I wouldn’t say the pro field was stacked, but this race was by no means thin with some young talent like myself mixed in with men more seasoned than a Colonel Sanders family feed. The swim was always going to be fast with two of the quickest swimmers on the circuit and I emerged from the water 30 seconds down on these two, but sitting pretty with a group of 3 other guys. The bike course is 2 laps on an out and back section to make the 90km.
After about 1 kilometre of riding you’re greeted with a about a 15 minute section of undulating hills before settling onto the flat. The hills really stung my legs, and to be honest I felt pretty average through this section of the bike. I lost touch with my group and was stuck in no man’s land by myself. I was initially pretty disappointed at this stage. 4 guys were riding away from me and I couldn’t see anyone behind to help me limit the damage. I knuckled down and rode solid, catching glimpses of the guys in front at each turn around. After half way I noticed roommate Josh Amberger had a sizable gap to the chasing three guys. Feeling pretty deflated by now I then noticed Tim Berkel, Paul Ambrose and Dave Mainwarring had almost bridged up to me. I was pretty happy about this as I knew these guys were strong riders and we could limit our losses to Josh and the chasers. They made the pass at with 30km to go and I was starting to feel a little more motivated, but legs still didn’t seem to want to play ball.
We came into transition 8 minutes down on Josh and 3 minutes down on the other 3. I didn’t feel great at the start of the run, but I thought I might be able to salvage another top 5. There were only 2 chances during the run to see the other athletes, one at about 2.5km, and then again at about 13km. After the first lap of two laps I was running 5th, but I wasn’t sure where I was positioned in regards to the guys in front because there were lots of age groupers on the course by now. I passed Josh going the other direction and he yelled out to me that I was only 30 seconds behind Tom in 2nd. I caught a glimpse of the guys in front and was pretty shocked to see I had run myself into a chance at a podium. I got a little over zealous and brought out the party wheels to go from 5th into second within about 5minutes. The pins were suffering but I knew if I held it together for the last 5km I could get my first podium. I’m pretty sure I negatively split the shit out the run and I couldn’t have been happier to run onto that red carpet into the finish in 2nd, 3 minutes down on Josh who put on a superb solo clinic to take the title, and 90 seconds clear of Joey Lampe in 3rd.
I ran a race best of 1:15:02 which gives me confidence leading into the next couple months which will see me racing the Australian 70.3 Championships in Mandurah in November and then onto Canberra 70.3 in December. But first things first, I’m racing the local Nepean triathlon this Sunday to give these fast twitch fibres a workout. Huge thanks goes to my sponsors and everyone for the kind messages, I really appreciate reading all of them.
Thanks for reading.