Have just arrived home in Lennox Head after a fun weekend away down on the south coast. I love going down to 'Husky' to race the Aussie Long Course titles - it is just such a spectacular area and one of the most scenic and beautiful race courses going around anywhere. It is also a good opportunity for me to race in Australia (of which I don't get many these days) and also one where my parents can come down from Sydney and watch too. Extra special this year was a surprise last minute visit from my older brother - so I had a full cheers squad on course on Sunday!!! So even though it is technically still the 'off-season' and it quite hard to be racing well at this time of year I just can't resist. I would sum up my Sunday swim-bike-run as a really solid and competent training day but not a great race day. In other words I think it was a solid platform for this time of year and showed me what I need to do over the coming weeks and months to be in top form for the big races of the year. Carrie Lester (1st place) has had a great Australian summer season and is at a peak at the moment so I knew she would be tough to beat, especially coming off a 2nd place in Geelong 70.3 a few weeks ago. I know I made a few tactical errors - a bit of a long-cut scenic diversion in the swim (yes things got confusing with a last minute course change but also a reminder never to trust the lead kayaker even when she tells you she is going to take a direct route - my fault), and also a bit of limbo mode on the bike - in previous years I have smashed myself out of the swim to build on a gap only to be swamped in the last section of the bike leg by a pack of 30/40 age group men always containing a couple of the chasing girls and so hit the run with comparitively fried legs. So this year I was kind of second guessing a little and riding a bit conservatively not really knowing whether to try and stay away or try and wait having no idea of what was going on behind. I was caught on the bike by Carrie, closely followed by Lisa Marangon, decided to sit my 10 meters behind Lisa but actually lost touch of Carrie. Should have gone with her in retrospect but thats hindsight (and racing) and meant I came into T2 2 minutes down from the lead in 3rd. Congratulations to the race organisers and TO's for getting the wave starts right and giving us girls a chance to race each other on a three lap course too! It is great to see that it can be done with some good planning....gives me confidence to open it up on the bike next time!
First race for the year and it took me a little while to settle in and find my rhythm as the temperature also started to rise and it wasn't until the second lap that I started to feel a bit better. By then it was stinking hot and just getting to the finish for some cold water was enough to keep me going. It had been a hot race from the start - 24 degrees at race start at 7 in the morning and a wetsuit swim (really should not have been) meant we were really overheating from the word go. Still, good practice I think seeing as a lot of the races and held in hot and humid conditions.
Now its back to work. I know there is a lot to be done but I think I am in a pretty good start position - and looking forward to ramping things up as I prepare for California 70.3.