Now that my ITU season is done for the season I have been back on the time trial and mtn bikes this last week. I have logged up almost 100km of running as well to get ready for the last three races of the season. Dallas Open lifetime fitness triathlon, Maui Xterra World Champs and Clearwater 70.3 World Champs. I am eager to train surprisingly having logged a busy season already. I guess the lure of trying to become a world champion and the fact the racing is different and fun helps a bit.
As for the Grand Final two weekends ago on the Gold Coast of Australia, it was a fast and furious race. I really prepared well for the event mentally and physically. I was rested and mentally excited to challenge myself and put everything I had on the course. I spent quite a bit of time on the course learning the turns, hills, finish stretches and so forth to make sure I could see it all in my mind. I then spent the days leading up to the race going over the course in my head and getting an idea of the intensity and the feeling I wanted to have on the course.
Come race start I was relaxed and confident and focused on a fast start. It was a beach run in which I like and got me off to a good start and I was well up in the group coming to the first turn. Once arriving at the turn it was a complete gongshow and to make sure this race was like all the others this season I had my goggles kicked off once again. (Although for this race I had them strapped on so tight I had a headache and my eyeballs almost got sucked out of the sockets when they came off) Regardless, I crawled my way around the first turn (it isn't swimming when your feet are below your shoulders and you are on top of people) and once I made it out the other side I adjusted my goggles and focused on getting back up in the group. At the first exit I think I was almost dead last 51st I think and I could see the long line ahead of me. The second lap I smashed it as I wasn't going to settle for being in the second pack. Entering transition I was top thirty and 15sec down and by 2km into the bike I was leading the pack.
The bike was fairly uneventful with several unsuccessful attacks and then one that stuck and one that got a away with two laps to go with Paul Tichelaar and Matt Reed in it. I thought about going with the last attack but hesitated too long and thinking 2 laps to go was too late. Hind sight it might have worked but you never know.
Coming into transition for the run was very intense with a pack of 50 guys flying into a 90 degree turn at 50km/hr. After surviving the bottle neck and making through the last three turns I got in and out of transition near the front but not right there. I thought I could make it up in the first 1km or so but the pace was unbelievable. It felt like I was sprinting and I was still losing steps to the leaders. I focused on the group that was forming ahead and tried everything to get to it but the pace was just more then I could close. I held ground for the first lap or two and then I started to pick off some of the guys dropping off pace. I felt really strong and smooth on the hill and had a good rhythm on the downhill and false flats. It one of the fastest courses terrain and turn wise of the season. Add the fact that everyone was in top shape and putting it all on the line means that even though I ran 30:34 I came up 18th 1:30 back from the win and 55sec off the podium.
I was stoked with my fast run but know that I still have a lot of work to do to get on that podium. With an injury free season under my belt and all the right training I can take this fitness and speed and easily build on it next year.
Thanks for the support from everyone over the season and into this last ITU race. I will keep updating on my progression through the next three races and hopefully a world championship!