I competed in the OTU Wollongong Oceania Cup at the start of March in New South Wales. It was a competitive women’s field with the current female world champion racing, American Gwen Jorgensen, and I was also particularly excited about competing alongside my sister, Kira.
Triathlon Australia held a National Talent Academy camp in the week leading into the race and I was able to take part in some training sessions with Gwen Jorgensen, which was an absolute privilege to be able to learn off the best.
The race was at 2.30pm on Saturday, and the mornings preparation went perfectly to plan with Kira and I’s excitement and nerves growing all morning. We were called to the start line waiting for the horn to be blown, and I was feeling ready. I had a good start and got myself into the first pack heading out in the swim. Heading back into shore and a gap started opening up between the front four to five girls and myself. I put in a surge and closed the gap and then came out of the water with the lead girls.
There was a 400m run into transition up steps and a hill, this was a crucial part of the race. I sprinted up that hill and came out of transition third and comfortably in the front pack. It was a six lap bike course with a hill climb around the lighthouse and some technical parts with quite a few corners. We had a group of about eight that dropped to about five or six by the end of the bike.
Heading into transition I positioned myself at the front of the bike pack to set myself up for the best transition with minimal traffic to get through. I racked my bike and put my shoes on and was first onto the run. Heading up the first hill I could hear Gwen approaching me from behind and then she came flying past. She really is a class athlete and I aspire to be as good as her one day.
It was a two lap run to make 5km and I held onto my second position until the final downhill, 300m before the finish, where I was passed by another American. I was confident with my swim and bike fitness heading into the race and was keen to see how I would go on the run. I knew I needed to focus on my run technique and running strong to finish the race well, which I believe I did. So whilst I was slightly disappointed to be passed just before the finish, I’m still so pleased with my race and to finish third on the podium in my first competitive race back.
This race has given me confidence ahead of my next race in Gisborne, New Zealand, which will be my first Olympic distance in almost a year. This race will be another stepping stone for the start of this year’s season and I’m looking forward to it.