Last year's result had set an expectation and I could feel the pressure. Wednesday was not the ideal pre race preparation standing in line for over 2hours to collect my race registration after swim familiarisation. The swim course was rather straight forward and with wide turns using two buoys. This allowed for less congestion and a faster swim. To add even more time on my feet pre race, there was the Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony dinner. Everybody left as soon as the food was served and headed home to prepare for their race.
Friday afternoon, straight after work, my coach Graham Fidler picked up myself and Billy Bishell for a boys trip to Ballina. Traffic wasn’t great and we arrived at our cabin just before 7:30 pm, unloaded heated up some of mums spaghetti, showered and went to sleep. That night the rain came bucketing down with the caravan park recording just shy of 100mm overnight, boy was I glad to be in a cabin. Saturday was a rainy and miserable morning made even better by discovering a flat tyre on Coach G’s car.
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.
If I can take anything out of the weekend it is how to bounce back and have a solid crack, even if it fails twice in a row. I flew over Friday morning and met up with the small travelling team of Calvin Franklin, Emma Hogan, Myself, and Tim Harridine (TQ) as the overseer. With such a long flight it was a tight schedule for the rest of the afternoon. Arriving at our accommodation we got straight into assembling and fine-tuning our bikes, of which mine needed plenty.
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.
2018 put on a cracker of a first race, 30 degree water, minimal wind and scorching sun, all good things to have when you plan on pushing the body’s limits. My morning was off to a brilliant start having had one piece of toast at 3:45 am, then forgetting my breakfast and racing at 9am in the heat on an empty stomach. I was sweating before I even began my warm up, so I decided to shorten the running and do more of my warm up in the water. The race was a 400m swim, 16km ride and a 4km run.
6 Individual races and 1 relay, it was always going to hurt. Some big changes have occured since last season such as graduating school, getting a job and juggling training, so I was not expecting anything from the Super Sprint Race Weekend. Each event was broken into 3 random heats with points being allocated to the top athletes with the fastest times. The 1500m was the first event and I scored 0 points, unable to find any speed. It was the same story for the next event, a 200m run, 8km cycle, 200m run, 0 points. I took it on the chin, went for a nap and re evaluated my current ability.
One of the biggest stages of my life just came to an end, graduating high school, so I headed to Kawana for two races in two days. I have been slowly building my speed and strength and planned on using these races to gauge where I am at. Saturday morning was an Aquathlon with some miserable rainy weather made better by seeing some familiar faces for the first time in several months. I set up with my Mizuno Wave Sonics in transition underneath a towel for the rain and took my cap, goggles, and Mizuno Hitogami’s to the start line.
With grade 12 exams and being sick, my lead up was less than ideal, almost non existent. I finished my exams on Friday, packed, and flew to Amsterdam on Saturday. I was due to race 1 week later on the 17th, and the weather was rainy and miserable. The next few days were spent touristing, adjusting to time zones, and getting over jet lag. Wednesday morning I caught the train to Rotterdam and by no surprise, it was raining. After putting my bike together I went for a small ride to have a look around.