Subic Bay Continental Cup Race Report
Race week for Subic Bay Continental Cup was much like any other race of late for me. The injuries and niggles that had me questioning my ability to perform on race day slowly disappeared as the weekend grew closer. Blisters on the bottom of my feet from the previous week's 10km meant race morning was spent taping my feet in a way that I hoped wasn't too tight yet didn't come off during the swim. The ungodly heat of the Philippines during the middle of the day meant race organisers had the start at 5:30am as soon as the sun rose. The anticipation of wondering if there was enough light coupled by a long 'on your marks' call was met by the sound of the horn and we were off. Only I wasn't. I was on my hands and knees watching everyone else enter the water after slipping on the start mat. The long 700m swim out was roped off forcing athletes towards the right trying to get on feet and follow the rope. I knew a couple of Aussie boys would be out fast dictating the race for the day and I desperately wanted to be there. If there was a race you didn't want to miss the start, this was it. I fought so hard to get up to lead rolling over other athletes, copping elbows, punches, kicks and anything else you can imagine but ultimately just couldn't bridge up and was stuck in between a couple of athletes in what was probably the most frustrating swim of my triathlon career.
Hopping on the bike with a group of 6 was positive but after a couple of kms I wasn't confident in the strength of our group or our willingness or ability to work together efficiently. Given I could see the lead duo just up the road and wasn't sure about their motivation to stay away I decided to take things into my own hands and bridge the gap with a Syrian athlete who seemed the most motivated to contribute something. A couple of kilometres later and there were four of us off the front. This is how it stayed for another 10kms until we were caught before the turnaround for lap 2. The rest of the bike was a leisurely roll for our pack of 8.
After double flatting the day before the race I was most looking forward to racking my bike in T2 and getting out on the run. Exiting T2 I slotted in 3rd of a group of 4. We ran together for a few kilometres before fellow Aussie Joel Tobin-White started stretching the elastic and broke away. I yo-yoed on and off James Cronis' shoulder but eventually dropped off and settled into third. The rest of the run was spent trying to figure out if one of the Filipino athletes was a lap down or had run a 3km lap quick enough lead out a WTS race. After seeing him walking through an aid station on the final turn around my worries left me and I began to savour the moment of my first continental cup podium.
I'm extremely happy with how my legs held up during the run and am looking forward to taking some good form into next week's sprint distance Oceania Championships in Penrith with a few of my PTC teammates. One box ticked, back to work to tick off a few more!