Heading onto the run in at the Noosa Triathlon and multisport festival. Photo credit: Aileen Reid
Well somehow December rolled around already and it was in fact October when I did my last two races of the season, so it is indeed very much time for my last update this year. After crashing out in the bike section of the World Champs Final in Cozumel back in September I felt like I didn’t really finish the season but I had already signed myself up for a couple more races anyway so had them to look forward to. These were the two Australian races; the Nepean Triathlon in Penrith (an hours drive outside of Sydney) and the Noosa triathlon in the Sunshine Coast (90 minutes north of Brisbane).
I have raced in Penrith at the Sydney Olympic Rowing Centre in one of my first overseas triathlons about 11 years ago I think! It was Oceania Champs then and well it reminded me of it still now. It is such an amazing venue and so perfect especially for the kids triathlon. In fact it would make for a very exciting sprint distance race as all the spectators would be about to see the entire event at all times! We swam in the rowing area, which was pretty neat, all you needed to do was follow the rope under the water and know you were going in a straight line-very convenient ;-). It was a 1000m swim and a small field had entered in the women’s but it is a handicapped start so the men are let off afterwards (around 5mins I think) and the first across the line also gets an added bonus.
I had injured my calve muscle in the build up to this race-never have I had any problems with them in my life so this was all a bit foreign for me! 10 days before the race it stopped me in my tracks and I had to revert to not running at all pre-race just to protect it and hopefully let it heal. I had been to the physio numerous times in Wanaka to really try speed things up but nothing seemed to be working. Anyway I thought, it will hang in there.
Into the race and I was concerned from the moment I tried to run to the first transition out of the water, I could feel it as soon as I stood up and it was about a 150m run to my bike.. Once I got onto my bike it felt ok and I could get into the bike and find a good rhythm. Ashley Gentle and I made a bit of a gap one third of the way through the bike which was an awesome 30km out and back ride, with a bit of wind and smooth smooth tarseal. Ashley finished ahead of me on the bike but we had opened a gap of about 1min 30 to Natalie Van Coevorden in 3rd.
Once we transitioned and headed out of T2 my calve had quite a sharp pain in it, I slowed right down hoping once my legs warmed up it would go away (or at least be less painful) at this stage in the first couple of KM I was pretty much walking, oh dear. So I protected one calve and used the other leg, hobbling my way through I knew I just had to get to the finish line and preferably with a calve still attached as I had the Noosa Triathlon the weekend after this one and wanted to race there too!
Amazing venue for triathlon racing and training at the Sydney Olympic rowing centre
So I went off very slowly and thought I would build into it. Well my other calve was obviously doing a lot of work, and then 2km to go that one blew out too, so I was back to using the first “broken calve”. Anyway through a lot of character building experiences in this race I made it the full 10km to the finish line in 4th-not the result I came for, but needless to say, it was ok considering the circumstances!
Podium in Nepean – not sure who, Me (4), Charlotte McShane (3), Ashleigh Gentle (1) & Natalie Van Covorden (2)
Later that day, it was prize giving time then Steve and I packed up, squished it all in the rental car and went back to the airport for the next mission-off to the beautiful Sunshine Coast! We booked four nights in Mooloolaba at an AirBnB as we both really like it there and then moved into Noosa on the Thursday pre-race. We had a great time in both locations, maximising the beach, surf and sunshine- my favourite things in life, and just kept ticking over in the swim and bike!
Swim exit in Noosa – early morning on race day
Noosa is always so busy at this time with all those budding triathletes, runners, and cyclists taking over the town for a bit of a showdown on the streets. The who’s who of swimming, biking and running as both individual sports and as a triathlon are all there-current champions and very committed “old timers” in the celebratory tri. It’s such a great atmosphere and for anyone who hasn’t ticked that off their triathlon bucket list this race is a ‘must do’. Just remember where your bike rack is – there were 12,500 competitors!
Bike transition photo-slowly the racks are filled to the brim! SOMANY BIKES IN THERE.
So I had got hubby Steve to really smash my calves all week, painful but just trying to copy what the brilliant triNZ physio Rone Thompson would do. Deep deep tissue work. I knew a week wasn’t enough time to cure but it certainly helped, I went for one jog later that week and things were looking brighter.
Onto the start line I went- with one motto, hang in there little calvies! I didn’t race this race last year so I was so happy to hear the swim was back in the Noosa beach rather than the estuary, and this was awesome. So good to be swimming in the lovely clear waters of Noosa and getting a few waves at the same time too. The run to transition was a bit longer and although my calves didn’t appreciate it, I did. White sands and crowd lined exits, were just awesome. There was the biggest field I have ever seen there for the Pro’s and that was truly awesome to see more and more lining up each year. I exited the water with 2 others but dropped behind a bit because I didn’t want to blow my calves on the first little part!
Swim exit wearing my Roka Viper swim skin
On the bike I then had a bit of catching up to do which happened within the first quarter of the race course. Following that I wanted to push the pace on the bike to stay away from the faster runners racing such as Emma Jackson, Ashley Gentle and Charlotte McShane because my calves weren’t going to let me run very fast at all. Every time I over took Natalie Van Coevorden though she would over-take me back very quickly, I am not sure what she was up to but maybe she thought she needed to stay in front or some reason. Anyway, this got a bit frustrating so I just let her lead in the end, not feeling like we were going very fast but hoping it was a fast enough pace to at least maintain the gap from the water. It was, we entered T2 with 60-90 seconds but I knew that wasn’t going to be enough for me to hold them off in the run!
Dismount at Noosa Photo cred fellow Deda rider Alieen Reid
I started very carefully running again and then thought I should build the pace a bit, but then one calve was super borderline reminding me what I have done to them this last couple of weeks so I worked into a rhythm I could maintain keeping a good turnover and focused on getting to the finish line as fast as I could and ended up cruising home in 4th. Again, not the position I was after, I really wanted to go well this year in these two races but considering the circumstances again, happy with 4th and happy with finishing with “sore but not snapped little calvies”!
The next part of the Noosa triathlon could now begin, cheering everyone else on from the VIP tent and enjoying the after party celebrations with some time on the beach, at the surf club, prize giving in the park, then dinner out and later fireworks on the beach-fantastic event. It’s always such a great weekend and I am glad to be a part of it every year I can. Staying at Peppers in the National Park is always a highlight as well and this year with a bad of goodies delivered to the door I felt a bit like royalty.
Gift pack from Peppers – amazing!
Walking along the edge of the National Park on the last morning, Noosa
So one last night at Noosa and then it was time for Steve and I to have a mini holiday. We loaded the car up again and headed down to the Gold Coast, staying in Broadbeach for 4 nights, spending time on the beach and in the waves, hanging out with my relatives and a bit of shopping as well! We flew into Auckland on the way back and met my parents at the airport, filled their car up with all my gear and then spent a good family weekend with my Aunty in Tauranga-always good times there and great to catch up with my brother and our 5yo niece as well.
The top of the Mount with my Mum :)
It was then time to get serious for my parents. They sold their house earlier in the year and had been slowly packing things up into containers but we wanted to give them a hand with the heavier stuff and last push to get everything in the boxes. Well, as Steve and I know well as we are always packing our house and things up each year when I leave for Europe and he leaves to live up the mountain, there is always a lot more than you think in there. The same was very much true for my parents, it was a solid 3 days of non-stop packing, sleeping on the floor and having dinner on the ground (or around cardboard boxes were probably my highlights. All in all a great team effort and we got it done! I had to deadline because I had to get back to speak at the inaugural blues evening for Mount Aspiring College, so it was a busy fleeting but fun visit and a few sad last nights in my parents’ home of the past 20 plus years.
The make-shift dinner table
So back to Wanaka but as always things weren’t standing still here either. Our house was finally back from a very busy QLDC hence loooonnnggg consents process and was underway! Yes we are building again-take 2…bigger this time with bike racks and all in the garage! We have a few people on board with the build that we would like to thank for their contributions and effort in a different kind of sponsorship which people in the area will be able to come and view when it is completed and I will do a talk on my life as a triathlete on the open evening and everyone can see all different companies work first hand.
So far on board we have Blair Coupe Building (BCB building)- if you want your house perfect you have to get him doing your house! Placemakers Wanaka have been truly supportive and you can see me in action this year in the swim of the Challenge Wanaka race for them! Wanaka Carpet Court for all your flooring in Wanaka-go and get some samples to take home and talk to their team-they help so much. And of course Design Windows. A business located just 30minutes down the road in Cromwell. They were the first to sign onto this adventure with us. We have many windows but one especially that will be the centre piece of our house, 9m long by 2.6m high so this is pretty spectacular and they are truly a company with such a down to earth family owning it, it has been a pleasure to deal with owner John and such a great person to meet so I can’t emphasise enough, Design Windows is the place to get new doors and windows- ours are in on Monday if you are in the area and want to come have a sneak peak!
The new pad
So right now we are back living with Steve’s parents as our town apartment was already booked out so we are very very lucky to be in their house and excited about a Christmas in Wanaka with Steve’s family and my family all under one roof! For me Christmas is all about family time so I’m really looking forward to it.
Before I sign off for the year I want to thank my amazing sponsors and supporters again this year, its been amazing to have support from all over the world and my sponsors in particular have been so good to me getting me product when it was needed and in whatever random location I was training in through this year. I went from being injured and out for the whole year in 2015 to slowly getting back to shape and pushing my limits to qualify on the WTS and then race a race I was proud of at the Rio Olympic games. Your support I am truly thankful for and something I couldn’t have done it without you.
So thanks to:
Deda Elementi, Rosti, KiWAMi, Graphica Italia, Roka wetsuits, High 5 UK, Beet-it, QLDC, Giro Helmets NZ, Adidas Eyewear, Outside Sports Bike Shop Wanaka, Triathlon NZ and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ).
I am still awaiting the return of Pinky (aka my beautiful Dedaaccai bike) from Rio on the ship, along with all my Olympic clothing, parcels and gear so that will be a bit of an early Christmas present when I get to see all that again and can give some mementos to family and friends.
I have been out enjoying the Wanaka trails on my new Deda MTB & Giro Synthe
Thanks Giro NZ for the coolest new helmet (Synthe-love the sunnies holder especially, a triathletes dream this helmet!) and thanks Dedaaccai for the prettiest mtn bike frame in Wanaka and Scottie and his team for building it up at Wanaka Outside Sports.
Well, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I will see those nearby and on holiday in Wanaka over summer and hope wherever you all are in the NZ and the World that you get an awesome holiday in and good break away from work!