It’d been over a decade since the last time I’d been to Geelong. My last visit was in 2007, also for lycra related activities (triathlon, I should stress, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea…). Those were back in the ITU days, and whilst things would be a bit different racing a 70.3 race around Geelong, I’d always liked the place and was keen for another race in G-town. I was wondering if they’d found a different bike course from the 2km hot-dog loop up and down the hill we used to race on, otherwise the race could be very interesting indeed…
Flying down to the race, to be honest, I didn’t have a great deal of confidence. Last season I raced later in the year than I ever have before, which meant I’d never raced with this short of a prep before, and whilst the training had been going ok, there was certainly nothing to really indicate that I was race ready. My swim seemed to be ok, but my bike form had been yet to kick in, and I’d had a few little niggles get in the way of consistent running, so I had about as much faith as an agnostic atheist listing to some gospels.
Nevertheless, when you put on a race suit, throw on a start number, all you want to do is swing hard for the win, and once the gun went off, that was all I was chasing. Josh Amberger took a big swing at the rest of the field in the swim, and gapped us from woe to go to lead out on to terrestrial turf. After a bit of aquatic apathy at the start, I navigated my way to be at or near the front of the chase pack for the swim, coming out 3rd behind Jake Montgomery who led our pack for most of the second half of the swim, and limited Burger’s bludgeoning to 15 seconds or so out of the water.
Out on to the bike, and after an embarrassingly slow transition for a guy who was an ITU athlete only a few months ago, I had a little bit of work to do to catch Burger, who had been joined by Monty and Sam Appleton quickly out of T1. I buried myself over the first 15km to try to get across, and they dangled a handful of seconds up the road, like a donut dangled tantalisingly out of reach of a fat child. Alas for me, Burger was laying down the hammer like a psychotic blacksmith, and I was well rinsed and breathing through my ears, so I didn’t make the bridge, and thus set about trying to limit the damage with Clayton Fettell and some others for the rest of the bike. For those playing at home, yes, I dropped my aero water bottle at around the 30km mark, which is worryingly becoming my trademark. The damage-control efforts didn’t go particularly well, as the boys up front had laid some serious smack down, we got off the bike around 2:30 back on Monty, and a further 4:50 down on Appo and Burger.
I pushed out pretty hard on the run to give myself a chance of catching either of the front two boys if they happened to crack a bit, but the lads were really strong all day over all three disciplines, and certainly deserved to fill the top spots. I managed to reel in Monty, to finish the day in 3rd with the fastest run, around 2 minutes behind Appo, with Burger not too far behind him. Shout out to the boys in front for being a class above all day, and Monty for holding strong for 5th after a long period out following his crash last year.
From here, it’s back into training for a while to plug some of the holes in my game, another solid 6 weeks of training before Challenge Melbourne gives me a good chance to string some form together.
Take care friends,