I am back home again now after racing yesterday for the first time in 2009. It was the best ever long course women's field assembled in Australia but being February everyone is at very different stages of preparation for various early season events or like me coming in to test the legs after some time off. I had a pretty solid swim - first girl out of the water - although the guy who kept pulling on my feet and trying to pull me under obviously wasn't too happy he was going to be beaten out by a girl. Onto the bike and I felt quite strong - not really super fast but probably about where I need to be in February. I was completely by myself for the first two laps of the bike apart from super fit Sam Warriner passing me (and also riding on her lonesome up the road) and then later on lap two Lisbeth riding fast. In the mass race start I could see the inevitable packs forming and sweeping through bringing back-markers up to within striking distance and by lap three I found myself surrounded by a group. We also had some really heavy rain move through which made some of the corners pretty slippery. Out onto the run and I can only say that I struggled through - I was happy in that I raced with everything I had on the day - probably more actually, but it really really hurt and certainly was not pretty!! But still the objectives for the weekend were achieved and while I know I have a long long way to go it was great to get in this early race and kick start the real hard work for the main part of my year which begins in May. Congrats to the podium girls Sam, Yvonne and Bek and also Kate who passed me on the run for 4th. I think too we were all just so glad the conditions were nothing like the day before when it was 48 degrees (almost 120F) (we saw 50 C on the car thermometer) with a very strong and scorching wind. It felt just like opening a super hot fan forced oven except it was relentless. We even tried to escape the heat by having lunch in the air-conditioned shopping mall but the the whole system must have overheated as the AC went out. However I certainly have nothing to complain about given other areas of the state, in fact not that far from where we were people were battling for their houses and their lives in the terrible bushfires. It seemed trivial and selfish to be out racing and concerned with form when I learned later how devastating the fires had been and tragically how many lives were lost.