Back to Racing!

After a long injury hiatus that had me away from the race course for over a year, it is so nice to be back!! Even though the races themselves haven’t been entirely smooth sailing, it is just great to be back out there doing what I love! This weekend marked the completion of my 4th Ironman, back to the roots of where I begun Ironman racing in Busselton.

The lead up to Busso had gone reasonably well, a few little niggly issues along the way, but nothing compared to the injury woes of the past year thankfully! Routine is a big thing for me, I build confidence from ticking all the boxes, doing the miles, doing the sessions day in and day out. Having moved from the Sunshine Coast to West Sydney mid year, my biggest obstacle was where to train and who to train with. Luckily I came across the PIS boys from Penrith, some of who were headed to Kona and some of who were doing Busso. I am so thankful to these guys letting me tag along on their weekend sessions, they have been incredible riding buddies and have taken me around some painful but awesome routes!

I was also super lucky that my husband Clay met Oli from Cheeky Velo in Sydney, right when we were looking at buying a new bike. My one and only ever bike, that I’ve had since starting triathlon- my Cervelo P2 was starting to see its final days, so I was on the look out for a replacement. I’ve loved my P2 to bits, so really wanted to stay on Cervelo, and we stumbled across Oli (who owns Cheeky Velo, which stocks Cervelo!) at the perfect time! Oli took us under his wing and helped out with my new bike, of which I am ever so grateful for! The guys in store at Cheeky Velo Randwick have been incredible to deal with, in getting it set up and dialled in to perfection.

New Bike!!!

New Bike!!!

So, onto the races!! My first planned race back was Mandurah 70.3. I flew over a few days early and stayed with my bro-in-law in Perth.We headed down to Mandurah the day before the race- a beautiful spot just South of Perth. Super eager and excited to race, I started out with a good swim, however my race was short lived, with a blown tyre 500m out of transition. I had opted not to carry a spare, as I decided to take my chances that getting a flat on a brand new tyre would be pretty slim…….

Onwards and upwards to the next one, which was Challenge Forster 2 weeks later. Just a few hours drive up the coast from Sydney, I had my parents and husband in tow. Unfortunately the weather gods weren’t kindest to us, and we were hit with a massive thunderstorm the day before the race, which was then set to ease the next morning and re-appear in the afternoon, just in time for the 1pm race start. Sure enough ten mins before the gun went off, the storm started rolling our way, which made for a wet and windy, yet fun half IM ahead! The race went reasonably well, aside from a brake pad rubbing which consumed most of my attention on the bike, but otherwise a good solid day before the big one in two weeks. It was fun racing alongside Rebecca Hoschke who stormed ahead for the win and Annabel Luxford.

Busso time!!! This seemed to roll around rather quickly! I guess I hadn’t had much down time to think about it too much, I was working as a physio until mid October, when I decided to break from work for the summer to focus on racing. I then spent 3 weeks in the Sunshine Coast on a training camp, then was straight across to WA for Mandurah and from there time ticked away, and before I knew it I was back on the plane to WA for Busso! I arrived in Busselton on Wednesday, and aside from a few little sessions, spent my time hibernating indoors watching DVDs. Its hard being in such a beautiful location and not being able to get out and explore, but I learnt the hard way in Germany last year pre Roth, that sightseeing in the days before an Ironman is not the wisest thing to do.

Race morning I was feeling excited and relaxed! I love the Busselton swim- being able to swim around the jetty, even though it seems like such a long way when you’re out there. The first part of the swim was going good, Lisa was out front as expected, but I was on the feet of the next group of girls, which I was happy about….until I realised that whoever I was behind had started to drop off, and by that point it was too late to bridge back on no matter how hard I tried! I kept around 50m or so behind to the far turn buoys, which is where my next mishap occurred! I wasn’t aware that we had to go on the outside of the final marker buoy before the far turn buoy. I saw the girls ahead do a sharp right turn out towards it, to go on the outside of it, and I started to do the same, but then I thought- I’m sure in the briefing we had to keep them all on our right then round the final turn buoy on our left. So I decided to change tack and keep on the inside of it and head straight up to the last buoy. Sure enough, once past it a boat came by and turned me back! Argh! By the time I got back and around that buoy the next group of girls were there, and the group ahead we’re well gone!

Kate and I pre start, Photo cred: firstoffthebike.

Kate and I pre start, Photo cred: firstoffthebike.

I was pretty fired up with myself for missing that buoy, that I put the hammer down on the bike straight away. I would normally build into a ride, but I just wanted to ride hard because I was angry, and so I did! It felt comfortable, but I knew it wasn’t sustainable for 180kms! I made it through 90kms pushing hard, and then it started to catch up on me! At the same time as my legs fell off, the winds picked up a few notches and my Di2 shifter for the rear derailleur had worked its way loose and come undone, (own error from not screwing it on tight enough after travel) so I had to stop and collect all the nuts and screws, then hold it in place so I didn’t tension the wires and so I could change gears. Hence the second half of the ride went pretty quickly from smiling and waving at my friends and family and having the time of my life, to a grimace and wanting to get the heck off this bike! Finally I made it into T2, knowing I’d lost a chunk of time from my pacing error to the front 3 girls, who all rode phenomenally.

First half of the ride, in my happier state! Photo cred: Firstoffthebike.

First half of the ride, in my happier state! Photo cred: Firstoffthebike.

Unfortunately I left my running legs out on the first half of the bike course too, so the marathon was a bit of a grind! However I DID have fun! The Busso course is awesome for support and spectators, being 4 laps there are people almost everywhere! There are a few hotspots of groups to look forward to, and I had heaps of training buddies from my PIS crew and the Sunny Coast out on course, so was uber fun being out there with them! Amongst the hurt I was thankful that I was actually out there racing this year, instead of stuck at home injured, and that I made it to the end (which is always an accomplishment in itself) of Ironman number 4 as the 4th Pro Female!

Photo cred: Firstoffthebike

Photo cred: Firstoffthebike

Huge congrats to the podium girls Liz (who had an incredible run), Mareen and Lisa who had a stellar race after time away from the IM distance! Thanks to Ironman AsiaPac for putting on another successful event, I love Busso, and plan to be back yet again, hopefully next year!

THANK YOU to my super supporters who make the world of difference being on the sidelines: Hubby Clay, Bro-in-law Lee and fiancé Carla for being there in Busso, and other family and friends for dedicating your day to the computer to track online!

THANK YOU to my training buddies- AV (who had a ripper day and got his Kona spot), Brunty and the rest of the PIS crew, and the Sunny Coast boys.

THANK YOU to Oli, Adam and Joe at Cheeky Velo for helping me with my new bicycle, of which I love dearly!

THANK YOU to Ryan at Retul bike fit in Penrith, for setting me up in a great position.

THANK YOU to SOAS Racing, Hammer Nutrition, Blue Seventy, Asics, Compu trainer and Cobb Cycling for your ongoing support and amazing gear!

Thanks also to the First off the Bike guys for letting me use a few of their photos!

My 2013 season has come to an end, but the 2014 season is starting VERY soon, on Jan 4th to be exact!

Michelle 🙂

Our 1 day of exploring post race, included pristine beaches and amazing wineries!

Our 1 day of exploring post race, included pristine beaches and amazing wineries!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s