A highlight of the trip was staying with Michelle and Dale Hemley in Torquay located 22kms south of Geelong on the South Coast, also known as the Gateway to the Great Ocean Road and Australia’s surfing Capital - where Rip Curl and Quiksilver originated and home to the world famous Bells Beach.
I just love the area of Torquay and its relaxed coastal feel, its a fantastic place to train with loads of scenic cycling and running options in all directions and the ocean for swimming as your back door. I crossed paths with Michelle and Dale a few years ago through triathlon and trip to Hawaii WC 2011 and love their energy and enthusiasm in life! :-) Read more about Michelle and Dale's passion in sport through their dynamic business...'Get Set Up in Sport' - a Sports Consultancy with a specialist expertise in endurance and junior sports coaching, health, fitness and sport development - http://www.getsetupinsport.com.au/
I picked up my new Specialized Shiv from Jet Cycles, Sydney, on the Wednesday afternoon before the race. There was limited time to get a ride in before Sunday's event but was keen to give it a test run and start working with the feel and fit of the bike. First outdoor spin was in Torquay on the Friday afternoon - winds were at their element and the bike handled beautifully in these conditions, feels pinned to the ground and simply cuts through it! :-)
Saturday I had my first meeting with the guys from Specialized Australia at the Geelong triathlon expo. It was great to meet the team from mechanics through to the marketing team, as well as meet with fellow Aussie Specialised Ambassadors racing - Mel Hauschildt and Sam Betten.
The race itself included a red hot line up of professionals (both men and women) and was another great opportunity and experience to race amongst well class athletes!
Sunday's race conditions were near perfect with clear sky, light wind and temps up to @22-24 degrees. I have raced Geelong Long Course in 2010 and 2012 and being familiar with the course layout, wanted to improve areas of this race which suffered previously, number 1 being navigation in the swim which I stuffed last time! I have been flogging the swim training post Auckland and felt a lot stronger in the water, my navigation was on target and came out only a few minutes down from the second pack which I was pleased with (better than Auckland anyway!) - my goal being to close this gap as much as possible. My race unfortunately didn't come together for various reasons which was disappointing, however I did take away a lot from the experience in terms of moving forward.
There were outstanding results and races from the day and huge congratulations to Mel on her win against a tough field of competition including Emma Moffatt (Olympic medialist), Anna Cleaver, Tenille Hoogland and Michelle Wu. It's awesome to see so much athlete talent stepping up to 70.3 racing - as a triathlon community we have an exciting future ahead in all distances of the sport.
Given personal feedback from Geelong, my body and mind needed space from racing to settle down with recent changes, re-assess my lifestyle balance and make adjustments as need to focus on my bigger goals. Special thanks to friends and family, Nige, my coach Gilesy, Kira Sutherland, Daryl Philips, Paul Penna and Mick Smith - a team of people I regularly work with and so lucky to have support from.
Whilst I missed Huskisson Long Course triathlon this year (which was a hard call to make as I absolutely LOVE supporting Elite Energy Events), it was great to see a small handfull of athletes I have been coaching over the past few months see their hard work pay off and achieve huge goals in their own individual races. Super proud of you guys and it was a special experience to work with you on this journey :-)
My training has been coming together nicely over the past couple weeks, adjustments have been made to the bike fit and set up and I'm feeling in a good space leading into Ironman Melbourne. The 2013 race season is well underway and with so many inspirational performances around the world I'm feeling motivated to continue to work on my own personal goals - to improve and grow my own potential in the sport.