When Silver is Gold
When Silver is Gold
The past twelve months have been a journey of ups and downs. Exactly one year ago I came across to Adelaide to compete in the Oceania Duathlon Championships hoping to qualify for the under23 Elite team in 2015. I managed to come away with 3rd place and I was also selected in the Australian team for the World Championships to also be held in Adelaide. All though I made some big decisions throughout the year that didn’t take me in the right direction, when I was nine weeks out from the World Championships and I had decided to be self coached again I knew I had made the right decision.
The decision was the right one for me to move forward. Prior to this I had found myself in the worst form and the worst headspace I had ever been in in my career. My motivation was simple and direct, I knew what I had to do to get myself back on the right track physically and mentally and I wanted to be on that podium. With only a short period of time it was far from easy. With a huge change in my training and the battle with a long haul back home to Australia I struggled with a range of different issues. Luckily with the support of family and my physio Sally from Active physiotherapy Launceston I was able to get to the start line in Adelaide.
Preparing in the Tasmanian weather wasn’t ideal considering it was in the mid 30’s on race day in Adelaide. For those of you who aren’t aware, I competed at the Elite ITU Duathlon World Championships, which is a 10km run, 40km ride, 5km run. I raced in the under23 elite, which was a combined race with the elite men who compete for the same prize money but separate titles. The course was very demanding with both runs being very technical in the sense that they had a few turns, inclines and sharp corners. The ride was also far from easy with an eight-lap circuit that consisted of an 800m climb every lap. Come race day I was ready to rumble in my first ever World Championships and I couldn’t be happier or prouder to put on the green and gold.
Before I get into some of the race details I want to explain the importance of this race to me. When I was 17 I began my career racing as a Triathlete as an ITU junior. With no time at all I had set my eyes on a World Championship team. Along the way I managed to just miss out in my last year of juniors and was given a reserve spot. I moved on to compete as a professional and chased a spot in the under23 team. At the beginning of 2015, not knowing if I had made the Duathlon world’s team yet I decided to pack up everything and chase the Triathlon World Championships for my last year as an under23. Unfortunately that didn’t work out but I was named in the Duathlon team. As super excited as I was I was also saddened by the fact that my Opa had passed away through the middle of the year. He had always been one of my number one supporters and had planned to watch me in Adelaide. All though he wasn’t there, I wasn’t just racing for myself but also for him.
The first run leg was epically fast. I had predicted this pre-race but it was even faster than what I had thought. I dropped off the lead pack I tried to remain calm, as I knew it was a long race and I was still in the game. That small lead pack became two by the end of the run and onto the bike. With two under23 athletes in front of me, one in each pack I knew that we had to work as hard as we could to catch them on the bike. With two laps to go our bunch of around 10 formed with the second pack and we only had six guys in front of us with one being an under23 athlete.
Being in Australia I had a huge support crew and they were very much behind the Australians. I hit the last run with everything I had and continued to run away from everyone in our bunch apart from a couple of guys, while I was also closing the gap between the leading under23 athlete. The crowd really got me through that last 5km and I am so thankful for the support. I ended up finishing eighth overall and second under23 only 45seconds behind the winner. At the finish line I really just couldn’t believe what had just happened. It was the most emotional feeling I had ever had after a race and my best ever result as a triathlete. All though it would have been great to have stood on the top spot of the podium, my silver, was gold to me. For this year….
Before I start my end of season break I will be finishing 2015 off with the Point to Pinnacle (Half marathon) where I will attempt to defend my 2014 title.
I know it may seem like every time you read my race report or someone else’s we have that long paragraph at the end thanking all of our supporters. For us as athletes words really can’t describe how much we appreciate our supporters but for others to also acknowledge and read who shapes our style of living and reach our dreams is much appreciated. So without further ado, to my family and friends, training partners, 2XU, Guy at Groupe sportif and LOOK, Sally from Active Physiotherapy for all her help over the past weeks, my massage therapist Michael Bridgeman, Andrew Jones Travel, Jail House Grill and all my supporters, Thank you