No longer the Bridesmaid. 4th time ‘unlucky’ would be a trend right? Finally after two 2nd places and one 3rd place over the past 3 years I broke the trend and got the win.
I went down to Devonport hungry for a tough race and my god a tough race I got! The course this year in Devonport left no places to hide, with a choppy 1500m swim, a windy and hilly 40km ride and a ‘false flat’ 10km run.
I got an okay start in the swim and I slotted into 4th by the first turning buoy. The choppy water meant there wasn’t a very big wash to sit on but it also meant the swim wasn’t going to be super quick. I was happy to sit in the position I did knowing that most of the damage would be done on the bike. Pete Kerr led the swim out and I was out in 3rd spot.
This year they added the hill in each of the 6 laps on the bike. Kudos to whoevers decision it was but it really made for a tough race. Approaching the bottom of the hill on the first lap there was around16 guys together and Tom Davidson dropped the hammer and got rid of all but 6 others. I’ll be honest Tom had me hurting! The 7 of us (Davidson, Fisher, Wilson, Sexton, Birthwhistle, Bailie and myself) rode the next lap together. I had a feeling Tom was going to hit it again up the hill so I prepared myself for this and was ready to go with him when he hit it. The effort on the hill got rid of 3 of my teammates and left me flying the Wizard flag solo up the front. For the rest of the ride Tom, Fisher, Wilson and myself rode consistent turns and extended our lead to around 2:30 by the end.
After such an effort on the bike the race was going to be won by the person who could hold it together the best throughout the 10km. Fisher and myself found ourselves running side by side from early on. I wasn’t feeling fantastic but I had a feeling that after that ride neither was Ryan. At around the 4km mark I sensed he was dropping off a little so I put a surge in and got a 10 second gap. I quickly regretted that move 1km later when I began to suffer, but I had committed so I decided to continue. Credit to Fisher though as he held it together and wouldn’t let me get too far away! With 1.5km Fisher ran up to me and I started preparing myself for a sprint. I had the inside line heading into the last 200 metres and I knew that if I could hold him on the outside I would have a good chance of winning. There was a bit of shoulders and elbows clashing as we both fought for the inside (all of it clean racing) in the last 200 metres and I just held him out and crossed the line just in front.
Obviously I’m pleased to start the season this way. It’s a long year ahead and there’s still a lot of work to be done but I’m happy with where I’m at now.
Thanks everyone for the messages since the weekend. Next up Mooloolaba World Cup in 2 weeks.
Photos courtesy: Keith Hedgeland