17 Nov 2013

Nepean Triathlon

Going back to my last post,  I had just arrived back in Australia and was enjoying time with family and friends after a week or so off training while I was in Las Vegas. Since then, I got back into some routine to try and finish off the year well at Nepean Triathlon and the Noosa Triathlon.
Coming back from Vegas, I still had a few doubts if it was going to be 100% recovered so I could race come the end of October in the Nepean Triathlon. I was most certainly motivated to do the best I could to get my leg 100% right, symptom free. I reassured Craig that I would not continue training or pushing myself in any way if things started to go backwards again, I was not going to put myself in a position to go back to where I was while I was in Spain, it wasn’t pleasant. I didn’t want to jeopardise my preparation leading into 2014.  
Back to beach days and cafe hunting with Mum

Things started to improve; the little niggles started to go away and I was always making forward progression.  I was seeing my regular Physio, Brit Caling at Gold Coast Physio and Health, and also started back in the gym with my strength and conditioning coach. I was fitted up properly to my new BMC Time Machine by John McMillan. I felt like I had done everything I could to ensure my injury kept improving without pushing anything too quickly. I started back running just every second or third day and when things got better, I would wait another run to be safe before pushing any boundaries at running. I was 100% symptom free and I booked my flights to Sydney!

Off the train to meet my brother. I rather enjoyed my journey over the bridge.

My brother has been living in Sydney for nearly 2 years now, working in a private Physio practice. I stayed with him and his lovely girlfriend on Friday night before heading to Penrith. It worked in well and it was so great to catch up with him.
The Nepean Triathlon was putting up a significant amount of money this year thanks to some great sponsors, especially Gulf Western Oil. There weren’t many women on the start list but there were some great girls lining up. Straight line 1km swim, 2 laps of 15km to make up a 30km flat (and in parts very technical) ride and 10km flat 2 lap run.
I exited the water with the main group of girls, it was only Emma Moffatt who had broken away to lead out by about 30 seconds. I thought I was riding quite well but I wasn’t 100% sure, I have hardly ridden a time trial bike before, it’s a very different experience for me. Out of T1 I tried to push the pace straight away and I found myself dropping the other girls and catching Moffy within the first lap. My aim was to keep up that pace and just see how I could run, which was rather questionable anyway. I led the whole bike and think I held a strong pace, but I couldn’t drop Moffy, so she was right behind me as I entered T2. And then she was gone :-)

I was very happy to finish 2nd behind Moffy. I kept a reasonable distance to her in the first lap but once she got going on the 2nd lap, there was no way I was going to catch her. Thanks to a solid ride, I was able to think about Noosa the week after and try and save my legs a little on the 2nd lap. Nat Van Coeverden finished off a strong season to finish in 3rd.

Thanks to BMC and Echelon Sports for the great bike, it is such a pleasure to ride. I had the fastest set of wheels thanks to Zipp and loved riding a rear 808, I’ve never ridden anything deeper than their 404, so it felt very fast on that flat course! T
Thank you for having me Nepean Triathlon, it was a great event to be apart of. I hope to be back.
Noosa post coming soon

1 Oct 2013

Road to London

I wish that my training and form could have continued on an upward trajectory after Hamburg, but it didn’t. My road to London proved to be a tough one, but I was ever so grateful to be there on race day, ready to give it my all. I have had my fair share of injuries this year and the preparation for London was not easy. I think I could mentally handle the situation quite well after being in the same position at the start of the year. When I tore my plantar fascia in March, I went about 7 weeks without running before having to pull myself together for San Diego and then Yokohama. My London scenario was much better and I had a few weeks of running on the treadmill after once again spending some quality time on the elliptical. After racing the individual race in Hamburg, and then the team’s race, I unfortunately got ITB syndrome. It started off as a tiny niggle which escalated quickly after racing back to back. I tried to do a run session on the Thursday after Hamburg and I was reduced to a walk with a terrible pain in my knee. Crippling type pain. This wasn’t good.

It was then a waiting game. 

I got treatment every night while I was in Spain and I cannot be more grateful for that. Special thanks to Alex Price who got me to the start line in London and had to put up with every day in doing so! It took longer to settle than everyone originally thought and weeks went by without running. Unfortunately I had to pull out of Stockholm World Series race and also Tizzy World Cup. I was really looking forward to both of those races, but London was the main goal and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice anything for that. While this was all happening I was very lucky that it was the same time that Josh was there to stay with me in Spain. We had a great time living together and helping each other out. I loved Vitoria, there was a comfortable and friendly atmosphere and I really enjoyed swimming with Jamie Turner and the NSWIS troops. I did some very different training in the pool then I was used too, but it was very specific race work and I think it helped me a lot. I also learnt a lot in the open water swimming sessions. There were so many Aussies, Canadians and American athletes that when we all joined forces, we pretty much had a World cup simulation! 

My running plan into London, safe to say we didnt know how things were going to go! I requested something good at the end of the timeline though.

The Spanish people are super chilled and it was the safest I’ve ever felt when I was riding out on their roads, I enjoyed that too!

Pop- up breakfast cafe in Vitoria!

My time in Spain seemed to fly by, and it wasn’t long before I was packing up my apartment and setting off to London. My Parents were on a European holiday and along with family friends, were stopping in at London to watch me race. My younger brother had also been travelling and was there to cheer me on with his friends before heading to Leeds for his university exchange. My family had never been so disbanded so it was nice that they were there to see me. (minus big brother, sorry Scott!).  I didn’t want to let them down. 
The weather in London hadn’t been too bad in the lead up to my race on Saturday, but the forecast wasn’t on our side. It was time to forget about that and accept that all of us had to endure whatever Mother Nature served up. 

It was an 8.36am start, which was a big contrast to the usual late World Series starts. I was a little nervous, but mainly anxious about my knee and not wanting to let everybody down if things didn’t go so well! 16 degree water which meant my ROKA wetsuit was out and ready.  I had found some confidence in my swimming over the European summer and worked really hard on the second lap to come out of the water amongst the front pack, one of my best swims. I had to put a solid effort in on the first section of the bike to catch up to the swimmers who had quickly formed a little group out of the water. Once I was there, I was thrilled. Stay upright, stay up the front. 

We kept the pace up and were making significant time gaps on the groups behind us. My heart goes out to Gwen who crashed out. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know her better in Spain and it wasn’t the ending to 2013 that she deserved. She definitely handled it like a true professional though. 

Cool bike shot by Delly Carr

The temperature dropped significantly with about 3 laps to go and it was a little rainy too. I was absolutely freezing. After 7 laps and 42.9kms, I was so happy to get off that bike with hopes to warm up when I was running. My hands were numb and I couldn’t feel my feet. Once I started running, apart from the fact I felt like I was running on stumps, I didn’t feel too bad. We had three laps and at the end of the first, I had caught up to a group of about 5 who were running together. That didn’t last too long. My feet, Achilles and calves were so tight and sore. I could feel my knee a little, but it seemed to be the least of my worries, I thought I was going to tear something! I’m sure that everyone felt pretty average in the cold, but it was the first time that I had run on the road since Hamburg, so it was one hell of a shock to the system. I kept plugging away, more thankful than ever to have had such a good swim and be in the front group! I hung on for 9th and couldn’t be happier to see that finish line. The experience was extremely painful and I had times of serious self doubt, but I actually had the time of my life. I was in London and I was racing and no one could take that away from me. I enjoy training but I absolutely love to race and along with a great support network, I did everything I could to represent Australia at the Grand Final. I ended up finishing 7th on the World rankings, more then I could have wished for at the start of 2013. 

Massive congratulations to Non Stanford, the winner of London and also the 2013 World Champion. Also to Moffy who is off to Commonwealth Games after her 3rd in London. Such a deserving group of ladies standing on the final World Series podium, consistent results from great racing all year. I aspire to be there one day!

After the race and a fun night out celebrating with the rest of the triathlon community in London, I headed to Las Vegas to spend some time with Josh and check out Interbike. I also did the vip SRAM ride and was able to meet some more of the great people behind the company.  I took the opportunity to have a little break from training and that turned out to be a very good thing, it was a super busy week, Interbike is extremely overwhelming!! It was a great experience to be in Las Vegas but I am so happy to be back in Australia, it’s never felt better. 

Moffy and I in London
Outdoor demo day with Josh after the SRAM ride

I’m getting back into things and training up for Nepean and Noosa Triathlon. I love an Aussie summer and apart from training my days are mostly filled with friends, good food, coffee shop sits and the beach, I couldn’t ask for much more. Time to relax after a big year!

Thanks for reading.

8 Aug 2013

I've been a bad blogger of late, so below there is two new blogs, one from Kitzbuhel and another from Hamburg.

The team for the London World Championships was announced yesterday and I am pleased to have been named on the Elite team for 2013. Here is a short piece I wrote in response to a few questions for the press release, I thought I would share it here. 

“It is a privilege to be selected to represent Australia at an Elite World Championships and something which I am very proud and honoured to do. We have a rich history and I want to be a part of the new generation to continue the legacy which has been set before us. My first Elite Worlds last year I unfortunately got a flat tyre but continued on after losing significant time to come 26th. Although my Junior Worlds history is a lot brighter with 2 silvers and a gold (07,08,10).  I would love to have a great race In London to give the selectors a convincing reason to consider me for the Commonwealth games.  I will race in Stockholm three weeks before London to get another Olympic distance race done. My early races in the year were coming off a significant period of injury so I have been satisfied to have been improving throughout the year, before hopefully saving my best race to last.”

5th in Hamburg 2013

Hamburg is renowned for being one of the most popular racing destinations for athletes on the World series circuit and once you have experienced it, there is no doubt why. The atmosphere is always incredible, the passion and excitement of the huge crowds radiates energy and lifts you, I can only imagine what it would be like if I was German!

 I have fond memories from racing in Hamburg from when I was just 16 years old. It was my first Junior World Championships and I placed 2nd to Hollie Avil. I was so young and na├»ve but it still remains one of my fondest triathlon memories.  

After Kitzbuhel, I felt like rubbish. The race up the mountain and the travel had well and truly caught up with me. After a few easy days of feeling sorry for myself, I gradually got back into the swing of things and was very excited to be heading to Hamburg. Josh was also making the trip from Boulder to see me race, which was a positive boost after not seeing him for about 3 months. 

The swim was mental, a lot of girls I spoke to after the race had got clobbered and it was a bit of a fight at times! There were some great swimmers in the field who strung things out at the front although I was happy that I exited at the back of the big group of girls. Once onto the bike, as always, its hammer time out of t1. I caught up to a few girls and most were looking around for someone to do some work. As we were all putting on our shoes, I noticed a leading group establishing just up ahead.  Once Svenja Balzen and Anne Haug caught up to the group, it was rather obvious that Svenja was going to be Anne’s worker for the day and it only took one lap for us to catch up to the leading bunch. 

Once we had bridged, I went straight towards the front and stayed amongst the first 5 wheels for the 20km. I wasn’t sure of what was happening at the back, but the coaches kept us informed that the group that included Gwen was 45 seconds down.  It was only a sprint distance race, but I was still nervous about 45 seconds, it’s very clear that Gwen can run. Very fast!!
I positioned myself well on the bike so I didn’t feel it was a particularly fast ride, I felt comfortable through the corners. Although a few times, a couple of girls trying to get to the front compromised the safely of the pack trying to move onto the wheels in front of me at the technical parts of the course. 

Out of t2, the girls ran out hard. I picked up a few girls but the early leading trio of Jodie Stimpson, Non Stanford and Anne Haug stayed just out of reach. I felt fairly average on lap one and had an annoying sharp stitch but started to feel a lot better on lap 2. This, combined with the fact that the leaders might have started getting strategic between themselves, allowed me to finally make the bridge to the front. Andrea Hewitt also bridged across and it was a race between us 5.  Unfortunately when Anne kicked, I had nothing to give and it looked like a battle for 4th between Andrea Hewitt and I.  Yep, I lost that one too ;) I was very satisfied with 5th place. I gave myself a shot at getting on that podium and unfortunately I was just out classed by some incredible athletes on the day. Hopefully one day soon I will get there, always searching for that ‘perfect’ race. I’ve learnt to be patient in this sport though, and some recent injuries this year have really taught me some hard but valuable lessons in patience.

The next day was team relay and I was joined by Moffy, Peter Kerr and Aaron Royle. I was super tired in the relay and lost some time on the short swim but was thankful I found something in my legs to make up the deficit on the bike. The run was super short and very fast and I didn’t have the speed. Peter anchored the team into 4th place, the best that we have done for a long while. It was no podium and it seemed that there was a bit of disappointment with the result, but everyone in the team put in 100%. Moffy and Aaron got me in a great position and I wish I could have offered more on that run! Peter did a great job to finish off.
Team Transition
Another great experience at Hamburg, it was a pleasure once again. Here is the link to a short recap of the race.

 Thanks for reading

The Kitzbuhel Horn 2013

I arrived in Vitoria, Spain for the first time on the Sunday evening before the weekend of Kitzbuhel. I was very excited to be arriving in a new place, as I have been based in Aix, France in previous years. A new culture was to be experienced and unfamiliar riding and running loops to be explored. Anyone that has done the long haul travel from Australia knows that it takes its toll, so the few days that I did have in Vitoria before heading to kitzbuhel were very low key. Next time round, I will allow myself more time in Europe before racing. 

The mountain town of Kitzbuhel was just as beautiful as I remembered from the previous year. Quaint little cottages and breathtaking views, and we were there to climb one of the mountains which loomed before us, the Kitzbuhel Horn. 750m swim, 11.55km bike and 2.55km run.  

The swim was somewhat of an uphill battle for me too. I hadn’t raced since May in Yokohama and it is enough time to forget what World Series swims are like, especially over 750m. It is no time to become complacent and I had some time to bridge coming out of the water.  Once I was onto the bike Vanessa Raw flew past me and on I jumped on the back to try and make up some time through the town before we started climbing. The group was not far away once we got to the climb and I started making up some ground on ones who had already fallen off the pace. Once a main group of girls was established, I stayed the same distance off the back of them for quite a while. I was never going to be in the race if I didn’t bridge across, but I had nothing to give and the girls up front were quite clearly brilliant mountain goats.
Uphill transition

There was more climbing to be done once we battled up the mountain on our bikes, even the transition was even on a pretty decent gradient. I’m quite sure that Alister Brownlee was the only athlete who even attempted to remove his feet from his shoes while he was riding, so the rest of us were left to look rather stupid running into T2 in our cycling shoes. The race was over once I was off the bike, the run was too short to make up time, so it was just a matter of holding anyone off from behind. I finished in 9th place. 

 I was satisfied to stay inside the top 10 again, although a little disappointed in myself. Disregarding my place, times or the other girls, I was underwhelmed with the way I climbed after the work I had put into the training. Kitzbuhel Horn is a unique beast, I understand that, but I felt that I couldn’t push myself to the limits in which I had reached in training while on the gold Coast. I wanted to do it all over again to try and better myself. 

The girls up front were incredible. Kudos to Queen of Kitz, Jodie Stimpson and Aussie teammate Em Jackson in second. Anne Haug came in 3rd

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to take part in such a unique event but I must admit, I was pretty happy that Hamburg was up next. Fast and flat!