So the last couple of months I have been based in the beautiful Noosa on the Sunshine coast training with Siri and our awesome team of athletes! We’ve had some great sessions, it’s such a great part of the world to be training in…..an amazing national park with endless running trails, stunning outdoor 50m pool, coastal and hinterland riding! That time has now come to an end, and as much as it is sad to be leaving Noosa, bigger and more exciting times await! I’m off to Santa Monica on Sunday, where I will be based for most of the year training. I’m a bit nervous about heading into the big wide world, I have been to the states before, but always had someone by my side. I do have my Team Sirius family awaiting and hubby Clay will be joining me in a few months time.
My most recent adventure was into Abu Dhabi for the long course triathlon- 3km swim, 200km ride and 20km run. It was a great trip, I was feeling really excited to race, especially after my last race which was interrupted by mechanical issues. We headed in to Abu D on the Weds, chilled out for a few days at the race hotel and around the town eagerly awaiting the race start on Saturday! By the time Saturday rolled around I was relaxed and ready to get this thing started! I have been eyeing this event up for a couple of years, as I love riding and was stoked to have a cycle dominant event!
The transition area is awesome, we got our own personalised stands, being new to the “professional” world, I get excited over all the little things!
Standing on the start line I was a bit star struck with world champions and top Kona placers surrounding me! But it was a great feeling to be standing alongside them in my biggest race to date!
The swim start is off the beach in Abu Dhabi in still calm clear waters, so it was a beautiful swim. Unfortunately I lost the feet of the two groups ahead of me early and swum solo! It doesn’t usually faze me too much and didn’t at this point either. However later in the race I learnt how important it would have been to try and stick with one of those groups…..I really under-estimated the tactics of this race!
Even though it is a non drafting event, 200km is a dam long way- and especially mentally tough time trialling it solo!! The bike course is 40km out, then around the formula one track- which was awesome riding around!- then 40kms back, repeat that, then the final lap is 20km out and 20km back. So the first 120kms went well, even though I was in no mans land, with me myself and my bike! I had caught up to and passed a few people along the way. I could see I was holding around the same distance to the front pack of 6-8 girls, but once I hit the turn around for the second time at the formula one track I was 120kms into the ride, alone, fighting a narly head wind, had sciatic pain roaring down my left leg, and I started to fall to pieces. From that point it came to a battle of getting myself through the remaining 80kms and trying to stay in the game mentally. I ended up loosing a lot of time to the front group in that part of the race, who were able to feed and pace off each other. I’m disappointed in myself for struggling mentally! It was my second super long distance race so still have a lot to learn and certainly learnt a lot here! Once I got off the bike…..finally!….I ran pretty well, but my mind was more on the disappointment of my ride than the task at hand! By the time I crossed the finish line, I ran across with my tail between my legs ashamed of my mind winning the game on this day!
I’m looking forward to heading back next year, with a better equiped mind, hopefully a faster swim so I can exit with the top riders and having a race I can be proud of!
So now the task at hand is packing my life and belongings up into mere 46kgs of baggage allowance- even though I’m usually pretty good at sneaking an extra 10kg or so in! And jetting off to a exciting year ahead!
Finally a big Thanks to those who are supporting me for the upcoming race season…..firstly my main sponsor/supporter/fan/husband Clay! Shimano Australia who have kindly provided me with some beautiful new race and training wheels, cant wait to get riding on them! Asics Australia for helping me with my favorite training and racing shoes and apparel! SOAS racing for the awesome new womans specific race clothing- the most comfortable race clothing…..ever! Ryders eyewear for the super cool sunnies! And Hammer nutrition for keeping me fueled!