Thanks to Nige, my clever husband made this :-) Cairns IM is definitely one of my favourite races!
Supporting Port Douglas Triathlon Festival has been on my to-do-list for some time (heard so many great things about this event!) and I was super happy that my race calendar, health and fitness all fell into place to escape Sydney's winter for sunny northern QLD and take part in this year's race. I was also really looking forward to supporting the event as a member of Hahn Super Dry Team Latitude www.teamlatitude.com. Team Latitude is a fantastic initiative developed by founder of the squad, Guy Besley, focusing on giving back to the sport of triathlon and assisting small races and clubs build triathlon profile. It was great to meet Team Captain - Mitch Anderson, along with other pro-team members who could make the event (Matty White, Tim Berkel, Adam Gordon, Mitch and Dan Robins), as well as local inspiration Liv Cole (aka Livinator! :-) who is also part of our squad.
After a mid year break (post Challenge Roth) and a block of training under my belt, the PDTri Festival's Half Ironman event was the perfect hit-out to see where my race fitness was at as well as work on my half ironman speed for future races ahead.
Thursday afternoon, I had a smooth trip up to Cairns/Port Douglas. Guy had organised Team's Latitude accommodation at Hibiscus Resort & Spa (sponsor of the team), right in the heart of Port Douglas - which features an amazing holiday and tropical atmosphere - very relaxing! After a good nite's sleep, I was up early, bike building and on the road for a test ride with a couple of efforts to sharpen up for race day. Thor at PD Bikeworks helped me out with a few loose tri bar bolts (thanks for saving me mate!) as I didn't have my own tools on hand to fix. The remainder of Friday was enjoyed being a tourist, checking out the local art and craft in town, sight seeing at Island Point Lookout, a walk down the famous 4 Mile Beach followed by an afternoon nap.
4 Mile Beach, Port Douglas - swim and run course
Saturday - Race Day
The race commenced with a relaxed 9am start. We had good weather scheduled for the day - warm heating up to hot + humidity (just the way I like it) and a SE wind picking up to make it extra challenging on the bike. Love it already :-)
The swim course involved a two lap triangular course at 4 Mile Beach. Kym Jaenke, super fish and triathlon talent, was also toeing the line (prep for Hawaii World Champs), it was awesome to have Kym racing to push my own potential right from the start. My surf skills aren't the sharpest, got out the best I could, staying close behind athletes in front (Kym was right up the front leading the field, go Kym! :-). After the first lap, the course involved exiting the surf, running around an orange cone on the beach, then re-entering the surf for a second lap - this time the conditions more choppier than the first with SE winds picking up and moving through. My swim/bike transition was awful to say the least (grandma style) - talk about slack, slow and not organised! Lesson for next time.
There's always a big smile when I see my TT Cervelo, bike/run is my strength and what I know I do well in the sport. My foot was down right from the start, I wanted to push my fitness in this race, focusing on tuning my nutrition/hydration plan and getting as much out of myself as possible. Riding solo as usual, I pushed forward in head/cross wind, working my way through the blokes in front, some tried to hang on but I wasn't going to stick around to wait. I knew I was on the rivet pace wise, but that was my goal, keeping my head in the zone. I found Kym after the 1st bike loop, felt good and kept moving on, up the field. The bike course involves multiple points where you cross railway tracks which are bumpy to say the least! I was loosing tool kits and water bottles, fortunately another aid station was not too far up the road for back-up. After completing 3 laps of the Syndicate Road loop, the ride back to Port Douglas was a tough one, head wind again. SaltStick tablets and High 5 Nutrition giving me the energy to ride back to T2. I felt relatively good coming off the bike, given how much I'd pushed my own pace and was looking forward to seeing what I could do for the half marathon ahead. The bike leg ended up being 95kms, so my bike split of 2.34 in the heat and wind conditions I was relatively happy with.
The run course involved 3 laps north-south along 4 Mile Beach, with a short steep stair climb at the northern end (Island Point Headland) to keep things interesting and a challenge! I loved the run course, the sea breeze and beach front atmosphere was magic. It was super hot by this time of the day, I could feel my shoulders & arms burning (coming from Sydney's winter) but felt strong and in good spirits for the 21kms ahead. Kym was not far behind which pushed and motivated me to give the run everything left in the tank. I increased my lead each lap which was a positive indicator of my fitness level and continued pushing forward, chicking one bloke after the next ;-) The steep stair climb was a leg burner for sure and walked/ran my way up each lap and got it over with. The volunteer and local community support along the beach was awesome, especially near the finish area which we passed each lap and could draw energy and motivation from. I was really pleased with how I felt in the last 7kms, I was still in good shape with the heat and wind conditions and was able to hold a solid pace home to the finish line with an overall run split of 1.32 (one of the fastest overall run splits of the day).
I gave this event 100% effort like any other race, focused on my goals, pushed and tested my limits to see where my fitness was at, and super proud to be the female winner and 7th overall. Having been in the sport for 8 years now and have come so far myself, achieving results I never imagined when first starting triathlon, it's a real buzz to support local community triathlon events like the TriPort Triathlon Festival and inspire others in the triathlon community to achieve their own personal goals (no matter how big or small).
The TriPort Triathlon Festival caters for people of all ages and abilities with a Sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman distance on offer, co-ordinated on the same day giving a fantastic festival atmosphere. Port Douglas is also a fantastic holiday destination (race & holiday thrown into one!) and logistically very easy to travel to with plenty of accommodation choice and a multitude of regional and local tourist activities available. The TriPort Festival gets bigger and better every year, with more participants and support behind the event. I highly recommend putting this fantastic community triathlon on your race calendar September 2013, a must do event for sure!
A huge thanks to race directors - Luke, Matt and Jo (Cairns Crocs Triathlon), to all the volunteers, local community support and Guy for making this such a huge successful event and making me feel so incredibly welcome. I met so many great people local to the area and involved in the sport (volunteers and competitors) it was a fantastic weekend away :-)
My fitness feels good and looking forward to getting stronger and faster as the next phase of training and racing unfolds. Thanks to my fantastic coach Gilesy, my sponsors (High 5, SaltStick, Skinfit, Compressport, Bike Addiction, TriShave, Eyeline, ISM, Team Latitude) and amazing friends and family supporting me.
1. Matty WHITE 04:11:02 ProMale 22:02 2:17:50 1:29:37
2. Tim BERKEL 04:11:02 ProMale 22:03 2:17:28 1:29:53
3. Todd SPACKMAN 04:13:29 2029Male 24:01 2:17:29 1:30:45
4. Adam GORDON 04:21:05 ProMale 23:51 2:17:41 1:37:43
5. Alex RIGBY 04:23:34 2029Male 22:02 2:22:40 1:37:27
6. Mitchell ANDERSON 04:25:39 ProMale 24:08 2:17:16 1:42:20
7. Rebecca HOSCHKE 04:35:50 ProFemale 26:39 2:34:24 1: 32:53
8. Daniel ROBINS 04:42:59 ProMale 24:01 2:26:00 1:49:23
9. Nick CARLING 04:47:21 2029Male 27:58 2:45:25 1:31:18
10.Nathan SANDFORD 04:49:17 3039Male 28:09 2:42:02 1:37:13