Wollongong OTU Race Report
It's hard for me to admit, but the last few weeks have seen me seriously evaluate my place within the sport of triathlon.It had taken me a long time but I was finally getting close to breaking point.. The injuries, watching other people race the races I wanted to be competing in, losing money on flights and accommodation when I couldn't race and setting what I believe to be the world record for most races withdrawn from in an 18 month period.. Why was I doing it?? Walking down to the beach for the start at Wollongong on Saturday afternoon, the answers I'd been searching for all came to me. I love the competition. I love knowing that when it really comes down to it I can believe in myself because I have done everything possible to give myself the best chance of success.
Standing on the beach prior to the race, everything hit me. I had done next to no running in the six weeks leading up to the race.. the pressure was off. If ever I had a ready-made triexcuse, it was now. From there all sense of nervousness left me. It was go time and I was the most relaxed for a triathlon start I had ever been.
Being ranked number 30 in the race gave me little choice in where I started. After Aaron Royle went towards the left, everyone followed suit until we virtually lined up in order from left to right. The choppy conditions out in the Wollongong Harbour meant the sprint distance swim had the potential to be a little dicey. After getting off to a horribly slow start and being one of the last in the water, I was able to find some space. Expecting a full on brawl, I was surprised to round the first buoy relatively unscathed and had moved up considerably. The second buoy was a bit more challenging. I copped a nice elbow to the head before settling in with the water moving back to shore. Exiting the swim surrounded by a massive group of guys I felt pretty confident I'd be able to latch onto the pack. With a nice long run up to transition, I moved up a few spots and got out of T1 quickly. That's when the fun started.
There were so many guys within seconds of each other that there was definitely going to be a big pack. The only problem was making it. At this point, I'd usually panic and hammer a ridiculous amount of watts trying to latch on, but I didn't. I sat on the wheel of an athlete from Taipei and let him give me a little pull while I assessed my options. Thankfully option A included my teammate Adam who was working solo to make the group. I jumped across to his wheel and we worked together nicely to close the gap on a yo-yoing group that was still trying to sort itself out. From there, the 6 lap bike was rather uneventful. I positioned myself poorly as we came towards transition and was at the back of the 23 man pack as we set out for a 5km foot race.
After a decent T2 I was right where I needed to be.. but boy I was hurting. Running right behind Rudge was great for the first 500m but I didn't believe I could do it for 5km so I let him go. Thankfully things started to click somewhere during the first lap and I found some run legs. I tucked in behind another Aussie athlete and that is where we stayed until the top of the last hill. Unsurprisingly, my sprint finish legs weren't quite there and I had to settle for 14th. I entered the race trying to convince myself I'd be happy running a 17:30 5km so to run 16:22 gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.
For full results click HERE
I honestly believe I had the best support crew out there so I owe a massive thanks to everyone that was cheering me on. You guys all know who you are. From here it's time to start running and racing. If anyone is in Canberra this weekend I will be toeing the line in another sprint distance draft legal race on Saturday morning. The swim begins at Rond Terrace. I'd love to see as many faces as possible out there supporting all the PTC athletes and the sport of triathlon.
Until then... ONWARDS AND UPWARDS.