A combination of having just finished up a tough NZ elite race season, coming runner up here last year and being the final triathlon of the season, I was fuelled more than ever to secure myself this National title.
To be honest, the weather couldn’t have been much worse on the day. Typical Wellington winter weather sort of day blowing a gale and bucketing down.
After wasting time wondering whether to use my disk or not I finally came a conclusion that disk = free speed… even in this sort of weather. The course was sheltered from the wind in parts by the cliffs around the coast of Scorching Bay so that gave me some confidence with the disk.
I set up my bike with the disk on in transition quickly and headed back to my car where it was warm and dry.
Lining up in our wetsuits was cold and miserable especially with the ten-minute delay due to cars parked on the course. I made sure I kept moving by jogging up and down the beach and swinging my arms.
The gun finally went off and we all ran into the sea hobbling over top of the sharp stones on the sand bottom. I managed to make it to the first buoy in the lead and could see my good friend Josh Hemera was right beside me. Heading back to the beach for the first lap of three was hard to see with the rough weather. Before I knew it, I could hear and see officials blowing whistles and waving their arms frantically on the beach! Turns out we had passed the buoy by about 10 meters and had to double back and go around. There was an orange cone on the beach that I was heading for. My bad – Sorry Josh ?
I lead out of the water with Josh right on my feet and we exited transition together with a rather sloppy bike mount from both of us I must say… If you were watching I can promise you would have laughed out loud! Sometimes things just don’t go as expected but it’s key to move on and focus.
Rain was bucketing down as we hit the coast of Scorching bay and the wind was aggressive. I decided to save some energy and ride at a tempo pace for the first 2/3rd and then really put the hammer down on the final lap to try and pull a gap between the others knowing there were some rapid runners on my tail.
A fast transition meant I had about a 20 second lead. I hit the first run lap of three really hard, feeling good throughout I held my position and dug deep on the wet pavement. I was in the zone with my mind on that title. With about 1km to go I couldn’t help but start to smile a bit as I knew I was almost there and in the lead.
As I turned the final corner towards the finish line with my supportive aunty and girlfriend there cheering me on I had a huge grin on my face as I knew I had just become the 2017 National Standard Distance Champion. A quick interview and I was pulled away for a random drug test which I was happy to undergo. It’s was good to see DFSNZ out there making sure athletes are clean even at an age group level.