There is nothing better than racing in your home town is there? The home crowd advantage has a lot going for it, as does the intimate knowledge of the course and conditions and the opportunity to race with your friends and club mates.
The BCU Coffs Tri is a home grown event that attracts world class athletes and this year was also doubling at the NSW Age Group Championship Race. On top of the Olympic and Enticer events held on the Sunday there are also a range of events for kids held on Saturday which allows the whole family to be involved in the sport of triathlon.
I had been feeling a bit off all week leading up to the event and had struggled with trialling my nutrition a few days before the race. The nausea and exhaustion were taking their tole and I wasn’t feeling keen at all for the race. I had piled quite a lot of pressure on myself going into this race as I had performed quite well here in 2016 and looking at my times couldn’t see how I would go faster this year despite an extra year of training on the bike.
The kids were racing on Saturday and Kayne had been practicing using my road bike with clip in shoes for the event. He was really excited, as was Jorja to be a part of the “Retro Crew” and doing a triathlon. They love feeling like they are part of the gang and it is great to see so many of the kids taking an interest in the sport.
I was volunteering for water safety and Mark was helping out on the run course and making sure Kayne and Jorja were ok. Watching the kids is always so inspiring and both Kayne and Jorja did very well and absolutely loved it!
After getting the kids off to their dads on Saturday night I settled into bed only to be kept awake by the violent rain that started pouring down. Part of me lay there praying for the race to be cancelled as I was less than keen. Thinking of all the work that the Village Sports team had put into the event I realised this was a rather selfish wish and hoped for their sake that the skies we clear when I woke up.
Marks alarm sounded at 5am and to our surprise the skies were clear and it looked to be a magnificent day. I pushed myself to get ready, have my breaky and some electrolyte and get my gear in the car. I really wasn’t feeling well and Mark kept telling me just not to race if I wasn’t feeling up to it. I suggested that I would do the swim and see how I felt from there, hoping that once I got there and warmed up I would feel better.
Arriving at the Coffs Jetty we headed over to the bike compound where we had racked our bikes the previous afternoon. We set up our gear, pumped up our tires and headed off to wait for the race start. I tried to choked down some more electrolyte but it was making me feel ill so I decided to go for a warm up run and the first of many trips to the toilet. By the time of our race briefing I was feeling like I was going to vomit and was really unsure of how I was going to get through the race. After a few warm up laps in the water I was feeling slightly better and a quick chat to some of the girls on the start line got me excited about the race to come.
Hitting the warm waters of the harbour I charged out with the rest of the female pack heading for the first buoy. You will not get a better swim than this anywhere in Australia – guaranteed! The warm protected water is a delight to swim in and by the time I exited the water I was feeling focused on the race ahead.
Running into transition I made a few blunders that cost me a little time but I managed to get out on the bike and headed to the short, sharp little hill that greets you first up. I have done this hill a few times in training but I always stress about being able to ride up it as strength is not one of my assets, nevertheless I made it and soon discovered team mate Jules riding along with me.
What motivation Jules provided me during that bike leg! I cant say I really had a race plan so riding near to Jules during the race really kept my mind focused on the pace. Nearing the last 10km of the race I started to feel quite nauseous again decided not to take on any more electrolyte – a bit of a risky strategy considering I had consumed less than half a biddon and had a hot 10km run to come but I figured better than chucking it all up!
I caught sight of Sarah up ahead heading into the final turn on the bike and pushed hard to pass her before chocking down a gel and heading for T2. I felt that I had done well on the bike and figured if I could just catch Mel (who always beats me at the club races) during the run I would be happy. I decided to push the run but not to the limit to try and avoid any issues from the heat and with my gut.
I had a good transition to the run and felt slightly sluggish in the legs but otherwise good as I passed the Retro support crew and coach Andrew who yelled out some encouragement. I noticed Leah and Joe flying along on the run and then concentrated on picking up one girl at a time along the run course. Heading past the first turn around I saw Mel had a good three to four minutes on me and I would have to keep my pace to catch her. I then heard someone sitting on my tail and figured it must have been one of the girls I had just past until Kate came flying past me, she was looking in good form and was running for the Retro girls team. She was going way to fast for me but I tried to keep her in my sights as we headed back past the support crew for the second lap.
Andrew yelled out to me that Mel had about 90 seconds on me and I knew that I would be able to pass her – mission accomplished – but what to focus on now! Once I past Mel I concentrated on picking up one girl at a time again and thinking about the awesome towels that were waiting for us at the finish line.
There was so much crowd support as I headed out to the jetty to views of the ocean and Mutton Bird Island it was great to hear everyone yelling out encouragement and support, wish I had been in the mindset to embrace it a bit more and respond to the people supporting me, this is defiantly a goal for the future.
Crossing the finish line I was handed my competitors towel and headed to recovery where Mark dutifully poured many bottles of cold water over me to cool me down.
Relaxing before the presentation Mark’s daughter Lucy pointed out that Mark had beaten me by 21 seconds – if only I had know! To my utter astonishment I had also placed first local female, 6th female overall and NSW State Champion in my age group – what a way to end the season! This made up for the fact that I had raced 2min slower than I had the previous year (the deficit being the run leg) and hadn’t made any time improvement on the bike or swim. I have to say it was a huge relief to finish knowing that I had two weeks rest ahead of me.
I look forward to tackling the BCU Coffs Tri again next year and seeing if I can get that time down a bit more.
You can check out the highlights of the weekend on Village Sports you tube channel.
If you are keen to head along to sample the BCU Coffs Tri next year head to the Village Sports website.