Long story short this world champs was not to be so elating as the Duathlon Worlds. Losing a bit of fitness and routine through travel etc I didnt carry the same level of confidence into this race. Auckland was one of the toughest courses ITU athletes have seen with 3 decent hill climbs each lap for 8 laps, technical, and wet and windy, you could not slouch on this course by any means, a small aussie girls team consisting of Ash Gentle, Fliss Abram, Erin Densham and myself were there to tackle it.
After a slightly better swim, coming out in teh chase pack, which was nice to see as this had been my focus in the 2 weeks at home, I made a very costly error which I will know for next time not to do, I went straight to the front to chase down those ahead. In reality I should have sat in the first little bi to get my heart rate down as Unfortunately I had not recovered properly out of the swim, and with the toughness of the course struggled over the crest of the hill. This was to be one of the biggest ego blows and demoralising things for me in this race, as this is usually my strength. This was the beginning of the end of my race unfortunately, unable to fix that mistake I time trialed 40km losing a lot of time, to then painfully clock the second fastest run of the day. Not a good day out and a race I would rather not dwell on. Unfortunately for most of the aussies it was a similar thing with Ash flatting, Erin DNF due to illness, and Fliss Abram was the only one to have a good day.
Hats off to Aaron Royal for winning the U23 mens title though. Awesome!
From Auckland I decided to hang around in NZ for a week and train before Noosa as I had never seen NZ and always had wanted to. So visited a sweet little place on the beach called Mt Manganui, a very pretty coastline, before heading up to stinky but awesome Rotorua. Stinky because it has all these geothermal areas, literally the ground is just steaming all over the joint! and the sulpher makes it smell a bit funky, but awesome because it has the Redwood forest with oodles of running and mountain biking trails, just my thang! So a bit of cross training on the mountain bike curtisy of Planet bikes and exploring with Bec Kingsford and Sammy Osborne, and some great running in the forest, crossed with white water rafting and hot springs exploration, was the my winding down training regime into Noosa.
I love Noosa! The place and the triathlon are amazing. The buzz that is around there is electric and it is just such a prestigious and iconic race to take part in. I was little sore and tired to be honest after some training runs I did in NZ, but did them fully aware it would not be the best thing for Noosa, but decided I was winding down, in a beautiful part of the world I may never see again, I would prefer to explore these run trails, (to the protest of my legs come Noosa morning, haha ) But still unsure of how I would go due to the reduced training regime, I was just crossing fingers I still had enough left in the tank for a half decent result. It's always a bit of fun too as it is a non drafting Olympic distance ITU athletes get to race the long course athletes on essential as equal a ground as you can get.
A ridiculously early start 6 or 6.30 I forget,meant a super early wake up , lucky for me I still had some NZ clock in my body!
A slow swim had myself, Ash, and a french mate of mine exit the one lap swim a bit back off the leaders. However myself and Ash rode well, not totally unpracticed at time trialling for periods in our races, and caught up Lisa Marrangong, to which the three of us rode well together and not lose a stack of time to the leaders. Although coming back into town the skies had unleashed some rain, the roads were extremely slippery, and we had to be careful as people were crashing left right and center. So coming back into T2 the four of us, (now including Mel, last years winner) had a sizeable deficit to teh leaders but not impossible to close depending on how everybody ran of course. Knowing that Ash and Mel cab both run very well, I wanted any advantage I could get and was out onto the course first. Certainly not feeling my best out there I tried to stay away, but it wasn't long before Ash was running with me, and despite my efforts on tired legs, Ash was in a class of her own that day. Posting a sensational run that took her to a well deserved win. I ran average as I expected I might, but it was enough to catch Lizzy Blatchford, and Caroline Steffan at about the 8km mark to hold on for second. Lizzy rounded out the podium.
A happy day out still as I wanted to race for some fun partly, and fun it was, and was very happy to podium up alongside Ash and Lizzy for my final race of the season. Once again Noosa did not disappoint!