Swim 22:20 27th
Bike 1:02:48 2nd
Run 37:06 3rd
Hy Vee 5150! Whoa... Pretty much the world champs of Olympic distance non drafting. This is the one race that attracts the best triathletes from all distances. And this means I need to swim fast! I'm up against the top ITU girls who are awesome swimmers.
The week leading into this race I had the help from Tenille Hoogland, a great mate & fellow triathlete and Specialized rider, not to mention an amazingly fast swimmer. Two mornings a week the Boulder Reservoir is marked out with buoys in a 1km circuit to practice open water swimming. Tenille and I headed there. We practiced starts. In the past I haven't taken off fast enough. And we practiced sitting on feet. Another thing I've had real trouble with. This is due to a few reasons - I've lost contact too soon, I don't always swim straight but the main reason - I don't sit close enough.
As my name is called I slowly walk down to the pontoon following the Aussie flag carried by my little flag bearer. As I'm standing on my starting mark I look to my left - Lisa Nordon! 2nd at the Olympics three weeks ago and a super fish in the water. Tenille said "find someone that is faster than you but not TOO much faster that you cannot keep up". Lisa was not that person I was looking for.
On your marks go! That was pretty much how it went. Isn't there meant to be a pause between on your marks... and... GO! This is my first diving start and... I missed it. That split second where everyone is about to dive off the pontoon and I'm leaning back getting my foot close to the line ready to shoot myself forward as quick as I can. Not to worry, I'm in the water swimming as fast as I can... Ok, so I'm not sitting on feet, it's just me all alone again but I feel like I'm going ok. The swim is 2x750m laps with a small run in between. I come out after the first lap, pull myself up the ramp then start sprinting round to dive in again. The commentator is calling us all out of the water... There were names after me! I'm not last. Ok... Keep going hard. I get around the second lap and run to my bike. I'm out in 27th position. This doesn't sound too great when there is only 30 in my race but I'm only 2min 37sec behind the leader and less than 2min behind the majority of the field. I'm happy with that!
The bike - its only 40km but I think I can make up at least a minute. It's four laps which means lots of tight corners and u-turns. It's not going to be easy to make up this time. What I didn't realize though was how rough the roads were. I was bumping all over the place. The roads were all cracked with potholes & train tracks to tackle. I just couldn't get a good rhythm. It was tough. Then throw in the hills, two decent sized hills each lap. What was awesome though was the constant screams from spectators lining a good majority of the course.
I racked my bike in about 12th position, now less than 2min behind the leader. The run is also 4 laps so plenty of cheering along the course. From transition, in front of the grandstand, we head down the hill, out and back on the flat then up a decent sized hill back to the grandstand. I'm feeling good. I'm in control. And I'm picking off competitors. Two laps down and I've moved into 4th. I'm working on third. I'm catching her. Half way through the third lap I'm not gaining anymore... I'm keeping the same distance. It's ok, one more lap... She'll slow, I'll put on a surge. Third time up the decent hill which has now turned into a mountain I'm feeling it. But I still have another gear, I have a surge in me. Down the hill for the last lap and out to the turnaround. As I hit the turnaround on the last lap this feeling comes over me... My legs suddenly weigh a tonne. I've got 2.5km to go and my legs now feel like magnets attracting more and more lead the entire way back... I get to the hill and I try to push up it but the lead stuck to my quads is almost pulling me backwards... I hear Jared yell 12seconds... I'm hoping he means I'm 12seconds behind third... It sounds so close but there's no bridging that gap now. Problem is he's telling me 5th place has caught back up and is now only 12sec behind...
That was tough! But also really fun. And different. I liked the diving start and the laps. The bumpy road wasn't cool - maybe I'll have to decrease my tyre pressure next year. But the constant line of spectators and the fact we could also see our competition was really cool. I definitely know what to work on for next year with this race - my swim. And my bike handling skills.