Foxy @ Canberra 70.3 Race Report

20x30-CYBA1102Pre Race

Canberra was last race for the year and it wasn’t too far after Forster. I had gained some confidence in my bike again at Forster and my current form. So, after talking with Pete (my coach from HPT) about it we decided between the two races I really just needed keep things turning over and take a bit of a laid back approach between them. I figured in 2-3 weeks I wasn’t going to make too many gain but I could put myself in a hole.

We got down to Canberra on Friday, which was my birthday, and I had a pretty relaxing day. Saturday was spent trying to keep my feet up and preparing for the next day. Easy ride and runs, food shopping and some extra sleep ready for the Sunday’s early race start.

Swim

The swim was in Lake Burley Griffin, not one of my favourite places to swim and a significant downgrade of the nice waters at both Forster and Port Macquarie in recent times.  Although the murky brown water was a fair bit warmer than the air temp.

The start was pretty painless and quick and we were away I was on some feet after pushing my way across to be in 3rd. Whoever was leading at the time took a line further across to the right and I stayed on the 2nd places feet. The place was comfortable and I could feel some one behind me. When we hit the 1st turning buoy the 1st place swimmer met back up with us but had created a small gap. The 2nd place swimmer sprinted across the gap quickly; this left me pushing close to my limit to bridge the gap back up to the other two. I was super glad to have my Speedo wetsuit because unlike many other wetsuits I’ve tried it is thin in the shoulder and I can hold the higher intensities for longer before tiring.

I knew when I made the feet up in front I needed to rest for a while and I also knew that no one behind was going to make it across. I had pushed pretty hard to make it and I was sure the others I expected to be in front were. Turned out later that I was right and I had made the bridge to James Hodge and Sam Appleton. I rested on the back for a while but with the murky water it was hard to really relax. You had to rely heavily on your feel for the water to know if you were on someone’s feet properly. Often visual cues can help but when you can’t see your hands you certainly can’t see if you’re swimming on their feet.

I managed to settle in again and as we turned the last buoy I looked under ma arm to assess the gap. Unfortunately, I coped a mouthful of water and struggled to breathe for a bit. This meant I had to regroup and lost the feet I’d found earlier. I quickly go my breathe back and pushed hard for the last part of the swim to avoid being in no mans land (Not make the 1st group and still be 40 + seconds up on the second group would suck). I exited the water 8 secs down on the front two and was able to get but that time through transition 1.

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Bike

I got onto the bike with the other 2 guys and knew we had a gap. It was now going to be up to us to decide if this was going to last. I was pleased this year when the bike course was changed back to the 2011 course. I had raced well here that year and the bike it a good honest course with some varied terrain.

I like that type of bike course, however it doesn’t really lend itself towards a breakaway. The course is not very flowing and with some undulating terrain and the decent and climb of Coppins Crossing. The 30km loops don’t allow you to see the gaps and seemed to break our group up at times depending on our strengths.

I got comfortable early on and had decided that I was going to make sure I stayed with Hodgey and Appo for the ride. I liked the climbing sections so I would try to keep us moving as a group there and leave the other sections for the other guys. My strength isn’t normally the flat/ slight down hill sections so having my Token DT58 to cover this is perfect. The disc wheel allows me to get the extra speed on those sections that others tend to hurt me on.

I noticed after the first lap I had white liquid all over my bike. Fortunately, this year I pre-loaded my tyres after a DNF last year. The sealant had fixed a puncture for me and I hadn’t even noticed. I had never seen it work before but in a breakaway group of 3 I had no chance if that hadn’t worked. It was a nice surprise because it had kept enough pressure in my tyres to me to not even notice. This was important with around 60km still to ride.

After a bit of luck there I had kept myself in the group and we had began to hit the age groupers in our second lap. It got a bit trick at times with the undulations to keep moving through quickly and safely but as a group we managed pretty well. As we came around to finish our second lap I had notice my power avg was around 295W. This was high for me and I knew that my run was going to be tough. Hoping we had already gained a decent gap on the chases our group backed off slightly to save a bit for the run. I finished the ride with a power avg around 286W. Still a bit high for me but the biggest thing was the variation on this course that hurt the legs.

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Run

I knew before I even got off the bike I was in for a tough run. We had ridden pretty solid out on the course and I was hoping with a decent gap of around 2+mins I could tough it out and try and hold on for a top 3 finish.

Turned out our gap was only around 1 min. Spewing! Appo took off early and I had started trying to maintain a 3:40 –ace early on thinking if we hold this then they are going to have to be running around 3:30 to catch and run away from us. Hodgey and I maintained our 3:40ish pace for the first 7km and maintained the gap to the chasers. After the first lap we got to the next turn around and I started to run out of energy. My legs tightened up and I found myself floating around 3:53 pace now and knew that was going to see me get caught. I could get anymore out of my legs but just had to hold that pace and try to hold them off. Some of the chaser got sight of this and then I was in 4th by the 11km mark. I finished the second lap of the run still hanging on to 4th but slowing. I was now trying to hold onto 4 mins per km and hoping to just keep moving.

I got caught with about 3kms to go and remained in 5th until the finish. I really struggled to hold the back end of the run together but was happy to stay controlled and not wreck my race by trying to match guys who hadn’t spend as many cookies on the bike. It wasn’t my best run and I’m certainly running better than that but it was good for the situation.

Overall

It was great to finish the season off in the Top 5 again. 2013 has been a pretty consistent year. The only races I’ve been outside the Top 7 all year have been Auckland in January and Port in October. One of my goals this year was to become more consistent and competitive in the 70.3 distance and I think I have this year. Every race I’m up there and I have really been consistent. Next season I’ll be trying to do everything to move that consistent Top 5 to 7 finishing to what I hope will be some podiums.

My looking forward to a few weeks break now before going down to Jindabyne for a most of January for a good block of training.

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