I started off my season in St. Petersburg, at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon- a long-running triathlon and one of the few Olympic-distance races that supports a pro field. Prior to the race I spent 7 weeks in Tucson, Arizona, putting in many hours of training with a focus on improving my cycling.
A couple days before the race I flew in to Tampa and was taken to my homestay’s apartment. The organizers of this race do a fantastic job of finding homestays for any pros who need one, thanks to a large triathlon club based in the area. This makes it a lot easier for us to get to races as the costs can be prohibitively expensive when hotels are factored in. I was in a fantastic location, just a few hundred meters away from the race expo and transition area.
I had already expended most of my stress before race day arrived, so was fairly calm headed into the race. At 5:30am race morning I headed down to the transition area and got ready to start the race. Although this race has been known to have very choppy conditions in the water, my prayers were answered and the water was fairly calm as we got into the water shortly before 7am. Prior to the race I had worked out who was likely to be swimming about my speed and positioned myself near a couple of them at the start line. The gun went off and I eventually found myself swimming beside Mirinda Carfrae. So that is pretty much the most exciting thing that will ever happen. But seriously, I don’t look up to a lot of people, but Rinny would be one of those few people, and I thought it was pretty freakin’ awesome. I was not actually impressed with her sighting and felt we were swimming a little crooked, so took my own line and eventually was swimming with someone else, although all 3 of us exited the water together. Ideally I would be swimming faster than that, but no sense dwelling on my shoddy swimming. I was ‘only’ 2 and a half minutes back from the leaders, and I had been anticipating anywhere up to 3 minutes, so things could have been worse.
Slow transition for me and then out onto the bike. I quickly chased down a couple people and set my sights on Rinny. I have been practising my time-trialling so was more intent on riding the 40km well than catching people, but about 3 miles in I was in position to pass her and put it in the big gear, 80rpm, and went by. Also pretty freakin’ awesome. I did not drop her and we rode the rest of the bike leg within 15m of each other, passing a few people throughout the 40km. Sixty-one minutes later I was back in T2. So although that is a fast course, I would say the extra time and effort put in to my cycling has paid off.
I wish the race had ended there, but unfortunately we had to go run. A nagging hip/hamstring issue flared up on the bike ride, and I basically limped through the 10km at a pace not much faster than my long-run pace. Shit happens, better luck next time.
Huge thanks to the race organizers for putting on a great race. And a massive thanks to everyone who is supporting me while I try to figure out this pro triathlon stuff; C3 Canadian Cross Training Club, Skechers, Alto Cycling, Rudy Project, Riplaces, Neworld Cycle, Wishbone Athletics, and Nineteen.