I was pretty keen for this race as it was the first one on my new Cannondale System six thanks to the guys at V1 Cyclery. Dad dropped me off to the airport nice and early on Friday morning for my flight via Melbourne to Davonport, landing with the Triathlon Queensland team. Davonport is a pretty small place so it didn't take long for us to arrive at our accommodation and build our bikes. The afternoon was pretty rushed but I managed to fit in a couple of laps on the bike course and go for a small swim at the same tide as race day. I didn't think the water was cold enough for a wetsuit, but if it was then I would certainly wear one. The bouyancy and increase in speed far out ways the time it takes to remove it over a 750m swim. After the race briefing I grabbed some ravioli from the shops and cooked it up back at our cabin for some alfresco dining watching The Spirit Of Tasmania depart for the mainland right in front of our accommodation.
I didn't bother to set an alarm for the morning as I didn't race until 4pm, so a sleep in was in order. I made the most of this rare opportunity and slept until about 9am and lay in bed until 10 before cooking a nice big brunch, stretching, rolling, getting my gear ready and hanging out with Lachy Hovius. Then it was back to bed for another nap, more food and then off to the race venue. Our schedule was pretty tight after checking in. There was a 15 minute window for us to set up transition and do our swim warm up, but due to the previous race still going, this became less then 10 minutes. Most of us put on our wetsuits before transition to save some time and get in a bit more of a swim warm up, but this backfired as the queue into transition for bike check was long, and I felt like a sausage in an oven, cooking in my wetsuit. I finally managed to get in the water and was told I had 3 minutes to warm up... Oh well, I made the most of it and had done a land warm up prior so figured I would be right. The race order was called out over the mic and I was number 40 so didn't have the most ideal starting position with quite a bit further to swim and cut across to the first buoy. The race began and so did my shocking swim... I got hammered out to the first buoy and slowly started to make my way back through the pack along the back straight. The water was quite choppy with some rolling swell which was constantly changing but I used it to my advantage on the way back in, making up a few more places. I exited the water a fair way back, made up several positions through transition and mounted the bike in 25th place 50 seconds behind the leaders.
This was my first race on the Cannondale System Six from the legends at V1 Cyclery, and I really appreciated the stiffness, especially up that lovely hill. It took me half a lap to catch the second pack, right at the base of the hill. I decided to keep charging and rode straight through them up the hill and was solo for another lap before getting a kiwi buddy to work with on the bike. We pulled away from the chase pack but didn't seem to close on the front pack of 7.
I hit the run to begin the chase and managed to run into 5th place overall and 2nd Aussie behind Oscar Dart who claimed the automatic selection for the world championships. Hopefully, my result was enough to win the Australian series and gain the attention of Triathlon Australia for a discretionary spot on the team. That night I massaged in some fisiocrem to prepare myself for tomorrow, then headed out for dinner with the queensland team.
The following day we had the Oceania Mixed Team Relays which are always a crowd favourite. I was given a pretty awesome team with Zoe Leahy leading out, Kye Wylde second, Milan Agnew third, and myself as the anchor to bring it home. I was tagged in about 5th or 6th position and opted for no wetsuit over the 300m swim. Stepping up and racing with the U23 and elites, I knew that I would struggle to hang on in the swim so dived straight onto the feet of two other swimmers that came past in wetsuits.
I slowly dropped off the back and last the draft but kept a level head knowing that I would have a faster transition without a wetsuit. this played out perfectly and I tacked onto the back of the big boys exiting transition. Unfortunately, the strap of my shoe pulled out of the loop upon mounting, so I did the whole ride without my shoes done up; this was only a problem out of the u-turns or when somebody attacked. we worked well as a small group of 3 to catch one of the other Aussie teams and then they left me on the front. I sat up and we started going pretty slow, but now the race became tactical and a matter of saving energy for the run. I hit transition in 6th place and ran my way into 5th over the 1600m run, officially we finished 4th due to a DQ. I loved being given the opportunity to race against those much stronger and older than me and gained valuable experience going forward.