Mooloolaba is one of my favourite races, and I share this view with thousands of other aussies and athletes who come to take part in the annual Mooloolaba triathlon every year. After missing out on racing here the last two years with injury, I was so excited to be back on the start line of this exciting race. Mooloolaba itself is a great little spot on the coast of Queensland, with a beautiful beach, awesome eateries and a chilled out vibe. It's a great enticer to race here, plus the added bonus of being able to race on home turf for a World Cup, makes it one of my favourite races.
The race course itself is also one of my favs, with a surf swim, hilly bike and run, and some hot and humid conditions, the race can make or break many an athlete!
This year was no different, except for a cyclone lingering off the coast as well. This meant some big surf and swell was part of the parcel as well. I guess most athletes warily eyed of the beach break and dumpers and wondered if luck would give them a clean run in and out of the surf, or would mother nature dump a couple of thousand litres on your head and leave you panicking for that vital oxygen you so desperately search for at the end of the swim.
Its a beach start and I was looking forward to the surf. I'm always playing around in the waves and I figured most other people would be more nervous about the rough conditions than I would. But alas, my start was abysmal, and I call myself an ozzie!...I got pummelled and any time I lost in the swim I think happened in the first 250m. I had to work hard to make up some lost ground and tried my best to utilise any surf coming back in. Preying at that stage that I didn't get caught in a dumper as I was just off the main bunch, and new if I got caught up in something bad, that could be the end of my race...Luckily I got through pretty unscathed and had to hit the looong soft sand run to transition fast to get back any lost time.
The bike was tough, but I felt great first lap and managed to bridge back on to the second bunch. But with the leaders a smell ahead I didn't want to rest up just yet, I wanted to keep riding through to see if we could bridge up straight away. Not quite, but with the help of fellow aussie, Ellie Salthouse and kiwi, Rebecca Spence the gap got closed before the end of the ride. Unfortunately for myself I got caught in a bad spot on lap four, when the wheels I was sitting on fell of the bunch through the technical section, unable to get around it straight away, I had to put in a big long surge last lap to get back on the group, which took a fair bit out of my legs right before the run, and saw me positioned very poorly coming into T2.
The foot race was hot and fast, and though working through the field I could not catch on to the leaders. After my poor transition and tired legs I finished up in 7th. The aussie crowd was awesome, it really gave me a lift, thankyou so much, it's always such a privilege for me to race on home turf. Thanks for all the support, and awesome to see fellow aussie Ash Gentle come away with the Bronze medal, to really give the crowd something to cheer about!
I am lucky enough to spend the next few weeks with my coaches in NZ amongst preparing to race at New Plymouth World Cup this weekend. Looking forward to round two.