Thursday, 20 February 2014

Kinloch & Pegasus ITU Races

Exiting the water 1st in my blueseventy helix
Leading up to the race in Kinloch I was in quite a bit of pain doing certain movements such as rising out of my saddle, and bending down to take my wetsuit on and off, key movements for the upcoming race! This was worrying but at least I could still race and would just do the best I could. I had a great swim start and managed to get on fast Australian swimmer, Maddison Allen's feet, with one other girl by the 2nd buoy we had a small gap and I was feeling comfortable. However once we had passed the 2nd buoy, Allen went off in a diagonal direction instead of heading straight for last buoy marking the exit. As I could clearly see we were heading wrong I let her go and found myself leading for the last 300m and exited the water in 1st.

This allowed me a clear run through transition before it got crowed, and time to get my feet in, have a drink and get up the hill on the crucial first lap with a small buffer. The chase pack caught me on the downhill, and 7 of us had a gap off the rest of the field. The Kinloch course is one of the toughest I have raced on and hardest in NZ, I have always struggled with my breathing the last two years and this year was no exception. By lap 3 I was really struggling but hanging tough in the group, on the last lap I was at the back before the hill and instead of racing I found myself just trying to survive up the hill without fainting. It was disappointing coming into T2 having lost the front group, starting the run by myself. The breathing felt worse on the run and the finish line couldn't have come sooner! I lost 2 positions and ended in 7th place. This was an improvement on my 9th placing last year, I felt I had done well considering the pain in my back but felt I had a lot more to give if I had my breathing under control. You may wonder, shouldn't your breathing be hard in any physical activity? Breathing rate does increase, but I have found out working with a breathing therapist my pattern is wrong (too much inhale, not long enough exhale) and recruiting wrong muscles to do so. If anyone has a similar situation check out
Oceania Tag Team Relay- 3rd Place

The next morning after the race, I took part in the Oceania Team Relay event in a team with Penny Hayes, Bryce McMaster and Sam Osbourne. The race runs as a tag team with the order of girl, boy, girl, boy each swimming 300m, cycling 6km and running 1.8km before tagging the next person. Fast and furious! Penny gave our team a great start to pass over to Sam in the lead, the lead changed several times from there and we finished 3rd. It was a great team effort, I really enjoyed it and it's always good to get on the podium!:)

A week later I flew to Christchurch to race the Pegasus ITU Oceania Cup, which involved a new format of racing, where there would be semifinals and then a final race on the same day over a 300m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run. Unfortunately there was not enough girls to do 2 races so no second chances, it would be straight final! In this kind of racing there is not much room for error and transitions would be crucial. I'm not a natural speed athlete, I definitely have found I prefer the longer Olympic distance racing over 2 hours rather than a short 30 min triathlon so I knew it wasn't my ideal race. I knew my swimming would give me an advantage though to be at the front going out onto the bike.
Picking up new bike!

I was really looking forward to the bike portion of the race, as it would be my first race on my new Cervelo S5! Thanks to Rick and the team at PRV (Pawson Reid Velo) for setting me up with this great bike and their support, looking forward to a great partnership. I love the bike, its light, aerodynamic, very responsive and looks awesome!

To the race, I choose a far left position on the swim so I could have space and not get caught up in the whitewash, it worked out well and I exited in 2nd place. The pace was straight away on starting the bike and it took awhile to get my feet in while trying to staying on the wheel in front and not dropping, Nicky Samuels attacked but no one went with her, me, Jaimee Leader, two Netherlands girls, Maaike Caelers and Sarissa De Vries stayed in a pack together and made a gap to the next group. Before I had a chance to think, we were taking our feet out of our shoes and getting ready for transition. I didn't have the best transition and exited in 4th place. I managed to catch up to Virers, and felt good so I passed her, the run was 1 lap around the lake and I could see the next group chasing hard as the lake curved around. Unfortunately I lost concentration around the detour off the path and tripped over whoops! I got up pretty quickly, but seconds were lost and a few girls including Virers passed me shortly after, and I crossed the line in 9th. I was really happy with my swim and bike, but running speed let me down and more work is needed on controlling my breathing. Overall it was a good hit out, showed me what I need to work on, my training is geared towards Olympic distance though and looking forward to my 1st Olympic distance race of the season shortly, the Oceania Champs in Devonport, Tasmania on March 1st. Big thanks to my sponsors, Triathlete's Corner, Blueseventy, PRV and Cervelo, my coach, boyfriend, parents and friends for their support!
On my new Cervelo S5:)

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