It was a fantastic morning which greeted the participant on Sunday at the Dextro Energy Age Group race, the conditions could not have been better for the open competitors.
The course was a unique opportunity for the competitors to race in the middle of the city and to ride over the harbour bridge, which no doubt was a thrill for all of the athletes!
The Open race was a closely fought affair, with 5 or 6 athletes coming off the bike together and Dave Clarke having a great run to hold onto first. Mick Moroney also put in a solid effort and flew the flag for Dextro!
The age group wave starts continued for an hour and a half, meaning that there was loads for the the spectators to see and over 2000 people to cheer on prior to the Elite Womens race start at 11.20. It was great to catch up with Barbara Riveros prior to the start of her race for a quick chat, as I was Barb’s physio for several years until her recent move to Canberra.
The Elite Men’s and Womens swim was a unique one, in that they did 2 laps of a triangular course, mid way through having to get out, run along a floating (and rocking) platform and dive back in the water, during which their heart rates would have been through the roof!
Barbara, along with Emma Moffatt had solid swims, to get out in the first pack of cyclist. This is vital for the elite racers, as they race in a draft legal format, meaning that if they are further back after the swim, it is very difficult to bridge the gap on the bike, often meaning they rely on having a quicker run than the leaders to win.
The transitions in the elite race were hectic, with everyone wanting to get in and out in seconds, giving way to some great spectating!
Out on the run, there was a lead group of 5 girls, all looking very strong and in control. On the last of the 4 laps, Barbara attacked on an upphill section, with Paula Findlay from Canada the only girl that could go with her. They had an awesome finish, with a sprint down the last downhill section, with Findlay just out sprinting Barbara in the final meters. What a spectacle!
The mens race, as always was a fiercely contested event, with the worlds best not giving an inch. The race changed midway through the bike, with rain coming down heavily, resulting in several crashes, including the world number 1, Javier Gomez hitting the deck on a corner. Into transition 2 there was a huge group of about 30 athletes all coming in together, resulting in bikes, helmets and bodies going everywhere! The run was a very exciting one, with the 2 Brownlee brothers, a Swiss athlete, Brendan Sexton and Gomez running together for much of the run. Gomez was too strong on the run, streaking to a comfortable win in the end and Bredan Sexton finishing a very impressive 4th and first Australian. He is definately on the rise and providing his form continues, will be difficult to keep out of the Australian Olympic team.
The thing which stood out most strongly from the whole day was Gomez’s win. Sure, he has shown himself to be one of the best triathletes in the world in the past and yes he obviously can run. But the way he won, wow. I think very few athletes would fall off and be able to do what he did. The mental focus and self belief it would have taken for him to keep his mind on the game, not dwell on the accident and still have the non-wavering grit to take it to the rest of the field and win was amazing. I think it is something which very few athletes would be able to do and we saw that with several others on the weekend have misfortunes and then we didn’t see them again…. Something also that I think transfers into every day life, yes there will be set backs, everyday. However, if you dwell on them, rather than looking forward, you will remain stagnant. Accept that things don’t always work out to plan (in fact rarely do!) and remain focused on the larger goal at hand!
It was great to see Dextro represented so well, with some very professsional signage, exhibits and product on the course and expo. It is great to have the brand now launched in Australia and NZ and I am very excited to be working closely with the great and knowledgable people in the company!
All in all a great day and something that I hope Sydney fights hard to keep and improve! I also think it is about time that races like this were broadcast live, especially since there are so many triathletes and the sport is growing exponentially!