Gold Coast World Championship Series Finale:
On Sunday, September 13th, I competed in the world championships in Gold Coast, Australia. This was the final race of a five part race series, with the finale having a bit more weight (1/3 more points) in the overall standings. The race started later in the afternoon (2:45PM) and was perfect racing temperatures, with highs in the lower 70s. The wind did pick up quite a bit before our race start, which led to very choppy waters and turned into more of a strength bike/run (although the course was mostly flat).
The swim conditions suited my strengths, as it was cold and choppy. I started out the swim in second position at the first turn buoy (250meters) and followed the athlete in front of me. I remember thinking we made a very sharp turn and I remember NOT making this sharp of a turn in the warm-up swim. After about 50 meters or so, I realized that we were swimming far off course and I turned back left to head to the right direction. I finished the first lap in front, winning the swim prime. The second lap, I knew I had a gap from the field, but just focused on staying within my limits and not pushing too hard. I ran out of the water with a 15 second lead into T1.
Once I got on the bike I pushed it hard for the first 2k and then realized there was a pack of six behind me. I soft-pedaled until the group caught me and then we all worked very well together pace lining over the eight lap course. The course was very smooth and not too technical, so we had straight sections were could rotate through and work together. We ended up getting a 50 second lead on the chase pack and over a two minute lead over the third pack.
One of my goals this weekend was to get off the bike in great position. I attacked just heading into the turns before transition and ended up exiting third, just behind Lisa Norden and Emma Moffett. Things were going great, but as I racked my bike, my bike fell over and my shoe flew over to another athlete’s transition. I had to re-rack my bike (to be sure I would not get DQ’d) and lost a precious six seconds. Instead of running out of the transition with Lisa, I was behind and had to work my way up. I quickly worked my way to fourth and after 1500meters I was in third and held that position most of the run. I was feeling great most of the run and keeping close distance behind Emma and Lisa; however, on the third lap I felt my foot beginning to fatigue and I lost some time to the leaders. On the last lap, Helen Tucker was coming on very strong and surged past me with about 600meters to go. I was not able to respond to her surge as my muscles would not push my body any farther. My dreams and goals of a podium finish were shot and I crossed the line in fourth. Although I was very disappointed with my fourth, I have to focus on all the positives of the race.
Also, I thought that I would hold onto my fifth place in the series, since I finished in fourth. However, with Helen Jenkins finishing in third, I was bumped to sixth in the series. Danellia Ryf finished sixth in the race and fourth overall, Helen was third in the race and fifth overall and I finished forth in the race and was sixth overall. Although I finished sixth, it was almost a three way tie!
World Champs is always a great opportunity to meet younger up and coming athletes as well as Team USA age group team. There were so many athletes competing this weekend, it was great to see so many people racing. I am always amazed to watch the Para athletes out there swimming,biking and running. Triathlon is going to be a test event in 2012 for the Para-Olympics, so hopefully it will be on the schedule in 2016....
I have two major races left this season…LA Triathlon and the Dallas Triathlon. My goal is to finish the series up on top, but each race will be very challenging because many international athletes are going to be in attendance.
I am in the LAX United red carpet lounge right now with a long layover until I catch my flight back to Colorado Springs. I have to say I am ready to get home after a week on the road. Gold Coast was beautiful and we got to spend Monday at the beach, just relaxing! We found a restaurant, Clock Hotel, with great food for a cheap price. We ate dinner there four days in a row!!! Now time to recover from jet lag and looking forward to a shower when I get home. I did pay to upgrade on the way home too and very glad to travel in business class. It is so hard to travel international after you have traveled in the new business class seats. Each seat reclines into a bed and each seat has a large tv screen in front to watch any movies, tv, radio, games, etc. No more international trips for the year (thank goodness).