Being in the race is one thing but watching it back you can see a different perspective of how the race played out. At the moment the voice of Barrie Shepley is playing in the background of me writing this and I get to see what most of you saw from your computer screen or on TV somewhere around the world.
Six months ago, Auckland invited me to New Zealand for Under 23 World Championships to finish the 2012 season. Not too much has changed since then as my excitement levels were still as high to achieve and perform on such a strength endurance course. Since Mooloolaba I have been exceeding the demands of competition with plenty of wetsuits swims, spending a few hours behind the motorbike wheel and runs that were critical “to run like chillis”. Leading into this weekend, with training easing off, I knew that the weeks of training had come together well and was confident in my ability to perform this weekend. I knew the race was going to be completely different to the previous year and was ready to take on the challenge.
To everyone’s surprise, the swim was a non-wetsuit swim with a balmy 21.4 degree water temperature. This was exciting to me as although I love either a non–wetsuit is a nice change in competition. Coming out of warm up it got a little chilly and while focussing on processes I actually missed the swim ramp in warm up and smashed my shin pretty good on the metal ramp which has given me a lovely bruise.
Diving in, the initial coldness was short lived as I worked on getting a good position around the first buoy. By the second buoy turning back into the pontoon, I saw a short gap that I needed to get onto quick smart. I put my head down and got into feet and shortly found myself sitting 2nd from the front. The second lap was much the same and I was unsure what gap or lead we had over the rest of the field. It was hard but a controlled comfortable pace.
T1 would be important as the first lap is the most critical to get on good wheels and stay within the front pack. T1 was good but the first hill was the hardest physically and mentally to put in those extra seconds of hurt after the swim. The pack rode the flats hard, the hills were rode harder and there was no relief on the downhills. This race was everything like I remember. I knew I was well prepared as the motopacing session we do in Wollongong has become one of my favourite but still most daunting session. Jamie makes sure it simulates what we have in a race and gives me confidence in my ability to ride strong. I knew had to ride smart and find good wheels to take me around corners and up
the hills. I think I
did this well and stood my ground in a dominant position near the front. The pace
did increase in the 3rd and 4th laps where we dropped some riders
from our group. This course is a strength endurance course and what I love.
After 8 laps and a ride 2 mins faster than last year, would I have the legs to
Not having the best T2, I lost contact early with the main group of girls and for the first 1.25km I tried my best to get back on. I didn’t feel fabulous but I felt that I could pull off a good run. By the end of the 1st lap, I was about 10 seconds back from the 6 girls up the road. I kept confident with keeping my cadence high and keeping tall. At the 5km mark, my training partner Charlotte McShane pulled up next to me and my next goal was to work with her to keep a good pace and position within the field. It was great having her next to me as it pushed me the whole way and helped me keep consistent. I have been told many times over the last few weeks that it was important to negative split in races like these that are strength endurance. Coming into the last downwards stretch to the finish, I knew that Charlotte and I would be having a sprint finish for 9th and 10th. With the last 75m, Charlotte went and I tried to go with her but she got me by 2 seconds.
What can I say? I am very pleased with how the race panned out and I couldn’t have asked for a better result with 10th. I can look back at data from last year and I can say that I swam faster, we rode 2 minutes quicker and I ran a minute and a half quicker than last year. But in the end, I think that I can say I knew the course, I know what was coming for me and I raced the way we trained. We have been training smart, to what the demands of Auckland would bring and the weeks of training have paid off. Going through the positives and the negatives, the positives definitely came out over the top. Thank you to Triathlon Australia for the support with flights, accommodation, massage, team dinners, the constant support before, throughout and at the end of the race. Thank you to Jamie for putting me to sleep every night at a grandma time of 8.30 and making sure we were over prepared for what the demands Auckland would bring to us on race day. Back to the secret training grounds of Wollongong for another few weeks of hard training before heading overseas.