I had a strange sense of calmness going down to prepare for this race in the
morning. I did a few things slightly differently to keep my mind at ease, compared to my last few races, so whether this helped or the fact that I had a few things going my way compared to last year, Im not sure. For one, last year I rolled my ankle the day before the race and was unable to warm up for wnat of keeping my sore strained muscles in tact as much as possible to ensure i could finish the race. This year I got my prep done as I would like, 2, the chilly early morning start ensured the gals a wetty swim, shaweet!, and 3 I carried some more confidence going in with a higher world ranking and therefore some choice in my swim start positioning. Combining hese two aspects I had a clear head and more confidence to tackle the water ahead.
The pre race advice from my coach was to start left. Fine no worries, ...except that the 13 girls ahead of me all went far right! Dam it! Agh what to do, all the fast swimmers to the right, I think I should be going right. No stick to the game plan so I went right down the other end, like a loner all by myself, and watched the next 50 girls fill up the spots from way down the other end .....hmm I think there may have been an error there somewhere! Haha typical I finally get a choice in where I would like to start and end up in exactly the same spot anyhow! A long wait in the starters hands and of course the heavy beat of the drums on the pre start music they play, just in case you thought you could stay calm and composed, those bloody drums ensure you are ready to poop your pants right before you hit the water, and we were off.
A super fast start by the first buoy I could see a stream of white water ahead, and couldnt help but think I should have started down the other end again! None the less just keep in touch with the feet keep moving forward. After a fast lap we were out for lap one already for the "drunk" run along the pontoon with the swaying pontoon undreneath your feet and back in. I was probably sitting about 2/3 of the way along the field, and maintained close to this apon exiting the water for the long deep burn run up to transition. Lungs heaving you just keep running as fast as you can to your bike cos it could be that final 1 or 2 seconds that get you onto a pack or not. No time for slouching at all when you are one of the more "aquatically challenged" as I like to call it. To my relief there was still a number of bikes in transition as we all scrambled for life or death to get on the bike as fast as we can and have the luxury of a wheel to ride with. Just ahead of me I saw Nicola Spirig, a swiss chick and respectable absolute power house on the bike. That was the wheel I had to get to, no questions asked, and with screaming legs and lungs, and no mechanical problems like in Mooloolaba, and with the help of the easy handling Felt F3 bike, I did.
From then on I short stint at the front, I for the first time sat in most of the ride, and my god how much easier it is! Although not positioned incredibally well in the pack after catching the second pack and closing on the first, all 3 packs came together to hit transition as one rolling peleton of wheels.
A shit transtion postion by me, saw me one of the last out unfortunately and about ten seconds down on the first out. Not time you can afford to give away, especially on the light footed leaders such as Densham, Hewitt, and Jenkins.However I slowly pegged back runner after runner feeling quite good in teh first few laps, and worked my way into 14th before the wheels seem to fall off at the end of the last lap. Nooo, though I asked very nicely for my wheels to return they did not, and I got passed back again by Bennett and Snowy who left me chasing their arses to the finish line instead of the other way round. I finished 16th, and 5th Aussie in the end with the Aussies almost going head to head finishing 10, 13, 14, and 16th nipping each other heels. Erin Densham put in another stellar performance to win on home turf, followed by Jenkins (GBR) and Hewitt (NZ). All in all a great race out, and know exactly what to work on between now and the next one. That will be Madrid for me, missing the next race in San Diego.
The boys had a tough day out with both Sticksy and Sexton DNFs and Macca being the first Aussie home.
And now we play the waiting game as they finalise the Aussie Olympic team...