Cape Town WTS Race Report

On Easter Sunday, Patrick and I flew from Sydney to Cape Town. It was our first time in South Africa.  We spent a few days training in Stellenbosch before heading to Cape Town for round two of the World Triathlon Series (WTS). I was excited to race and hungry to improve from my result in Auckland.

We knew the water temperature would be cold in Cape Town; however, I wasn’t expecting to hear 11.6 degrees Celsius (52 Fahrenheit) when they announced the water temperature on race morning. The medical and technical officials decided to reduce the swim from 1500m to 750m because of the cold temperatures.  Going into the race, I wanted a full 1500m; however once I heard the temperature of the water, I wasn’t complaining about the reduction of time I’d be in the frigid Ocean.  After the 750m swim, we excited the water to complete an eight-lap 40km bike course, followed by a four-lap 10km run course.

The gun went off a little after 3pm local time on Saturday, April 26.  Diving into the Ocean was a shock to the system. I don’t remember much of the swim, but I exited the water in about 15th place and transitioned onto the bike. A front pack of about ten got away on the bike and I was in the chase pack when a crash occurred. I managed to avoid the crash, but I was then off the back of the group and riding solo between the chase and the second chase pack. I fought hard to stay in the race as I know the race isn’t over until you cross the finish line.  I was caught by the second chase pack and a little over half way through the 40km bike course, our pack merged with the first chase pack forming one large chase group.  The front pack of girls worked very hard on the bike, and they came into T2 over two minutes ahead of our group.  I struggled to put my shoes on in T2 as my feet were still numb from the cold water. Once I exited T2, I tried to execute a good run and didn’t think about the time gap to the athletes in front of me. My legs felt heavy and slow, but I know feelings don’t have to dictate outcomes.

I didn’t make up much time on the leaders until there was about three kilometers left in the race. By the fourth and final lap, I could see the podium up the road. I had no time to think. I put my head down and pushed as we ran into a headwind. I caught 3rd place and had my sights set on 2nd and 1st, however Jodie and Helen finished strong and I crossed the finish line about 30 seconds back. Finishing 3rd with a podium is great, but I did not complete all three disciplines to perfection. I still have some refining to do and I look forward to a race where I am able to execute in the swim, bike, run, and transitions.   

South Africa was a great place to visit. Usually when I travel to a race we don’t have much time to be a tourist; however, we had a few more days to enjoy the city this trip. Patrick and I enjoyed some local food recommendations (thanks, Liezel and Libby): bobotie, raw crocodile, braaivleis, ostrich, springbok, wines, chocolates, and more. We were spoiled when it came to food and I loved everything we ate. We also went on a safari that Gavin and Siobhan recommended. We saw the ‘big five’ (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, and buffalo) and thoroughly enjoyed the drive to and throughout the safari. I learned a little about the lives of locals, saw many beautiful sights, and overall had a wonderful trip.

I want to give a special thank you to the Specialized crew (Gavin, Bobby, JB, Dylan, and more) for showing us such a good time and for making sure we had everything we needed. Thank you to all my sponsors, fans, family, and training and support crews. I look forward to continuing to refine myself into a complete triathlete and I feel blessed to have so much support throughout my journey. Thank you as well for all the birthday wishes – I am very grateful for another year!

I am now back in Wollongong, Australia, where I will spend the next couple weeks before heading to Yokohama, Japan, for round three of the WTS.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

Enjoying a birthday dinner

Enjoying a birthday dinner

Patrick went a little overboard buying four flavors of ice cream. We enjoyed every single one.

Patrick went a little overboard buying four flavors of ice cream. We enjoyed every single one.

Patrick and me on the Safari

Patrick and me on the Safari

A day at the table with Gwen

Ever wonder what a triathlete eats in a day? Well, below is a one-day food diary for Patrick (my fiancé) and me (all measurements are estimates, as we do not measure food). Every triathlete and person is different, and every day for me is different. Below is a day in the ‘food life’ of me from a random Tuesday a few weeks back. This does not include what I drink in a day (lots of water-maybe 3 liters, a sip of Patrick’s coffee, sparkling water, and usually a Silver Edition Red Bull if I have a bike ride). It also does not include treats. I have dark chocolate after every meal (yes, even breakfast). If you see something you like, I encourage you to make it tonight!

 


Breakfast: Oats with Eggs


I absolutely love this breakfast and never get sick of it! I would say I eat a variation of Oats with Eggs at least six days a week. It is also usually my race morning meal.  

INGREDIENTS

2 cups oats

Handful of walnuts

4 cups water or milk

1 tsp salt

Handful of raisins

2 bananas

2 Tbs coconut oil

4 eggs

Dash of vinegar

Boiling water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak the oats and raisins overnight in water or milk (soaking the oats gives them a creamy, delicious texture and makes them easier to digest)

  2. In the morning, slice two bananas and add the bananas and a pinch of salt to the oats with extra water or milk, if necessary

  3. Slowly heat the oats on the stovetop

  4. While the oats are cooking, boil a pot of water with a dash of vinegar to poach your eggs. When the water boils, crack four eggs into the water and cook for 3-5 minutes (depending on how you like your eggs cooked)

  5. Once the oats are cooked and warm, stir in 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil, walnuts, and any other mixings you enjoy (some of our other favorite mix-ins: yogurt, berries, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter)

  6. Top the oats with the poached eggs and enjoy

My sister says "This looks disgusting!" However, I don't think you will be disappointed if you try it!

My sister says "This looks disgusting!" However, I don't think you will be disappointed if you try it!


Lunch: Lamb Beef Curry


I usually come home from the pool and lunch is sitting on the table ready for me to eat (thank you, Patrick!). Lunch is almost always rice-based (Mexican casserole, chicken pesto rice, moussaka with rice, rice/veggies/meat and some sort of sauce). Curry is also a staple and one of my favorites.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rice

1 pepper

80g mushrooms  

1 large onion

2 large carrots

1 small head of broccoli

80g frozen peas

500g lamb mince

Coconut oil

3-4 cloves garlic

1 Tbs fish sauce

1 heaping Tbs curry powder

1 can coconut cream

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook vegetables (except peas) in coconut oil in a frying pan

  2. Start cooking the rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop (we use a rice cooker)

  3. Add coconut cream, peas, and spices to the vegetables. The longer you let this cook, the more flavorful this dish will be – patience is a virtue (good thing I don’t normally cook this dish!)

  4. Cook meat in a separate pan with oil.  When the meat is cooked, add to the vegetables

  5. Combine ingredients and enjoy. For a different flavor of curry, add lemongrass to the dish

Curry

Curry

This lunch (and a piece of chocolate) satisfies me; however, I usually need a snack before the afternoon workout. Today my snack was rice cakes with peanut butter, yogurt, and raisins. 

Rice cake bar: Peanut butter, Greek yogurt, jam, honey.

Rice cake bar: Peanut butter, Greek yogurt, jam, honey.

I did not eat this on this day, however this is a typical snack for me (below is an enlarged photo). Photo was taking by Patrick, who came home and caught me snacking on the couch.

I did not eat this on this day, however this is a typical snack for me (below is an enlarged photo). Photo was taking by Patrick, who came home and caught me snacking on the couch.

Up close photo of a snack I sometimes have.

Up close photo of a snack I sometimes have.

After my afternoon workout, I ate muesli for a protein-packed snack.  Fellow Wollongong Wizard Charlotte McShane shared with me her tip for delicious muesli: Use orange juice instead of milk to hydrate the oats. It adds a sweetness without having to add sugar or other sweeteners. 


Snack: Muesli


One of the things I love about the muesli I make is that every batch is different (and delicious!). I always have a batch in the fridge. It’s perfect when I come home after a session or as a snack before bed.   

INGREDIENTS

1 cup oats

Dried fruit (raisins, dates, dried apricots, prunes, dried unsweetened mango, etc.)

2 cups juice (I use orange)

Chopped nuts (macadamia, walnuts, almonds, etc.)

1 to 2 cups yogurt

Fruit (bananas, grapes, peaches, fresh berries, or whatever you have on hand)

Peanut butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour oats into a large storage container

  2. Fill the container with juice so there is about double the amount of juice to oats

  3. Add a little yogurt, and a lot of dried fruit, fresh fruit, and nuts

  4. Let the mixture sit at least overnight before scooping into a bowl with extra yogurt, peanut butter and some honey if you need more sweetener (I find the honey is not necessary when using orange juice)

My sister says this also looks disgusting, but it is delicious! I was actually just in Auckland with Team USA and Joe Maloy asked Patrick and me "Have you ever heard of this Bircher Muesli?? It's amazing!"

My sister says this also looks disgusting, but it is delicious! I was actually just in Auckland with Team USA and Joe Maloy asked Patrick and me "Have you ever heard of this Bircher Muesli?? It's amazing!"

For dinner, we usually have some sort of potato dish – I love when we have mashed sweet potatoes; however, tonight we had a typical Patrick one-pot dish.


Dinner: Salad without Lettuce


When we make a salad, the ingredients always change, but feta, meat, potato and veggies are always used.

INGREDIENTS

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 large red onion

1 large cucumber

4 big stalks celery

1 pepper

1 avocado

Coconut oil

Brussels sprout

2 chicken breasts

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

200g feta cheese  

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop vegetables

  2. Fry sweet potato, brussels sprout, chicken, and onion in coconut oil

  3. When cooked, combine chopped fresh vegetables with cooked vegetables, feta cheese, and chicken. Add a generous amount of balsamic vinegar and good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salad for dinner.

Salad for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was finished with a special treat Patrick brought home (see picture below).  Before bed I had a bit of muesli and a sip of Patrick’s beer. 

Two desserts from a local Mediterranean restaurant

Two desserts from a local Mediterranean restaurant

And that concludes one day at the table with me. Hope you enjoyed!

 

Auckland WTS Race Report 2014

Auckland always seems to surprise me. In 2012, when I came second in the Grand Final, I was shocked and wasn’t expecting it. In 2013, I was confused and out of it after getting too cold before the start of the race. This year, I was surprised again. I came to the race excited, nervous, and confident (maybe a bit too confident!).

The first World Triathlon Series race of 2014 started on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Auckland, NZ. My support crew made sure I had everything I needed. We had a plan in place to stay warm, but we were uncertain if it was enough. Thankfully, the sun was shining and I had my new Mobile Warming jacket to heat me up. I started the race dry and hot and never even thought about being cold.

When the gun went off, we dove in the water for a 2-lap 1500m swim. I had a good start and exited the first lap of the swim in about sixth position. This is where the race began to fall apart. My emotions got the best of me, and I was excited and complacent with my position. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of the swim pack, getting swam on top of and pulled in every direction. The pace was slow, but by the time I realized my mistakes, I wasn’t able to move up in the pack enough.

I got on my bike and didn’t show enough urgency on the eight-lap 40km hilly bike course. I was on the cusp of getting on the front pack, but again, made mistakes and was never in the front pack. Thankfully, a few laps later my ‘get out of jail free’ (Anne Haug) card arrived. A lap or so went by and we were riding comfortably; however, I was in the back of our smaller chase pack when a crash in front of me occurred. It happened quickly and there was nothing I could do. Thankfully the only thing that broke when I fell was my front shifter. I made sure my bike was working and got back to racing. With the hilly course, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was limited to my little chainring. Anne Haug caught the front group, and our new chase pack lost time every lap. I did what I could, and was thankful no one in our group attacked a downhill when I ran out of gears.

I started the four-lap 10km run over three minutes down from the leaders. At this point, my day was over. I finished as strong as I could, catching only a few from the front group. I ended the day in 12th.  I have no one to blame but myself for this result. Coach Jamie had me physically ready, Patrick made sure I had everything I needed race morning, and my supporters made sure I had all the necessary equipment to succeed. I got complacent and it cost me the race. All I can do is learn from it and not let it happen again.

Cape Town, WTS, here I come: April 26th, 2014.

It was great to see some of my training partners have success this weekend. Special shout out to 'Gong Wizards breakthrough performances: Aaron Royle on his first WTS podium, Ryan Bailie on his 5th place finish, and Sarah-Anne Brault (Sarah Anne CAN aka "I Run Track") on her 4th place finish. 

 

Me trying to hammer in my 39. Thanks for the photo, Specialized

Me trying to hammer in my 39. Thanks for the photo, Specialized

Entering T2 and seeing too many bikes already racked. Thanks for the photo, Specialized.

Entering T2 and seeing too many bikes already racked. Thanks for the photo, Specialized.