Having raced the Noosa Triathlon for the first time last year amidst frantic study for impending university exams, I was eager to make a return this year and put a better result on the board. In saying that, however, it was never a focus of my race calendar but rather a good opportunity to get a solid hit out before Challenge Forster this weekend and also have some fun in the sun up north. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ron, Tanya, and, Xavier for letting me stay in their lovely home and for being so welcoming. It is meeting people like this that always makes travelling to a race that much easier and exciting.
The days preceding the race were similar to a normal week from a training perspective, however there was a lot more going on from dinners, to multiple coffees, to seeing sponsors at the expo etc. The sheer size of the event means that there is always something going on and creates a true buzz around the whole multisport festival that is rarely replicated anywhere else. I took the opportunity to jump into the Noosa 1000 ocean swim on Friday afternoon posting a 12.38 for 29th overall as well as watching mate Paul Van Der Ploeg drop some watt bombs off the front of the Crit race on Saturday afternoon.
Race eve I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in a house right on the canal (thank you Frank and Robyn!) meaning that race morning was extremely easy despite the dreadful task of waking up at 4.10am. Not something I’m overly used to coming from Victoria. Swiftly in and out of transition, a quick swim from the house to the start line, and it was time to face the impeding struggle that Olympic Distance seems to provide.
After watching some boxing the day before, I decided that I possessed the arsenal required to start right in the middle of the pack. I mean someone has to, right? Well, I certainly wasn’t let down with a flurry of straight jabs, overhand rights, and, some stray elbows making their way in the direction of my face. Nothing deliberate, however, and all simply part of the sport. The field split just before the second buoy and from there it was a simple task of sitting as comfortable as possible in the second pack and getting ready to dodge and weave through transition after exiting in 19.05 with around six other athletes and two just up ahead.
If anyone with any knowledge of the sport saw my transition it would have been quickly evident that racing long course certainly hasn’t overly developed my skill in mounting the bike. After having a cup of tea and finally getting on board I quickly decided that the back of the pace line was not where I wanted to be. Most of the ride involved either moving towards the front to pull a turn or attempting to stay at a legal distance whilst still preventing others from ‘dropping in the gap.’ I certainly did some work on the bike and the constant surging in and out of corners, and up and down hills, was a nice surprise to the legs but simultaneously gave me confidence that the bike strength is there leading into next weekend. All in all, it was a good ride posting a 58.25 which included another equally demoralising T2 during which time I’m sure my Nan could have whipped up one of her famous Golden Syrup puddings for me to eat on the way out. In any case, I left T2 about 1.30 back from the lead group of 7-8 and with a bunch of 8 or 9.
I would also like to note that it was great to see ex pro cyclist and long course athlete Casey Munro ride off the front in arguably Australia’s most prestigious race with a 56.xx split. Great stuff.
Donning the Mad Huey’s hat and unzipping the trisuit to show off a chest resembling the colour of the Antarctic ice mass, it was time to run. After 1.5km it became very evident that I was not likely going to move up, nor lose, any places. It was, therefore, an easy decision to run solid but also to try and avoid going too deep into the well in order to make sure I was ready to hit a half distance race this weekend. After spending approximately 9km sitting 30-60m behind fellow Victorian and up and coming athlete, Ben Anderson, I decided to surge the last 1km and pick up an extra spot. Yeah, I was that guy... I believe it was Ben’s first elite race at Noosa so a big congratulations to him as a 1.55 Olympic Distance first shot up here is exceptional. My run time ended up being a 37.57, a far cry from the best times of the day, around 32 minutes, but also enough to take 19th Pro and Overall in a time of 1.55.28.
All in all, Noosa provided a great few days training, one of the best races on the calendar, a few great nights out with great mates, and, lots of laughs. I simply could not ask for a single thing more except perhaps backing at least one winner on Cup Day. Not a good day on the punt. I’m currently writing this on board a flight to Forster whereby I hopefully can put together a day over the half distance that I think I’m currently capable of. Till then, ciao.
ED: Thanks to Lachie for sharing his honest appraisal with us and good luck on the weekend.