The first race of the season is always tough especially when it’s the Mooloolaba World Cup in hot Austrailia at the end of the their summer. Not only did I pick one of the most stacked world cups of the year (it is the Olympic selection race for Australia and New Zealand as well as an important one for many other athletes trying to get their ranking high before June) but also the course and weather make it one of the toughest races of the season. However, I would rather race against the best and get an accurate benchmark of my fitness than have a sub par performance where I score lots of points merely because the field is weak or small.
It is such a shock to the system to go from training where you think you are working as hard as you can to racing where you need to give it that extra 10%. The first one of the season is always a wake up call. Not to mention the nerves, I am always a bit more on edge when I haven’t raced in awhile so I was feeling those as well.
I left on Tuesday March 25th out of LAX and arrived Thursday morning in Brisbane Australia. I was traveling with and staying with another US athlete Heidi Grimm. The flights were uneventful but I was stuck in a middle seat for our 14 hour flight it was a tight fit between two large men. After we arrived in Brisbane, Heidi started to feel sick, and I kept my fingers crossed that she didn’t pass it along to me since we were staying together and spending much of our time together. I did start to feel a bit sick on Friday and Saturday but it never turned into a full-blown illness. Unfortunately for Heidi she started to feel worse much worse and didn’t get to race on Sunday.
The race started out well. I had a very good swim and came out of the water 12 seconds off the leader and made my way into the front pack by the start of the 2nd bike lap. It was a frustratingly slow bike as I was trying not to work too hard and wear myself out like in my drafting races last year, but everyone else seemed to be saving for the run too. I ended up pulling a bit but not the entire way like I would have last year. I started the run feeling very flat and cramping in my stomach. The stomach issues were my own fault: I broke the golden rule and tried something new on race day a combination of red bull and endura which I won’t recommend to anyone plus I didn’t have a bottle of plain water. The run started badly but definitely improved and by the last lap I felt good it was just a bit too late. I finished 25th overall and was the 2nd American. I was disappointed that I wasn’t in the top 20 but with the strength of the field a 25th wasn’t too shabby. I have very high expectations for the rest of the season and know that I am capable of even better results. With this finish, I should also be good to go for the April Olympic Trials! Next weekend, it’s on to New Zealand for the 2nd race of the season. I haven’t had the best luck there so I am hoping to break that curse.