- Busselton is one of my favourite race locations! The town and community support behind this event make this race (& Busso IM in December) one of Australia's best and most memorable triathlon experiences!
- Spectator friendly race course and organisation of this event - The 1.9km swim is one lap, usually adjacent to the historic Busselton Jetty, however this year the course was changed parallel to shore in response to recent shark events. The 90km bike leg is a two lap course over flat terrain and good condition roads, winds from all directions keep it challenging for the athletes. The 21km run (3 x 7km laps) is located along Geographe Bay Road (adjacent to the ocean) and the spectator support is unreal! Athletes are divided into swim waves to reduce congestion over the race course which works extremely well and makes it an enjoyable day for all participants. The presentation dinner is always a highlight and great way to bring the triathlon community together and celebrate the ongoing success of this event. Full credit to Triathlon Western Australia who do a fantastic job organising this iconic triathlon and special mention to Ashleigh Davis - Event Manager for all her hard work towards supporting the pro athletes for the weekend.
- Race debut for my new bike! My new P4 Cervelo ran beautifully. I'm extremely happy with its performance :-) The bike setup/position was modelled off my P2 and felt super comfortable. I love the 3T bar design (with s-bend bars) and my back felt significantly better. I have a new ISM breakaway saddle for the bike - I'm a huge fan of ISM which makes long course triathlon so much more enjoyable and allows me to focus on my race.
- Opportunity to race amongst a strong field of pro athletes - The pro start list included a field of strong girls and athletes I draw inspiration and motivation from including Lisa Marangon, Belinda Granger, local WA girl Kate Bevilaqua and Michelle Wu. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (ITU background and 2nd Busso 70.3 2011) was a late starter and also in the mix. I was really excited and looking forward to the opportunity of racing with these girls. It was a great learning experience and I got heaps out of it in terms of my own goals and moving forward in long course racing. Sharing the road trip and race with Aeromax fellow pro team mate - Rach Paxton, was also a highlight to the weekend :-)
- Race kit and nutrition - I've been very fortunate to get some new sponsors on board and Busso 70.3 was another race opportunity to fine tune my race kit, equipment and nutrition. I am extremely lucky to have such a fantastic team of sponsors behind me (High 5, Eyeline, Saltstick, Skinfit, Compressport, BA & Cervelo, ISM and Trishave), supporting me in both training and racing, which is a huge help towards my growth and development as an athlete in the sport.
5 'challenges' of the weekend
- Unfortunately I came down with a cold as soon as I stepped off the plane in Perth. I rested as much as I could before race day, wasn't 100% but felt enough improvement to at least start and give it my best shot. I've paid for it the next day though, I felt awful the trip home and then missed my Sunday flight back to Sydney :-(
- Worst swim ever! The conditions on race day presented big swell, choppy/messy surf and murky brown water (not quite the picture above I had hoped for). I struggled from word go, was dropped from the start, had great difficulty navigating in the conditions and visibility was zero. I went off course on 3 occasions and energy wise I was spent by the time I got to the swim exit. The lesson - have a decent look at the swim course before the gun goes off including the location/colours of the buoys, visualise, find key landmark/navigation points to keep on track and make sure I've got a swim plan which reflects the conditions. I overlooked all of this on Saturday and consequently got what I deserved!
- Bike - I refocused on my strengths and rode as hard as I could with a goal to at least put together a decent bike/run combo. The first 45km lap was a lonely and hard ride. As I rode towards the turn around it was clear how bad my swim was and I was a long way behind the front girls...Lisa was powering in front and created a nice buffer, with a group of pro girls working together chasing from behind. The second lap was better with age group athletes making their way onto the bike course and this helped a lot with motivation, strength and drive to put the foot down, give it everything I had and I was able to crawl my way back up the field to 6th place by T2.
- Run - My legs felt solid from the start of the run, which now looking back is a reflection of all the strength work Gilesy (coach) has built into the program over the past training blocks. However, after the first 7km lap, my stomach didn't feel right and I had to stop on 3 occasions, not feeling 100% probably didn't help at this point. I hung on to some special pre-race words from my good friend and mentor, Larisa (Trishave) to push my way through the run and home to the finish line.
- Results - Given the challenges of the day, I managed to crawl my way back to 6th place and maintain this position to finish. Overall place wise, considering the strength of the field - I was happy with what I had achieved and the circumstances. I was disappointed though with my splits and actual finish time, it was the best I could put together on this occasion. Lots of lessons learnt and I got so much out of this experience in terms of moving forward! :-)
Before I sign off - A huge congratulations to those athletes who raced Ironman Australia on the same weekend - outstanding results and well done to all :-)