“When we are in London…”, “At Worlds…”, “Wait until after London to…”, “I just want to hurry up and race!”.
Leading up to the World Championships this was by far the most popular talk topic in the past few weeks during our easy runs, long rides and time spent at the recovery centre. It is a pretty special feeling being selected to represent Australia in the green and gold suit on a world stage let alone lining up with your three other Aussie training partners to make up the U23 team. Our close-knit group brought a huge advantage to us all as we were consistently meeting or surpassing the demands of competition in our sessions leading up to London. Yes, there were ups and downs but that is expected and I think as a whole we were able to come away with respectable results. Before I plunge into some highlights I have to inform you that I now have the reigning U23 World Champion to train alongside, Charlotte McShane. This result was a long time coming and she deserves everything that comes with the title, now it is up to us slightly younger ones to keep the title in Aussie territory! Also to Aaron Royle for qualifying for the Commonwealth Games event in Glasgow next year!
So my first triathlon World Championships, just another ITU race right?! Pre-race sessions, race briefing, team dinners, warm-up, the same as usual so why worry? This all makes perfect sense once the race is over but when I was told this the morning of the race it did little to calm my nerves. I am quite aware nerves are good, it means you care but at the same time it can waste energy, energy that is better spent in the last 100m of the run! Once the start horn sounds, all this is lost and there is no time to contemplate anything but the processes involved in racing.
Diving into a balmy 15 degree celcius Serpentine river, the two lap swim called for baby oil lathered underneath my suit and of course my 2XU Project X wetsuit. My start was not terrible but not good enough to avoid a little bit of carnage. This caused me to have to put my head down and bridge some small gaps throughout the second lap.
The 8 lap course included 5 corners and one U-turn, ad no hills but the ground was a little wet. Like any other race, it was important to follow trustworthy wheels and position yourself towards the front of the group. By the 3rd lap there were around 20 girls chasing down the lone British athlete, Lucy Hall who is a phenomenal swimmer. I have to commend her gutsy effort riding solo off the front for nearly 7 laps but by the time we were running in to T2, we were the front group and it was down to a 10km running race.
My T2 was woeful. If you watch the race highlight video, I am dead last out of transition. I knew there were some girls who would be quick from the start, my training partners included so this was far from ideal. I worked hard within the first kilometer to catch back on although struggled to hold pace and fell back again. The resulting gap from my little blow up in lap 1 did not grow a great deal during the next 2 laps, leaving me running down the blue finishing carpet in 12th position.
It is always nice to beat your ranking on the start list and for my first World Championships race, I wasn’t too disappointed with my result. I have set a benchmark this year, something I can use to fuel the desire to be better in the future! A huge thank you to my coach Jamie Turner for ensuring I was as best prepared as I could be and the ‘Wollongong Wizards’ for making the sometimes tough lead up to worlds enjoyable. Bernard Savage, Emma Whitelaw, coaches and support staff from Triathlon Australia who all made the week as easy as possible so all the athletes only had to worry about racing.
Despite London World’s feeling like the climax of the year, the 2013 race season is not over with 2 more races to come!