Mooloolaba is a classic on the ITU circuit and a great way to test fitness early in the season. The 2014 Mooloolaba triathlon was the 12th edition of the race and my 3rd time racing there. The first two times I raced in Mooloolaba it was an Olympic Distance World Cup. In 2011, Moolooaba was my 2nd ever World Cup (I came 16th). The following year, in 2012, I came 8th.
I came into Mooloolaba this year with memories of a very tough bike because in years past I’ve lost the race during the bike leg. But I was confident in my recent progression in cycling. I knew it would be a challenging course, but I was excited to test myself before the WTS racing begins (WTS races are the highest level of ITU races, and my main focus for the year).
The Gong Wizards and I traveled to Mooloolaba on Wednesday before the race. It was nice to get settled in and relax after a few hard weeks of training. I was nervous, but excited and ready. The first race of the year is challenging, but a very solid indicator of how training has gone over the winter.
This was the first year (to my knowledge) that Mooloolaba was a sprint race. The 2014 race started with a 750m swim in the harbor. The swim was moved from the Ocean to the harbor for safety as the swell was predicted to be two meters high. I was bummed, as the Gong Wizards have been prepping for an Ocean swim; however, I respect the decision because it kept everyone’s safety in mind. The bike was pretty straight forward: a 2.5km out and back (for a total of four laps) with a respectable hill in the middle of each lap and a tight 180 at both ends. The run used 1.25km of the bike course for a 4 lap, 5km run.
The race started at noon on Saturday, and I was excited to begin the 2014 season. The swim was a deep water start, so we were all in the harbor, holding a rope waiting for the gun to go off. The race started and I felt like I was in an okay position at the first turn buoy, and continued to move my way up throughout the swim. I came out of the water in 8th and ended up in a bike pack with Emma Moffat and fellow Wizard, Ellen Pennock, chasing three girls up the road. The bike ended up basically coming all together, with our pack catching the front girls, and then the big pack behind us joining around lap three of the bike. The run started with Moffat and Ueda taking the lead. After lap one, I was running with the front girls. With a lap to go, I was in the lead and had a gap. I was able to break the tape, finishing in first.
Opening the season with a win feels good, and it was even better having my fellow countrywoman Katie Hursey cross the line in second. I’ve had an enjoyable off season, but racing again feels amazing.
I have an incredible support team behind me starting with my coach Jamie, Patrick, the Gong Wizards, Heather Novickis, Specialized, Asics, Holowesko, Oakley, HED Wheels, USA Triathlon, NYAC, ROKA, Dolphin Organics, David Hobbs Honda, Shimano, my family, my friends, and my fans. Many companies and individuals invest in me, and I look forward to continuing to grow as a triathlete and person this year—and this is only possible with the help of others.
There is a long season ahead with lots of work to do. The main focus is the WTS series. I’m excited to get back to training and to test myself against these same girls--and more--in the WTS opener in Auckland on April 6th.
Race results can be found at: http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2014_mooloolaba_itu_triathlon_world_cup/264271