Mooloolaba. Undoubtably my favorite race on the ITU calendar, and a race I have missed the last 2 years, sitting on the sideline with much chagrin with a litany of lower leg ailments. Therefore, it was with much gratification that I took to the start line once again, not however, in the World Cup race, but in the lower-limb-friendlier Continental Cup. That said, getting to the start line was not completely without drama, as a mid-quad niggle mid week had an unwanted deja vu feel to it. Diagnosing myself off the start line with all the paranoia of a man who just about has an honorary degree in MRI Radiology, fortunately a bit of treatment, rest, and lack of concrete symptoms had donning the race suit after all, but not without swapping the race flats for training shoes for peace of mind…
|Giving World Cup Conquerer Pete Kerr a few horns out of the water...|
Onto the race, and in a much welcome juxtaposition to my start in Devonport, I got off to a cracker and didn’t get touched for the entire swim, my only moment of consternation coming whilst trying in vein to keep my swim cap from coming off over the last 500m, an unwelcome trend this year. Some say it’s to do with an excess of hair (which I can do something about), and some say it’s to do with my excessively large skull (which, barring a lobotomy, I can’t do anything about). Regardless, the aforementioned hair, once unhampered by the cap, rendered me blind for the last few hundred metres, but using my keen sense of smell, I navigated successfully to the swim exit.
Hearing a blood curdling battle cry of ‘Ubrut!!!’ from my mate Rhys Davies at T1 (If you don’t know what Ubrut means, you definitely didn’t train with us from 2004-06...), inspiration struck, and I pushed the pace on the bike early, capitalising on my break out of the water. Settling into a rhythm on the highway, I rode a solid tempo, and waited to see how this would compare to the bunch of 15 behind. Cursing the ITU restrictions which are definitely not made for a comfortable 40km time trial, I sat on a wattage I knew I could handle, and this saw me dismount at T2 with around 1:30 on the pack.
|In case anyone is wondering, yes, that's a Boston Celtics race suit, courtesy of Scody...|
Running my first 10km off the bike since June last year, I was as interested as anyone as to how they would hold up over the 10km, aided by another surge of adrenaline from another ‘Ubruuuut!!!!’ from Davies on the sidelines. The legs were solid enough given my limited training load, however it wasn’t enough, and I was reeled in by Declan Wilson (yes... I was out-Wilson-ed...) with around 1500m to go, by which stage the lactic in my legs was giving me a grimace that could be seen from the moon.
Content, for now, to be on the podium, I was happy with the race, and also special mention must go to a great race by Matt Brown in third. I’d been engaged with some serious (but light-hearted) smack talk with Browny leading up to the race, and with him hunting me down over the last kilometre, I was facing some serious (and much deserved) gloating had he run past me before the finish. Fortunately for myself, Brownly will have to wait at least one more race to win bragging rights...
From here, I’ve got 4 more weeks until the Ishagaki World Cup, in which time I hope to take a few more small steps in my running form, whilst avoiding factual or fanciful niggles...
Take care friends,
Willy (Professor Of Hypochondriac Diagnosis)
1. Declan Wilson (1:52.03)
2. Dan Wilson (1:52.25)
3. Matt Brown (1:52.41)
4. Joel Tobin White (1:52.55)
5. Jesse Featonby (1:53.07)