Since my last post, I’ve raced twice down under. The first race was in Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane in Queensland. The second was in New Plymouth, on the North Island of New Zealand.
Mooloolaba was not one of my better races. I didn’t respond well when the race started going poorly and things spiraled out of control. I don’t have much to say, except that my race was not an accurate reflection of the work I put in over the winter and that is due to my response to the demands of the race. Upon arriving home in the States, I learned that I fractured my finger dolphin diving under a (massive) wave on my first day in Mooloolaba. It hasn’t affected my training (or racing) but it been a massive inconvenience to deal with. Mooloolaba is a cool place and very beautiful! The Sunshine Coast is worth a visit!
After a quick trip back to Poway, I headed to New Plymouth. New Plymouth is one of my favorite places that I’ve raced. I’ve wanted to visit New Zealand since my (possible unhealthy) obsession with Lord of the Rings back in middle school and it did not disappoint. Mt. Taranaki looms above the lush, green hills and sea cliffs of the town. The people are friendly and life is a little slower paced than what I’m used to. Simply put, it’s a nice place to be. A few days prior to the race, I had the opportunity to visit a local school, Devon Intermediate, with Triathlon Squad training partners Joe Maloy and Eric Lagerstrom. I wish that more races had opportunities like this. It is fun to have the opportunity to meet members of the local community, especially the local kids, some of whom are triathletes themselves. Race organizers take note: organizing activities like this are good for the athletes and the kids!
The race: I was pleased with my swim – I led out of the water. My sprint distance swims at this level have been a little hit or miss and I feel as though I’m starting to figure it out enough to get the shorter swims in line with my Olympic distance swims. ITU racing isn’t like swim racing – you race all out to the first buoy and settle in. I’ve noticed that the pace is a little harder to the first buoy in sprint races and things don’t string out as much so I’m happy that I’m starting to figure out how to place myself better and adjust to the demands of competition. The bike was tough. The bike course in New Plymouth is very hilly with some sharp, fast turns. I’ve been working hard at developing those skills as one of my goals for this season is to put myself out there in races with challenging bike courses with the goal of mastery. As I got dropped from the lead pack into the chase pack I wouldn’t give myself a passing grade, but it was still progress and I was able to keep myself in a competitive position heading into the run. I ran hard and finished in 8th. 8th isn’t quite the result I was aiming for but I was happy to be in the top 10 and to take some steps forward on the challenging bike course. I actually wanted to withdraw from New Plymouth after my race in Mooloolaba given the challenging bike course but I’m glad I took on the challenge and gave it an honest chance. I’ll be back here again someday to nail it 100%!
I’m staying in New Plymouth until I head to Chengdu for the World Cup there next week. I love it here and I’m excited to have a little extra time to stay and train here!
Thanks to Paulo + The Triathlon Squad, my family and friends, USA Triathlon, Off the Front Multisport, Team Psycho, Roka Sports and Alii Sport. My result in New Plymouth would not have been possible without the work Paulo put in with me on the bike between Mooloolaba and New Plymouth. I’m fortunate to have a coach who doesn’t give up on me and I’m determined to master the bike and become competitive on all courses.
P.S. How about my wildcats?!?!