Monday, 27 August 2012

Stockholm WTS


Stockholm World Championship Series

Leading up to Stockholm, this was the first time that I had the chance to have 4 weeks of solid training. With a few ups and downs within the weeks, I got a reality check of where I was at. Training was based around what we needed to achieve to maximise our performance in Stockholm. I was happy to get some speed back into the body. Without realising before briefing, over 50% of the course was on cobble stones, some on a downhill and an uphill transition area. Stockholm is known for rain and wet conditions and in most people’s eyes this is asking for some eating of the pavement. A quote from Erin Densham summed up what I thought:  “ yes, it’s technical, there are cobblestones, it’s going to be exciting, you have to be able to handle your bike as well in this sport. It’s not just about boring courses and being strong, so I’m looking forward to the course.”

Race day was again late afternoon, having the morning to get ready and relax. The day could not be anymore perfect with the conditions being perfect for race day. Being able to watch the boys race on TV before ourselves was a great opportunity to see what happened within the first half of the race. Having the transition on the hill, it was important for gear selection and facing my bike up the right way, not pointing down the hill. Being a wetsuit swim like Hamburg, I knew the field was not going to get spread out too much especially over 750m. Being ranked 38th, I was middle of the field. When I walked onto the pontoon most girls went left so I followed. When I knew who the two girls were next to me, I knew I could get away from them at the start. All the way to the first buoy I was by myself in the middle, out the front, seeing only a few people to either side of me. I felt comfortable and controlled. Around the first buoy I was in the top 5 and knew I needed to stick there. Coming back towards the pontoon, a few girls went left and I followed somebody to the right. I had perfect feet all the way to the pontoon. Exiting the water in 6th, it was more than important to have a quick transition so I had time and space coming out of T1.

It is hard enough as it is running out of T1, let alone up at pretty decent gradient hill. I tried to get my shoes on early especially going downhill on the cobbles, you bounce around a lot. Training has been based around being about to be strong and put pressure on the pedals in the first few kms. I am now confident in my skills and I realise that my skills are 10 times better than some of the other girls out there which has been a huge development for me even over the last 6 months. Being a sprint distance, I knew it was going to be intense like Hamburg. I actually think it was harder! I held on as long as I could as we were the chase pack of girls. The pace was on and it was not getting any easier. The hill on the cobbles added another element and unfortunately got stuck in the wrong gear a few times. Being alittle annoying, I got stuck behind a few bad wheels in the last lap and not having the power to pull myself back up, it was me and another girl riding together for most of the last lap. The main pack was not getting any closer and we were going backwards. This is my main disappointment of the whole race, not positioning myself at critical moments and it consequently cost me.

The run course was basically the same as the ride with a downhill on cobbles. I found it hard to get rhythm on the cobbles and keep my cadence high. Within the first 1km, I had all the coaches letting me know I had a penalty. Before turning the last corner of the first lap I could see the girls from the pack behind catching up. I served my 10 second penalty watching girls pass me. Really not the best feeling! I kept my position for the whole run from then on and I wanted to finish strong up the hill. Finishing in 31st, I can see a few weeks of training paying off. Although there are many little things that I need to work on, I suppose in time and hopefully in the next few months will come!

I have to say, I felt pretty lucky getting the opportunity to represent Australia in the A team for World Championships Teams race. I was confident in my skills whether it was raining or not. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to do this especially with an Olympic Bronze medallist and I was excited to back up and race the next day. We had a good team consisting of Aaron Royle, Dan Wilson, Erin Densham and myself. Well, it was more than raining, it was raining cats and dogs. If you were at home, you would probably stay in bed all day. The start for our relay was delayed due to lightening so warming up was pushed back.  Erin lead us off and unfortunately she did not have her best day. This meant that we were pretty far back. I was going 3rd and by this time we were in second last. Diving into the water, the temperature had dropped 3 degrees since yesterday and it was extremely choppy. Being only 375m, it was full gas. I caught the Great Britain team that were just ahead of us. For the 6.2km ride, I was lucky to have someone else to work it. With it being very wet, I did become more cautious. I actually find the cobbles easier to ride and I did not bounce around near as much. Coming out of T2, I just maxed as fast as I could. The Great Britain girl and myself took over a few of the top girls although we were a lap behind. My run felt much better than yesterday and by the end we had caught a few teams in front. We finished in 15th, not as good as last year but a solid performance by everyone.

I would like to thank Triathlon Australia for the weekend with organising flights and accommodation for us. Thanks to Dean for providing me with pre and post-race massages and the coldest ice bath I have ever had. Thanks to Michael Flynn for allowing me the opportunity to race in the teams race on Sunday and having confident in my ability to perform. A final thank you to my coach Jamie Turner for providing me with the right advice even on the smallest things to help me improve my race J Until next time..

 




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