The big day finally arrived. The racing flats (shoes) were dusted off, bike tyres pumped up and the bag packed. All ready for action. A bit of drizzly rain met us on the drive up, but the closer we got to Bribie the more sunshine started to peer out from behind the clouds. Ahh Bribie... after a few years of racing there it really feels like a well worn pair of shoes - comfortable, familiar and reliable. It's always a great event (other than the race results taking FOREVER to get posted on the internet). I had plenty of time to set my space up in transition, and I must say I felt more aware and mindful of the day than I ever had. Time to check out the other punters, to have a laugh with some of the guys I race against and have come to know (one of them was putting spoke-a-dokes on his mates bike - cheeky bugger!) and time to just soak it all up. It was going to be a great day!
I had time to bump in to mum and Adz before it all started, which was great. Being wave 11 meant a big of standing around killing time, but there were some other Reddog guys and gals there so we gasbagged. Before I knew it I was in the water and racing! Got off to a pretty good start, although was hammered around the first buoy - 83 odd people heading for the same point after 60m or so, a slight traffic jam! Once I found some open space though I got into a nice rhythm and was out of the water in 5th - I think all this swimming training is finally starting to pay off!
A quick burst of running into transition, helmet and sunnies on and I was off onto the bike course. The first time I relax completely in a race is when I am on the bike, feet into the shoes and into a nice pedaling rhythm. A guy that I was toeing the swim start line with, and got onto dry land almost simultaneously with, had made it out of transition before me and was about 150m down the road by the time I was into my cycling shoes. I put in a nice burst of speed and caught him by the first round-a-bout. A nice "toot toot" pull of the truck horn arm action as I passed him for good measure (he laughed) and I was off. The ride is a 3 lap 10k course, and I killed it for the first 2. I dialled in my short distance race pace and kept the pedal down. Bribie tends to get a bit congested with other racers, but rather than get frustrated I used it to prompt spurts of pace as I cut past people before or after turns. A check of my watch after the race showed a 39khr average, which is good. I'd love to get it to 40k by Mooloolaba. Fingers crossed hey? Fastest bike split by nearly 2 minutes and in the lead.
I eased off a bit towards the end of the ride, say the last 1k or so, but increased my cadence (pedal speed) to promote faster leg movement when I jumped off and started running. Into transition, bike racked and not many other bikes racked so I knew things were looking good. Out of transition pretty quick and focused on getting the blood in the ol' legs ready for running. I try to focus on key technique stuff early on - run tall, relax the arms and high heels - to get it all happening. Plus I have learnt to not rush it and not to stress when the legs feel tired - I know that it is only a matter of time before the ride is a distant memory and the legs are dialled into the run. The run felt ok, I kept focusing on the next turn around, next key spot rather than think of it as 8k's. I didn't take on any water at the aid stations but used it to rinse my mouth and pour over my head. It took about 5 - 6k's before I felt strong. The last 2k's I was able to put the pedal down and give it full-tilt boogie to the end. Second fastest run split in my category (by 4 seconds) and winner by nearly 2 minutes. Very nice!
This win feels different to other good results I have had. I put in a great strategy in this race, pushed it at the right times, pulled it back in a bit at the right times, and generally paced it well all-round. I felt strong and it is great to see the training is working, you know? I was 5th fastest overall for the day as well, and managed to beat a number of the Open males so "yee haa" to me!
No rest for the wicked - I have booked in for next weekend to do the QLD Sprint Distance Championships. Checking out the winning times from last year I think I should crack the top 10. It'll be great to lay it on the line again. Key things to remember after Bribie - relax. Just look after my own square meter and race my race. Trust my instincts and remember that I can run off a hard ride even when my quads are killing me on the bike!