Long Course World Champs 2018 race report: Denmark. All I knew of Denmark, was that it was up north, like really north, and it had good pastries and an Australian princess. This place is AMAZING. The food is spectacular, drivers are courteous to cyclists and the Danish sense of humour is dry like ours.
We arrived with 5 days to prepare and get over jetlag. I highly recommend this amount of time. The race was in the city of Odense on the island of Fyn. Its 1 1/2 hours west of Copenhagen and you get to cross a 12km bridge which was so cool, if that tickles your fancy. The race consisted of a 3km swim in the city's ex-working port canal, a 120km 2 lap cycle though small villages and farms and a 30km flat run that took you around the most beautiful parts of Odense.
From an organizational viewpoint ITU is a bit of a crazy catlady mixed with a librarian. The schedule for all the races changed daily and even hourly. As our race was the last event we were ready for anything. Little things like making the red bag the bike bag and the blue bag the run bag, loosing all alliteration, sent people into meltdown (especially the Americans).
Raceday: We started at the very end of the canal where the water made Lake Burley Griffin look clean. Into the brown soup with jellyfish we went. As per norm, start times were delayed leaving us treading water and waiting for a jellysting that never eventuated. After 1.5k of the swim we had to perform an 'Australian exit' getting up onto a pontoon with a timing mat and diving back into the water to return home down the canal. (I actually loved the swim and only punched 3 people at the start before finding openwater).
Exiting the swim we had a bagged transition. Grab your kit off a numbered hook, run into a tent. All your swim stuff has to go back into this bag. No assistance given. (Try stuffing a wet wetsuit into a drawstring shopping bag in a hurry breathing out your arse.) Jay's bag wasn't on the hook in its spot. She ran around and around spinning other bags (yes, she wasnt the last one out of the water) losing her sh!t and yelling at the T.A.s to ask why. They told her if she cant find it maybe she could 'just borrow some stuff off the other competitors'. She then ran in a huff into the change tent only to find her bag in there. Someone made a mixup and then just left Jays bag in the tent. Bastards.
Onto the bike. Denmark can gaurentee you on thing everyday. Wind. Head-down make a small hole and push push push. The locals turned out in force to cheer us on. They love the Aussies and gave a special Oi Oi Oi along the way. For what is a flat country we still managed 600m of vertical over the 120km ride. Coming back into the city we shot straight down into an underground carpark for T2. Finally some assistance, we had bike catchers. Got to love valet parking. Someone managed to piss on the spot I sat down at so my sock soaked it up. Errrgh. We exited up a ramp to begin the run.
4 7.5km laps around a town cheering you on yelling Aussie Aussie Aussie was the best. I felt so so proud to wear the green and gold. As the 4th lap started the sun came out and started to sap our energy. It also caused a lot of the trisuits to crust up in all the wrong places. Thankfully the Aussie suit has black modesty panels. Some countries looked like they had been caught short on spending a penny.
Coming down the home stretch I hooted and hollared and shook my little flag. Epic day. And the biggest suprise of all was the finishers tent. Palm trees, chandeliers, leather couches hot and cold food and BEER!!!.
If you want to do this event next year the qualifier is Challenge Sheparton on the 11th of November and the race is in Ponte Vedre in Spain (the cool bit of Spain).