Well, much like a long jumper training in a field of trenches, I found myself jumping across the ditch again to New Zealand on the weekend for the World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland. World Series races are of significant consequence at the best of times, and this one had the ancillary importance of being a significant race in the bid for selection for the Commonwealth Games.
A top class field and a bike course of remarkable topographical significance, meant that this race was likely to deal out more pain than a dentist with Parkinson's. As such stems were preparing to be chewed, faces being prepped to scowl, and bombs of lactate hopefully being set to weather.
I started out with a pretty good swim, and was just off the back of Gomez et al once we hit terrestrial transport, and ripped some serious turns early with Frenchman Vincent Luis to get to the front by the first of the hills. This meant I hit the first of the hills with enough lactate in the legs to kill a medium sized horse, but having successfully negotiated the first lap on the bike, I was able to settle into a decent rhythm, as our front group of around 12 grafted out a decent sized gap over the main bunch. Impressively, in a superlative display on two wheels, Tom Davidson bridged up to our group along with the impressively mustached Declan WIlson and Ryan Sissons. It’s a little known fact that TD can pedal enough watts to power a medium sized town for up to a week, and the New Zealand Prime Minister has TD’s number on speed dial should he be required to help out a power failure at short notice. Shout-out should also go to Johnny Brownlee for correcting my lamentable arithmetic, and preventing me the career-ending embarrassment of dismounting the bike a lap early.
Once on the run, and Brownlee and Gomez clearly had somewhere else to be, and excused themselves from company, leaving myself, Royle and Bailie to have an all- Aussie, good-old-fashioned-running-duel for third. Running together until about 100m to go, notorious sprint-merchant Royle dropped a bomb on us that I couldn’t match, but managed to stay ahead of Bailie to snare 4th, my best WTS result to date, and hopefully a strong performance to show the selectors for the Commonwealth Games team. It was a really satisfying race, and to go 3-4-5 with the other Aussie lads made it a truly special day. Thanks for all the cheering on course, and to the many who’ve sent me messages since the race, I really appreciate the kind words - consider the cockles of my heart appositely warmed.
From here, it’s back to Brissie to continue training for my next race, the WTS Yokohama, and to wait the decision of the selectors, who will name the Commonwealth Games team towards the end of next week.
Take care friends,