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.