Race morning started like any other race-day…..disgustingly early. The alarm went off at 3:30am and even our puppy Ralph, who’s always super keen to get up and going in the morning, was confused. Conditions were perfect, beautiful calm water, minimal wind and not too hot. I swam ok, after the first turn can I messed up my sighting, so dropped off the guys up ahead. 3 of us (Craig Shepherd, Travis Coleman and myself) came out of the water together, with Alex Polizzi ~1 minute up the road. I was so concerned with getting out of T1 with the others, that I decided to leave my swim skin half on, hoping it would give me extra aero points. In reality after I pulled it halfway down and got my tri-suit on I completely forgot about it. Not the comfiest 80km bike ride I’ve ever done!
The bike ride was fairly uneventful, Travis and I were working hard to catch Alex, while trying to stay away from Cal who was chasing us down like a steam train. I seem to think it’s a great idea to tweak my bike position every 2 minutes during the lead up to a big race, even though my last 2 races I’ve felt great on the bike, so of course that came back to bite me in the ass, and the whole ride my right hip/glute wasn't 100% and I struggled to put down much power, or contribute to the group very much, sorry fellas! Lesson learnt, maybe…
Coming in to T2 with Cal and Travis, with Alex still up the road, it was looking like it would be a running race. You’d think I’d remember to take my swim skin off at that point, but those boys have some speedy transition skills so, yet again, I completely forgot until 500m in to the run when I was wondering why my legs felt so damn hot. I was wanting to take them off mid run and throw them over to Hannah, but I was worried about being disqualified for littering so the safest option was to leave them on. Wouldn’t recommend it.
Thankfully in the past year I’ve developed a little bit of back end strength, and I always have a fairly good idea of what I’m capable of doing on race day, so I let Travis go out hot, thinking it was going to be an unsustainable pace. Around the 4-5km mark I took the lead, and spent the rest of the race running scared from Cal, who is a seasoned professional. I was sure he’d give us all a lesson in racing with the big boys at the end, but somehow, I managed to keep him away.
It was great having Joel Murray's familiar voice call me across the line. And as I did I noticed that a little fluff ball was chasing me down the finishing chute, he was clearly done with spectating and wanted to be part of the finish line action. It was the perfect end to my 2018 season and a great confidence booster heading in to my first year as a professional athlete. I’m fully prepared and expecting to get served a big piece of humble pie at races in the coming years as I develop, but I will race with the mindset that I had last Sunday, being the rookie with nothing to lose.
A few easy weeks are on the cards now, and the plan for the first half of 2019 is to head to Goondiwindi to race in an oven at Hell of the West, followed 2 weeks later by a road-trip down to the New South Wales coast for the BIG Husky Triathlon Festival Long Course event, and then on to Challenge Melbourne in April.
Thanks for reading!