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MOOLOOLABA WORLD CUP 2011

Mooloolaba World Cup 2011Mooloolaba World Cup 2011

Last weekend I competed in one of my favorite races of the year in Mooloolaba Australia. I have had some great success in previous years and I was hoping to have another great result but I had to also remember it has only been three and a half months since falling off my bike. I have had a couple good weeks training and thought I might be able to sneak out a decent result. I was excited to be back on the Sunshine Coast and the crowd is always fantastic.

 

I was strangely nervous but calm leading into the race and didn't really know where my fitness was; it was going to be great to go out with no expectations and just race. I positioned myself in the middle of the start line and picked my course out through the waves.  The surf wasn't very big but there was enough chop to unsettle some athletes who are used to flatter, calmer waters. On the line, left foot forward, head down focusing, hands now shaking and the nerves had completely erased the calm  - I was ready to go. Bang - the starter gun sounded and off we went into the warm waters and into my first big race of the year.

 

I thought that I was reasonably well positioned heading out to the first buoy and I didn't get knocked about too much. Once around the first turn though I realized that my position wasn't as good as first thought. I put my head down, went hard and went straight through the guts of the group and moved my way through.  At the final buoy, I was in a better but not ideal position but with a good run up the beach I was happy to finish the first leg with the front group.

 

A smooth transition,  the crowd was pumping and I was excited as we headed up the hill on the first of 7 laps. The Mooloolaba bike leg seems to scare a lot of athletes and for good reason. It doesn't look too hard but it takes the sting out of the legs and leaves you in a world of hurt for the run if you are in anything less than good form.  The plan for the bike leg was to sit and save energy for the run but if a dangerous group was to go on the attack then jump on the back. I love the course and it really suits my strengths on the bike. I felt easy on the cycle leg and was looking forward to seeing what my legs had to offer on the run leg. With 2 laps to go a break was down the road and I did a big turn to try and get across but it didn't work and then the group all came together. Another small group snuck off the front of the main group and I was there and ready to put some time in between the runners and myself. I got to the top of the hill and the gap was smaller than hoped.  I wasn't super confident so I backed off and went back to the main group to rest and get ready to run fast.

 

Coming down the hill for the last time I pushed my way to the front and lead through the twisty section into the second transition. Off the bike and the legs felt ok. Quick to my transition spot, front wheel in, shoes on and out I went onto the run in 2nd place.  My legs felt ok and then a group was forming just in front of me then one athlete after another trickled past me.  My legs refused to turn over any faster. I felt ok so I kept my head focused and just kept believing I could build into it. I did start to run a little better on the final lap but it was not my day.

 

I ended up in 57th position and was unhappy with the result.   My sister pointed out that it wasn't about the result but about racing the best in the world to see where my fitness was after an injury interrupted off-season.   I now have a line in the sand. I know what I need to work on and, to be realistic, I am now happy to see that my swim/bike is on pace and the run leg needs some more tweaking. I feel that it was a glimpse of a good year to come.

 

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me through the highs and lows of my recovery.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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