Despite the regular nerves, I went into this race much more relaxed than port Mac 70.3. I had been training really well and I decided not to put the same pressure on myself this time. I just tried to enjoy the weekend and race as hard as I could and see what happens.
I took off hard in the swim aiming to get in the front pack, After about 200m I got on a set of feet and pushed on. At about the 300m mark I was at my limit and I lost the feet, and found myself leading the main pack with a few in front. I pushed as hard as I could to actually get back onto the feet, thinking I had made the front pack, although at the half way point I realised that the guy in front had lost the front pack (of three guys), so we were in the 2nd pack. The 2nd half of the swim was frustrating because we slowed down to a cruising pace, and I knew we were losing easy time.
I got out of the water and worked the transition hard and got on the bike just behind the eventual winner Tim reed. I knew he was going to put the hammer down early, so I aimed to stay with him as long as possible.....which unfortunately was only about 4km where I just couldn’t hang on. A few guys went passed me to try to bridge the gap, so stayed with them, but at this point was working on my limit. By about the 10km mark, we had mowed down all the guys from the front group in the swim, and reed was up the road. We had a group of 5, and around the 15km I settled into a rhythm and began to feel quite comfortable. I allowed the other guys to set the pace, and aimed to just hang in there as long as possible. The 2nd lap wasn’t very eventful, our group remained together and we had lost considerable time on Tim Reed, but gained time on the group behind.
I got off the bike feeling relatively good, and had a good transition, running out in 2nd place (1st in our group).At about 2km in, I was caught and passed by David Mainwaring. I settled into a strong pace I knew I could hold onto. From then on, Mainwaring gradually built his lead, and I gradually built my lead on the guys behind. On the 3rd and final lap, I was getting sore, but feeling confident I could hold my pace and position.
I finished 3rd, less than a minute behind Mainwaring. I couldn’t be happier with the result. I really doubted my ability before this but I know I am progressing, and all those hard early mornings are helping. I know there is still a long way to go, but little achievements like this really help my motivation and desire to keep improving.