About three weeks ago I had a crash on my bike resulting in a fractured scaphoid (a bone in the wrist). At the time I was probably more disappointed than hurt because round 2 of the Australian Junior Tri Series was just 2 weeks away and QLD School Sport State Champs is just around the corner. But I tried to stay positive: it was the perfect chance to observe an important race from a different perspective, and it gave me a good chance to work on my weakest leg which is the run – for now.
ROBINA – ROUND 2 OF AJTS (SATURDAY) AND ROUND 5 OF QTS (SUNDAY)
Everyone expected a super hot weekend but the conditions turned out to be wet and cold on Saturday, which is not ideal weather, especially for a draft-legal race. Watching all the competitors warm up made me jealous because I couldn’t race, and watching them race just made me more motivated. With the wet conditions there were a couple of crashes and I hope everyone involved has a speedy recovery.
The conditions were much better the following day: the sun was behind the clouds and the temperature was cool and dry. It was a real eye opener watching everyone race in non-drafting compared to drafting because the results were different. I could tell that all the competitors who raced on Saturday were tired for Sunday.
Not being able to race gave me a chance to see a totally difference perspective from my fellow competitors that I wouldn't normally see as I would of been racing.
If there’s one thing I learnt from (watching) these races, it’s that everyone is hurting just as much as the next person… also that spectating is a lot harder than it seems, but at least I was comfortable in my Mizuno shoes.
RUNAWAY BAY SUPER SPRINT RACE WEEKEND
(Round 1 of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series)
Round one of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series – Runaway Bay Super Sprint Race Weekend. It was fast and furious weekend, to accumulate points in short and sharp races, and I was excited (and nervous) to be a part of it. The event format caters for track runners and it was a perfect opportunity to race against my weakness – the run (for now). The weekend consisted of 5 races for the Youth and 6 races for the Juniors: aquathlon, criterium, track run and two triathlons (3 for the juniors).
Make the A Final (top 18)
200m swim/ 1200m run
This was my first race of the day so I was nervous. The only time to do any sort of swim warm up was before 9:45, even if my heat wasn’t supposed to start until 11:20 (third heat). For my swim warm up I did 300m plus a couple of practice starts and finishes. Briefing for all athletes then began at 10:00.
When the time came, I did my run warm up with another SCTA competitor who was also in my heat. Our warm up consisted of 10 minutes of jogging and run drills to warm up the legs and another 5 minutes of stretching. Since we could only do one swim warm up before, I spent the next 15 minutes swinging my arms and keeping them loose before my race start.
I had a very good start, I dived in and immediately set out at a fast, comfortable pace. I was equal with everyone for the first 50m but after that I held my pace as the other competitors started to drop off and got a small head start for the rest of the race. I sprinted into transition and put on my Mizuno shoes on quickly, then I started the 1200m run. I felt confident in my run and managed to hold off second place until the last lap. I crossed the line in 3rd for my heat and 9th overall.
BIKE CRITERIUM (Le Mans start)
300m run/ 4km bike/ 300m run
This is one of the races I was looking forward to the most for the day as I have improved so much on my bike strength and handling with the help of head coach Toby Coote. Since the bike track was in use, I could only do a run warm up. 20 minutes prior to my heat I started my warm up and got ready for the quick 300m start.
On the start line I positioned myself where it was less crowded to prevent myself from getting swarmed by the other competitors. I headed into transition in about 5th but was one of the first ones out (those hours of transition practice really pay off). I mounted my bike and sprinted around the initial corners after the mount line. When the group caught up we rode as a group but not really working well as a team.
When the turn-around came for the second lap I made sure I was at the front because I knew I had put in the practice of getting around the corners fast. I made a small gap on the pack but hesitated and waited for them. Going into transition I was second, but once again came out first. I was really excited about being first but I didn’t realise how drained my legs were from doing a lot of work on the bike and I crossed the line in 5th.
Looking back on this race I know there is a lot that I have learned from it. I know I can handle my bike better and I know from the last time I raced, my bike strength had improved so much. After thinking about what I could have done differently, there is one thing that stands out: I did more work on the bike than I should of and as a result I tired my legs for the run. This race really showed that a moment of hesitation or doubt can put yourself in a difficult position. I should have done the second half of the bike by myself when I had the chance.
800m track run
After a long day of racing was tired and by the last race my head was not in the game for the 800m run. I did a small warm up but it was definitely not enough. The start line was very crowded and when the whistle went everyone fought to get that inside lane. I held a decent pace for the first lap because of the adrenaline but after a careless warm up I tired quickly in the second lap. I still held a position in the middle of the heat but by the last 100m I lost a couple more positions and as a result I didn’t make the final.
SUPER SPRINT TRI (Heat)
200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
After the crit race I had one goal for this race: get out of the swim in front and see if I can go by myself on the bike.
I was really nervous but looking forward to this race. I was excited to put all my experience from the previous day into this race to achieve a better outcome. Once again, I did an early swim warm up in case the pool wasn’t open later (which it turned out to be open). My warm up was very similar to the one I did in the aquathlon this time I only did a 200m swim plus practice starts and finishes. After the warm up I got changed into something dry because it would be a couple hours before my race start. Before I started my warm up I had an Endura Gel to give me a bit more energy without having to eat too much.
At 30 minutes before my race I started my land warm up, I did 10 minutes’ worth of jogging and strides; I spent a further 5 minutes stretching and doing muscle activations. Now with 15 minutes before my race I headed to the pool and did the same swim warm up I did earlier that morning. After that I continuously swung my arms before the start.
I had a good swim, I was in the same lane as another competitor who swims about the same pace as I do so we kept each other going. I hoped out of the pool quickly and sprinted into transition and came out with a gap on the next few competitors. Thinking back on the criterium I knew this was my chance to put my goal to the test. I mounted my bike and sprinted as hard as I could before putting my shoes on. I didn’t make much ground but at least I had about 75m of a head start as a began the run. My legs tired still tired from the bike, I did my best to hold off second and third place until I was caught near the last lap.
I finished my heat in 3rd and it was the 6th fastest time overall. The points I scored over the whole weekend put me in 8th at this point and it was enough to put me in the A final later that day.
SUPER SPRINT TRI (Grand final)
200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
After the heat, I was really hyped to see what I could do in the final, I was super nervous. Once again, I started my warm up 30 minutes before my start and followed my usual routine. I was ready to have a race similar to the heat. I was positioned next to a different competitor who was also about my speed in the pool again and through the whole swim we pushed each other. We were the first two out of the water but I was the first into transition and the first out. When I got my bike, the others were not that far behind so I sprinted as hard as I could to the mount line and sprinted the initial corners and onto the track.
Almost immediately I was caught by another strong cyclist who I worked well with but there was another girl with her who spent a great deal of time screaming at us to go faster for her but refused to share the load. As a result, I was quite shaken but it has been a huge learning experience about how to be stronger mentally and the importance of treating other competitors with respect. By the end of the first lap we ended up as one big pack and came off the bike as one large group.
When we came into transition I racked my bike but struggled to get my shoes on, they were no tighter than they were before but I began panicking as the other competitors ran out if transition. When I finally got them on I sprinted out of transition but settled into a slower than usual pace. After previous obstacles in the race I was in a negative head space and I shouldn’t have been affected as much as I was. I finished the race in 14th. I wasn’t particularly happy with this race but there was nothing I could do to change it.
Regardless of the outcome I made sure to congratulate all the competitors after each race because in the end we all put in our best effort to reach our goal