I was pretty nervous coming into the Mooloolaba world cup. It is a really early season race for us canadians, and felt even more so since I have only had a few months of training under my belt. That said, this race was just intended to help brush off the cobwebs and boost my fitness, so I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. In the end I finished in one piece, and was happy with the effort I put in, so I think I will be able to take away some confidence from it for my next races.
The conditions ended up being completely different then we expected. Unlike the very hot and humid temperatures we had been training in, race day was almost chilly with howling winds and off-and-on rain.
The swim was a nightmare. It took us a while to get through the huge break, and once we were through, the choppy ocean just bashed us against one another the entire swim. I don’t know how the leaders were able to spot the buoys of the huge swells. Usually the fighting dies down as the pack thins out, but in these conditions we were fighting the whole way. While I was swimming I had no clue whether I was near the front or way at the back, I was too busy focusing on breathing air instead of salt water, so I was happy to see that I was pretty close to the front as I exited the water.
Close to the front, but not quite close enough to bridge up to front pack! Barbera Riveros sped by me on the run up to transition, and she made the front pack, so I’m hoping that with a little more speed and a little more strength out of the water, I will be able to make that pack soon enough too.
The bike course was killer. It consisted of an out and back that went up and over a big hill. There was a fairly short, straight flat section on the far side of the hill that received the full impact of the huge cross-wind, with a U-turn at the end. On the near side of the hill, there was a chicaney downhill section through transition leading up to the other U-turn. I ended up in the really big chase pack, so the majority of the bike seemed to consist of climbing, descending, and then everyone jostling to get up to the front before each turn-around. With the wet pavement, and so many girls around me, I found the bike to be quite sketchy, and unfortunately wasn’t quite aggressive enough to make it up to the front for the corners very often. Because of this, I ended up zapping my legs by having to bridge the gaps that formed at the back of the pack every turn. With 12 turn-arounds that meant a lot of sprinting. I’m happy with how strong I felt on the bike, but I’m looking forward to getting in some cornering work before the next race. Luckily the crit races in Victoria usually consist of corners, hills and rain, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get in some practice when we get back home.
The run was 4 laps up and over the same hill. Again, absolutely killer! I was pretty crampy coming off the bike, but was able to get it under control with a gel and some water for the second lap. I then spent the rest of the run trying to convince my legs to move faster, but it wasn’t meant to be this race. I was really happy crossing the line because there had been quite a large number of DNF’s because of crashes and girls being lapped out, so finishing in one piece felt pretty good. I was also really happy that Paula, Lauren and Kathy’s races went so well! I heard Kirsten slide out behind me on lap two of the bike, so my heart goes out to her. Road rash sucks.
Thanks Mooloolaba for putting on such a great race. It’s been awesome training and racing here. I’m now looking forward to improving upon that result, and becoming more confident and competitive in the World Cup circuit.