Race: AJTS SSRW
Date: Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th of December 2019
Distance: Various distances for each event
Category: Junior Men
Result : 9th B Final / 37th Overall
It was that time of year again, four days, six brutal races, all the hard work had been done leading up to this event. I was feeling pretty confident that I would race well and consistently over the weekend against the older boys. I was ready to get started.
Day 1 - 1500m
The first event was the run which was a 1500m time trial. An event that I enjoy racing as it gives an indication of what time I can run and how much if I have improved over the year. The overall plan/goal was to sit on the group and build into the final lap, before opening up down the straight to the finish line. I knew the race was going to be fast, so I knew all I had to do was just sit and wait, knowing that some of the runners would go out too hard and blow their legs up for the backend of the race.
The race started and it was fast, the first 400m was sub 1minute. I was sitting last at this point, just cruising on the back, holding my technique as the pace started to settle. I began to move my way up towards the front. It was the last lap I was sitting around 7th or 8th ready to open up. I started to pick up the pace in the last 300m and went past a few runners and moved my way up into around 4th or 5th. I had a pretty strong run and was happy with my run time of 4:14 an improvement on last year.
I felt ready for some more racing to come.
Day 2 - Triathlon (Ultra Sprint) - 300/6/1.2
It was day two of racing. The legs were a little heavily from the 1500m, but I felt good going into today's day of racing. I was again in the first heat, which had some of the older boys in it. I saw this as a positive; as this would make me try and push even harder to catch them throughout the race.
It was a short and fast 300m pool swim. I knew my swim skills were going to be crucial in this race since swimming in the pool is very different to swimming in open water. The race started, and I knew I needed to try and control the first 100m otherwise, I would go out too hard and not have anything for the rest of the swim. I tried to control the first 100m, but the plan went out the window after the first 15m. I swam through the first 100m in a good position, but then I began to drop off the pace in the swim slowly. I knew I needed to have a fast transition to be up with the lead athletes.
I had a fast transition and sprinted to the mount line. I jumped on my bike and knew I just had to go full gas to catch up. When I got onto the main section of the course, it was clear that there was not one big group, but lots of small groups of around 2 and 3. I was sitting about 12th when I jumped onto the bike. I needed to go flat out to catch up to make up for my poor swim. I got into a fast pace and executed the corners well, making up much ground. I was feeling great on the bike and just kept catching up to each group. I ended up catching up to the lead group after having ridden most of the ride solo. I understood it was all down to the run.
I came off the bike approximately 4th and had a great transition to get out onto the run. I felt heavy in the first 200-300m of the run, knowing I had just cooked my legs to catch up on the bike. However, I put that behind me and just gritted my teeth and just started running. I made my way up into third, catching second, but I was beginning to fade, I was passed in the last 200m and end up finishing 4th for my heat.
I was pleased with my execution on the bike and run, it was probably the hardest bike and run I have ever done, but now was feeling positive for the aquathlon in the afternoon and the other triathlons in the coming days.
Day 2 - Aquathlon (cancelled to next day)
The weather was starting to change the clouds were getting darker, and the wind picked up. There was lots of lightning and thunder. We were at the tent wondering if they were going to cancel the event or not, but when the wind picked up, and it began to rain, we advised to head over to the grandstand for cover since it was not safe to be outside. We watched as tents we blown away; the barriers were blown around, shoes in transition blown across the transition area and the entire track flooded.
TQ made an announcement, and all event cancelled for the rest of the day.
Day 3 - Mixed team relays (cancelled) (Aquathlon done instead) - 400/800
After yesterdays storm, the decision was made to cancel the mixed team relays and do the aquathlon instead. I was looking forward to the mix team relays but, know it was time to focus on the aquathlon.
I knew the swim would be critical to a good aquathlon race since the run was so short making it impossible to make up much time if my swim was poor. The race started again. I knew I would need to control the first 100m and try and pick up my pace as the swim went on. I managed the start well but didn't have the arms or legs to pick up the pace. I had a poor swim so I knew it was down to a flat out run now.
I came out of the water, knowing I needed to make up time from the swim. So I sprinted out of transition, acknowledging I needed to go flat out from the short 800m run. I found a good rhythm in the run and started moving through the field, making up positions, but it was too late. I ended up finishing 8th in my heat, which was not too bad. I was very pleased with my run and was keen for the triathlon this afternoon.
Day 3 - Triathlon (Ultra Sprint) - 300/6/1.2
It had been a few hours since finishing the aquathlon. In that time I knew it would be essential to recover and fuel the body for the triathlon this afternoon. The body was a bit sore, but I knew I would just have to overcome that pain and race hard.
It was a short and fast 300m pool swim again. The race started, and I needed to try and control the first 100m, which I managed to do. I was now able to find some speed in the back half of the swim. My arms were still weighty from the aquathlon this morning. I tried to rely on my kick, which seemed to work. The swim was coming to close, and I knew it was now time to hammer the bike and run.
I had a good, clean transition and sprinted to the mount line. I jumped on my bike and began to chases the leaders, my legs felt great on the bike, and I was gaining meters on every pedal stroke. I chased hard and caught up to the main bike pack. I just decided to sit for the last few hundred meters to get my heart rate down, ready for the run.
I came off amongst a fairly large group it was a running race now. I ran out of transition with some heavy legs which took the first hundred meters to get going up to speed. I then found my rhythm and began to run hard. I made a few positions up on the run but ultimately fell short finishing around 4th in my heat again.
I was pleased with my execution on the bike and run. It was again another hard bike and run. Since the main racing was finished, it was time for recovery for tomorrow’s final race.
Day 4 - Triathlon ( FINAL) - 400/8/1.6
It was the final race of the weekend the final. I had some great races but was just off the pace, hence made the B final. There were 5 finals for the junior men with 91 starters. I was now really starting to feel the sting in the legs from all the races, but I just needed to find some energy deep down to get me through just one more race.
For the swim, I needed to swim well to try and stay with the leaders as long as I can so I would not have to cook the legs on the bike trying to catch up. The swim started, and I focused on getting through each lap hard. I was positioned just off the leading group for the swim and knew a fast transition would have to count to make up time now.
I pushed the transition to be just off the leading pack when mounting. Nevertheless, when I mounted, I heard a crack when I jumped on my bike and never took any notice of it. I could feel my seat moving around when I was riding, but this was not my focus all I could think of was get on the pack. I came onto the main section of the bike course just off the group. I was pushing hard but not going anywhere, my legs felt cooked, and I was struggling to push any power on the bike. I tried to minimize the ground I lost, but it was just building. The run would have to save me now.
I came off the bike, I was not happy with my bike leg, I had some work to do on the run. It was motivating to have my coach Toby Coote, family and friends on the side of the track cheering me on. I kept telling myself to pick up my leg speed, hold and relax. This helped me maintain a nice rhythm early on, and I started to gain the ground I lost on the bike. It was the last 300m, and there were about 3 athletes just in front of me. I needed to kick now! I picked up my speed and sprinted to the line, passing those three athletes and nearly catching another but just left my sprint too late to catch him.
I was pleased with my race considering starting to feel fatigued and having broken my seat when jumping onto my bike for the final didn't help with trying to drive my legs on the bike. I was super happy with my run execution as I was able to make time up. Now it was time to relax and recover from the week of racing
RACE - QTS # 3 - Kawana Tri]
Distance - 750/20/5
First OPEN Race
QTS Kawana was race 3 of the series I knew it was going to be a challenging race deciding to race again in the open men category. However, I was determined to have a strong race.
The swim was a beach start, the field was not very large which was good because I knew many of the other competitor's capabilities, I was positioned on the inside and knew and needed to have a good start to be at the front around the first swim buoy. I started well but got bashed up around the first swim buoy which I expected, but I found my swim rhythm early and just sat at the back of the group saving my energy for the rest of the race.
I had fast transition and made up some time, I knew on the bike I just had to settle into a fast pace and try not to lose any ground to some of the older and stronger athletes ahead of me. I tried to find a good pace to sit through on the somewhat technical course. I sat at an average tempo for most of the bike leg but was lacking the legs in the final lap. Unfortunately, as I was coming around to the far turnaround point on the last lap (1km from transition), I was given a 3min drafting penalty. Just before the corner where a few riders around me came together bunching up for the turn. I was both annoyed and frustrated about receiving the penalty as I was not given any warning unlike others and I had ridden the entire race myself until the last kilometer.
Yes, I must admit I was bitterly disappointed and felt very deflated. I was more annoyed having ridden pretty much the entire race with no-one in front of me and to receive the penalty felt like a kick in the teeth. I had to slow down when the official was speaking to me which allowed other riders to go past. I gathered myself and made the decision to continue to ride on and not serve the 3 minute penalty knowing I would be disqualified at the end of the race.
Reflecting back and after speaking with my coach Toby Coote about my frustration, I should have approached the official after the race for some feedback on why I was given the penalty. I understand this is racing but I pride myself on doing the right thing and following the rules
I ran out of transition and yes I was not happy. I had lost my concentration and was not mentally focused for the run ahead. I should have been focused on finishing the race and putting in a strong run leg. I could not find my rhythm, I felt I was just going through the motions of just finish the race.
I was pleased with my swim and the start of the bike, but after my legs started to fatigue and I received a penalty, my race was over mentally and I just made it my goal to finish. Being able to speak with Toby about the penalty and some strategies for future racing will hopefully help me to better manage the mental side of racing.
Now my focus is to work on some shorter stuff for SSRW coming up in December at Runaway Bay as part of the Australian Junior Series Race # 1
I would like to personally thank the SCTA Junior scholarship sponsors for all your support.
I would also like to thank the Event Crew for running the series and supporting the SCTA Junior Scholarship Holders and Triathlon Queensland Officials and all the volunteers for making these events possible.