1 hour drive from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Bilbao airport, 1.5 hour flight to Paris airport, 7.5 hour wait filled by two trains and a few kilometres of walking to find the pool, quick swim, taxi back to Paris airport to find the terminal temporarily shut down due to a suspicious bag, 12 hour flight including 2 movies and some sleep, 4.5 hour stop over in Tokyo airport spent in a lounge with a very refreshing shower and Wifi, 2 hour flight to Busan, 1 hour drive to Tongyeong Bay Hotel. Welcome to Tongyeong, a coastal fishing village being prepared to host the 19th ITU World Cup. Ok, so it is no South of France or Carribean island but it always puts on a great event and the organisers and locals will do nearly anything for us foreigners which is why this race was on my calendar for the second year in a row.
Flashback to 2012, I left Europe in September having only competed in Continental Cups but with tickets to South Korea to race my first World Cup. It certainly wasn’t disastrous and gave me a starting point, something to work off for the following year. So with that in mind, I lined up on the pontoon at 8am (definitely not in Europe anymore!) to prove to myself I have changed in the last 12 months.
I have been swimming pretty well in training but my swim performances in races are still hit and miss. I do exaggerate a fair bit but I honestly think that halfway to the first buoy I looked left, looked right and was dead last. I didn’t look behind me to confirm this, probably a wise choice because if it was the case I would have lost time looking and undoubtedly stressed myself out. So instead I thought “ohh s**t” (and some other inappropriate words), put my head down and went. Diving in for the second lap I was in a much better state of mind but became too complacent and a lead group got away leaving me entering T1 as a member of the second bike pack, a group of girls who would go on to ride the 5 lap hilly course with no intention of diminishing the gap.
My training partner Tamsyn Moana-Veale explained this the best with her post race Tweet…
I think I have mentioned those tough ‘Hour of Power’ bike sessions we had been doing constantly in the last few weeks in Spain in previous updates. Looking back the three of us should have stopped worrying what other girls were or better said were NOT doing, worked as a trio with a whole lot more URGENCY early on to attempt to close the gap.
Running into T2 two minutes down is obviously not ideal but a 10km run still provides an opportunity to slightly redeem your race. I knew there were girls in that front pack that I could significantly out run. Without being stupid and the aim to do my best work in the back end, I eventually picked up some athletes, crossing the line in a bittersweet 9th place. My first World Cup top 10 but a lost opportunity due to ‘trusting’ others actions. I might have to Google or Yahoo Answer how to develop a trust issue before the 2014 season to ensure this never happens again!
For the record, I did improve on my 2012 but there is definitely a lot more to come! Thank you again to Triathlon Australia, particularly Emma Whitelaw for making this a logistically easy and comfortable race again. My coach, Jamie Turner for ensuring I am always prepared and keeping me on my toes not just at this race but also for the whole season.
The Australian team certainly made a mark in Tongyeong with Emma Jackson and Natalie Van Coevorden on the podium, 1st and 3rd respectively and all Aussie girls in the top 10. Also, Jesse Featonby holding up the fort in the male race with a credible 4th place!