During our trip earlier in the year we had stayed in the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur and thus I was very surprised into how quite of a place Putrajaya proved to be. It truly is a lovely spot and a great place to race being very safe, visually beautiful and with plenty of accommodation options. I will definitely be back.
Arriving on the Wednesday pre-race and rooming with good mate Mitch Kibby we were able to settle into the groove nicely. Wake up, jog, hit breakfast buffet, ride, eat and sleep, swim, chicken and rice dinner, bed. Although we bartered every night to try and get the dinner buffet at a heavily discounted price we somehow always ended up just getting the chicken and rice… Don’t fix what’s not broken. Soon enough we hit Saturday night, had another serve of chicken and rice and it was time to get down to business.
“Mate your zip is buggered!” Nothing like hearing that when you ask someone to zip up your speedsuit just before you are about to jump in the water. After a quick sprint back up to the bag drop off to get my other speedsuit, we were back in business (note to self, check ALL your equipment before race day!). After a short warm up the gun horn sounded and we were off and swimming in the 30deg water/soup, the colour of which represented the left over milk at the end of a bowl of coco pops. With Amberger clearing out almost instantly I made the decision to just sit feet and be as conservative as possible in the heat. The plan played out to perfection and after what felt like a very long, albeit quite easy, swim I was out with Crowie, Freddie Cronenborg, Mckenzie, Polizzi and Mitch.
Through transition, head down for a few k’s and then take stock, standard operating procedure. Riding behind Mckenzie and Crowie with Polizzi behind me I knew we had a nice little group. We were sitting 20m apart for the most part and Luke was setting a great steady tempo and hence I couldn’t work out for the life of me why we couldn’t see the few guys who had come out of the water 30sec or so ahead of us… As it turned out they had taken a wrong turn early and we were now the chase group of 4 behind Amberger who was setting a blistering pace out the front. With Polizzi and Mckenzie suffering mechanicals at 30km and 45km respectively, it was down to Crowie and I which to be honest was a pretty amazing experience for someone like myself. To be sitting in 2nd at 60km of the bike and feeling good was exactly where I wanted to be but little did I know the size of the group behind us that was hunting us down very quickly. Knowing the catch was about to happen, it was time to shake the legs out and batten down the hatches for the impending 30km of power surging riding that was about to come. Whilst it sounds a little over the top, disgusted is the word I would use to describe how I felt when the group caught us. Plain and simple there was people in the making an absolute joke of the 12m drafting rule, as in sitting more like 3m behind the wheel in front. After serving out a spray to no avail or change I became increasingly frustrated but in the end there was nothing that I could do other than just aiming to remain at legal distance myself. These big groups are obviously becoming a big part of the pro race but Sunday was by far the worst example I’ve ever seen, however, I’m not sure of the solution but perhaps a start could be having a draft buster the whole way.
After a slow T2 to try and make sure I had all the necessities it was out into the oven that the run course. If anyone would like to try some slow roasted human, I probably would have been pretty tasty by the 7km mark but unless you like your meat well done I would have well and truly overcooked by the end of the 21.1km. Although I’m an extremely pale ginger ninja, I’m adamant that one day I will be able to race in the heat, however I hadn’t grasped that on Sunday. I’m proud of myself for nutting it out and getting it done as it would have been easy to call it a day. Whilst I know I am a good enough athlete to be better than 10th place, it certainly could have been a lot worse. Another race in the bank and more takeaways for the rest of the year and for future events. Up next is the Noumea International Triathlon over the Olympic Distance and then hopefully Busselton 70.3 the next week in the search for more points towards the 70.3 Worlds on the Sunshine Coast.
Thank you to my sponsors Jaggad, Cannondale, ENVE and Hammer nutrition for the continued support and allowing me to have everything required to race to my full potential!
Till next time,