Its always a pleasure to head North to Mooloolaba. It's been an amazing race destination for me over the past few years, firstly because of my success in the event, but also because it is one of the most ideal race locations and one of my favourite races in the year. My family were away on holiday in Thailand so I was childless for the trip which helps from a logistical perspective but I do love having my family support crew there when I'm racing when I can.
This year I have set myself the goal of Busso 70.3 in December, it seemed like a great idea to head back to the Sunshine Coast to mix it up and see how I was going at this point in the year. I had come off a really solid 8 week block of training with a focus on developing my swim and bike, I had a small, few day taper leading in. I felt like my back was 90% after the issues I had a Port Mac in May and the consistent training along with some mobility work has kept it very healthy and strong. During this time I kept my running ticking over and felt confident that I was aerobically very fit and ready to have a good race. I knew they're would be some top guys there prepping for Kona so I would have to race well to get on the podium. This is how my day unfolded.
I was off in the last age group wave of the day, my age group had been split into two waves so I knew there would be some good athletes in the wave ahead that I may not see until the run. My plan was to get out well and have a good swim and then go about trying to chase down the age groups in front. I was pleased it was a beach start as I feel that my surf skills are pretty good for a Brit! When the horn went I got into the water well, a couple of dives and I was away swimming comfortably. I was up the front of the wave and got to the first turn buoy in first and then settled into a rhythm on some guys feet. The sun was coming up and it was a bit hard to sight along the first straight, I started to veer a bit left and had to readjust as we approached the next buoy. It was a bit congested on the second half as we started to navigate through quite a few age groups ahead. I concentrated on staying with the group, stayed as efficient as I could and I was was happy to come out just under 26 minutes, near the top of my age group.
The transition area was a bit slow due to the lack of running space, it was hard to overtake so I just went about my business in an orderly fashion, as soon as I got near the bike mount line I ran quickly around people and jumped onto my bike. I thought I was in good shape to bike well so I headed out strongly onto the highway and got into a nice rhythm. Being the last wave I was passing people very frequently which is what I had expected. We had the wind behind us on the way out on the highway so it was pretty quick going. When we hit the turn around and headed back into the wind I tried to ride with some guys around me who were moving at a fairly similar pace and just went to the front to keep things moving when it felt like things were dropping off a little. As we approached the 2 hinterland loops I lost a group I had been targeting, so I worked hard on the first lap to catch them which I was rewarded for as we started the second lap. I was able to use them as a guide for the next part of the 2nd loop as I took a bit of a breather and sorted out my nutrition refils. As we approached the end of the loop to head back in the last 15km I put my head down and locked back into a slightly higher tempo and managed to pull away from some of the group as we approached town. I rolled back into transition and ended up with a time of 2.18 which I was very happy with at this stage. My new position on the bike seemed very effective and I loved my new Lake TX332 shoes and my new Giro Aerohead helmet.
Out of T2 and I had no real plan for the run. I left my Garmin in Sydney so was running by feel which was ok with me. I set off at a pace that I felt was sustainable and tried to catch some of the guys up the road that I knew were in my age group in the wave ahead. I was confident I was going well and in a good position overall. I was staying on top of my nutrition and trying to get in some additional carbs, slightly more than what I normally would plan too. It seemed to work well and although I began to fade a little in the final 6km I still felt like I was running ok and this was more of a mechanical failure than an energy level thing. I got a little push in the final few km's as I had a bit of a finishing race with Levi from the age group below. I managed to pull away on the final hill and finish strong for a finishing time of 4.07. Although I dropped a couple of minutes in the back 10km I felt like ti was a solid run to build upon.
I was very pleased with how I raced on the day, my swim and bike times were competitive and I had a great time. Next its onto Nepean Tri to warm up for Busso 70.3.