The streak. I can’t remember the last interview I did when I wasn’t asked about the streak. To be honest, I never knew what to say because the truth is I didn’t think about it. I always just looked forward to the next race and tried to execute on the day, which is what I did in Gold Coast.
Gold Coast was my first WTS of 2016. I don’t have a great track record of coming out strong in my first WTS of the year (I missed the front pack swim in Abu Dhabi in 2015; I was 12th in Auckland in 2014; I had a DNF in Auckland in 2013; I was 4th in Sydney in 2012 – this was an outstanding race at the time for me and also the first time I did a training stint with Jamie Turner – ; and I had a DNF in Madrid in 2011). I came into Gold Coast with confidence. I believed I had the ability to win, but I also knew that my competitors did too.
The Gold Coast race started and I was happy with my swim. The swim was extremely rough and I got pulled back and under water many times, but I was able to stay in contention with the front pack. We started the bike and I was under pressure. I fought hard, but when Flora Duffy, Helen Jenkins, and Andrea Hewitt attacked, I wasn’t able to match them. The bike course changed from 2015, making a huge difference. There were numerous power spikes on the bike course and it was technical with few straights to recover on. The three strongest riders were able to stay away on the tough bike course and come into transition with over a 90 second lead. My engine was there, but my tank felt like it was filled with diesel instead of high octane.
I started the run in fourth gear. It felt like I was giving it my all. I was tired, but I kept pushing forward. As the race went on, I didn’t appear to be closing the gap. I focused on increasing my cadence as I tried to push forward. On the final lap, I accelerated and I was able to bridge up to 2nd and 3rd place (Flora and Andrea). As the three of us came into transition, Andrea surged. I desperately tried to stay with Andrea and as we went down the blue carpet. I pushed as hard as I could and came across in 2nd behind Helen Jenkins. Helen was phenomenal. She was well prepared and executed her race. Congrats, Helen. (Fun fact: My only other silver at a WTS was my first ever podium at a WTS in London in 2011. Helen beat me that day as well.)
The streak was fun while it lasted, but it is now over. I appreciate the concerns and notes asking if I am okay. To be honest, I am doing great mentally and physically. Obviously every race I start I want to win. But so do my competitors. I gave it my all in Gold Coast and came across in 2nd place. In 2013, when I was third at Cape Town, I debated quitting the sport. I have no thoughts of quitting this time around. Maybe I have matured, maybe I love the sport too much, maybe I’m just excited to keep trying to improve, or maybe I realized the outcome isn't always the end. I can tell you one thing for sure: I’m motivated and excited to continue trying to improve.
I am now back in Wollongong for three weeks of training before heading to the Yokohama WTS. Thank you for all the support.
This was at the swim preview. Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes.
Photo thanks to Tommy Zaferes.
Sprinting down the blue carpet with Andrea Hewitt right behind. Photo thanks to Stef at Wtisup.com
Podium shot thanks to Delly Carr.