Louise battled hard, but after a problematic swim, battling the changing tide, the deficit was just too big. Still, seventh place in the World Championships is no mean feat…
Auckland had enjoyed gale force winds and rain ever since the Aquathlon I’d finished 2nd in some days back, which made recce-ing the bike course quite a challenge just to stay upright. It was a relief to wake up on race day to sunshine and although the wind was still strong, at least it had died down a fair bit.
The pre-start was quite stressful, because we were held in waiting pens until it was time for our particular wave and I was just wanting to get on with it! Once in the water, I had another good start and avoided being swum over; so far, so good. However once out of the shelter of the harbour, we had the waves and tide to contend with and sighting (aiming for a landmark) became a real issue. The organisers choice of small red buoys about 400m apart was not ideal. I kept looking up but couldn’t see anything and started to worry. Minutes passed before I saw the next buoy, about 90 degrees from the direction I was heading! I was very annoyed at that point; how much extra I must have swum and how much time I had lost. The one consolution, I was not the only one affected. Spectators later said the tide had turned during our wave and swept a lot of people off course.
The bike course had a bit of everything including a few hills and descents, a few technical corners and dead turns. The main part of the course was a long, flat TT section along exposed coastal roads. Whilst my power/weight ratio is good, I am very light and it was hard going into the 25kmph headwind. I tackled the bike hard after the difficult swim and was rewarded with one of the best bike splits of the day and picked up a lot of places. However, the top girls were still extending their lead.
I may be a good runner, but catching up more than about 5 minutes over 10k was a big ask. So it was just the usual strategy of overtaking as many people as I could. I was aware my legs were starting to cramp though. I managed the first 5k in a reasonable 18:25, however cramp really struck on the second lap and I felt like I was hobbling in places. Amazingly I was still passing people all the way, although not at the rate I had hoped. My pace was reduced to almost 20 minutes for the second 5k, and was just looking forward to the finish chute.
I crossed the line to be announced as the 7th placed athlete in the 30-34 category. Although I was a bit disappointed, I had to accept on the day that I couldn’t have done more. I was happy to finish 3rd Brit overall across all age groups.’
With thanks to the TORQ sponsors, it has been quite a year:
www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
www.ffwdwheels.com – Aero Wheels
www.ritcheylogic.com – Aerobars, Saddles and Finishing Kit
www.cycleops.com – Power Meters
www.racezone3.com – Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.scott-sports.com – Running Footwear
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.triathlonspecific.com/Sable/Sable.html – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic)
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools
www.champ-sys.com – Custom Trisuits and Cycle Wear