Saturday, November 9, 2013

I gave it a Tri at Noosa

view from our apartment on picture point cres, 

I had a ball up at Noosa! Like all good things, it came to an end all too soon. I loved energy up there, it was incredible. To compete in a race that draws the likes of champions, Emma Moffatt claimed womens elite 1st place, it wasn't too hard to get caught up in the 'Tri' fever that filled the balmy air. So many fit bodies, so much lycra and so much fun. And for an event of such a grand scale, close to 8,000 people over the weekends festivities, it was run so well.

Unlike Geelong I was nervous in the lead up to this first race of the season. Setting higher standards for myself and with it being the first race I've competing in since moving up age group, 25-29, my goal was to finish in the top 20. My first goal however was to successful make it to Noosa with bike box and all arriving in one piece at the other end, I wasn't nervy at all! 
all packed up and ready to roll

Due to the scale of this event, the day before the race, transition is open to drop your bike off. Coach Clinton gave the best tip of positioning your bike close to an end. This ensured in the sea of bikes and in a slight haze of coming out of the swim come race day, you wont lose your bike (trust me I've lost my bike before in transition, it happen so easily if you don't pay attention as to where you drop it, and you look/feel like such a fool!) I got poll position, on far end from the swim entrance, yet right next to the run exit; there I set my bike up in row 46.

Transition before engulfed with bikes

prime position
PRE RACE PREP - In preparation the Trispecify team got together the day before to trial both the swim course and the bike course. Unlike any previous swim I have done, this was a non wetsuit swim (this occurs when the water temp is 24 degrees+) It was also a canal swim meaning we started treading water between two buoys not nerve racking at all! To make matters worse a sea snake was lerking around the morning of the race delaying the elite start, thank god I was oblivious to this. I felt great in our practice swim, I focused on controlling my breathing and taking long, full strokes. The current is tidal in the canal which meant it was hard to predict what it would be doing on Sunday morning; the tip of the day was to sit in the middle with the current and hug the far side against it. 

the swim saw us past some of Noosa most luxury real estate!

It was awesome to head out on the bike course as well. This not only got us familiar with the feel of the road, it also took us up the infamous, hill climb. This stage of the race is timed separately, within the ride component, to time the quickest ascent and therefor the King of the Hill. Coach Clinton got the 7th fast time up the hill overall on raceday! So impressive. I so glad we covered this in our trial ride, not knowing what was ahead on race day may have seen me conservatively hitting it. With the acquired knowledge I felt much more confident that I would be able to hit the hill hard knowing what was to come. Another great time from Clinton was to push out of the top of the hill onto the flat, this is were alot of people sit back and take it easy after the climb. So to power out is a great advantage. Let finish the ride course saying this climb was nothing compared to Arthurs Seat!
coach proudly wearing, riding and breathing the trispecify blue!

RACE DAY - It was a 4:30am wake up! Amazingly my body clock was up before my alarm. Firstly thing, double check that I had everything I had packed the night before; runners, visor, cleats, helmet, race belt with bib attached, towel, gels, water bottles, I think that's it. As soon as I walk out the door I knew I had forgotten something, bike pump! Slightly important as we let our tyres down the previous day when you drop the bikes off in transition to ensure they don't expand in the heat and pop!

My age group wave was the last of the individuals to head off, not starting until 9am. Even with such a late start I had to get down early to set up all my kit next to my bike before transition closes at 6am, ready for the elites who started at 6:15am. So with thousands of weary yet excited athletes, I headed to transition. Along with all your kit you also need to ensure you have your age group coloured swim cap, timing chip and number tattoos (on your body). Once in transition I pumped up my tires, lay out all my kit next to my bike and check it several times of course! I borrowed electrical tape from the guys beside me to tape my energy gels to the frame of my bike for easy taking whilst out on the ride. Oh gosh, we heard several POPS! of tyres, and with only minutes until transistion closes, everyone in the exit line cringed with each explosion. "Thank god that wasn't me" we were all thinking.

With 3 hours to kill before my started I headed back to Deb's apartment with Judith, Ben, Rob and Smithy to relax, try to at least, and watch a moive. I set my family up with the Subaru tracker so they could follow my every stage, we swapped nutrition straegies and attempeted not to freak one another out! 

kit all ready to go

the subaru tracker was awesome for my family and friends
to watch my performance from afar  

transition was chockers, so much $$$$$ sitting in there

it was a mass exit as transition closed on race day

Not wanting to be late to the start, I heading down with half an hour to go. This time flies! The river bank was buzzing and the river it self was alive with a myrid of coloured caps, with wave after wave setting off to the sound of an air horn. Before I knew it I was treading water, chating to the girls beside me, wishing them luck, then hooooot!

Head down and go. I started up the front but before we made it to the 100m bouy, the lead group was streaking ahead. I built up a strong ryhthm from the get go and paced my breathing every third stroke. My focus was to keep good form, long straight stokes, pushing back all the way and popping my head up regulary to sight the next bouy so I didn't swim off course. It didn't take me long to catch the back of the waves that set out before us. With each passing, I gain more confidence and strength. I did have to keep reminding myself I was in a race each time I uncounsiously backed off to "reserve my energy!" It's the best feeling having the swim exit insight, this is the time were you get your head in the space ready to get into transition quick smart and get on the bike. Your legs feel a bit like jelly when you get out of the water to run, yet not wearing a wetsuit made the world of difference.

exiting the swim, getting my focus on...

Running to transtion I just kept repeating "row 46, row 46...". Loving the fact that I had my bike in a prime position, I wasted not time finding it, putting my helmet on, followed by my cleats, downing a gel and running with my bike to the exit. I haven't yet mastered the running into the mount so it's a quick stop whilst I just on, click in my cleats and up out of the saddle pushing hard to get a quick take off. I knew from my training that having my Specialized S-Works Amira was going to dramatically improve my ride. From the get go it worked with me the whole way, the take of was powerful, the handing was seamless and the ride was so smooth. 

I came out of the swim 23, (obviously I don't know this on the day) but I got a good indication that I had a bit of work to do with each 'H' tattoo I passed. Side note: for every age group you get a letter, this is tattoo you place on the back of your calf, this allows you to see who you are up against when you're out on the road. I had a great ride out to the hill climb, I passed several 'H' girls, ensured I have a bit to drink and kept pushing. I caught up to a 'H' Tri Alliance girl, we bunny hopped for a while passing one another. I like to check out what gear they are riding in and what cadence they have, and try to match/beat it :) 'Nice riding" I said her after a while, we where practically in sync. It wasn't untill the hill climb that I lost her. Up the hill I kept a low gear, with a high cadence and gave it my all. Only to keep passing my 'H' girl. 'This is going really well, keep pushing' I kept telling my self. Powering out of the hill I was feeling strong, 27km to go, 'I can do this.' I only came across one other girl that I rode with for a while before I lost her, other than that I just kept making ground. 

on the drops coming into the final stage of the ride

The crowd lines the streets coming back into transition. The energy is amazing and the buzz of the cheering gives you such a boost of energy. Again it was time to get my head in the space of a quick transition and a 10km run! by now it was close to 31 degrees, nothing like the conditions we've had back at home. 'This is going to tough, keep a quick pace, it's only 10kms' yep lost of self talk happens during a race :) I had a smooth dismount and a long run in my cleats to my transition spot. Next goal is to dismount with my shoe off, running in cleats is no fun at all! Rack my bike, take of my helmet and shoes. On goes my race belt, visor and by not wearing sock I lined the rim of my runner with vasiline and slide my feet in. And away I go! Your legs feel like jelly out of the swim, off the bike it feels a little more like lead! Quick, small steps took me out of transition and down the run shoot. The crowd must be 5 bodies deep, amazing! I headed out with a water bottle, I made the mistake of only taking 1 drink bottle of Powerade. This was too sweet for me on the ride and left my even more thirsty. 

doing it tough in the heat

I couldn't keep a steady pace on the run, keeping it hovering around 4:15mins to 4:30mins per km. My body felt heavy and I used every aid station to take on more water. My goal we to match my 41min run from Geelong. I knew from the half way mark that I wasn't going to make it however that didn't dishearten me. The sprinklers and the people with hoses made the run fun and I encouraged those who looked like they needed it. I gave it my all in the last 2km's, it's such a strange feeling at the end, your body is buggered, and at the same time you just want to fly to the finish line! Running across the line you hear your name called out, and it's over! I bent over to catch my breath, then headed to the showers that lined the exit of the course. Such a great way to end it!!

Over all I took of 3mins from my pervious 
olympic distance time and came in 9th 
out of 150 girl in my age group. 
Making the top 10! Amazing.

The Witsup girls and the panel
Rubbing shoulder with some of our best;
L-R Emma Jackson, Liz Blatchford, Moi,
Emma Snowsil, Charlotte McShane

To finish up what was such a fun, successful weekend away, I attended the WITSUP (Women in triathlon) partnered with Specialized brunch. It was an amazing opportunity to meet some of Australia's finest female triathletes, ask them questions and hear them speak in a panel environment. 

I don't know if you could pick it, but I love racing. I love putting all the hard work from training to use, to strive to better your time and to challenge yourself physically and mentally. After this race I really would love to keep at olympic distance races however I've set myself a goal of Ironman, so form now, until March at least, it's going to be longer and slower. My first taste of this is next weekend at Shepparton when I set out to conquer my first half Ironman! I look forward to sharing that experience with you. Until then dream big and take action. It's all in the action.

Maddy xx


No comments:

Post a Comment