By Karl Hayes
Trizone spoke toÂ Michelle Wu on the day after the toughest triathlon she has faced to date. The 2010 Gold Coast half ironman was raced in torrential rain and strong winds. The participants all braved conditions many will hope never to face again. When we spoke to Michelle she had been home and rested after a 24 hour day topped off by airport closures and unplanned bus trips before she finally arrived home to her bed in Canberra at 3am on Monday morning.
The main talking point was the challenge of racing in these conditions. â€œThe rain was tough but to be honest I struggled with the wind on the bike more than the rain. This got to me more. This is the wettest race I have ever raced in but at the end of the day the rain didn’t really affect my race. What amazed me was the number of supporters who stayed out in these conditions and cheered us all on. I couldn’t believe that they stayed thereâ€.
Michelle told Trizone last week that the swim is her weakest leg yet on Sunday she swam very competitively. â€œToday I swam really well. I am not sure why but there were a few factors that I believe contributed to my swim on Sunday. Firstly we did not start with the guys. This meant the strong female swimmers did not have the guys to jump on to. Because of this there were less people in the water which meant I was able to pick a strong swimmer to jump on. This time it was Kat Baker. I picked her as she is one of the stronger swimmers in ironmanâ€. Michelle swam 26:21 and came out of the water with the lead group although Anna Cleaver had gapped the group by one and a half minutes.
Unknown to Michelle was Melissa Rollinson. Whilst Melissa came out a minute and a half behind the main lead swim group she quickly pulled together her Queensland duathlon champion credentials and went about reeling the field in on the bike and run to eventually win the race.
Michelle was eventually overtaken by Melissa with a minute or so to go on the bike. â€œI came out of transition on to the run with Melissa in sight. I just focused on my task of picking off the girls in front of me that I knew I could run down. I had Melissa in sight during the entire half marathon. I could see her at every turn but I wasn’t making any ground on her. It stayed like this for most of the run until the last lap when Melissa stepped up a gear and pulled away from meâ€.
What Michelle wasn’t aware of was that she was running her fastest half marathon ever. Her 1:23:41 was possibly pushed along by her chasing Melissa Rollinson. â€œI felt good on the run despite the torrential rain. However with about 3kms to go I hit a wall and my run went from good to survival mode. I was getting very cold and I just wanted to get out of the rainâ€
â€œAt the end of the day I am really happy with my place today and have no regrets on any aspect of the race. This year has been a great year for me and the Gold Coast half ironman is another really good resultâ€.
Michelle’s next race is theÂ Timex Ironman 70.3 in Taiwan on October 30. Taiwan isÂ the same weekend as Port Macquarie half ironman and the Noosa Triathlon.Â Â Â
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