This past Sunday (technically Saturday night in the USA), I raced in Sydney, Australia on the 2000 Olympic course. This was my first visit to the city and I have to say it is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited; with the blue Pacific Ocean at an arm’s reach, a centralized botanical garden and friendly downtown atmosphere. The weather was pleasant, although on race day; temperatures were about fifteen degrees above normal, which made for a more challenging day.
The race began at 9:50 AM (the men raced earlier in the morning at 7AM). The swim was a two loop 750meter lap swim in Sydney harbor. The water was cool, but felt refreshing with air temperatures in the mid 80s. Some of my teammates and I were lost heading to the race meeting and missed the first two minutes, so as a penalty we were moved to the last start swim spot. I have to say, it was nice not worrying about where to go on the pontoon, but instead immediately going to the open spot. I was second out of the water, behind Laura Bennett.
Once out on the bike course, I followed my plan to push the pace to try and separate the packs even more after the swim. This race however, the swim was strung very close together and the course was difficult to get away due to a long downhill and many strong cyclists in the large pack. Early on a few attacks were attempted and quickly swallowed up…and due to the high wind, no one wanted to be up front. Needless to say, all the groups merged and it can down to the run. On the bike I always made sure to stay near the front in case a break occurred and also stay towards the front heading in to the technical transition to avoid any possible crashes as much as possible. I feel the best moment in my race is tactically setting myself up into T2. I rode up to the front on the last downhill and pushed the pace into transition. This allowed me to get off the bike at the front of group and start at the front rather than having to spend energy to run up to the group.
The run was challenging, windy and warm with a long hill on each of the four laps. I worked the first 5k to hang on to the leaders. Just before halfway, I was gapped by a group of four leaders and found myself running in sixth position right behind Kate Roberts. The biggest mistake I made in this race was settling behind Kate Roberts into the headwind and not surging to try and get closer to the leaders. Unfortunately, this allowed two other women I had previously passed (Norden and Harrison) to catch back up to me. On a positive, I felt much stronger on my new running form and felt like I had a faster kick at the end, although I got beat out by a lean! I finished 8th overall and hope to improve on the rest of my WCS races the rest of the year.
After a long travel day or (days), I got back home last night and was very happy to sleep in my bed...and not try to sleep on an airplane. I finally had a full night of sleep last night as well after consecutive nights of waking up at 2-3AM due to jet lag. In a couple of days, I should be back at it with training hard and getting ready for my next race. Next up on the schedule, I am racing the St. Anthony Triathlon on April 25th. Since I have another World Championship Race at the beginning of May, I am going to use this race as a tough training day in the middle of my training block preparation for the WCS race in Seoul.