Long Version: I was always looking forward to rolling around at Husky again this year. After having a mixed race here last year (Here's the 2013 Report), I thought I had the tools to need to really give it a good shake and see if I could improve on last year's tenth. Once again though, it was a mixed day, but there were some great positives to draw on.
PRE RACESince Auckland 70.3, I had been getting in some great sessions and was beginning to get some confidence about my cycling. Improving my riding has been a focus (and will continue to be) as its was the difference between my result and a Top-5 in 2013. The sessions laid out for me by Alex had been great and even in a short training block, were enough to give me a needed boost.
Race week is, ideally, pretty stress-free, restful and exciting. Mine was, however, a bit tiring. I worked the 6 days leading into the race and picked up some kind of cold bug late in the week. I felt like trash on Friday particularly, and generally felt fatigued. But, sometimes that sort of stuff happens and you just have to learn from it and deal with it.
Alarm was sounding at 4:30am Sunday morning and I was sipping coffee minutes later. I drove the lazy 20-30minutes down to Husky and wandered over to transition with about an hour until my wave start. No problem, I thought.
I race on latex tubes. Latex doesn't hold the air in tyres perfectly and you lose a few psi overnight (enough to necessitate a quick pump up). My valve extenders didn't want to play ball and ended up inside my rear rim (partly due to my fumbling around in the bad light). Trying not to panic, I got a quick warm up run in (two birds, one stone) over to the Shimano Support guys and got a Dura-Ace box wheel off them. Running a training tyre, butyl tubed, training wheel would be undoubtedly slower, but at least I could race. Deal with it, I told myself.
Panic over, I got the rest of my stuff ready and headed down to the beach for a warm up.
2km SWIM - 33:35
That's 31st out of the water - not great. I started 2nd row and just tried to stay in the game, but couldn't mix it with the fish, or anyone for that fact. Swam comfortably, but I didn't feel sharp at all, which I'm chalking up to feeling under the weather with that cold.
At least I didn't go off course like last year. Plenty of work to do in the water though, if we're honest, and hopefully will get some more things sorted soon.
My gut instinct is that the two-lap course this year was a fraction longer than last years three-lap course. The two-lap course was much nicer than last year's three - less congestion and mucking around.
|Photo: Scott Krauss|
Needless to say, though, it's the most enjoyable swim course ever. How can you beat Jervis Bay at sunrise?
T1 - 2:18That needs to sharpen up. My wetsuit is a piece of junk which will cop a bit of the blame. Will be visiting Karl and the team at Northside Runners for a new Huub Wetsuit soon, I reckon!
83km BIKE - 2:16:33I'm proud of this ride - something that rarely occurs. Despite feeling as flat as a steam-rolled tortilla wrap, I wanted to push the ride and do justice to the build up.
Last year my split was a clean ten-minutes slower (2:26:32) after falling to pieces on the 2nd and 3rd laps. It was a bit of different story last year, though, as I trained through the event without really tapering at all.
In 2013, I rode 47:44, 49:06, 49:35 each lap versus 45:18, 44:59, 45:33 this year on pretty consistent watts each lap.
Power numbers: 225AP, 231NP, VI=1.03
In any case, I felt strong on the bike despite running on 4 cylinders. On track!
I love the bike course down in Husky. I ride it a fair bit and it's a good, fair course. Despite that, there were definitely a few wheel-suckers hanging around and each time I passed the penalty tent I was sad to see it empty.
T2 - 1:25
20km RUN - 1:22:09Well. This was a tough nut. I was hoping to run around the same pace as in Auckland given the flat nature of the course. And things we're looking good after the first 2km which I ticked off in 8 minutes flat, feeling good. Slowly though, the my energy seemed to fade despite staying on top of my nutrition and the km's felt longer, and were no longer so comfortable.
By the first turn around at 5ish km's I was feeling pretty crap, wanting for it to be over. It was a matter of gritting my teeth and getting it done from that point on.
I held it together and trotted through the second lap with a grimace and the support of the AP10 crew yelling encouragement to clock a 1:22:09 run, a full nine seconds quicker than last year.
In hindsight, I rode a lot better and ran the same on an empty tank. Happy.
Anyway, no excuses. Everyone's job to get to the startline healthy.
Looking forward to having a crack in Wollongong in a couple of weeks!