This is definitely a first for me: a January race report!
As much as I'd love to buckle down and train hard until the first race, coming out fit and ready to roll, I haven't earned that luxury. Without racing on the ITU circuit since September 2009, I am well off the radar in terms of World and Olympic Rankings, not to mention a little rusty when it comes to racing. So, to ensure I get a start at the first WCS race in Sydney and to get myself on the board for Olympic points, Darren and I decided I should head south to Tasmania for the Devonport Oceana Sprint Champs. It was also a great opportunity to see how my fitness is coming along and go through to motions of prepping for an event. I have to admit, I was pretty hesitant to commit to this event in the first place. It was early January when Darren first suggested it and coming off a large swim block and some bike and run strength work, I wasn't feeling overly confident in my race speediness. I figured though, I could either overthink things to death or just get on with it.
So, I packed up my bike and joined training partners Dave, Mike, Andi, and Barb in Tasmania. It turned into quite the trek to get down there with some stormy weather canceling our flight from Melbourne. We were re-routed to another airport and by the time we landed we discovered the race was turned into a duathlon because of the heavy rain. And here's another first for me: I was disappointed the swim was canceled! In previous years I'd be doing a small happy dance inside her head with this news, but what I really wanted was the chance to see the progression in my swim. Anyway, I had to get over this disappointment quickly and mentally prepare for a completely different event: 5km run-20km bike-2.5km run.
With junior world champion and speedy runner, Ashleigh Gentle in the race, and WCS winner Barbara, I knew we were in for some quick running. I prepared myself by thinking of the first 5k as a road race and I'm glad I did because my legs haven't moved that quick in...... oh, a very long time. Ashleigh pulled away from Barb and I on the first run so once we got on our bikes, our mission was to reel her in. We were quickly closing the gap by the 3rd of 4 laps but when we rolled through transition with one to go, we noticed her bike was racked and she was out running! Barb and I continued because we knew we had one lap to go, but officials quickly stepped out in front of us and told us to turn around. It was a bit of a messy situation and I had a very slow T2 as a result. I left transition in 3rd and that's where I finished. Once the officials had time to look at the splits, they quickly realized that we had done one less bike lap, but because everyone did one less lap, no one was disqualified. It was chaotic, but I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. For an race officials point of view, I can understand how they could have got mixed up as we were on the course with about 50 junior women, all on different laps of the bike. Besides, the onus is always on the athletes when it comes to counting laps.
I was initially disappointed with my result. Again, I don't like racing if I'm not "really" ready. But, looking back on it, I realize that I did have a solid race. And, my gosh, it's only JANUARY. Sometimes you have to keep things in perspective.
This race also took place exactly one year after my bike crash in Maui last year. I never thought it would take me a full year to get back out there, but I guess better late than never.
Many thanks to my wonderful homestay, the Lyon Family and to the hospitality provided by all involved with the event. Tassie spirit is even more spritely than I remember, and it is a stunning part of the world. I look forward to returning one day with Adam for some serious adventuring.
And now, with almost the entire D-squad in Canberra, we're into the swing of things. It's hot here and we've got a fantastic, motivated (sometimes crazy) squad. I couldn't ask for more.