Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tongyeong World Cup 2013

There is something about Tongyeong that I really like. The Starbucks there does help my cause. The fish smell everywhere, rice is plentiful, symbols that mean nothing to us and a pretty unique place that not many people get to adventure into. The last race before heading home back to Australia after five months, I was excited to have a good race and put the last few weeks of training after worlds into a solid result. I knew if I was in Vitoria and not at home, I wanted to take things seriously and make the most of my time left overseas. Thanks to Eric at Jardines de Aristi Aparthotel for looking after us for the past 5 months. You make us feel more than welcome and some where we can call home for half the year. We had long hours of travel from Europe with a funny and hour wasting experience in Paris on our 7 hour stopover to find a swimming pool. Our women’s’ sense of direction or maybe Google maps got us there eventually. Mostly importantly was to get over jetlag quickly and get used to the changing of time zones. I think I did this fairly well with falling asleep at night becoming very easy. Trying to figure out why I was hungry all the time, the counting back of seven hours to what time it was in Vitoria made it much easier to justify my hunger in the early hours of the morning.

Tongyeong is a course I really like, being hilly and generally fairly hot. This year an extra hill was added into the run, being one of the steepest I have probably ran up in a race four times. Race morning was an early start with the air and water being quite fresh. I decided not to get in the water with it being only 20 degrees but I think I made the wrong decision not being warmed up enough. My first lap of the two lap swim, I didn’t go out hard enough and I got caught up in all the mess. Coming out on the first lap I was mid field with the glimpse of a group of a few girls up the front. I knew this would be the race, so I dove back in, put my head down with clean water and swam as hard as I could till I got on their feet at the first buoy. Coming back into shore, I made sure I was in contact with them.

Last year I made the mistake of not being desperate enough at the start and let two girls get up the road. With a group of 7 of us, 4 of us were working together to maintain the gap. It never seizes to amaze me that people just sit for a free ride and be pests, when we are giving them a chance at a top 7. We probably should have rode abit harder than tempo up the hill, hard over the top and down the hill to get away from them. Being an out and back course, it is easy to see where the chase group is every lap. We were gaining time on them every lap which gave me confidence in our riding to maintain the gap till the end. I found out on the ride I had a penalty for not putting my goggles in the box which meant I had to serve 15 seconds sometime on the run.

Coming off the bike, the two minute gap would be a perfect opportunity for a podium finish. I went out at my own pace, relaxed and hoping I could build towards the end. The four lap course went very quick with the hill and corners changing it up alittle. I didn’t feel that crash hot but had to make sure I was keeping hydrated or taking nutrition in with the temperature getting hotter. The hill was the only chance I got to see where the other group was in comparison to me every lap. The girls were catching and on the third lap when I chose to take my penalty, the 15 seconds couldn’t have gone any slower and I kept checking to see if anyone had come around the corner. On another note it was a nice chance to take a break. I knew I had to run the last lap pretty hard to keep my third place. I knew Tamysn was catching me but once again on the hill I got a chance to see where she was. I went as fast as I could down the hill and all the way to finish. My first world cup podium with a third place, I am pretty excited to end my ITU season on a high. A few mistakes and things I should have done differently but this is how you learn for next time. This even goes for the opening of the champagne bottle!

I would like to thank Jamie for another year as my coach. A few ups and downs but overall another year of development as an under 23. Thanks to Triathlon Australia for all the support throughout the year and helping me gain experience to grow and more forward as an elite athlete. To all the service providers that have helped in 2013, thank you for keeping me in the best possible shape. I couldn’t be any more excited to go home and see my family and spend some time with friends away from triathlon. One more race close to my home in Nepean before having some down time, with it all starting again later this year in Falls Creek.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Some would say I am a jet setter. I get onto the plane with the hope of a new airline magazine is there to entertain me for the first 10 minutes, usually with some pretty pictures. A text "Journeys" in the Air France magazine after six plane trips and six reads, I had to tear it out. Although I did attempt to read it in French, I turned the page and the English version was awaiting my read. It reminds me of the first time I did get on a plane; the novelty and uniqueness of being high above the clouds. I have to admit it’s not the same anymore. A few plane trips a month allows the mind to wander- "images of people and things we’ve seen, loved, dreamed of, yearned for, in places and times frequently distant from another". My thoughts generally although consist of did my bike get on the plane, how long do I have to sleep, what did I forget and the list is endless…

My journeys this month have been twice to France and once to London. I would say I have had two successful trips to France with my French team Tri Val de Gray. We had our first podium win in Sartouville and finished 4th overall for the season for 2013 by 0.5 points. Sartouville was exciting being in a breakaway and finishing just a few metes too short in a sprint finish for 2nd place. The last French GP of the season was held in Nice. It is a beautiful place where the beach side atmosphere makes me miss home. The thought of my bike not turning up came true and I had a few dramas pre race. I was very lucky with my Giant Envie turning up one hour before we were leaving for the race! Nice beaches aren’t like the beaches at home with blinding white sand but instead had massive pebble stones. Running into start I miss judged my dive and nearly faced planted straight into them. The water was pretty choppy but I found good feet from the start and had a hard swim with 5 of us girls having a gap on the rest of the field.

The swim doesn’t finish until you have jumped on your bike. I was just off the back of the girls and I knew that if I didn’t get on, there was no body for ages. I rode hard the first lap and got myself within the group of five by the end of the first lap. We all rode well together and got
a gap of 90 seconds by the time we entered T2. I had a pretty shocking T2 and ran straight past my bike rack. This meant I missed the girls going out onto the run and was alittle off the back from the start. The ride was fairly solid and took abit out of the legs. I was pretty stoked that the torrential rain came when we were running but I couldn’t be happier to finish up with a solid 4th and first under 23!

We have also been having a few adventures or journeys here in Vitoria. We headed to picture perfect San Sebastian for the day to soak up the last days of summer. It’s always so relaxing there and time sure does fly when you are having fun! I felt like I came back alittle bit browner than I left but it’s probably just my imagination. The water is still somewhat warm and the pontoon with the slide is always fun. I tired to be alittle adventurous and went to go get my hair cut before home. This could have turned out extremely well or horribly bad. Too much of my surprise, the lady did a fabulous job understanding my Spanish to try and have some hair left when I left the place. Might go back there next year! ;) This last month we have been trying to explore Vitoria more, finding new restaurants, coffee stops and making regular visits to the butcher. It is always so busy there- it feels like a mosh pit. They cut your meat to order so it is actually better to grab a ticket, leave and come back. We wanted to only order 2 slices of cold meat and we got 22. Oh well looks like we are set for a few

The number of people here in Vitoria has shrunk over the last few weeks, with everyone going home to their different places around the world. Not going to lie I do miss the best neighbours in the world, Gwen and Pat. Grace and I always do our regular checks to make sure they haven’t come back.. One more journey to Tongyeong before heading home to Australia!