I always love travelling down to Huskisson in February for the Huskisson Triathlon Festival. For years, the Husky Long Course event has drawn my attention as I race I want to win. The prestige of this event speaks for itself when you look at the names on the trophy, including Craig Alexander, Pete Jacobs and Tim Reed, just to name a few.
I went into this race knowing my form was good, until the weekend before the race, a niggle in my Achilles ended the smooth sailing. I was unable to run all week and had no idea if I would be able to run a single kilometre in the race, let alone 20 of them! I wasn’t going to aggravate the Achilles any further before the race, so I didn’t attempt running all week and was seriously going in to the race blind.
The race started with a 2 Kilometre swim in Jervis Bay. In the swim, Michael Fox set the pace and I stuck on his feet. He was swimming great and we were able to open up a bit of a lead by the time we got to our bikes. This was probably the fastest swim leg I have done over 2km and set us both up great for the bike and run.
On the bike, Foxy and I rode very honest together, keeping very respectable drafting distances while not knowing any time gaps to the chasing athletes. We both knew that if we kept the pace up on the bike, the chasers would have to ride a pretty red-hot time just to catch us, likely causing some damage in their legs before setting off on the run.
Side note - On the Thursday before the race, I picked up a set of Caden Tubular 81mm wheels to race on. A huge thanks to Ben for getting this sorted for me - these wheels were unbelievable. They rolled great and handled the wind superbly. What's more, the weight of both these wheels were less than the weight of my previous rear disc wheel! On a bike course like Husky, where the roads are rough and hilly, acceleration is key, especially powering up over the crest of the hills. I am stoked to be riding what I believe are the best wheels on the market. Here's my race set up:
Once we got off the bike, we found out we had about a 1-minute gap to Nuru Somi, and a couple more minutes to the main chase group.
This was the part of the race I feared – finding out weather I could actually run or not with my Achilles niggle. As it turned out, the Achilles was just bearable, and I set into a good pace running side by side with Foxy for the first 5km. Once we hit the 5km turn around point, I surged and was able to open a gap. I ran controlled for the remaining 15km and the gap actually extended, allowing me to really enjoy my first professional win! What’s more, my friends and family were all there to share the experience with, and my partner Moya was able to score a 3rd overall in the Women’s race! What a day!
Personally, this was the first race I have executed where I felt as strong in the final 2kms of the run as I did in the first 2km. I was able to finally throw down an exciting run split and I got to break the tape in a professional long course race!
Looking forward, I need to get this Achilles injury sorted before I lock into my next race. The big goal for me in 2018 is the Half Ironman World Championships, held 2nd September in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In order to get a result I am capable of there, I need to get this temperamental Achilles sorted properly now. I will release my 2018 race schedule as soon as possible.