Batemans Bay has been a happy hunting ground for me in the past, and this is the fourth year in a row I have made the sojourn south of Sydney to this beautiful coastal town. Race morning rolled around and after setting up my transition I felt oddly calm, usually I am a hive of nerves and anxiety leading up to the start. I started the swim farthest to the right, making sure I can keep an eye on everyone because I breathe to the left. Jake Montgomery set a quick pace and I slotted in behind him for the first lap, but I lost his feet through the second lap as we came through the age group ranks that were starting their first lap. I hit dry land in 2nd place, about 20 seconds down on Jake with a few athletes in tow.
The bike course was conducted on some rural chip seal roads lined with some classic waterfront and bush scenery. It was quite cool starting off, something I haven’t been used to with the tropical weather up in Byron, but the first few kilometres included some punchy climbs that soon got the body thermostat rising. I must admit I felt extremely average for the first 15minutes of the bike, and it wasn’t until we arrived at the flat section that I dialled in my pace and started to feeling really great.
I hit the front and didn’t look back for about 5km, at which point I noticed I that no one else had come with me. I was committed to ride hard and establish a gap and I was excited to see some pretty high numbers on my Garmin. I initially thought that my readings where inaccurate, but as a quickly began gaining time on the athletes behind I knew that I was having a great day on two wheels.
I got a few time checks to the chasing guys at the various U turns along the bike course and the gap kept opening, and that motivated me more to keep the pace high. Perhaps I got too greedy because I really started to suffer over the back third of the ride. My wattage had dwindled considerably and average power dropped from 309w to 294w by the time I hit T2. I didn’t let that bother me, as I knew I had a nice buffer and could afford to relax and take a little time if I needed it. I took my time over the climbs coming back into town and fuelled up for the run ahead of me.
I gave the crowd cheering me on a textbook display of sloppy transition as I pulled on my lucky socks and gingerly trotted out onto the half marathon. The Batemans Bay run course is glorious as it weaves its way along the path to the waterfront, around some cafes where locals cheer you on, and then over the main bridge out of town to the turnaround. I ran solid but controlled for the first lap, dialing in about 3:40 pace on the Garmin, but keeping an eye on the time gap to Robbo in 2nd who looked to be moving well. At half way I still had a decent lead and I was able to relax a little more and enjoy the rest of the run. While my run was not fast, it was all I needed to do to get across the line in first place, which was an immensely satisfying feeling after punishing my body for almost 4 hours.
I couldn’t be happier to win Challenge Batemans Bay, it’s a great event and the guys from Challenge and Elite energy do a fantastic job. I had a fantastic weekend in a beautiful part of he world. This is my second win of the season and I am really looking forward to carrying the form through the rest of 2015. Thanks everyone for the support and messages. I really do appreciate them all! It’s great having you along for the journey. I’ve taken a new kind of confidence and belief within my ability this year, and I have learned to back myself and take control of my racing which is something i will be doing more of moving forward.
Next stop for me is the Mediterranean for Mallorca 70.3 on May 9th.