Well, what can I say? If you were going to choose a place to suffer, you could pick far worse than Mooloolaba. Coming from the arctic breezes of the south, it was quickly evident after stepping off the plane that the name Sunshine Coast isn't just for laughs. Being greeted by picture perfect weather, accommodation worthy of a spot on "MTV Cribs," and staying with great mates was just about the most I could ask for in terms of the weekend and made the whole race that much more special.
We arrived on Friday arvo, squeezed our bikes into the rental car and embarked on the gruelling 12 minute drive to our accommodation just over Alexander Headland from Mooloolaba Esplanade. After an easy arvo, including dropping in to see the amazing Bill and Lou of Dare2Tri, we found some good space to settle in and watch the footy (for those living outside of Victoria, I mean the real footy, AFL....).
Saturday consisted of the usual 60min spin, this time with great mate Jarrod Page who, after only two years in the sport, is fast becoming one of the best age groupers the country over as evidenced by still going 4.19 in what he called a "disappointing race." Pretty impressive. Next it was into Cotton Tree with the crew for the usual pre-race pancakes followed by the pro briefing and then feet up for the rest of the day.
Leading into this race and looking at the start list, it was obvious there was going to be a big group out of the water. Making that group was always my goal and was something I had worked hard for in the build to the race. Lined up on the Mooloolaba shore I started to get nervous with the calibre of athletes around, but if you want to get to the top you have to race the best as much as you can. As the horn sounded we began what felt like a very long 'dash' down to the water, after that though things started going south. Put plain and simple, I just didn't swim hard enough early. I tried to not use too much energy and made some positioning mistakes and all of sudden they were off. In this position it is so, so easy to fall into a negative mindset and give up before it even begins, something I promised myself I wasn't going to do. A quick glance around and I saw I had two others for company, Brad Wauer and Brad Clark, both of whom are also in the very early stages of their pro career's. The rest was very uneventful and we ended up exiting the water in 26min, a long way down and with plenty of work to do.
A speedy T1 and some work up the first couple of hills and Brad Clark and I had managed to shake off the other Brad. Not far up the road was another athlete who we managed to catch and pass within 5-6km (it turned out to be Josh Rix). For the following 25km Brad and I took turns setting the pace and managed to catch another athlete as well. Coming through 50km and I heard from my goof mate Trev that we were only 1.10 down from the trio ahead of us which included Hull, Wall, and, Fox. It had become evident that my race would be with those guys, the front 7 were simply too far ahead to be of much worry. Although 1.10 doesn't sound like much, when you're racing athletes of similar ability it can be difficult to make up over 40km. So out onto the enthralling scenery of the Motorway I decided to put the hammer down for 15-16min of solid work which luckily saw some return for investment, pulling back 45sec to the trio in front and leaving me only 20sec back. After ascending the "Mont Du Motorway Exit" it was a higher cadence back into transition with the mind firmly set on hitting the run ready to roll. Despite losing a big chunk of time to the front 7, I felt that I had still ridden solidly but not too hard, a balance which I think we all know can be very hard to hit.
After a very slow T2 ensuring perfect hair and sock height, something I've been widely criticised over, it was time to stride out onto beachfront and see how the pins were holding up. Luckily they weren't too shocking, but they definitely weren't fresh either! After a gap of 30m opened up to the two boys ahead of me out of T2, I made the decision that trying to shut it down was probably not the best so I became content with just focussing on my own run and trying to evenly split the 21km as well as possible. Having a new Garmin which I was yet to use on run mode, I quickly found out it was lapping every mile. Luckily thanks to my recent trip to the US, I at least had some grasp on what mile pace I should be hitting and even more luckily I was on track. I would love to tell you that I had a monster, "Iron War" like battle with another athlete for the entire run, but the truth is I didn't. Apart from a quick toilet top about 6.5km in, not too much happened. I didn't pass anyone, but more importantly I didn't get passed. I didn't pull out a miracle 2nd half of the run, but more importantly I stayed strong and did a relatively even split. So for that, I am ultimately happy. There is still a gap between how I run in training and how I run in races but it’s becoming ever less and hopefully by the end of the Australian summer those splits can move down into the low or even sub 1.20 range if all goes to plan.
It was great to see so many fantastic athletes, at both the pro and age group level, lining up in Mooloolaba. The quality of fields throughout all categories is a true testament to how high the level of racing is in Australia. Congratulations to all that raced on what was a fantastic day. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to send all my well wishes and sympathies to the family and friends of the competitor who tragically passed away during the race, truly devastating news.
As always a big thank you to Jaggad, Cannondale, Enve, Fizik, Sram and Dare2Tri for all of your support for allowing me to race with the best gear. Andy Sleeman from Tri-Bal planned out a great 6 week block for me leading into this race, so thanks mate. Mum, Dad, Pop and all the rest of my family, than you for being patient and loving as always and cheers to Liv and Trev for the accommodation for the weekend, it makes a huge difference!
Till next time.
For full results go HERE.
[ED] We would all like to take this opportunity to again send our condolences to the family, friends and all those affected by the sad passing of athlete Peter Farlecas during the event, and also a note of praise for Transitions member "RunBrettRun" who along with his friend noticed the incident and raced from the beach into the water to offer their assistance.
We woud also like to thank Bill and Lou from Dare2Tri who continue to support Transitions by kitting out Lachie with a westuit as he was without a sponsor.