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.