was confident in the team. Gillian and Matt set it up perfectly and Ash then handed over to me with a 30+ second lead. The most important thing for me to do was stay safe, all I had to do was complete the course at a solid pace and we were guaranteed the gold. There isn’t much that can go wrong in the run so once I left the second transition I think my smile started to grow, as did our lead. The Support out on the road and in the stands was epic, and to be able to actually enjoy that is something I will always remember.