Canberra was scorching when I arrived, a lovely 40 something degrees. Friday afternoon we had course orientation and then a briefing later at the AIS. I chose not to get in the water as the swim course was changed and I wasn’t feeling confident with the water quality, not wanting to risk any sickness the day before racing. The bike course was a rough T shape with constant undulation but nothing too hard. There was a lovely u-turn through a car park that was pretty rough through the apex but smoothed out towards the end of the corner. This was where I spent most of my time whilst the cycle course was open, practising my line and getting comfortable with it. Saturday was race day, and transition posed an unusual problem; the racks were waaay too short. I had to come up with a way to rack my bike and used some good old rubber bands to hold it in place, see my beautiful creation below.
The swim course was extremely congested as the race only consisted of a 300m swim, 9.6km ride and a 1.6km run. The first buoy was only 85m from the start and had a tight turn making the course a triangular shape. The gun went off and the carnage began with a solid kick to my face resulting in a blood nose, making breathing a lot harder than it should be. It was an extremely physical swim amongst the pack and I fought for every clean stroke I could get and it paid off. I had a pretty good swim by my standards and was able to exit just off the back of the front pack. I got to my bike in transition to find that my ingenious use of rubber bands worked perfectly and I had a killer transition making up some spots. There was a little hill just past the mount line and I chose to put my feet in my shoes before this, power up the hill, and catch the front pack. I decided what the heck and decided to charge straight past them, lose a bit of brake pad going into the corner way faster than I should have and catch Lockie who was still out the front from the swim. For the rest of the race, I just had a crack to see what I could do. Lockie and I came in just ahead of the pack and hit the run together.
I may have cooked my legs a little too much as I was 2nd out of transition and 3rd by the end of the run and 8 seconds down. We had two hours to recover before the next race and I got straight into it. Coach G and I had a quick debrief before I got back to work and headed to the start line for race 2. I had some cleaner water for this race and no blood nose making my swimming and breathing a little better. Once again my brilliant transition setup worked flawlessly and I got on the bike just off the back of the front pack. This time I sat on the back and saved some energy before taking the front. We rolled through for the first lap and a half before I took the front, hammed the turn that I had practiced plenty of times the day before and pulled a lead. Unfortunately, this was because Sam had slid out behind me on the corner. I wish you a speedy recovery mate. I took this opportunity and put the power down to try and pull further away. At the far U-turn I realized the group was going to catch me so I took it a little easier to be fresh into transition.
It payed off, I was at the front into transition and in good form hitting the run. It took me until the first turnaround of the 2 lap course to take the lead. I knew that I was 8 seconds down in the last race so if I wanted any chance of winning I had to chase a time. I dug deep and managed to finish 9 seconds in front giving me the overall win by 1 second. It was a close race and I wouldn’t have been able to find the speed without the help of my coach Graham Fidler. That night I was sure to massage my legs with fisiocrem and to prepare for the mixed team relays. We had a killer team line up with Chloe Mclennan, Lachlan Jones, Richelle Hill and myself to bring it home. There isn’t a lot to say about this race, my team put me in the best position possible to win; all I had to do was catch one athlete and bring it home from there. I caught him in the swim and got onto the bike in first. From there it was just head down until the finish line, crossing in 1st place.