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 :))))