Husky Long Course is the most scenic and well located race I've competed in since starting triathlon. The South coast town and Elite Energy put on a great show for the triathlon community and is the reason it attracts so many performers each year. It was great to head down on the Friday with some of the Balmoral Triathlon Club crew to enjoy a long weekend staying on Hyams beach. After watching the ocean swim, the crazy mini-man kids race and sprint triathlon I was itching to compete. After my solid build up from the Energy Link training camp in January I felt like I was in shape to put in a consistent performance and test my fitness leading up to Ironman Australia in May. I was making some minor changes in equipment and nutrition for this race and was hoping that everything would run smoothly on Sunday morning.
My start time was in the second round of waves (the break in waves supposedly allows for less congestion on the bike course?). The course started with a 2km beautiful swim in clear aqua water, followed by an undulating 83km bike and a 20km run along a coastal foot path. I smashed down my usual SIS caffeine gel 30 minutes before, listened to briefing and went to warm up for the swim.
My race plan was to try to put myself in a good position on the swim and bike and hopefully be within a realistic distance from the leaders going into the run. From last years times I knew that the top age groupers would probably be in the region of 3:55 for the whole race, and that I would probably be going into the run about 5-7 minutes down on the leaders.
The 2 lap swim course had near perfect conditions and the sun was shining, which made it a little hard to sight to the first buoy. After starting sensibly I managed to grab the feet of one of the Bondi boys and swam the entire swim leg on his feet. The main pack had already made their usual break but I was pleased to see that I wasn't too far off the main group and that my improvements in swim training were translating into the race. The longer transition run up the stairs definitely helped me make up a little time!
I exited in a solid time just over 28 minutes.
I transitioned well (fastest T1 in AG) and got out on the bike and into my shoes swiftly, the main pack in my age group were already gone so I spent all of the first lap passing people in the previous waves. I tried a new nutrition plan today and it was going well. I was aiming to get in 65-70g carbohydrates/hour using SIS GO gels I pre-mixed with water in a bottle this was proving a much more efficient way to get energy in compared to my methods at Canberra. I also took some salt tabs to try and help prevent cramp going into the run. My average pace was holding well and onto the second of 3 laps some of my age group caught me which gave me a little group to use as a target for the rest of the bike. On the last lap of the bike the wind had started to pick up and my average pace was dropping. The group I was cycling with started to pull away and I had to let them go to hold something back for the run.
Coming into transition as I dismounted in the usual flying fashion, but my shoe decided to do a loop the loop as it hit the ground and fly off my bike backwards, luckily a nice TO ran over to me and gave me my shoe back. As I legged it into transition with shoe in hand I was greeted by laughter from a group of relay athletes who just saw my recent dismount FAIL!
I strapped on my box fresh Saucony Kinvara's (with go faster red laces) hoping they were as fast as they looked. I went off a bit hard over the first 2km, but was keen to get a move on after Coach Bruce told me I was 6:30 off the lead. At the 4km mark I could see the leaders on their way back the opposite way and thought I had made up some time. Coming back towards transition the Wong's and Bruce were shouting splits to me and I had halved the lead. I tried to stay in a rhythm and hold pace, and by the 16km mark I had caught the leaders. I decided to put in a burst as I passed them to make sure they didn't latch onto me and I was so glad to be heading back pass the BTC supporters tent and into the finish in the lead.
I was so pleased to get the win, but even more pleased that I put 3 good legs together for the first ever time in a triathlon. The BTC support on and off the course was the best as usual and we were out in force the entire weekend. The performances of the club were inspiring at all levels and the weekend was such a success.
Congratulations to all BTC performers for a great racing and social weekend. A big thanks to Bruce, Chris and Energy Link Coaching for all their help in my preparation and throughout the race.
Also thanks to Saucony and SIS for taking a chance in supporting me as an up and coming athlete.