Bussleton is one of my favourite events of the year, as for WA it is the end of the local season, and culminates al the training everyone has done all year with one great event, and of course historically one awesome night out afterwards, with most people staying to dance away the inevitable doms (delayed onset muscle soreness) that would hit them the next morning. The event carries such a great vibe, and has grown and flourished over the past few years, with thousands of people making the trek down to race, or support others or just come and watch, and the organisers and Bussleton itself put no such an amazing event with nothing but positivity flowing around, you can't help but just love this event, and this year was no exception.
Unfortunately I was a little apprehensive with the amount of bike and run kms I had under my belt to be able to dish up a highly competitive result this year, after focusing in the swim department much more this year, and a little niggle that pooped its ugly head just prior to the race left me a little ambiguous as to if I would even finish. I would just go out there and have fun and see how it held up, bearing in mind my priority was not this race but in face Madrid WTS a few weeks later.
So driving down in the pissing rain Friday Busso for the first time in a while looked like it may not dish up its usally uncanny perfect weather this year? None the less I was still super excited to be racing it again, and couldnt wait to just get out there and race for fun, a slight change from the slightly more stressful World Cup racing for me.
I was also eagerly awaiting to see my sexy new SCODY race suit they had prepared for the race, which turns out was so comfy to race in and looked great!...though i dont think I did the suit any justice! haha
So lying in bed as I drifted off to sleep race night I was feeling good and as rested as can be for a zero taper haha, listening to the frogs socializing outside my window, and terrential rain hammering my poor Felt roady out in transition with only a plastic bag on its seat as it's only defence...
Race morning up at 4.50 am, ergh, but surprisingly not too tired (highly unsual for me at this hour!) Hearty bowl of porridge for breakky,
Purple Scody suit on, and out the door to tackle the kms lying ahead.
Pleasantly it was not too cold, rain had eased, and transition was a buzz with busy bodies, portaloos getting worked on overtime. I fixed my bike, the Carbo Shotz train, my lifeline to get through this race, were attached to my top tube, and borrowed "sperm" aka TT helmet with Oakleys balanced carefully inside were ready to go. Off to the swim start.
Now the swim was not such a pleasant sight. First thing I noticed was the swim 'ramp" had been washed away overnight by the crazy weather, and there was a sheer sand wall like up to my chin to get out of the water! "How the f&*k was I going to crawl up that to get out of the water!?" When you are 5 foot midget size, I thought Im gonna be stuck there for 5 minutes just trying to get off the bloody beach! Next my gaze shifted to the ocean itself...choppy as hell, brown water all churned up,and floating buys that looked like they had their work cut out for them to stand their ground. Oh well its the same for everyone...and was happy to see anothe sand ramp had been constructed during the swim eliminating the rock climbing component in the run to transition.
So with the swim course changed to no longer swim out beside the iconic Busso jetty ( due to the hungry great whites that had been around WA shores all summer) we were off and I was out swimming struggling to see exactly where to go in the chop, and with the idea of swimming in a straight line back, so far from possible for me on a perfect mill pond day, this chop and inability to see any buoys on the way back added many 100metres to my swim easily. After almost beaching myself on shore and having to take a 90 deg back out to find the buoys .... somewhere out there I eventually made my way round the course about 5 mins slower than last year not surprising at all, to exit second.
A quick ITU style transition sore me exit rapidly and get srtaight out onto the Felt F3 with no dramas. From here my race plan was similar to last year, just keep it steady and withing my capabilities as I had done zero tt work or bike intervals really, and just aimed to push to what I believed would be my limit without over doing it. As expected Granger, Kate and Wu all past me on the bike and I pushed a little harder than last year to hang on for a bit longer. But by the end of the first lap, I was thinking my god I've got a another whole lap of this to go! The wind was tough, my bum was aching, my quads were aching and my draft leagal TT bars were not helping my aching bach either! Nonethless you charge on pedal pump after pedal pump, and at leat there were others out on course now to break some lonliness out there and a time check at final turn had leader Lisa Marangong about 6 or 7 mins up. Ok the aim was to not lose anymore time on final stretch before I hit the run.
Finally the end of the bike arrived and it was time to hit my domain. With auto pilot in transition I almost forgot my socks, but a quick brain wave reminded me to pop them on before my Brooks flats and out to the run I went with no idea of the how much massive gap the girls ahead had on me. I probablly went out a little harder than last year, though still trying to control myself remebering its twice as long as i usually race and to pace myself! However there was a good 7 mins or so to the race leader, and I had a lot of work to do. At this stage it's hard to comprehend if you can catch up that much time or not. The distance is so huge, but then again the distance and my "catch up" time is also double what I'm used to. I wanted just to hit first lap and see what ground I had made up to have a gauge. But I was feeling awesome out on the run fluid and easy.
End of fist lap I had caught Wu and Granger already and put myself to 3rd. About 12 km I started to feel the beginning of tired legs set in. Just as I could see the lead bike in the distance ( distance, being the key word here!). It was then decision timme for me. Norally I would pace my self and wind up the last lap, ...but... I wanted to put myself into a real shot this year, and get close to that lacky band so if i fatigued I had that extra competitive drive being close to competitors, I may regret this decision in the last lap but I put the boot down to chase. End of second lap it was paying off, now in second place, I just had to chase Kate down about 40 seconts up with 7km to. Iv got this I thought, and with overwhelming support from friends, sponsors, family etc, I'de made my mind up well and truly I was not going to lose this race. Unfortunately for Kate I had the advantage of seeing my competitior, and with a desperte plea from my body for more energy I downed and extra carbo shot and took off to close the final gap. Knowing Kate is no slouch of an athlete by any means, I wanted to pass fast get some distance, then just back it off, though that last 3 km went forever! I did not want to do anything stupid and just enjoy the final stretch of my first win at one of my favourite races, and it was most definately a really special win, and one I will remember and cherish.
Just a shame my mum rocked up "sunday morning" from Margaret River to watch the race...to find out the race was Saturday... haha.:)
With that I can not say thankyou enough to everyone out there for your support. It was overwhelming and humbling, the volunteers who stand out there hours on end, the crew with the speakers pumping tunes, the eye of the tiger an crocodile aid station crew :) you guys were entertainment for all! Trievents, TWA, Bussleton, Simon and the other commentators,and every single bit of encouragemnet out there I can assure you gets acknowledged..even though it may look like I'm just giving the stink eye, :) thats probably the facial equivalent of weazling out a thanks haha.
On a more personal note in particular, massive thanks to my coaches Grant Landers, Mel Tantrum. Brett Slocomb, my physio who went beyond and above duty to get me in best shape possible. My awesome mates that pitched in to help out with gear, wheels, accom, helmets, support, sponsors in particular WAIS, SCODY and SHOTZ, my boy, and of course my family in particular my dad, who is the best support crew you could ask for.
It really was a special win so I thank you all for th team effort.
Final results were1. Myself 2. Kate Bevilaqua 3. Lisa Marangong
Boys 1. James Hodge 2. Matty White 3. Callum Millward
Next stop europe for first French GP race on 20th