Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 World Triathlon Championships- Gold Coast

Last week I was lucky enough to represent my country for a 11th time (fourth for triathlon) at the 2009 Standard Distance World Triathlon Championships on the Gold Coast. Representing your country is a great honour and each time I represent New Zealand I learn something new about myself.

All week it has been a toss up whether it was going to be a wetsuit swim or not, I was in the pro wetsuit camp as I am faster with one on. The ITU cutoff is 22 degrees, anything above that wetsuits are prohibited. 2 days out from race day the water temp was 22.1, the day before it was 21.7 so it was anyone's guess. At 6.15 on race day they took their final reading and yay- it was 20.5 so a wetsuit swim. I was so pleased. It just goes to show how much it can vary day to day- especially in a tidal area like the Southport broadwater.

My race start was at 7.17am. The start positions were self selected and I chose on just slightly to the left of the main buoy. This was to take advantage of the slight current that we had. Before I knew it we were off. After about 100m I had clear water which I was pleased about and when I did my sighting for the second main buoy I was stoked to see that out of 90 starters in my age group there were only two in front of me. It stayed that way the entire swim. So I was out of the water in third place, my highest ever placing in a world champs swim and I was so excited (I have come a long way from coming out of the water in 61st place in my first world champs).

On to the bike and I was working hard, I have lost a little power lately with losing some weight so I wasn't sure how the bike was going to go. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was pushing 220watts plus for most of the ride. The reason I was working so hard was that there was a massive bunch of girls forming behind me and I didn't want to get caught in that. We are not allowed to draft but for some strange reason the draft busters left this bunch alone- could be something to do with the 80% of aussies in the bunch (my cynical side says). Anyway, about halfway into the ride I had cycled my way into 2nd place and I really thought this was my year. I was stoked. But with triathlon anything can happen and 500m from the end of the cycle the 30 strong bunch caught me. In it were 8 girls from my age group and as I wasn't wanting an accident I was cautious heading to transition (the whole bunch- me included hit the mount dismount line together). So in the space of 45 seconds I went from 2nd to 10th!!!!

The other annoying thing with this is as I rode by myself I had ridden a lot harder than the girls in the bunch, a bunch gives any riders in it a 30 - 35% energy savings.

On to the run and I knew within 25 metres that my legs didn't have what it was going to take today (that is the downside of triathlon- we strive for the illusive perfect race), plus it was HOT and HUMID. I had worked so hard and possibly not taken in enough calories on the ride. I initially persevered strongly running my sub 4 min/km goal pace for 4 km and then I hit the wall. The next two km were torture, I wanted to pull out and was passed by a couple of girls in my age group. By 7.5 km in the run I got a little energy back and started running strong again, but the damage was done... I finished 14th overall in a time of 2.15 (which is a personal best for me over this distance). It was a tough, hot day out there but I was glad to finish strong- although it took a lot out of me.

Here I am trying to do everything I can to cool down...

I now have 6 weeks till my main race for this season which is exactly twice the distance that I raced at this worlds... time to go off and work on that run!!!