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.