Competing at Beijing in the 2011 World Championships in my second triathlon, opened my eyes to the challenging and wonderful world of Triathlon. Competing on a friend’s bike and without a wettie I got schooled by almost everyone on the swim and bike, before turning it into a running race. Now with a year more specific triathlon training under my belt, advice and guidance from top coaches and some top age group results, I was looking forward to testing myself again against World Competition. On race day it looked like we had lucked out with the weather. I got to transition to find my bike blown sideways and attached to the bike next to mine, but It was finally dry and the sun was out so I wasn't complaining........ Yet! Apart from the strong winds I thought it was a good day to race and the course was tough, but fair and I was looking forward to some hills on the bike and flat, fast run. The only thing I hadn't really anticipated was how tough the swim conditions would prove to be!
Swim: The Water was 14 degrees and flat in the area protected by the wharf. Being in the largest wave I tried get out to the first buoy well. It was pretty aggressive on the way out with so many other swimmers but I was throwing as many elbows as I could to keep my position. Once we passed the first turn and were out past the wharf the conditions worsened but I figured it was going to affect everyone. The wind was up and the waves were knocking everyone one around (although some stronger swimmers were obviously coping better than me) I found it hard to sight the buoys in the waves, especially as the sun was out for a change. I settled in with a group and decided to just put my head down and follow, but at the half way point, unnoticed, my group found itself veering right with the current and we had strayed away from the main pack and right of the next buoy. When I finally saw I broke off from the group and headed back towards the main pack. On the last stretch in I was battling with a few people for position, one of who was trying to undo my wettie with every stroke. After a few kicks to the head and some expletives (as well as explaining to the guy in my best English that my wetsuit has a F...ing reverse zip) I exited the water well down and a good few minutes behind what I was Expecting. The long transition run gave me time to regroup and catch up to a few people in front.
Bike: I mounted well and immediately went past the group I was with on the first straight. I tried to find rhythm as quick as I could and was moving ok and feeling glad to be out of the swim. At the halfway point on the first lap I knew I had some work to do as I saw the lead guys from my category riding the other way. I tried to work hard on the long stretch back to transition but the wind was hitting me hard and I found myself losing time on other competitors. On the second lap I tried to hit the first half hard to main inroads to time I’d lost and I was moving a lot better on this lap. Coming into transition I was looking forward to the run, but the only disappointing thing was how many bikes had already been racked in my category!
Run: With time to make up I tried to run evenly. I figured that a solid consistent pace would make up more places than going hard early on. I was feeling strong and making up time but I was desperately looking out for the letter F on people's calves to tick off places I was making up in my category. By the second lap I was starting to make more ground in my category as big bunches of my age group were running together. I finished in a solid time but left myself too much to do.
Total: 2:14.14 (fastest run in category)
I had a great experience and enjoyed the company and celebrating successes of so many people from Balmoral Triathlon Club being part of the same event. I got to meet up with some friends from the UK and see some magnificent elite racing too. Although disappointed with my overall result, there some positives to take. With a whole season ahead this has sparked the motivation to improve before my next race.
A big shout out to all my friends who competed, seeing everyone out there made it an awesome event to be part of!