Monday, 16 March 2015

Surfs Up in Mooloolaba

My fourth year back in Mooloolaba, it never disappoints with warm water, great views and sunshine. Leading into Mooloolaba World Cup, we had a perfect training race in Wollongong the week before to sharpen up with. It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly been a year since I had a hip arthroscopy already. I couldn’t be anymore grateful that I had a pretty easy but long recovery to get back on the circuit.

photo credit- eyes wide open

Photo credit- Taylor C

With the big surf, they had to move the start of the race to where the surf was smaller down the beach. Warming up, I was getting tossed, turned, flipped, a mouthful of saltwater and actually alittle scared of the waves. Walking back to line up, all I was thinking was, we do this every week in Wollongong. If I am scared, everyone else is just as scared as me, if not even more scared which I had to use to my advantage. I knew I needed to have fast start into the water, get over the breakers and get into a rhythm to the first buoy. I got in a good position and was 2nd around the first buoy. It never seems to amaze me though that people still want to drown you up the front.  I didn’t want to get drowned again so I moved myself to the front and got around the 2nd buoy without any problems. It was going to be luck of the draw and pure skill on catching a wave into shore. And I got no waves to assist me at all.  Coming out in the front, we had a long run that was going to be important in sorting out the race. I missed my box with my goggles and made that split second decision to put them back in and not get a penalty.
Photo Credit- Des Thureson

I rode pretty hard for the first section and climb making sure I got into that lead group. I didn’t have my feet in my shoes till over the first hill, where I felt I was comfortable in that lead group. The ride was very off and on. Into the tailwind it felt hard for sections and into the headwind, if you weren’t at the front, you could spin easier at the back. I made the mistake of taking the easy ride with no one working and I probably could have backed myself more and been abit more tactical. On a positive, I made sure I was in a good position leading into the narrow sections. By the end of the last lap with the little work our group was doing, we got caught by the chase group and we would enter transition together.

Photo credit- Taylor C
I had a pretty good T2 and I was fairly quick, hitting the pavement for a hot and fast run. Unfortunately, I know myself that I have missed some quality work with alittle niggle in my groin so I knew it wasn’t going to be on my fastest runs. My form felt good but I just had no speed to give. Ending up 18th wasn’t what I wanted but again it’s good to be back racing and continue gaining confidence in a bigger and stronger field. Next up is Auckland WTS on the 28th of March! 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Wollongong OTU Race

Wollongong OTU Race
There is nothing more exciting than not having to pack up your bike up to go to a race. Wollongong has been my second home for the past four years and I couldn’t ask for a closer race to home with a 10 minute ride to race start. It didn’t even feel like I had to race. Being a local race, it was great to have so much local support from family and friends out on the course cheering us on. After Kinloch, I wasn’t happy at all with any part of the processes of that race so it was back to training and back to building up confidence in me, on what I knew I could do best.

I looked at Wollongong as a good training race leading into Mooloolaba and Auckland WTS, as I missed Devonport and a week or two of solid running with groin tightness. We have been training pretty hard over the past few weeks and the Saturday before the race was honestly a good physical and mental break to relax before the race.

It felt like another training day being surrounded by the other girls I train with on a day to day basis. I knew the swim would be fast with such strong swimmers in the field so it would be as important to get on good feet from the start to make sure I didn’t miss the group in such a small field. I got to the first buoy without anyone touching me and the pace was hard but comfortable. Coming back into the shore, the pace slowed alittle and I decided I didn’t want that to happen so I put a surge in and came up beside the girls ahead of me. We exited the water with a group of 6 of us and one girl up the road.

We ride over the course every day so I knew what to expect coming out of transition but I still had to be desperate. A small hill to sting the legs every lap coming out of transition, the pace was solid from the start. Within the first lap we caught Danielle and after that worked solidly as a group of 6, gaining time each lap. By the end of the bike, we had about 1 minute 20 over the chase group.  I was surprised how good I felt on the bike considering some hard sessions we had done during the week.

Coming into transition after the three laps, I knew I had to be near the front with the long run into transition. I mucked around alittle putting my shoes on and by the time we ran down to do a u turn before we ran out of transition, a gap had already formed. I have had some decent run sessions in the bank in my return to running and after a big week of training I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I found out pretty soon that I felt awful and just had no momentum especially on the grass sections of the run course. My run is still something I want to work on, stay injury free and get stronger throughout the year.

I ended up crossing the line in 4th place behind my training partners and Australian Sprint Champ. It was nice to get back into the swing of racing and make the most of having a OTU race on home soul. A big thank you for all the support and well run event by Elite Energy. Looking forward to Mooloolaba World Cup next weekend!

Monday, 2 March 2015

The best of both worlds

Wollongong. The place I call home for 6 of the 7 days of the week. Living 1km from the beach at my home in Wollongong with the John and Christine O’Connell, I couldn’t ask for a better environment to be around on a day to day basis. Nothing beats jumping into 25 degree water to end the day to relax after a hard days training. Or jumping out on the surf board with John and attempting to catch a few waves! A big thank you to them for letting me in their family home for the next few months. My favourite is Saturday mornings when I get spoiled rotten with pancakes when I walk in the door from a hard ride.

I have been clocking up the km’s on the bike with the wizards girls and sometimes you even get a free mud bath to come with a long ride. People pay big bucks to get what we got off wheel sucking when it rains. ;) This ride is also one of my favourite and hardest rides of the week which is a 100km loop that involves QOM, some pace line efforts and mad mile to end the ride before some recovery on the way home. One of my favourite rides when I come home to Campbelltown is out to Burragong Lookout. No matter the weather or the off the chart elevation it is to get there, the view is always worth it at the top and so is the descent home. We have also started riding fixed gear bikes on the velodrome. It’s been a few years since I have ridden on one but once the nerves let go after a few laps, I am actually really enjoying having no brakes and do some fast pace sprints.
That one out of the 7 days of the week that I come home, I love having time to myself. Normally Sunday’s, I like doing some solo training or doing some specific strength work at home. Home is where the heart is and I love seeing my family, my dog and my friends when I come home. I couldn’t be any luckier that my home is only 40 mins away from Wollongong and I can drop by anytime I like to say hello and catch up with Mum and Dad.

My next race is this weekend in my home town of Wollongong for the Oceania Cup, then Mooloolaba World Cup and I am super excited to get a start in Auckland WTS!  It’s crazy how time flies as this time last year, I was planning my surgery on my hip. The biggest thing I learnt last year was that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.  Time to get the 2015 started!! J