Another Noosa done and dusted! I am sitting in the airport (seems to be the best place for me to write!) and getting the chance to write about the actual race. I have never written a “race report” before but have always enjoyed reading others (be it Age Groupers or Pro’s), so here is my first crack at a Race Report! Enjoy!
I participated in the Eyeline 1000 swim Friday night to practice pack swimming and sighting. Other than the horrendous sea lice that has left me looking like I have chicken pox still a week later, this was really beneficial. Strangely before the swim I was really nervous, the swim was just practice and no one knew I was doing it, yet I got really nervous and anxious just before it. I assume it was because it was my first pack swim back after breaking my collarbone, but either way it turned out entering the swim was a good idea as it got all my nerves out before Sunday.
Transition closes at 6am race morning, which is horrendously early if you’re staying 35mins away, and painfully inconvenient if you have a late race start (this year was 8am, last year was 9.30am so a very long wait!). in transition I was racked two down from Catherine Allison, the superstar triathlete who anialated me just two weeks prior in the Adelaide duathlon. Between us was a boy our age completing his very first triathlon! He asked lots of questions and we gave lots of advice, and he was so happy with the tips we gave him and the tape I leant and showed him how to stick his gels to his top tube. Starting the morning like this was great as it reminded me how amazing the event is, and set a relaxed tone. I then went and waited at a friends apartment for an hour, and met her friend who was staying with them. Victoria was also racing for the fun of it and again I loved the relaxed environment pre-race.
After the two hour wait and a decent swim warm up, I was finally off and racing. Naturally there was a bit of tossling at the start but I then found some good feet to sit on. It stretched out in a line and I was about 6th down (I assume the real speedsters were already ahead of our front pack). Unfortunately about 400m in the girl I was following dropped off the pack. I swam around her but the gap was too big for me to get back on. From thereon I swam on my own. I sighted well and I think I swam fairly straight (my Garmin says I swam 1.6km’s… I’d love to know what others say?). Slowly I was ticking off girls in the wave before me, then on the back straight I was overtaking the pack from two waves in front. This was really encouraging. A few girls from the wave behind me (the second wave from my AG) over took me on the back straight. I knew this was going to happen but it still hurts, knowing they are already 3 minutes ahead and I haven’t even finished the first leg! Afterwards I found out this included Libby Trickett so that made me feel better about it!
I came out of the swim and checked my watch, low 26mins. Damnit I thought. I wanted to be close to the year before which I thought was 26.30 including T1. I estimated T1 would be at least a minute, so I was a minute behind on last years time. I had set my goal for this race to beat last years time, even if just by 10 seconds. After the race I found out that my swim time didn’t include T1 so I actually swam quicker this year.
I grabbed my bike and noticed I was in before Catherine. Great start, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before she caught me in the ride. I had practiced my bike mount in preparation for this race, and it helped. I felt I had a very quick transition and before I knew it I was heading out of Noosa, already overtaking people who were fiddling with shoes etc. Last year I felt I had a great bike ride as the whole way I was racing another girl in my AG who I knew was a good cyclist, so it kept me pushing. I mentioned to John that I thought I would find pacing harder this year because I was so lucky last year, so he told me to still pace off others, just look out for someone even if they are further up the road. So I did exactly this, and kept looking ahead and focusing on someone who looked like they were moving and worked to catch up. It worked well and I was ticking people off. By about 10km’s in I had caught 8 people from my AG. I then caught Clare White, who conveniently has her name on her race suit! Before the race I had looked at the start list to understand the competition. Catherine and Clare were the two biggest threats. I knew Clare had a killer swim but I was a much stronger runner. Usually my riding is stronger, however on Sunday once I caught her it was back and forth between us – she was putting up a solid fight that I wasn’t expecting on the bike! Keep in mind, Clare started in the wave behind so to be in the same position on the bike meant she was actually 3 minutes ahead of me. When we got to the hill I put my foot down and broke away. On looking at the results I put 30 seconds in on her just on the hill. I didn’t know how much I increased the gap by but I thought I had dropped her. When I turned around within a kilometer I saw Catherine heading towards the turn around. She was less than 2km’s behind. This kept me pushing as I tried to delay how long until she caught me. Then unsuspectingly with about 10km’s to go Clare appears back! And with her there were another 2 girls from the AG below. Still no sign of Catherine so I was confused what was going on. The four of us kept rolling but it was hard with a big group to avoid drafting. I am so fearful of getting done for drafting, so with about 5km’s to go I put my foot down and passed them all. Being out the front was the safest so I couldn’t get penalized. It turned out this was a really smart decision as the last few k’s into Noosa gets congested with slower riders and turns and speed humps. Being at the front meant less people to slow me. Knowing the three girls were behind me kept me pushing hard all the way into transition.
I knew I wanted to hit the run at around 1hr38mins to be able to beat my time from last year. As I was coming into town I realized I was a couple of minutes under this. I was stoked, if I ran the run I knew I had I would achieve my goal of breaking last year’s time. I threw my bike in and hit the run. I didn’t see the other three girls, I guess I was just ahead of them coming out of T2. Just up the road I passed Lesley, a girl from the AG above but who is a strong runner. I hoped we could run together but I quickly passed her. Good signs for me (chatting to Lesley afterwards she unfortunately struggles with the heat). I was running at the pace I had planned, but within about 4km’s I was struggling and my times slowed. The turn around is at 4.5km’s so on the way back I saw where Catherine was – about 1km behind. I did some maths and thought “holy moly I might actually beat her”, this was never a consideration in the lead in to the race. However, I was slowing and I kept trying to push my times back down but just didn’t have it. I saw an older woman ahead and slowly but surely I caught her with about 3km’s to go. She jumped on with me and we worked together. When one slowed the other encouraged, it was great team work. Without her I think I would have slowed even more, and beating Clare by only 15 seconds this could have cost me the race, I was so grateful to have her. We pushed all the way to the end, and yelling at the slower runners congesting the path in the last 600m’s (one of the biggest issues with the Noosa course). I sprinted to the end and then nearly collapsed. I gave it everything.
I was so happy with the PB I set I didn’t know or care where I had placed. It was at least 20 minutes after the race that I found out I had won. It was great racing and I love how competitive it is. This is what Noosa is about, and there is nothing more satisfying or fun then having a head-to-head race. Thanks so all the girls for a fun day, I look forward to next year!