Wollongong Olympic Triathlon 2019 1.5km swim 40km bike (37.5km in reality) 10km run This year has been a bit of an experiment for me - seeing how much I can improve my Sprint and Olympic distance racing and how much I can learn from racing heaps over the season. I’d just come out of a block of 10 weekends of back-to-back races and I learned that (1) I love racing (2) I can push harder than I expected and (3) I can improve a lot from racing experience as well as fitness and training. TriTheGong was my last race of the season and also the race I have repeated the most since I started racing triathlons 6 years ago. My race plan was to ‘race it like a Sprint’ and that meant not holding back at all and going for it the whole time. If I hadn’t had the long block of races earlier in the season I might have been nervous about the idea of pushing myself for the whole Olympic distance, but instead I felt excited and ready to give it a real shot. The swim conditions were the best they had been for a Wollongong Triathlon and the water was clear, warm and flat. I started out in the middle of the pack and pushed to catch up with the lead swimmer, which separated me from the pack quicker than expected and I soon found myself catching up with swimmers from the previous wave. I kept a strong, but consistent pace for the whole swim and felt pretty happy when I came out of the water not too far behind the leaders. The start of the bike felt good and I found a rhythm quickly after negotiating the first of eight climbs up Cliff Rd. Unfortunately, my first mishap of the race was getting stuck behind a Ute that pulled out into the course and when the marshals directed it off the course I had to stop to a stand still to avoid hitting it. This lost me some time and momentum, but I tried hard to keep the pace up for the remaining three laps of the bike. Coming into T2 I somehow missed my spot on the rack and ended up trying to put on someone else’s shoes. I quickly realised I’d gone one rack too far and had to put my helmet back on and move the bike to my spot. I only lost less than a minute, but I still felt stupid. The run was my opportunity to push hard and improve my placing, but about half way in I started to get a stitch and had to back off. This was the first time in a long time that this had happened to me and I felt gutted. Luckily within a kilometre I started to feel better and could push hard again until I hit the finish line. Despite the minor issues I still managed to get a PB with a time of 2:13:51, which even when adjusting for the short bike course was still faster than my previous years at TriTheGong. So, all in all, a great way to end the season. I couldn’t have had such a great season of racing without the support from my coach, Nathan Miller, and my Project M teammates with their encouragement and training tips.