Some reflection time on the beach in Nelson, New Zealand…..

Nelson 2011 019

The 2011 season officially kicked off in Sydney this weekend with the first race of the ITU World Championship Series.  After giving Mooloolaba a pass (after four straight years), I was pretty excited to get going!  Here’s how the race went for me:

The swim: Bit of a mob on the first lap, just a wall of white water, arms, legs, and red caps. Couldn’t tell where I was, thinking I was really far back.  Onto the second lap I was relieved to see Paula Findlay fighting it out beside me, so I knew I’d have motivated company on the bike to make up any time!  The second lap I was able to maneuver up a bit, but still came out of the water farther back than I would’ve liked.

The bike:  Once on the bike there was some initially furious chasing but it eventually packed up.  I was hoping to test my legs on the run a little, so I just tried to stay out of trouble and not roast my legs too bad.  After a few laps we were ~40 women. There’s a prime line one every lap of the race this year, so there were plenty of surges and jockeying for position. Also early in the bike there was a crash (I was safely in front of it).  Coming into T2, I came off the bike in a good spot and got my shoes on quickly. Unfortunately I put my helmet into the “WHITE” bin in my area (more on this later…)!

The run: I’ve been working on my run leading up to the race, but had yet to test my legs in an Olympic distance tri, so I just went for it!  I managed to stay with the front group of 6 for about 4.5k but then fell off the pace a bit.  As we were running I heard the race announcer say I had a penalty to serve…this is something they introduced last year, all your gear has to make it into your bin in transition (it can’t be left lying around and they’ve been on an enforcement crackdown the last 2 races).  So, I tried to stay focused until I confirmed it for myself, and yep, I had to serve a 15 second penalty at some point on the run (you have to stop in the ‘penalty box’ but you can do it on any lap)…great!  At this point I was running with 2 girls and we were in the 8th-10th places, so I opted to take the penalty on the last lap ~200-300m from the finish line (I think, though it felt like FOREVER!). It was the longest and most painful 15 seconds!  As they counted me down, the two girls I was with were long gone, one more had passed me, and I had 2 hot on my heels…so I just sprinted like mad and managed to hang onto 11th place.

While I’m happy with the race and the result, I was disappointed with myself for getting a silly penalty that cost me places (and points& prize money)—especially since I had put it in a bin, just not the correct one (the boys WHITE bins were directly behind and touching our RED bins). But rules are rules and I won’t do that again! All in all, it was a fun day!

Now, the team is back in New Zealand, this time in Nelson (NW part of the south island) for more training and prep into the next round of races.  For me, I’ll have a few more weeks in New Zealand, a quick stop in Calgary to change clothes and gear (hopefully the snow has melted by then…), and then over to Europe to get ready for my next race in Madrid in early June. 

I have some more photos to post but the internet here is slow and expensive, so you’ll have to wait until I get to a better connection!