Racing back to back weeks is never easy. Add a flight across Asia, food poisoning and a crash causing a bent derailleur hanger the evening before the race and it’s safe to say my lead up to Singapore was far from perfect.
As we lined up on the start line on Saturday morning none of that mattered. Everyone has their struggles and by standing on that start line I was making a statement that I was ready to race. That’s what I was going to do.
Running into the 31C ocean I felt good. My start wasn’t bad and as we got to the first turn at 350m I was in a good spot. From there things turned pear shaped. By the time we turned to start the second lap there was an obvious split in the group and I had missed it. Heading back out we hadn’t lost too much time but as we made the turn for the shore I had lost sight of the group ahead of us and I lead our group in a terrible line. That’s what happens when you do a bad job checking the course. Much to my frustration, we exited the water 1:05 back of an 11 man group containing all the big names.
Looking around as we came into T1 I felt a slight sense of relief. I was in a group of 6 including 4 other Aussies and a Japanese guy and after assessing who was there I was sure we could work together to chip some time away. Our chances were slightly dashed when a flat caused our group to be cut to 4 at the end of the first lap but we had still taken 15 seconds and we were motivated. Big ups to Dan Coleman and Charlie Quin for their work on the bike. For the first time ever being in a chase group in a conti cup our group worked well enough and by the 5th lap of 7 we were back in the pack and had given ourselves a chance of doing something in the race.
Dismounting together in T2, it was a time for a brutal 10km in the heat. Leaving transition I felt good and moved through a few guys establishing a solid position in 6th by the end of the first 2.5km lap. I was cautiously optimistic and moved into 5th on lap two before the real feel 44C weather started to take its toll on my body. I spent the last 5km desperately wishing there was more shade, more water, more aid stations and less distance to the finish line. The last lap was undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done in sport. I wanted to stop and walk so badly but I knew I had been training hours on end for this moment and I trudged on. Usually crossing the finish line in 6th would have brought with it a big thumbs up, a wave to the camera or at very least a half smile but none of that was anywhere to be seen. Instead I stumbled across the line and leaned on 5th place finisher Taylor Cecil for support (sorry about that mate, I appreciate you keeping me on my two feet.) I’d always longed for a race where I crossed the line feeling like I had nothing left- this was that race. The next 30 minutes were spent on the ground contemplating throwing up or fainting. Thankfully I managed to avoid both and was finally able to get my body temperature down and my body headed in the right direction.
I couldn’t be prouder of the resilience I showed and my ability to laugh at myself in times of adversity this week. Having said that, I’m also a strong believer that you create your own luck and I had done a poor job of that by eating local food and riding over a painted line in the rain. I’ve made a note to never do those things again.
I must give a massive shout out to my roommate for the last two weeks, Chris Huang for the photos and to my friend Tony who took some time out from a business trip to Singapore to come and give his support. Tony and I started running and going to the gym together 5 years ago and running our first 5km together in 2011 is what eventually led me into triathlon. I’m thankful to be able to share a race with him. To everyone else who gave me words of encouragement and support, it is always appreciated.
For now it’s time for a few days off before getting back into a big block of training in the lead up to Murakami on September 25th. Onward and upwards.