Here I was the day before the Australian 70.3 pro champs, standing in Mandurah Perth Australia. A race that had some of Australia’s best pro triathletes going around. Since my last race didn’t go as I wanted I was hoping for a solid performance, my lead up to the race wasn’t great but once you toe the start that makes no difference. The course was flat and the field was stacked with very good swim bikers so I expected it to be on from the start.
The morning of the race I felt good and the weather was perfect no wind and a cool breeze coming off the canals. I had my protein shake and three biscuits for breakfast and headed down to the race venue. I like to get there a least 90minutes before race start. Headed off into transition, I don’t listen to my iPod I like to hear all the chat the other pros are offering up. First thing I heard was that the swim was tide assisted, well that wasn’t going to suit me, so I had to rethink my race tactics.
Now it was time to race, I did a little swim warm up and I was ready. The swim was like every other swim, go hard for the first 200meters and find some feet to sit on. Perfect I got my feet and I was sitting in third place, as I was coming to the end of the swim I wasn’t sure how many people were in my swim pack but I could tell there was a lot by the consistent tapping on my feet from behind. I Came out of the water and ran into T1. Had an ok transition and was out on to the bike. It was fast and furious from the start of the bike, I don’t think my speed dropped below 45km/hr, it was a massive pack of pros with one guy off the front by about 70seconds. I must say there was a lot of drafting going on in this pack 10 pros all in time trail helmets about 7meters apart at the most. Went through the first lap of the bike and we were pulling the front guy back. By now the pro pack had shrunk a little, probably about 7 pros left, as we went further into the second lap we had pulled the front guy back and there was only about 25km left of the bike and I was starting to think about the run and was not concentrating on what was going on ahead of me. I didn’t realise that the pro in front of me was stretching his back and I got a little too close and before I could put the brakes on, the draft buster was blowing his whistle and showing me a yellow card, I couldn’t believe it and I started to lose it at the draft buster, as I calmed down there was only about 15km of the bike to go so I took off and thought well I have nothing to lose now 4minute penalty and the front 7 guys are only separated by a minute, I decide to see what damage I could do in the last bit of the bike, which by the way was no damage what so ever, just damaged myself really.
So I stopped at the penalty box and watched the race ride away from me, I rolled back into T2 and put my runners on and went out on the run, it was really hard to get motivated on the run, I was really frustrated and disappointed and by the end of the first lap I was going further and further back into the field but eventually regained my composure and ran the last 8km hard and finished in 10th place.
I learnt a lesson that day sometimes shit happens, but the biggest penalty can be self-inflected if you don’t handle it well. You’ve just got to keep going because once you let it get to you that is the race over. I should have stayed calm and accepted the penalty and just got on with the race itself.
Next up is Shepparton in just over two weeks and I am really looking forward to get back out there and race again.