Holten European Junior Cup - Race Report
Junior Elite Draft Legal
Result – 9th Place
What an experience this has been. Not only was this my first-time racing without the presence of my personal bike mechanic/bag carrier (aka dad), but it was also my first race in Europe. Beside the experience of racing, this 'mini trip' has also given me exposure to the life of a traveling triathlete and what is required in order to perform at your best in all situations.
Luckily, had the some pretty good company around me to provide a bit of guidance and keep me on track and show me what is required in order to be the best.
The weekend started with a day of travel; train, plane, train and van. St Moritz --> Holten. That was a fun adventure. Just the amount of organisation we had to do and making sure we were on time and everything was enough of a jolt start to the weekend. Once we located our accommodation, we unpacked the bikes, had a local feed and got everything ready for the next day.
Friday consisted of light activity, exploring the local bike paths, registration and briefing. Despite getting lost in the town centre in the morning, I was able to find my way back and rest up for the afternoon. After a good feed at dinner, the alarms were set and we were ready to go.
Next morning was usual core race routine but unfortunately without the presence of father or coach we had to ride into T2 and then a little while to T1, where the race began (yes there were two separate transitions about 9km apart. It was quite the pre-race adventure).
After warm up, we set out for the pontoon. I must admit, I should practice my dives with these pontoon starts, but that wasn't the only issue. Although I had a good start, I struggled to find good feet. Usually I like the chop, but this time around my swim just wasn't up for the ride. I had my worse swim in a while. It’s not only a physical thing, but also a confidence thing in the swim. You could be as tiny or as broad as possible, but if you have any doubts, they are exposed in the open water. I must admit I was unsure about how my swim would hold up against these girls and they defiantly showed the level expected.
My first transition wasn't my better either when I fumbled with my helmet and hesitated wen mounting the bike (I did leap in the end, I just took a bit longer). Before I knew it, the two packs in front had gone out of site. Again, my first half of the race hadn't gone to plan and I had to resort to typical attack mode. I could have sat up and waited for the girls behind me to form a pack and go, but just put my head down and went for it on the bike because I said to myself "it’s not over yet...."
I put in a huge effort on the bike and 4 of the Dutch girls behind me drove through. We powered up to the next group of three. Once we hit town, I charged up the hill. One Finnish girl joined me and we broke away through the technical downhill. We then caught up to the large second pack. Once we hit the hill again on the second lap around town, she took off on the front and I chased her wheel.
We dropped the second group and picked up one girl from the front pack on the way through. It was one of my best bike legs I've ever done. My T2 was pretty rusty too as I changed my bike position on the rack because I was unsure. I definitely know now. Anyway...
On the run, the Finnish girl took off and pushed the pace. I sat behind her the whole first lap and she definitely pushed me to my limit. On the second lap, she broke away, putting 7 seconds into me; the amount she beat me by in the end. I also gained many places on that run with the both of us having the fastest (her) and second fastest (me) run splits of the day. Although, I was able to overtake someone in the last 500m. My 'top end speed' - aka battle to the finish - decided to kick in.
All in all, I was happy with a top 10. To come in 9th in my first Junior European Cup was pretty cool, but there are many things I could've and should've done better. It definitely was not my finest race but nonetheless I know what needs be polished and refined for next time. At least I can still say I put my all into this race. Hopefully I've learnt in this one for next time. Can't wait for the rest of camp.
Shootout to Kelly Ann who Took out second place in the elite females with the fastest run split of the day! Cheers to Mizuno for the flying kicks, definitely helped on the run where no blisters or sores where given. Also, to Unique Health Products for supplying the CLIF nutrition for pre and post-race. Kept me fuelled up and energised.
The experience and knowledge I've gained on this trip has been incredible. I can't wait for more.
OSAKA-Castle Triathlon 10/06/18
ITU Asian Cup – Elite Female Debut
Sprint Distance – Draft Legal
Results - 8th Place
I was nervous. To be honest, it had been a while since I did a major race. Let alone an international race. I was quivering at the start line as they pounded the heart beat over the speakers. But before we get to that, let's re-live the journey to that intimidating start line....
My dad and I decided it would be a good idea to arrive on the Wednesday night before the race, giving me a full 3 days to recover from the travel. We had all our paperwork organised and had a planned each step to get from the airport to the hotel.
We arrived in Osaka at 7:30 pm and worked our way through each of the steps to reach the hotel. With a lot of perseverance, luck and the good will of the Japanese people, we were able to reach the hotel and discover a great feed. It was going smoothly.
The next few days consisted of going to the event hotel, to the Osaka pool, getting lunch (a new place each day), sleeping for an hour; a jog; dinner (we tested out different restaurants each night) them more sleep. I swear I had never had so much shut-eye for days in a row. I kept on getting stiff because we were in the same position for so long.
Throughout these days, we discovered beautiful areas, lovely people, great running routes and of course some DELICIOUS food. Luckily dad and I love Japanese food; we were right at home.
On the Friday, I got to finally test the new Felt bike on the course. It was amazing. Responsive, light and fast as hell. A huge shout out to josh for ensuring I had a bike for this race and going above and beyond what I could consider good customer service to keep me from stressing. You guys at Felt, especially Josh, are inedible!
On the Saturday, after the swim course familiarisation, another good feed and the athlete briefing/rego, we headed back for some more napping. That night, we had decided to revisit one of our favourite restaurants (you could not go past this incredible noodle). I was literally up to my eyeballs in shrimp and onion yakisoba. It's incredible fuel.
The next morning began with pancakes and coffee. Once the breakfast settled, I went for the last 10 min jog before the race. Finally, the jelly legs from the flight had gone and I was actually feeling good running. My swimming had been pretty consistent these past couple of days. But my legs? They were a different story. But today, they had decided to come back.
After doing a small pack, I made the 'race' sandwiches for dad and I. We devoured them as we headed to THE CASTLE.
Just the mere thought of racing around a castle sounded pretty cool to me.
Swim in the moat….
Ride through the surrounding maze….
Run through the gardens….
I was pumped. Also nervous as hell….
After the usual pre-race procedures and the elite men were on the run, transition was set up and the swim warm up under way. I was feeling good, although still very unsure.
We lined up. They call our names. We ran onto the pontoon. I had never had a pontoon start before. I'm pretty shocking at diving so this was going to be interesting.... Being number 33, I was one of the last (out of 45), hence most spots were taken by the time I hit the pontoon. Luckily, my number where I practiced was still free.
The heart beat music began. Then paused. It was a quick "on your marks" then the hooter went. I swear the girl next to me false started. The hooter went off again, but nobody stopped so the race had officially begun. I must admit, I had a good start then was engulfed by a large group of girls. I was dragged to the first buoy then forced to back off whilst going around it.
I saw a good opportunity on the inside of the next buoy and was able to cut off a group of girls. I saw a huge gap open in front of me between the first and second pack. This made me angry, so I just went for it. I was so frustrated at my first-buoy-turn around and the ground I had lost. Something came over me and I tried to bridge the gap. I got within 15m of the front girls, but unfortunately just missed their trail out of the water.
Despite that, I was stoked to lead out the second group. My best swim to date.
My transition was good and I was able to get on the back of another string rider. For the next lap and a half, we worked on the front of our little pack, trying to bridge between us and the front. The front group had split into two and by the third lap we had joined with them and formed a big second pack. The front girls still about 40 second ahead. The new bike was great and it helped to have a trusty felt bicycle on the technical course.
My dismount was great. I was 5th into transition! And 5th out too. That gave me a huge hit of adrenaline before the run.
By the 500m mark I had overtaken the girls in my pack and was in per suit of the front bunch. I could just see them up the road. They had spread out and by the first turn around I was in 11th. I really had to stay on the rivet and focus in this one. I was in pursuit of a top 10 finish and the girls were holding a steady pace.
On the second lap, I got a second wind and found my rhythm. I just had to hear Toby's voice in my head telling me to lean forward, relax and trust yourself. Gradually I 'wheeled them in' (as dad would say) one by one and by the last turn around I was in 8th.
By this moment a Korean girl in front of me now a good friend) put on a spur to get away. Half way back on the last lap I was 15m off her feet and my legs were barely rolling beneath me. I looked down to lean forward and try to drive a bit more but buy the time I looked up, she had put 20m into me. I just focused on finishing the run. Had a few quick glances behind and finished with a big smile. It was one of the most satisfying races I had ever done.
Afterwards I could barely breathe. I congratulated the others on the way through to the end and slugged my way to the athlete lounge. Sure, I had that great post-race high, but I could have also fallen asleep right then and there.
Overall, it was an incredible experience; adding more fuel to the fire and making me even more eager to race. Some new friends were made, some new lessons learnt and some goals accomplished. Thanks to the team and family, especially my Dad for this opportunity and helping me get there in one piece (and staying sane).
Excited for what the future holds.
Next Race - Sunday June 30th - Holten ITU Junior Cup Race
End of Season Report
What a hectic season. After my achievements in triathlon last year, in which I experienced some new, exciting ITU racing; proved my initial Queensland All Schools Triathlon debut wasn’t a fluke and ran through the ranks (literally) to finish second at the National All Schools Triathlon, I had shocked myself. I went beyond my own expectations. I didn’t know if it would get any better.
This season began with Tob’s old favourite: Rainbow Beach Triathlon. I must admit, it is one of my favourites too. Purely due to how it brings the SCTA club athletes together for a great season opener. You get to know people pretty well after a 6-hour return drive and 2 nights in a small town. It was a successful weekend with many team and individual winners, including myself. This was also our first chance to test out some of the products that the sponsors had generously provided.
The sponsors this year have been incredibly supportive. Not only for me, but for the entire club.
Earlier this season, Jake (Male Junior Scholarship Recipient 2017/18 and 2015/16) and I were given the opportunity to explore the headquarters of Unique Health Products and witness their hectic warehouse. Their involvement with Clif Bar Australia has allowed us to be provided with a large range of awesome nutritional products and other healthy brands to ensure we can meet our nutritional needs, enabling us to train well consistently.
Mizuno has also visited several of our Thursday afternoon track sessions. This has allowed us to try on their footwear and test it out for ourselves. They have been a huge support for me personally, allowing me to be picky with my shoes (I can never make up my mind) without any hassle. Their continuous encouragement regarding our running and triathlon have provided great words of support. It is uplifting to hear the enthusiasm of Mizuno and their interest in what we do.
Vorgee and Xterra Australia have been great at constantly providing the squad with the necessities for swimming and I am especially enjoying my new missile goggles and Xterra wetsuit; the warmth and support was much appreciated in New Plymouth particularly.
Cannibal was supportive all season, especially regarding race suits and togs. I honestly don’t remember the last time I got a rash racing. They are incredibly comfortable and would be my choice of suit at all races.
The crew at Intune sports and Health have been amazing in allowing the squad and I to use their top-grade equipment; working on those one percenters and top end speed (I do apologise for the large pool of sweat beneath the treadmill).
Rydges Hotels have no doubt been a huge support as we travelled around Australia for the AJTS 2017/118 series. Their politeness, service and genuine care has been incredibly helpful both finically and for ease of mind. I must add: Their beds are the comfiest I have ever slept in (13 hours of sleep #record #whatevenisdaytime).
I would personally like to give a huge shootout to Tara, from Tara Leanne Nutrition. She has honestly changed my entire perspective on fuelling for not only performance, but general life too. She has provided priceless education on the right fuel, mindset and attitude to compete at a high level. Her guidance has been a vital role in my performance this season.
Also, thank you to all the sponsors behind the scenes who look after the SCTA squad at all events, day to day training and provide great support and generosity: Protector Aluminium, Allez Sport Mooloolaba, Kawana Aquatic Centre, Catalina Resort, Apollo Bicycles, The Event Crew and Ironman Oceania.
I have competed in countless races this year, hence recalling all of them would take many, many words. I do have previous race reports available if you are interested in the minor details, but for your sanity, I will just recall the most memorable moments….
AJTS race #1, Runaway Bay, December 2017. The entire weekend had consisted of mistake after mistake after major screw up #1, major screw up #2 and you get the picture. Laps miscounted, Shoes falling off, bad swims. They were typical races for me, but unfortunately, I did not have an extra 45 minutes to make up these mistakes due to the short, fast-paced style of the races and mini time trials. I ended up finishing on Saturday in 13th, just scraping into the ‘A’ grade final by 2 places. Phew. Saturday night and Sunday morning were spent in deep concentration, going over every detail I had to fix. I knew what I had to do. After a decent swim, I ran out of the water hard. On this day, I decided to use rubber bands. And oh, what a great decision it was. I mounted perfectly and chased hard on the bike, along with another friend. We worked well. Then came the run and I was ready to go with unusually rested legs. I came through the finish in first. It was the most satisfying feeling to see everything go to plan.
QTS round 6, Caloundra 2018 (censor warning). I learnt a valuable lesson this day: That feeling you get before a race when you have to go to the toilet? It’s not always just nerves. Go to the toilet. Even when you’re about to start, go to the toilet. Because, when nature calls, especially in the run leg, the call must be answered. Although I did end up finishing, quite some time was lost as I utilised the closest public toilet. It was a shitty day. That’s all I say.
AJTS race #2, Glenelg 2018. It wasn’t only the major stress my dad and I encountered as we scurried around Adelaide the day before the race trying to find a de-railer hanger for a vintage Pinerello frame. No. The bike course was no doubt the scariest, most technical thing I had ever seen. It had chicanes with tight angles and a narrow foot bridge to cross the river. We had to ride over it 6 times. 8 times if you include the relays. I defiantly didn’t have my greatest bike leg that day, but I was happy to make it through the course rubber side down.
Most epic battle:
AJTS race #3, Perth 2018. Never leave it to a sprint finish. To my credit, I did try to get a break on the second lap on the speedy 2.5km run, but unfortunately, Charlotte (who is an incredible athlete and who not only ended up winning the series but qualified for the youth Olympics) was able to hold tight over 2.5km, sitting with me the whole way and showing great heart as she pushed on toward the finish. I don’t think my legs have ever gone that fast. It was an incredible feeling of hurt, thrill and relief once the line was crossed. I hope it never happens again.
Through travelling Australia wide for the AJTS 2017/18 season and competing all across Australia, I have been given the opportunity to compete with some of the best juniors and youths in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Korea and especially New Zealand, creating great relationships with people who are not just competitors, but also friends. This exposure has opened up a whole new world full of possibilities. I have not only built great friendships with other competitors but have also strengthened relationships within the SCTA community.
The AJTS ‘fam’ of Toby, Jase, Jake, and Dad that have been with me every stage of the way has been undoubtedly the best support crew ever. I could not ask for anything more than their comedy (cheers Jake), encouragement, advice (even though it’s not always accepted) and comfort when times were rough. Thank you guys, so much.
The last race of AJTS in New Plymouth was the focus of the season. This one was going to be the most telling for performance, mentality and who would make the 2018 Australian World Junior Team. There was an automatic selection up for grabs as well as an Oceanic title and ITU points. The race was perfect; ocean swim with wetsuit, hilly ride and run. I was excited. I was ready. It was going to be good. I was able to execute my best swim this season with a great T1.
My bike was strong through the hills and I stuck well with the pack on the flats. Unfortunately, due to the cold weather, my feet froze (literally) on the run and I wasn’t able to pull out my best legs. Despite this, I was able to come away with first Australian, third in the Oceanic region and fifth across the line. Some great athletes from other continents such as Canada and Korea competed, with two of them finishing ahead of me (the Canadian would later be competing for Canada in the Commonwealth Games).
It was my first taste at international racing. I fell in love. Although I achieved well at New Plymouth, it wasn’t my perfect race. But nonetheless, I am happy with my performance. Throughout the season I was able to compile a good list of consistent results; hoping to be selected for the Australian ITU Junior Team:
Throughout this season, both Triathlon Australia and Triathlon Queensland have provided endless support and help in travelling, organising and preparing for all these events. Their help and involvement in the growth of the club and myself as an athlete has been greatly appreciated. I was honoured to be asked to attend the Weet-Bix Tryathlon that was held at the University of the Sunshine Coast, 22nd April 2018 as an ambassador. Talking to the young kids pre-race and watching their faces light up and receive their medals was an awesome experience.
Although I’ve had an awesome year, my appetite for the thrill of competition is far from satisfied. I hope to race overseas in Japan and Europe later in the year to gain international experience and exposure to the world stage. In the next coming years, I will constantly be working to improve myself as an athlete as I aim to one day compete as a professional internationally.
Hopefully, representing Australia in the ITU series, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. For now, I will work on achieving each of the stepping stones to lead me towards these future goals.
In the short term, I am looking forward to the Queensland Sprint Championships to be held at Moreton Bay this coming weekend as well as the Queensland Triathlon Awards. Then to finally conclude racing for 2017/18 season: Byron Bay Triathlon. Followed with a great weekend of celebrations.
Once again, I’ve had another very rewarding year. It has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities in this sport; not only in Australia, but around the world. Thank you to everyone for such an incredible season.
New Plymouth, New Zealand AJT series Race 4, 25th March 2018 / Oceania Championships
(FYI It’s a bit long…)
I was nervous.
I was nervous because I cared. I was nervous because I had put so much effort and focus into my training. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect or how this race would pan out.
I was very, very nervous. But then again, every one of my competitors was in the same boat.
Thankfully, I had a great support team around me the entire time and with their encouragement, knowledge and confidence, I was able to overcome my nervousness for most of the four days we were away and just ENJOY the journey. The New Zealand locals, their relaxed attitudes and the attempted Kiwi accents provided ample humour and enabled us all to relax a little bit. Our first day of travel consisted of exactly that; travel.
We left home at 4am in the morning, went to the airport and travelled from 6am that morning until we landed in New Plymouth at 7pm that night. It had been a long day.
Thankfully, Toby had booked accommodation within walking distance from the New Plymouth local eateries, hence we decided to get some blood flowing and venture to the pub. Don’t get me wrong, it was an adventure alright. Found a great steak and beer deal for our three biggest investors (the dads and coach) whilst Jake and I devoured our meals. I had never witnessed a fried egg, let alone two fried eggs, on a steak; New Plymouth was providing new experiences for me already.
The next day, we slept in. I mean like a 10-hour-sleep-in sleep in. Something un heard of. My body was already going into ‘preservation’ mode. After a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L breakfast at the local vintage coffee rescue, we headed out for a roll and run. I knew there was somewhat of a hill in the course; the profile had shown a good amount of elevation. But oh no, was I wrong. It wasn’t just one hill, but three stacked on top of each other going in different directions and varying length then after a sharp downhill, another spike. I was looking forward to the brutality of this bike course already. There was also a hill in the run - this was going to be fun. In the afternoon we went for a bit of a swim, just to get the feel back and stretch out. I was beginning to get psyched.
The next day, the heavens opened, hence Toby (coach) decided not to go out and allowed us to sleep in a bit. Little did I know. My dad came into the room and I jumped up. It was 8:30am and the bike familiarisation was 9am. I panicked, but then Dad reassured me and all was good again; I didn’t have to rush my banana on toast. We went for a nice jog on the run course whilst the others slid along their rubber in the rain. Then finally came time to test the water. We went for a decent swim around the course in the wetsuit (Shout out to Xterra for the epic suit!) and despite it being quite choppy, the swim felt good. Positive vibes were coming from the oceans below. “I might crack a good one tomorrow,” I thought. Although, the wetsuit swim was borderline; it was 20.8ºC. I was about to cry.
I had to mentally prepare for the cold just in case. I stripped down to my two-piece swim suit and ran straight in. It wasn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t pleasant, but I could survive it. I looked like a maniac, but hey, you got to do what you got to do. The rest of the afternoon we had lunch, went to the briefing (on time, thank god) and then relaxed. Finishing off the day with a nice jog to the beach and let the wind blow out the cobwebs before heading out for a DELICIOUS noodle dish (with the bonus of a free, meaningless fortune cookie)…..
I tried to sleep, but unfortunately, I was too nervous, or excited, to have a decent sleep. I told myself every second I spent thinking about the race, I could be sleeping and I will be thinking about it enough tomorrow, but unfortunately, I was just too ready. I swear I could have raced that night if someone told me to; I was that awake. Thanks to the coach for those previous sleep-ins.
As soon as it was time, I was straight up. I was in my zone. I don’t think I actually woke into myself until everything was over. I was that focused on the process I had to complete, everything else was irrelevant. After preparing and demolishing my sandwich, we packed up and headed off. It was dark as I walked into the athlete’s lounge. It was a new experience that I have never witnessed, with the athlete lounge and all the papers and processes we had to go through. I tried to just flow through and not let the new process phase me.
Dad had pumped up my tires and my bike was all set up and ready to go. I stood with my bike in the line, wrapped in my tracksuit and beanie, spending each second thinking about how I was going to attack the race. I lost count, but I must have gone through the race over 50 times in my head. Directing each section and scenario. Unfortunately, in my position, my swim is all up and down, hence there are many places I could exit the water. I had to consider all of them. I knew I would be fighting from the start; that was inevitable. I just had to attack.
After racking the bike, an incredibly nice race referee offered to take our SCTA spare wheels to the station for me. That was one stress off my back. The long process of registration opened at 6:30am, transition opened at 7am, roll call was 7:45am and we began at 8am. I had 1/2 an hour to prepare for my attack by the time all the shenanigans were over. Almost immediately, I locked in. Thanks to Dad for being my baggage handler; I handed him everything I didn’t need and began my run drills.
Then we made our way to the swim start. I was the first in the water. I wanted a good warm up. I wanted to show the others I was ready. I did my usual, plus some runs into the water. Got some good encouragement off coach (he even used the word ‘perfect’ to describe my run in. O-M-G). We got the call to go in.
Standing under the finishing banner, waiting for your name to be called is the most calming thing I have ever done. I know that sounds odd, but the way I thought about it; we have all done the work. By that point, you have done as much as you can to be there, you are at your peak fitness, and you can do nothing more but demonstrate that. You have nothing left to do but race. And racing is the best part. It’s as if nothing else matters in that point. You could be having family struggles, mental struggles or any other stresses/problems or worries, but at that point, all you can do is race. You just have to give it your all. In honesty, running towards the beach and standing on that final start line for the series (although I was already a literal step behind everyone else - my lack of knowledge of start lines), was the most exciting and thrilling thing to experience.
Anyway, the race…
the music stopped and there was silence. Then a sudden horn. Not even a count down, just a horn. My slow twitch fibres did not react well, but I didn’t let that phase me. I used my little legs and clubby skills I’d used back in the day to run through the water and was able to gain a decent position into the water. Our right group soon got swamped by the left and with a 300m straight leading into the first can, we immediately strung out. I was able to finally get into a good rhythm by the first buoy. I had no idea where I was until the third and then I was shocked. I saw a number of the competitor who has a GREAT swim. Leads all the time. I kept on breathing to that side to check and I was so happy (cheers to Xterra for the super speedy suit).
I just had to hold on and smash my T1 (I had been practicing religiously). There were a couple of girls who had at least 30 seconds lead on us, but we were a big second pack, I thought we might have a chance. Typical dad mistook me for someone else, even though I was one of two people who had bright pink on their suit, but at least he remembered the colour of my suit. My T1 was the fastest I have done (even with a wetty) I stripped off my wetty easily as I exited the water, ran as hard as my legs could go to my bike and was able to use my womanly multitasking skills to put my helmet on at the same time as removing my wetsuit (skill/10). I gracefully mounted my bike and took off, clinging to the back of the time. Okay so my T1 isn’t the fastest, but it’s much better than it used to be.
On the bike I went up to third wheel on the first rise out of the transition carpark area. Along the straights, it began to rain. Everyone was hesitant. The first major hill struck and I selected my gear, powering it up. I took the lead up the hill. We passed two other girls and a few dropped from the back. Over the second hill I drove it up, keeping in mind the next two. By the third hill, I got out of my saddle drove over. For the decent before the grand finale, I pushed it into my big chain ring and charged down and over.
Getting out of the saddle and trying to separate the pack as much as possible. Going downhill, we were all hesitant and stayed together. Before our turn back into the transition area, a girl came down behind me. I didn’t look back. That could’ve been any of us. On the little obtuse hair pin turn, I was passed and drove to get back on. This happened for the second and third lap again, but the girls upped a bit on the third, not making much impact. My the fourth one, everybody was powering, we all took off. I held a great position, unfortunately to get swamped on the last straight with the girls have a five second lead into transition on me.
My feet were numb as I removed them from the shoes and dismounted. I swear I could’ve stepped on glass and not have felt it. Trying to put my shoes in was a struggle as I scrambled for my shoe and tried to move my foot towards it; missing the first one. Eventually I was set for the run and took off. I was the last to leave T2. Unfortunately, the pack of three ahead put 30 seconds into us on the bike, due to the technicalities and their strength. At this point, all the top Aussies had been in my group. I just wanted to beat them. Anything else was a bonus.
On the first lap of the run, my calves were so numb. I didn’t know what was happening. It was the oddest sensation. I felt like I was just stabbing jack hammers. I wasn’t catching anyone. I thought my legs were going to give way. Thank god there was three laps. After the first rise, I caught up to two of the girls ahead. Then my legs began to warm up and I broke away from the lead pack of three girls with another Aussie. There was a Korean girl ahead, but I honestly just wanted to get past this girl first.
Up the second rise she went hard and put five metres into me. But it had only been 3.5km and another hill was coming. She suffered on the way down and I felt good by this point so I put my all into the straight before the last flat turn. My legs had warmed up and trust me, I did not want a repeat of Perth. I took off and drove up the hill. I was putting time into the Korean in front of me, but she was already on the other side of the carpet and my legs just weren’t moving. I took off towards the line. It was the best feeling. Not only just to finish in one piece, but to be first Aussie, third in the Oceania region and top five across the line. I was stoked.
After chatting with some of the girls, I went into the recovery area and ran towards dad. We embraced with the biggest of hugs; I was nearly in tears. I embraced everyone around me, including our three biggest investors, at that point. I was just so happy. I was just so happy I could finally get warm. I could finally relax. I could finally accept I had done my best, and my best was enough. The medal presentation was awesome as I had never experienced something like that before.
I sort of messed it up (typical me), but it went smooth enough. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to take the flowers back into Australia, so we gave them to the staff at our friendly hotel. They were happy to take them for decorations. I felt so honoured and proud to be up there. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Although it just adds more fuel to the fire, I have to have a break at some point and re cooperate, so I can be ready to attack the next race, hopefully a few levels higher.
I called Jase, Dad and Toby our three investors because they are the reason we are able to race and have the opportunities that we do. They not only, and obviously, invest money into travel, accommodation, training and food and wot-not, but they also invest their time and most importantly their belief. I honestly could not have achieved everything I have this season or for some, even anything I have this lifetime without these three investors. These guys are our rocks. And not only is Toby a coach of Triathlon, but also a life-coach; teaching the mentality and tactics needed to race and compete at a high level in both sport and life. The biggest of shout outs to you guys.
And I would like to thank: Vorgee for supplying the awesome race goggles; Mizuno for the flying kicks that held up, despite the cold conditions and supported my numb feet; Unique Health Products (especially Jackie for her awesome personality) for our Clif nutrition that not only got us to the line, but also kept us fuelled during the race, It has kept me going strong throughout the season; Xterra for the awesome wetsuit that kept me warm and got me through the water smoothly (literally) and Cannibal for the training equipment. Thanks to all the SCTA sponsors for giving me this opportunity as the 2017/18 scholarship recipient and for supporting the crew.
Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon, 25th February 2018
Australian Sprint Championships
Race Result - 1st Place 16-19 Years Female – Australian Champion
This weekend was just going to be a fun one. A local, well respected race. Just a simple hit out before Perth next weekend. This race became much more.
Not only did some good competition show up, but thanks to the extensive rain, it became a duathlon due to the water quality of the swim course. Not only was it wet, it was hot. This was going to be a fun one.
Due to the nature of the duathlon, all wave start times were completely thrown out of the window and it became a rolling start. Unfortunately, dad and I didn't even consider how this would affect our start time.
We began the day with a casual stroll down to the race, had breakfast and chilled in our mate’s hotel room. Our wave starts we're so late, we thought we had plenty of time. Thankfully, I like to be a bit early so we headed across to the start 30 mins prior to schedule. My wave had already gone. I didn't know what to do. The starters reassured me the chip would start until I crossed the line, but I felt so disorientated. I just ran through my dad’s wave and began to chase.
That was my entire race. A chase. A chase to see how many girls I could catch. I wasn't with anyone so I just had to drive and go for it. It was exactly like a Thursday morning individual time trial, but with a bit more running and a bit faster. I still try hard in training don't get me wrong, but racing is a completely different situation. there were so many people it was more like a 20km slalom course.
Although it was odd to be riding a race dry, my legs ached from the tough 2.5km sprint before. I over geared it again with the tail wind and made up quite a bit of ground. Once I was off the bike and on the run, I could feel the heat. I just tried to maintain rhythm and not get too caught up in the hype. The road was burning the soles of my shoes I swear. I even grabbed water (I know right, shocking).
I was incredibly relieved to finish and even managed to out sprint a boy in my age group (hehe). I couldn't wait to have a shower and cool down.
All in all, the race was a great hit out before Perth the next weekend and the atmosphere of the weekend was great. I was happy to come away with an Aussie championship to my name and place 3rd overall.
Thanks to all the SCTA sponsors, coach and crew for all your support and encouragement along the way. Only a month more of racing to go!
Perth AJT series Race 3, 3rd to 4th March 2018
Australian Championships - Result 2nd Place Junior Female
Although it has only been a month since the last one, it felt like number three of the Australian junior triathlon series couldn't have come faster. We literally just returned from the Gold Coast and we were back on a plane. I may as well have just left my stuff in the suit case. The travel went incredibly smoothly; got a good ride in the morning, on time to the airport (plus a quick stop in the Qantas lounge), landed safely and had a nice run in the arvo. Only this time, NOTHING WAS BROKEN. My bike was safe and sound and there was nothing missing or mistaken. I was incredibly relieved.
The city of Fremantle was beautiful. It was a mixture of old and new, with a sea side theme. Rydges welcomed us with open arms and beautiful rooms and we sat down for a delicious Italian meal (typical Spaghetti Bolognese). I slept for over 12 hours and it was amazing.
Friday started with the usual toast then swim, with a bit of market exploring chucked in there. The markets were beautiful, but I didn’t want to spend too much time on my feet or be tempted by the INCREDIBLE food that surrounded me. Hence, dad got the opportunity to indulge, while I looked on, trying to enjoy the beautiful simplicity of my chicken and rice. We were able to fit in a little snooze before heading out to the regatta centre.
After the drive out, we rode over the course both by ourselves and with the group then I went for my usual 15-minute run. All systems were in check and I was feeling good. The race brief was short and to the point. After I bravely asked some questions (I was quite out of my comfort zone), we headed off. On the way home, we picked up some noodles and veggies (my favourite) and headed to bed. I was so excited I nearly couldn’t sleep.
With everything packed and ready to go we made our sandwiches and shot out the door. My first race was 7:30am, so it was a typical early morning call. The morning was a bit chilly and windy, hence I didn’t do a swim warm up (bad idea), but whilst running I felt good. We lined up and the horn went off. It was 80 metres to the first can and I got trampled, but didn’t drown, so I fought as much as I could to get back on the pace. I must admit there were a few breast strokes in that swim. After getting out and running along the ramp, I caught a few places and set off. Wasn’t my best swim, but it was alright.
I got out of the water with two other great riders. I caught my helmet as it fell of my bars and tried to get away fast. Unfortunately, the front pack pulled away but the two other girls I was with were just as strong as me and we held them for the entire 12km. We even dropped the other girls we were with. Off the bike, I was in 10th. They took top 8. I think I gave my Dad and Toby a good little scare.
Once on the run I was able to make up a few places and catch up to third. I probably worked a bit harder than I should have in the first race, but hey, now I know that I must always do a swim warm up.
After getting in some nutrition and warming down, the plan for the next race was to rest, then SWIM WARM UP. I did such an extensive swim warm up that I basically swam the course twice. This time they called us out one by one and we lined up. I picked a spot next to girls I wanted to sit on and hopefully ride with. The start was great and I got out in a good pack. Around the first buoy I was in third and shocked myself. After the run over the ramp, I was in amongst the front pack.
My T1 was much faster and again with the girls from the first race, we smashed out the first 2km. This time, we were able to get on the back of the front pack. That was our race. Just one back. It was the weirdest feeling. We had no one to chase or ride away from. We just rode. I did my work and it went pretty smoothly, although cornering is still a factor.
On the run, I was 2nd last out of transition and the girls took off. By half way down the first strip, I was in front. On my shoulder was another girl and she stuck there. Tight. I settled into a great rhythm on the first stretch and we sat side by side on the way back. I was comfortable and ready to push. On the second lap I went for it and still, she held tight. with the last 600m to go I belted it and she came through sprinting. It was me, then both of us, then her. I stuck on her shoulder for 50m and we belted it out. I had never done a sprint finish before. It hurt. A lot. She came through with the win and kudos to her for such an awesome effort. It was a great experience and to finish it in such a fashion was awesome. Everybody loved the excitement, and I must say, so did I.
I always reflect on the race and wonder if maybe I should have gone out harder in that first lap and maybe it would have burnt her a bit more, but then I think again. If I did go out harder, and she held her own pace, would she have come through in the end and would’ve I had the energy to challenge her?
The race has been done and you make the best decisions you can at those moments during the race. You may reflect on it later, when you’re recovered and in a normal head space, but that is completely different. You shouldn’t beat yourself up. If you thought it was a good decision at the time, but you just didn’t get the outcome, it doesn’t mean it was a bad decision. It means that the other person (or competitors) also had a plan, but they just happened to execute it better than you at that time. If I had won, I probably wouldn’t have doubted my decision. And I was only 1.5 seconds off winning. Hence, I think it was a good decision. I just have to get some faster fibres. I’m guessing speed work is the next thing on the table for me (yay).
After coming second in the mixed relays, the next day, we headed down to Cottesloe for a feed. It was absolutely beautiful. Then after stuffing ourselves with fine food, we headed to the airport. I got to experience the Qantas lounge again, only this time it was business. full of free coffee and an incredible amount of more gourmet food. As dad sacrificed this comfort for me to experience it (thanks Toby), I again snuck out some treats and we were set for the plane ride home. We landed at 10:30pm and got home by 12pm. Then it was time for some sleep and recovery.
It was an awesome weekend packed with opportunities to practice race execution and nutrition as well as provide experience in travelling. I’d like to thank all the sponsors of SCTA for supporting our crew and our endeavours. And Cheers to the Dads, Matt and Jase, the Mum, Michelle, and Coach, Toby, who came down to support us. We honestly couldn’t do it without you guys. (obviously financially, but also) Your belief in us and encouragement is what gets us to the start line.
Caloundra QTS series Race # 6
Date - 11th February 2018
Race Result - 1st 16-19 Years / 5th Female Overall
Some days shit happens. Today it did.
After a hard weekend in Adelaide last week, it was good to relax and just race for fun. There wasn’t even any money up for grabs so I expected a small field. It was stacked. The boys had a few international athletes and I was up against some good Brisbane athletes. I had to psych myself up a bit.
The swim went really well. I was stoked. Third chick out of the water? I had never done that before. There was a bit of argy-bargy as usual but it was a current assisted swim (Thank God), hence I was able to lengthen and really work on my stroke. I was so happy.
My mounts are just getting better I tell you. I mounted well and was off on the bike. Despite trudging the bike through sand on the way out of transition, it went smoothly. Compared to the technicality of the Glenelg course, it was mild. Straight out and back with a few round a-bouts. I was able to over gear it into the tail wind and focus on my pedal stroke. Despite the drafting (not that there was any), I was able to put some time into the girls behind me, but the ones in front put another 20 seconds into me. After I dismounted, I set out for the run.
The run was actually a single lap course for once. Running along the foreshore would’ve been quite nice if I wasn’t trying to push through the pain of racing. None-the-less, I made ground on the third-place female after the first 2.5km and was putting time into the 1st and 2nd places. Despite my collapsing legs and heavy breathing, I just tried to focus on leaning forward, relaxing my upper body, cadence and power through the legs.
Focusing on this helps me to divert my mind away from the feeling of tired legs and refocuses me; keeping me in the present. After the turn around, I was gaining quickly on 2nd place, nearly on her heals, then shit went down.
I had a moment during the run at this point: Nature called. And when nature calls, it commands.
I made a slight deviation off-course. After a quite a stressful pit stop and shower in the public disabled toilets, I ran back into the path as if nothing had happened.
At this point I was quite self-conscious of what I looked like from behind, but all I wanted to do was finish and shower. Unfortunately during the time I had spent making sure I was presentable for the finish photos, 1st and 2nd got away from me with 3rd place close behind them. I came in fifth overall. I was so close to the heels of 2nd, it really shitted me.
After the race, I vigorously washed myself and shared my story with Dad:
“Are you okay? Did you get a stitch?”
“I was right on their heels then I had a moment.
I had to take a dump.”
So, my lesson learned today is trust your guts. But hey, it was an experience.
The rest of the SCTA crew did awesome as well with many wins in their respective categories. Shout out to Peyton for the fastest enticer time. It was an awesome day at the QTS round 6 and the Event Crew put on another great show.
Thanks to all the sponsors of SCTA for supporting our crew. Only one more QTS round to go. :)))
Adelaide AJT Series Race 2, 2nd to 4th February 2018
Race Result - 4th Place ITU Junior Female (3rd Aussie)
Race Result - National Champions - Junior Mixed Relay
We had been building up to this weekend for a while. It was the opening ceremony for the next two months of intense racing. It did not disappoint. The weather was warm with 32ºC predicted for Saturday morning. We flew down Thursday and arrived in time for a nice afternoon jog.
While I was out freshening up the legs, dad had discovered the joys of travelling with a bike; a broken derailleur hanger. Dad went on a journey to try and discover an open bike shop, but unfortunately ran out of time. We attempted to remain as positive as possible and thought we would sort something out in the morning.
That night we met up with Stewie from Next Level Elite Mentoring; talking about the pressures of racing, open communication and the importance of decision making over a classic surf club feed.
After breakfast the next morning, Dad and I began our search. The first stop was helpful, but unable to help. The second one questioned if my bike was even what it said and was also kind, but was unsure. Our hopes were deteriorating rapidly and the best decision was to hire a bike…. Until we came across Mike Turter’s Bike Shop just outside of Adelaide. He was my saviour that weekend. We took both derailleurs he had on offer and left the bike to him. Turns out I’ve been riding a vintage Pinerello frame. I thought that was pretty cool. The day went on and we did out swim, course familiarisation and briefing. The excitement was beginning to build up.
Saturday morning went smoothly and once transition was in place, we headed to the start. The nerves were as usual, but had been heightened to some degree. The swim was nearly a water run, the bike was technical and dangerous (because of my handling skills) and the run was long. I just had to grit my teeth.
The swim went well and my clear Vorgee missile goggles did the job perfectly. Although it was more of a sprint into the water, a couple of strokes then run through the water. Although running is my strongest leg, sprinting isn’t. So, this was a tester but also something different. I got to be a dolphin for a bit. I came out with a decent pack and again, I LEAPED onto the saddle. I nearly shocked myself.
Once on the bike, I was ready to attack. The smaller pack in front of me took off on the first lap and we had to work to catch them. Unfortunately, due to my skills, we slowed through the chicanes. There was some swearing from behind, but that was understandable given our position and my slow pace.
In hindsight, I did drag them through the straights. After the first lap, we had settled a decision that I drag them through straights and they drag me through corners; it was a win-win situation. I even got a “Good Job”. I was pretty proud. We caught up to the second pack on the sixth and final lap. I hadn’t been counting but luckily everyone else had hence the feet were out and I was off the bike in time.
The run was as usual. I took off out of transition in my Mizuno Wave Sonic’s (I love them) at a pace and tried to hold it, picking off the front pack one by one. I was in top 5 on the last lap and just overtook fourth with 1/2 lap to go. These girls were running fast. I started to go tingly with just under half to go and I could see second and third in front of me.
Once we hit the final hill with 250m to go, they lifted. I had nothing left. I honestly just wanted to finish. As Jan Frodeno once said, “There’s a fine line between pushing yourself to the limit and not finishing a race.” I figured I was in a good position and was giving it my all. Those girls had been spurred on by my approach and getting over that hill was a struggle. I was not physically able to do a sprint finish. I ended up finishing 4th, within 15 seconds from second. I had given it my all and it felt great to finish.
Honestly, I thought I was third and I was stoked, but little did I know there was a girl from New Zealand who had finished a WHOLE MINUTE earlier than second place. I was shocked. To her credit, she swam strongly, rode hard and ran the fastest. After seeing her result, I was stilled stoked with 4th and 3rd Aussie. Unfortunately, no medal, but at least I was able to dig into some amazing teriyaki chicken instead of sitting through presentations. The perks of fourth place.
Sorry to drag on, but Sunday was also eventful with the National Championship mixed team relays. Our team was pretty solid and we ended up second in the Junior category, behind a New Zealand team (bloody kiwis were smashing it). But, as it was a National Championship, we got the gold medals and they got some plastic gold ones and some stuff. To their credit, they were strong, fast and tested us well. That race hurt the most, due to Saturday effort, but thanks to CLIF for the post-race recovery bars and some Panadol, I could make sure the tank was empty. We stayed for presentations for once and then headed back to check out.
Rydges South Park was really lenient with our checkout time and gave us time to pack up. After our delicious Mexican feed, we headed for the airport and although our flight was delayed, I got to experience the Qantas lounge again (I got to experience it on the way down too), full of free coffee and food. As dad sacrificed this comfort for me to experience it (thanks Toby), I snuck out some treats and we were set for the plane ride home. Landing was a breeze and all was good.
It was an awesome weekend full of lessons and thrills, giving me more experience in racing and travelling. I’d like to thank all the sponsors of SCTA for supporting our crew and our endeavours. Also, big shout out to Dad and Toby Coote for helping me get to the start line. Couldn’t do it without you guys.
This weekend was so great and such an awesome experience, I honestly am so excited about the next couple of months :))))
Robina QTS series Race # 5
15th January 2018
Super Sprint – 400/15/4
RACE RESULT – Female Race Winner / 1st 16-19 Years / 22nd Overall
First race of the year and a great time to practice for the oncoming season. They say what you being your year with is what you will be doing for the rest of the year. Let’s hope that holds true.
This race wasn’t a major one for me, but I didn’t conserve myself.
To quote Ashleigh Gentle: “Every time you go into a tri you want to win. That’s what you do.”
I believe in this statement 100%.
Although I wasn’t getting worked up over the race, I still had my usual race day nerves and wanted to perform to my ability; showcasing the hours of hard work and training. I wanted to do a rehearsal of what I wanted Adelaide to turn out like.
My swim was reasonable as I got out with most of the girls I usually do and not too far from the leaders. I was in a great pack and position and was keen to get on the bike. Although, I would still love to be a bit faster, but that will come with time (and the help of salt water/wetsuit).
I had been practicing my swim-to-bike transition so much, I wanted to try and put it into a race scenario.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my bike thanks to the extreme popularity of these races, but one I found it, I knew what I had to do. I ran with my bike, took hold of the handle bars and LEAPED on. Yes, I LEAPED! I couldn’t believe I did it. My right foot went straight into the shoe (thanks to the rubber bands), but due to my utter surprise in myself, I missed my left one. But all was good! I had mounted the bike some-what gracefully and was ready to launch my attack.
The bike went down like most of my non-drafting races; I was chasing the lead mouse. The cross wind on the first lap took me by surprise and it took me at least the full first lap to get into a rhythm. After the first lap, I had caught most of the front girls and was putting time into most of the girls. On the last turn around, (thanks Kaya for the cornering encouragement :)) I was already thinking about how many people were in front; how many I would have to chase down. I began to mentally prepare myself for the run.
Once I got off the bike, I began to chase. Although, this day was extremely hot and I was beginning to feel it. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I normally do coming off the bike. But, then again, I don’t think anyone felt comfortable in these conditions. I just focused on leaning forward, high cadence and relaxing my upper body. By the end of the first straight I was in the lead. From then I tried to keep up my cadence and speed, settling into a strong rhythm.
It felt great to finish and finally get in the shade after the race. The volunteers were lovely and extremely helpful, taking our timing bands and supplying ample water.
Shout out to the SCTA crew for their awesome performances and gaining points for 2018 Age Group World Championship selection. Also to all the SCTA sponsors for supporting our crew and providing the apparel and fuel to keep us going.
It was a steaming start (mind the pun :)) to the 2018 racing season. I can’t wait for more.