The last race of the Australian Junior series had come around very quickly, the end of my Australian triathlon season was very near. Headed down to Wellington, New Zealand on the 7th of March with the TRINSW squad. We arrived early afternoon to extremely good weather for NZ, a little cold compared to what I am use to but a lot better than the first time I went there. With a day and bit of training we were scheduled to race at 10am Saturday morning. The majority of the field was Australian athletes but was good to see a few NZ athletes. This was a sprint distance race 750m swim in Wellington Harbour, 20km bike leg (3 laps) along Oriental Parade with a 300m climb each lap with some windy conditions and 5km (2 lap) flat run along the footpath.
35 U19 males lined up at the start ready to go in very different conditions to what I arrived in, very cold, windy and overcast. Race was off and I had a terrible start, bit hesitant off the pontoon and I dived in a tad late to get an absolute thrashing out to first buoy which was under 200m away. The start cost me big time for the rest of the race, only got my rhythm in the back half of the swim and it was too late by then. Come out of the water 10sec behind the lead pack (which consisted of about 10 riders) with another athlete, we worked really well on the bike picking up another athlete who had dropped off the main group. Going up the hill for the first time I felt strong and stuck with the other guy but 100m before the turn around at the top he managed to get a little gap and left me for dead on the downhill. Within the next couple of km's he caught the lead pack and I was still pushing my hardest to chase them down, got close with the tail wind behind but as soon as I turned into the headwind I realised I had no chance so had to make the decision to hold up and wait for the chase pack who was close behind. Pack caught me with Just under a lap and a half to go and sat in to save the legs for the run. I knew there was a lot of fast runners in this group so I made sure that I gave myself the best chance to stick with them. Off the bike and onto the run, within the first 100m 2 runners came past and I was able to kick and run with them. Stuck close to them for the next lap and a half and picked off quite a few athletes from the lead group, it wasn't until the last turn around one of the athletes kicked and broke away, the other guy and myself tried to chase but he had set a quick pace. The last 500m I passed another athlete from the front group but both athletes I was running with had got away, almost caught another front group athlete but finished 2sec behind in 9th position.
Bit disappointed with that result as another few seconds in the swim would have put me in lead pack and would have been looking at a lot higher position. Finished 9th out of 35 Junior males, only 17sec between 4th and myself. Have my first Continental Cup race this weekend over the Olympic distance, really looking forward to that.