Four seasons in one day was the theme to Geelong. This course had everything wind, hills and a class field. I have not raced in Geelong since 2006 when it was the national olympic distance championships. This year it was the Australian Long Course Championships and I was glad to be back.
This race was a bit of a band camp. I was headed to Geelong with Kristen and Dale for a weekend packed with laughs. We were on the 7.55AM flight on the Friday before the race (after sneaking in my favorite sharp swim set at the Valley Pool at 5AM). When we arrived we had to fit a square peg in a round hole when it came to packing the rental car. For the record two bike bags and three people can fit in a Mitsubishi Outlander!
Three people and two bikes in one car, thanks Scotty from Flight Centre Active Travel nice pick with the Mitsubishi Outlander
The first stop was at Brooks headquarters where we got a sneak peak at the new range for this year (very colourful) before cruising into Hawthorne for a quick lunch with some of my family. After lunch we made the road trip down to Geelong. Lucky for us we were upgraded to the best suite in the house with a massive balcony and views of Corio Bay. After unpacking the car I headed out for a short run and then we ventured down to the pier area for dinner.
I went to bed with a scratchy throat on Friday and was super worried but thanks to Walker I had betadine gargle at hand. I spent a lot of time relaxing over the next day to keep it off my chest. We all slept in on Saturday. Dale and I went out and explored the bike course, while Kristen ran parts of the run course. Saturday was pretty low key, we checked out the local coffee scene and then attended the pro briefing and finished with a short swim (in the refreshing rain). The water was crystal clear.
Standard stress relief
I woke up and the first thought that comes to my mind, “is this a full-blown head cold or just a scratchy throat?”. I decided that I felt ok so, I got up and ate and then gargled again. Other than this distraction I was feeling spot on to race. We headed down nice and early to transition did a small warm up jog and stretched the wetsuit on.
Tattoo nightmares - ready to roll
I had a better swim start than my last race (Glenelg - http://www.sarahcrowleytriathlete.com/#!Qattro-Glenelg-Triathlon-2015/c12dh/39364D8E-4576-43C6-8893-610A48546C34) but I got my right arm tangled with someone and I couldn’t get out of it. I moved laterally but I still couldn’t get free. I think it cost me the feet of the front pack, which I was aiming to hang onto for a while longer. I am not sure who it was but I’m sure they are thinking the same.
We settled in and Maddie Oldfield moved to the front of our group for the next 800-900 meters. On the way back in I moved to the front of the group and tried to lift the pace. It fragmented the swim a little and gave me a bit of a break into the transition.
I had a quick T1. Our pack was two minutes down on the front three which included Liz, Bek and Gina. I put the foot down in the first 30km trying to make-up some ground but the girls were out of sight. At the first bike turn around I was passed by Burrel and decided to pace off her and not push the pace. It was nice to have Dale out there on course cheering while cranking out his own race. I focused on relaxing on the bike and not fighting the strong head wind, placing more attention on staying ready for the run. When we turned for home we had gapped the other girls that we had exited the water with but another group of girls were fast approaching by the time we reached T2.
T2 was quite fast for me. I try and keep it very simple in transition. I only had to put my socks on, then shoes, then pick up my sunnies, hat and number belt. While unclipping and ditching the helmet as I ran off. One tip here is to keep the number belt clipped up and to simply feed it over your head as you are running out of T2. It is quicker than standing there and clipping it on.
Can't miss the new Fluro Brooks T7 Racer
I left T2 on a mission. I was confident as I’ve been running fast so, I just legged it and believed that what I had been doing in training and racing recently would hold true for this race. I had to back myself. I pretty much switched off thinking and just concentrated on pace and form. I knew Gina was 4 minutes up the road and when I had completed 6k and had cut the gap to 2 minutes, I knew I was in with a shot at the podium. I have raced a number of times in this situation and knew that it didn’t need to all be done at once. So I gave myself a short breather and re-assessed what I would need to do over the remaining kms. Walker was there working hard as support crew giving me time splits and was a nice distraction from the intensity of the race.
I attacked the hills on the back half of the course. I ate into the gap significantly by doing this (although it did hurt me a little too) but I then recovered back through into the main race venue before heading out for the multi-loop hill where I had planned to put in another effort. I passed Gina on the hill on the way out of town. When I got to the top of the hill I realised the others were not too far away. I took a gel and put in a few more surges. I could see the gap narrowing but I was fast running out of road. By the end of the race we were all within a minute or so. The girls had done just a bit too much damage on the bike and I couldn’t reel it in.
I am super excited to have my run back. It has been a combination of full recovery from my leg injury, six months without crazy travel and a truck load of consistent training. I really can’t wait for the rest of this year! Below is a short race wrap video.
Just a side note, photo credit for the finishing shot and the shot of the three podium girls is to Delly Carr and can be found here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.869385023125986.1073741864.282021031862391&type=1
Thanks, so what’s next?
Thanks Scody, Endura, Brooks Australia, Rudy Project Oz, CompressSport, No More Knots, RED DOG Tri training, Aussie Tom, Avanti plus the Valley, Mike and my training buddies. I’m going into a bit of a training hiatus for the next few weeks.