The first race of the 2019 season was an early 5am start which reminded me exactly why I loved racing......
Being early in the season, Ely was a perfect chance for me to test out my fitness and see where any weaknesses may be. Race morning had the typical perfect weather for racing; wet, windy and absolutely freezing! A speedy registration left me with plenty of time to organise, rack and relax before the race start. With all pre race rituals completed (most involving the loo) I zipped up into my trisuit and started my warm up. The minutes before the start were slightly tense as I had been fighting knee pains whilst running in the weeks before so all body parts were crossed hoping it would hold up.
All racers started at the same time so as the race unfolded I knew roughly where I was positioned in the field.
The first run unfolded nicely. Me, along with the eventual first and second place broke away running the 4.94km course in 18.04 I came into transition on heels of 2nd place but managed to make it out just in front. I made a rookie mistake of not checking what gear I was in which lost me some time and made me ride away in slow motion. The bike was cold, wet and lonely but despite the weather not wanting to play nice I actually really enjoyed the course. The roads were nice and fast and the scenery was nice (and grey). I lost a fair amount of time to the two people in front but this wasn't a surprise as biking has been my weakest discipline compared to the older guys. However for most of the ride I tried to tuck myself into a super aero position attempting to combat the wind. It wasn’t too long before the turning to t2 came up after a short out and back section. Now comes the sad part. After dismounting and racking my bike I went to unclip my helmet only to find that my hands were so numb from the cold, I couldn't feel where my strap was. I fumbled around for a few seconds until my superman in fluro came to my rescue and helped out. But that's not the end. My hands and feet wouldn't do what I asked them to and I spent another while trying to force my feet into wet running shoes all whilst hearing dad shouting and laughing at me from a distance because 'he thought he taught me how to put my shoes on when I was 2'. During that awkward moment 4th place had arrived and left. I ran out after him with a 30 second gap and the proud title of 2nd slowest t2. I managed to crawl back up to the shoulder of 3rd place by about kilometer 2 and after a few seconds to gather myself I pushed hard trying to get a gap, I knew I had got a few meters on him but never looked back. The final 2.5 km I was running scared just trying to push and not blow too soon. The finish line couldn't have arrived sooner (mainly because I started to taste a bit of blood) but also I felt like my body was about to shut down. I was cheered home to a 3rd place finish overall which was a very pleasant surprise for the start of the season and hopefully a good sign for the races to come