It is always a good start to a trip if your bike turns up in one piece, and so everyone in the Queensland traveling team had a brilliant start. Arriving early Thursday evening we drove to our accommodation, assembled the steeds and then stampeded Woolworths 5 minutes before close, I am sure they loved us!!! Hot chicken and caesar salad for dinner and a late night of 10:30 pm. Friday morning we agreed to meet at 7 am out the front of the cabins to do an ocean swim and turn the arms over. I may have been last into the water but I was the first to dive under and swim out, making sure I splashed everyone in the process. I got quite a surprise as the ocean floor was moving and then I realised it was covered in crabs! The water really was nippy... Over the next 1.3km swim with my buddy Keegan, I got stung by a jellyfish and several patches of lice, even in some very uncomfortable places. The bad thing is that as I write this 3 days later I still have all the stings and bites inflamed and itching Friday was then spent testing the fire alarms (which all work), and then riding 5km into Glenelg with Calvin and Mitch to have a look around, find myself on a bin #trashtalk, and buy some choccy milk before riding back for lunch.
Several of us then went to take over the kids pool in our Funky Trunks or DT's and sat there talking in the shade and sipping on electrolytes, killing time before course orientation and briefing. There were a couple of changes to the course since last year; 130 degree corners onto footpaths and a narrow bridge that had previously only been used for running, all adding to the challenge. An early dinner and bedtime were in order, setting my alarm for 7:45 am the next day. Transition 2 opened at 9, and transition 1 at 9:45, so juggling that and a warm-up was a new experience. Sunny, Calm, and 33 degrees made for a perfect day to race, if only my race could have been like the weather….
Being ranked 8th I got to choose almost anywhere I wanted on the start line along the beach and lined up directly with the buoy 300m out. The gun went off and I had a good start for once, probably due to the run into the water. I was up near the front and swimming well before getting drowned at the turning buoy and having to fight my way back up to the surface. Don’t you just love non-contact sports!! Heading back in towards the beach I focused on my technique and increased my rating moving up the inside and getting almost the whole way without any lice. On my last porpoise before running out of the water, I copped a face full of lice stinging me on the nose. I exited in 8th just behind the pack and ran up to my bike, mounting, putting my head down and focusing on closing the gap. It took me one of six laps to catch the front pack however it was well worth it – being the only Qld’r. I comfortably stayed in the pack and we had a 30sec lead to the chase. The corners on the bike were nowhere near as hard as I expected and I had quite a relaxed ride. There was an attack coming into transition and I was caught off-guard and entered in about 5th place.
I slid on my Mizuno wave sonics and gave them a good whirl for the first 1.5km where I was comfortable and in a good position and ready to build. However, my gut had other plans…. Seemingly out of nowhere I began to vomit as I ran along and it turned into a shuffle. I tried several times to get back up to speed but would vomit every time and so I had one of the slowest runs I have ever done in a time of 21mins for 5kms. I crossed the line in 19th after watching every single one of those people go past me and wishing I could follow. My highlight of that day was having a good swim and finding the choc-chip cookies at the finish line – event organizers take note!
That was the end of my day of racing as I spectated the other races and headed back to our accommodation for a shower only to find we had stitched up and our key passed on to other Qld members who failed to inform us of this and so we spent the next 4 hours swimming in our undies and eating a single bag of spinach – thanks to Will. Fast forward four hours – we come back and find Graham in our room having known where the key was the whole time – thanks mate! Being our last night we had to either throw out any leftover food or cook it all up. Not one to waste food, I spent the remainder of my afternoon competing in ‘My Kitchen Rules’ stealing everyone’s food and cooking up a feast, the only difference was that I was the only chef. It’s safe to say I won. A slight amount of mischief was had before heading to bed and hearing Keegan scream about his spider in the cabin next door.
I woke 10mins before my alarm and decided to walk out to the verandah and wait for my alarm to go off and one of other boys have to climb down from the top bunk and across the room to turn it off – sorry Charles- but you needed it – today is relay day. We rode down, put our shoes in transition and then watched the elite relay before riding back, having breakfast and moving all our gear to Cabin 3 for a late checkout. My relay team consisted of Bree Thistlewait, myself, Romy Wolstencroft and Keegan Jenkins as the anchor due to his godly sprint. We worked well together as a team knowing each other’s weaknesses and strengths giving our all and placing 2nd overall and first in Australia – damn those Kiwis.
Like to say a huge thanks to Graham Fidler, Mark Turner and most importantly Cathy from Triathlon Queensland for looking after us and making it possible for us to do what we needed when we needed; I look forward to Perth. Another thank you goes to Ingrid and Sally for keeping my nervous wreck of a mother updated throughout racing back home.