I had slowly been moving up in the rankings in the back half of the season and I went into the Grand Final hoping to move into top 10 spot, which after being ranked in the 30’s mid year seemed near impossible!
The strong winds overnight in Chicago caused the ramp on the pontoon to detach itself so the decision was made to make the swim one lap instead of two and exit us down where the age group exit was. It wasn’t a major change in the race and the TO’s and the ITU did everything they could to make the change at late notice run smoothly.
I got off to a good start in the swim and found myself in top 5 position going around the first turning buoys 400 metres in. Heading to the next set of buoys I saw that a gap had been created and not knowing how many were in front I decided that I would go around and try and close the gap. Once around I could tell that it was a single swimmer and assumed that it was Richard Varga. I wasn’t able to close the gap but I managed to hold and exit in 2nd place.
I took a quick look back through T1 and saw that the swim was one big line but with very few gaps – not ideal on a very flat course where the chasers can see you the entire time. I was pretty confident that the course in Chicago was going to turn into a 10km-running race so I had been preparing myself mentally for that. It had a few tight corners and u-turns but nothing too challenging and the goal after the first few laps was to ride good position to limit the amount of power spikes out of each corner. I managed to hold good position and with a few hip on handlebar manoeuvres and a couple of extended elbows as we approached T2 I was able to start the run in a good spot.
Gomez went straight to the front with Mola, Luis and myself tacked onto the back. I expected others to be sitting on as well but after the second turn around I was able to see that Richard Murray, Jonathon Brownlee and a few other good runners hadn’t made it across to us 4. It was clear early on that Gomez and Mola were running incredibly well and after the first lap I thought It would be wise if I settled down a little to make sure I didn’t end up sat on the side of the road in agony one lap later 🙂
Eventually Murray, Alarza and Grajales joined Luis and myself running in a group for 3rd. I was starting to feel the pinch a little by midway through the 10km but I just had to keep reminding myself what I needed to work on. Alarza, Murray and Grajales all put in solid surges on the 3rd lap but nothing to split our group. It wasn’t until the last lap, with just over 2km to go when Murray put in a very solid surge that the group split. Unfortunately I was the first to drop off. I tried my best to keep pushing back onto Luis and Alarza who dropped off just after me but I couldn’t bridge the gap and after a hard and fast 10km run I crossed the line in 7th.
Whilst there was a bit of disappointment to be running in a group for 3rd – 7th and to finish 7th, I was pleased that I had put myself in that position from the start… Now my challenge lies at getting strong enough to be able to go with these guys over the last couple of kilometres.
My second half of the season has been very pleasing and I think it showed a bit of what I am capable of if I can get some quality uninterrupted training done. With Swine Flu in late march and a foot injury over May and June it was hard to find any consistency in my training – another big challenge is to stay healthy over the next 12 months!
I am in Loughborough at the minute training with my mate Matt Sharp, before racing the last French Grand Prix for my team Mulhouse. I’ll head home from Nice and will start my training for Nepean and Noosa Triathlons – something I am really looking forward to!
Thanks to everyone for their support throughout the year, no athlete could do what they do at this level without the work from many around them!
Thanks again!!!! 🙂