Swim 24:55 (3rd)
Bike 56:? (2nd)
Run 33:49 (1st)
It's 12pm on Saturday 12th May. I'm standing at the race start on the beautiful Byron Bay beach. I'm chatting with my competitors as we discuss what we have coming up. I get the feeling we are all here for the same reason. A bit of a hit out before we all head off in different directions. Courtney is heading to Europeto do ITU racing. Rachael and I are heading to the US to do the 70.3 season. Sarah is getting ready for the Cairns 70.3 next month. We all have different goals and different races we're targeting but today we are all here racing for the 2012 Byron Bay Triathlon crown.
12:01. I sprint down to the water and dive in. Courtney, being the shorter distance athletes takes the lead. I try to follow but her speed in the water is unmatched. I keep her in sight as we all tackle the rough ocean. I can still see her until the last buoy where we turn and head back into shore. Now it's so choppy and I have no idea what part of the shore I'm heading for. Rachael joins me to my left. We swim side by side although one minute Rachael flies forward as I get dragged back but then the next I get on top of a wave and get propelled forward as I see her go back. This happens the whole swim back into shore. We finally find sand and stand up amongst kids playing in the shallow. Hmmm, which way to transition? We soon get pointed in the right direction and run up to find our bikes. Paige is 20sec ahead, Courtney is 1min up the road. I jump on Shivy... Wow it feels good to be racing. I've been doing a lot of long steady km's on my road bike so it was good to jump on my TT bike, get down on the aeros and get some speed.
The bike course is... A little scary and very bumpy. The roads are not closed off to traffic and the road surface is not your usual smooth hot mix. This made for an interesting bike leg. My eyes are continually scanning the road for the best line as well as looking out for cars. On the way out I see a lead car behind Paige. I manage to squeeze past it as I powered on to catch Courtney. I pass Courtney at 7km and continue out to the turnaround. The course was a little short, turning at around 17.5km. On the way back there's a nice descent but staying on my aeros proved very difficult. The entire road looks like a patchwork quilt with all the potholes filled with uneven bitumen. Next I come up to a roundabout where an Ambulance is crawling through... Not wanting to brake too much I breath in and squeeze past bringing me up alongside another car. I pass him on the right then the next on the left. Whoa... This is crazy! I come back into town and see the finish chute and all the spectators... I didn't check before the race where the dismount line was so I get out of my shoes ready. I veer right thinking this is where I jump off... I almost hit a volunteer as I put my foot down and stub my toe. The dismount line is further up the hill to the left so I scramble back up the hill. I dismount with Sarah Crowley right on my wheel. In transition I take few extra seconds to put my socks on as Sarah has a speedy exit. I grab my SiS visor and gel and I'm on my way. I run down Sarah as some young kids give me a high five as I pass. I'm using this race for practice for my longer races coming up so although I don't need a gel in 10km I'm going to try and take it. I'm not great with eating on the run. That probably explains why my bike looks like a 'banquet on wheels' during the longer events. I try to get in enough fuel on the bike so I don't have to take anything in the run.
The run is 4x2.5km laps. I like laps for a couple of reasons. You are always close to cheering spectators and you can
get splits. I like numbers. After one lap I'm clearly in the lead so I work on chasing down the boys. The boys are a lap ahead but I can see them as the course winds around the footy field, through the forest, around the garden shed and
back out onto the road, down and then back to the finish. I catch two of the four male pro's on my third lap (their last lap). By the time I get to my last lap the course is filled with age group athletes so I continually get to pick off more runners. As I'm running down to the finish I hear an ever enthusiastic Pete Murray on the loud speaker. I feel good on the run and I stop the clock at 1:56:34 with 33:49 for my 10km run. I still have my gel in my pocket - oops!
This race was exactly what I wanted before heading overseas. A low key fun race to test my fitness during a hard training block. I love swimming in the beautiful clean ocean. It was good to get a hard ride in and I think my run fitness is back after feeling very comfortable on the run leg.
A big thanks to QSM for a fantastic race. Pete Murray was awesome on the mic. All the sponsors, officials, volunteers and spectators - thanks for making the Byron Bay Triathlon a great experience for me.