My lead up to the Oceania champs and final race of the AJTS series was less than ideal having a bike accident the week before and using my shoulder to suddenly stop. I jumped on the plane anyway and arrived in New Plymouth on Friday afternoon, two days before the race. The weather hit hard on Saturday leaving us athletes to prepare for a cold, wet, windy and choppy race. Bike familiarisation was miserable but I kitted up and stayed warm before testing my shoulder in the swim orientation. Come race day I slept in until 7 am before rolling 300m down the road to race venue and watching the Junior women's race in the rain. I am not a huge fan of the rain so I checked into the athletes lounge and stayed dry whilst my bike was being checked. Water temp of 18 degrees allowed for a wetsuit swim and as we were announced and ran out in rank order, I got to choose the 8th best spot. With 300m to the first buoy, start position wasn't that important, however, I wanted clear water that would keep my shoulder free of any knocks. As per every triathlon ever, this did not work and by the turn I was swamped and being dunked, luckily I had 300m to find clear water on the way back. Once I did I moved up and found myself off the back of a gap to another pack. Exiting the water I was a fair way back but I was happy with my swim given the circumstances.
My usual first transition was quick and I made up lots of time getting my wetsuit off, however, to level the playing field I decided to lose my shoe when mounting my bike. This sent me back to go find it, only to realise it was still attached by a rubber band and just dragging behind my bike. By the time I got on the bike with my shoe I was slightly further back then where I exited the water. Luckily for me, there was a slight hill 300m out of transition and I was able to catch up and move to the front of the group. I didn't appreciate it at the time but the small straight I spent drafting was the only time I got behind someone.
I shifted into the small chainring and sat up to roll past all the strugglers up the hill. It certainly wasn't easy but there were some people who looked like they were in hell; I guess I shouldn't have laughed as that was soon to be me... the next 3 laps on the bike were spent in a similar way, lonely rides on the flats and passing people on the climbs trying to close the gap on the front pack. I was getting close but blew up on the last lap to hit transition with only 1 person in sight. Well, what was meant to be the run leg turned into a shuffle after the first 40m and stayed that way all the way to the line in 34th place. I love the sport, but I absolutely hated every moment of that run. I guess that pretty much sums up the same result for all of my races this season, decent swims, strong cycles and spewing runs. Watch out for next season, in the words of Arnie, I'll be back, this time faster than ever. Peace out #needsmoregoats