Monday, 3 March 2014

Oceania Championships Devonport, TAS + Team Zoggs

I managed to cut back my hours at work the past two weeks to prepare myself for the longer distance and Devonport is an extremely tough course. This would be my fourth time down to Tassie, first time being a 13 year old at All Schools and now racing as an U23 Elite against Australia's and New Zealand's best. Departed Sydney early Thursday morning with Dad for the trip to Launceston, quick flight over the Bass Strait and I was in a crisp 10°C, picked up the car and headed towards Devonport. Despite the cold the weather was awesome, very little wind and clear sky's. Just kept Thursday pretty chilled, watched a couple of movies and got some dinner before some pre race training the next day. Woke up Saturday morning to yet again another splendid day, headed to race site late morning for a swim, water was a little fresh but standard to where I live. Grabbed a bite to eat and was then on the bike to check out the course, they had included the North St hill again this year which was definitely going to test out the entire field, didn't get much hill training in on the bike but hoped for the best. Training done for the day and off to the athlete's briefing for a quick run down of Saturday's race. First Olympic Distance race for a while, 2 lap 1500m swim with a beach start which works nicely for me, a couple of lumps but no waves. Bike course was 6 laps, 40k Total with a 350m hill at 20% Grade each lap. Run leg 10k, 4 laps out and back course. The water temperature was hovering around 20°C so wetsuit call was to be made an hour before the race.

Race start was at 1530 so wasn't overly keen for a sleep in and decided to set alarm for 0700 to get up and get moving. Just hung out in the hotel room until we were kicked out at 1000 for room check out, drove down to race site to take it easy and watch the Elite Juniors race and Female U23/Elite. Conditions prefect for racing, a little bit more swell was running through the Bass and the wind was up just a little bit more from previous couple of days. Checked in at the athlete lounge just after 1400 and bike racked before commencing my warm up, run done, swim done, it was race time.
Athletes lined up in order of ranking and called down to the beach to take their spot, I was seeded in 35th so didn't like my chances of getting a good spot, as I jog down the beach I notice everyone lining up from right to left. Perfect, I had watched the previous three races and noticed the left side had more sand running out and they were also getting a drag out the back faster closer to the rocks. I took the furthermost spot of the left and watched the rest of the middle places fill up, whilst most of the top athletes were started on the complete opposite side, I was confident with my position.
The race was on and I was off to a cracking start, leaping over waves, a few dives and I was in the water swimming, after several hard strokes I look to my right and clear water, one guy was looked to be just sitting off level with me that had started way off to the right. I didn't swim over straight away but let the current take me over to him gradually before ending up on his feet in second place around the fist buoy.                                                          Pictured furthest left
I was now settled in to my pace and keeping on feet, after the second buoy I had a few creep up beside me and sit just in front for more feet to swim on. Coming around for the second lap the buoy was inshore and a few people tried to stand up to make it around but it was just a bit too deep, luckily I had decided to just swim around cause it could have made for some problems. Second lap went by pretty quickly and a few guys just edged a bit further in front. Wasn't able to catch a wave on the way in but came out it the front pack with one guy just ahead after having caught a wave. Quick transition and onto the bike for a gruelling 40k, the attacks were already firing . I was on the rivet just trying to hold wheels then the hill was upon me, not thinking straight I had positioned myself to the back of the pack for the first climb and suffered terribly, the pack split up and I was stuck at the back watching them get further away. As I round the U-Turn they are on their way downhill and that was the last I saw of them, a stupid mistake cost me the rest of the race. The chase pack I was in had 6 guys, a couple of Aussies and a few NZ's, at times we worked well and other times very inconsistent and making it harder for everyone in the pack. The front pack was increasing their lead and we were slowing getting chased down by the third pack. Last lap almost complete and heading towards transition, I was feeling the effects of the hill.
Onto the run now and jumped straight behind Sexton ready for a fast first couple of k's, feeling good, legs were turning over quickly, ready to get this 10k done then bam! I almost came to a stop, my stomach cramped severely and I was struggling to get air into my lungs. I had to slow right down and get my breathing under control if I was going to finish this race, other athletes pass and the thought of pulling out comes into my head as I take deep breaths and my pace drops dramatically. I was not pulling out, not in the position I was. After the first lap, I was starting to get it under control but was not running anywhere fast so took the next lap the same. Half way point now and as I turn around, grab some water I feel a set of new legs and lungs, the pace start to pick up and everything feels smooth. That lap was good, much quicker than the first two and I was still increasing, if only that had been there the first lap. Last lap now and one guy has just been sitting off the back the past few km's and starts to creep near but I find another gear and start to pull away, further and further. The last 1km I'm feeling the best I have all run and actually running at race pace but by then it was too late and the damage was done.
I was pretty happy with the final result, placing 6th in the U23 category and 12th overall in the Elites. Great race venue at Devonport, I will continue to come here in the following years. Love the beach swims and quality bike course. I now have two weeks until the next race, Continental Cup Mooloolaba. Really looking forward to this one, fingers crossed for a surf swim this year.... not the lake.

Also would like to say a huge thanks to Zoggs Australia, I have a signed a 2 year contract with the swim brand. I have been using their goggles since I started triathlons and are in a league of their own, by far the best triathlon goggle on the market. Superior comfort and performance, stoked to be on the team. Pictured below wearing the Zoggs Predator Polarized

No comments:

Post a Comment