After having a couple of disappointing races earlier this year, I approached this race at a completely different angle. My training lead up, diet (morning of the race) and race preparation had a change for the better. After training with Jamie Turner's group down in Wollongong from the end of January to this weekend I was confident going into the race. During this time I saw massive improvements in my training and especially my run which has been my let down each race. A couple of weeks back I did a 5km run Time Trial where I ran a 15:15.7, over a minute PB. This gave me a huge boost of confidence for my run.
Race 3 was the first world team qualifier and Oceania Sprint Championships. I have been down to Devonport a few times now and the course has always been very similar. It's a 750m ocean swim but normally the surf is flat, this time it was very choppy and 1ft waves were rolling through due to the strong NE wind. The bike course is 20km (4 laps), mainly flat with a few slight rises and a very strong crosswind. Run is 5km (2 laps) and is on the Eastern end of the bike course. Race time was at 12:45pm on Saturday, wind was up all day and temperature was around 20 degrees. The ITU Junior male field consisted of 39 competitors including a couple of New Zealand athletes.
A short run along the sand before entering the water made it very congested, the waves did not help either. My start was smooth but definitely not quick , by the time we got out the back it was swimming at the tail end of the lead pack. On the way back in I had found my rhythm and started picking off other athletes, I was unfortunate to have not caught a wave all the way in but managed to get a few smaller ones to help me to shore. Out of the water in 9th position and onto the bike. There was a small group about 30sec in front and another group of 2 between my group and the leaders. After lap 1 we had caught the 2 just in front and continued chasing the front group. The bike leg felt a lot harder than it should have been, I was in a pack of 6 or so and struggled to hold a turn for more than 5 sec. I had been riding really strong it the lead up but definitely did not show in the race. By the last lap the front group had put another 10sec into my group. Come off the bike 2nd in my pack with some of the fastest runners in the race but a quick transition put me out onto the run ahead of the group. Just as I came out of transition, about 5 guys from my pack sprinted past me, I decided not to chase and run my own run. Shortly after I started picking off those guys who ran past me a the start, one by one. After the first lap I had caught 3 guys from my pack and 2 from the lead group which put me in 5th and continued to put time into them. Held my position to the finish line placing 5th in the Oceania Sprint Championships and 4th in the Australian Junior series race.
Very happy with this race, hard to remember the last time I was overtaking people in the run. Big thanks to Jamie Turner for getting me back up to speed, it goes to show what a few weeks of training with him and his squad does, thanks guys. Also Stevens bikes for their support with the bike, Zensah and Injinji.
I now look forward to resuming my training with the group to prepare for Race 4 of the ITU Junior series in Wellington, New Zealand which is also the last chance to qualify for Junior Worlds Team.