At the end of March, I went on a short trip from our training camp in Australia to Wellington New Zealand for a continental cup race. I was really really sore from the Mooloolaba open race and wasn’t totally looking forward to making the trip since I was also battling an injury from February that had resurfaced with a vengeance. The week before the race I even went to get an MRI on my hip to locate the problem but wouldn’t get the results until after I got back from the race. I was happy not to know since my goal was simply to race my best and go after a good swim/bike combination.
I arrived in Wellington and went directly to my accommodation, a youth hostel. I was a little wary of staying in a hostel before a race since I didn’t want the stress of trying to sleep in a bunk bed with 3 roommates to each suite. However, it ended up working out fine and the women in my suite were very nice, friendly, and mature (aka thankfully not out partying till 4am).
The race course was excellent: the swim was in a choppy bay, the bike course had a challenging hill that we were to climb 5 times during the race and some technical turns, and the run was 3 flat loops through town. The day before the race I did my usual pre-race warmups and really enjoyed the bike course. For the swim, I went to a local pool and was feeling good but swimming very slow. Until I realized that the pool was long; 33 meters long in fact making what I thought were 100s into 132s. I breathed a sigh of relief with that news. For the rest of the day, I relaxed and got ready for the race. There were a four other Americans at the race; its always great to see some friendly and familiar faces.
Race morning was cool and rainy, my least favorite race conditions; but the rain abated before our race start. The wind however was not as cooperate and there were 40 to 50 mph massive winds making the swim extremely choppy and the bike treacherous. I was preoccupied with my sticky bike brakes and worried that they would be rubbing the whole race…so much that I wasn’t even as nervous as usual. At the swim start, I had a poor position but ended up with a good swimming coming out of the water in 5th position behind the fast swimming Americans and one Kiwi athlete. On the bike, I had a great ride and worked with two Kiwi athletes to real in all the fast swimmers. And on the last lap of the bike, I broke away and had a 37 second lead going into transition. I knew I would need it for the run. The run went well; I focused on keeping my cadence up and trying to run as fast as I could through the injury. I ended up 6th and was really happy with my swim and bike performances and was happy that I made the trip.
I headed back to Australia for the last week of my training trip; it was a great experience but I was also looking forward to getting home to see Jeff and get back to my life at home.